Daily Archives: September 7, 2019

September 7 – God is not like us — Reformed Perspective

Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow. – Psalm 144:4

Scripture reading: Psalm 144

Well, it is good that God is the opposite! Have we given enough thought to how “other” God is? This is hard for us because we live gasping for each breath, scraping for every next dollar, praying for each new day. But this verse of our Psalm is telling us who we are so that we would remember this is exactly Who God is NOT! God is not like a breath. He is firm, rock-solid, unchangeable. He is permanent and eternal. If you live near mountains you might be tempted to think those rocks are forever. That mountain range will disappear someday. God is forever. In this devotional study of Psalm 144 we are learning Who God is. What have you learned so far?

Actually, this verse uses two related concepts to show how frail man is, all to teach us how reliable God is. This verse mentions “breath” and “a passing shadow.” Breath has to do with substance. Man is like a mist (James 4:14). Man is impermanent, even though we think we are pretty sturdy and can handle quite a bit. Man is also like a passing shadow. As the sun moves across the sky, so our life passes along quickly. God is solid and timeless. What a blessing to know these things about our God! We are not helped by worry, but are strengthened by faith – in Who God is!

For the rest of this day (passing shadow!) set your mind on God’s stable Being. Be encouraged!

Suggestions for prayer

Try praying for longer than you ever have before. When you are done, check how long you prayed, then remember that God has been listening to the prayers of His people for thousands of years.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri.

via September 7 – God is not like us — Reformed Perspective

September 7, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

30:6 — … But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

In a previous hard time, Jonathan, David’s friend, had encouraged him in his faith (1 Sam. 23:16). But in his friend’s absence, David chose to strengthen himself in God. We must encourage each other so that we can strengthen ourselves.[1]


30:6 The pain the troops felt over the loss of their sons and daughters led some to blame David for their troubles. Nonetheless, David found strength (lit “strengthened himself”) in the Lord his God, a testimony to his faith in difficult times.[2]


30:6 spoke of stoning him They perceived that David’s plan to beguile the Philistines caused their loss.

Yahweh his God Here, Yahweh is called David’s God. In contrast, Saul refers to Yahweh as Samuel’s God (compare 15:15, 21, 30).

This is the book’s final comparison between righteous David and wicked Saul. Saul disregarded the Law while David obeyed it. Saul inquired of a dead prophet while David inquired of Yahweh Himself. Saul consulted a medium while David consulted a priest. Saul received a message of death and destruction while David receives a message of life and victory.[3]


30:6 But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God, and God comforts and strengthens him. Rather than despairing, David turns to God in prayer and worship (cf. Ps. 56:3–4).

30:6 David through the strength of God acts as deliverer, prefiguring Christ the deliverer of captives (Luke 4:18–19).[4]


30:6 distressed … embittered. Arriving home to the reality of their great tragedy caused David immense distress and provoked the wickedness of his men to entertain the treasonous idea of stoning him. Having not inquired of the Lord before his departure to support Achish in battle, David was in need of God’s getting his attention. strengthened himself in the Lord his God. This was the key to David being a man after God’s heart (cf. 1Sa 13:14; Ac 13:22).[5]


30:6 David faced a serious crisis in his leadership. He was distressed not only because of his personal grief but by the difficult situation pressing on him. the people spoke of stoning him: It is often the nature of unhappy people to vent their frustration through acts of hostility against their leaders (Ex. 17:4). strengthened himself in the Lord his God: Unlike Saul, David knew where to turn in a time of crisis (Phil. 4:13). He had learned to wait on God, confident of God’s eventual deliverance (Ps. 40:1–3).[6]


Ver. 6.—The soul of all the people was grieved. Hebrew, “was bitter.” Their great sorrow is pathetically described in Ver. 4. But, as is often the case with those in distress, from grief they turned to anger, and sought relief for their feelings by venting their rage upon the innocent. Possibly David had not taken precautions against a danger which he had not apprehended; but, left almost friendless in the angry crowd who were calling out to stone him, he encouraged himself in Jehovah his God. Literally, “strengthened himself” in Jehovah, and summoned the priest to ask counsel and guidance of God by the ephod.[7]


6. David was greatly distressed—He had reason, not only on his own personal account (1 Sa 30:5), but on account of the vehement outcry and insurrectionary threats against him for having left the place so defenseless that the families of his men fell an unresisting prey to the enemy. Under the pressure of so unexpected and widespread a calamity, of which he was upbraided as the indirect occasion, the spirit of any other leader guided by ordinary motives would have sunk;

but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God—His faith supplied him with inward resources of comfort and energy, and through the seasonable inquiries he made by Urim, he inspired confidence by ordering an immediate pursuit of the plunderers.[8]


6 Death by stoning (*sql) is referred to both in Greek Epic (Iliad 3:57 “donning a coat of stone,” an euphemism for death by stoning) and the Hebrew Bible. In this critical situation David strengthened himself in the Lord: *ḥzq (Hit.) baYHWH. To “strengthen oneself” may carry implications “both of taking courage and of consolidating one’s position vis-á-vis some group of people (2 Sam. 3:6).”

(3) David Inquires of the Lord (30:7–8)

7 And David said to Abiathar, the priest, son of Ahimelech,

“Bring me the ephod!”

And Abiathar brought the ephod to David.

8 And David inquired of the Lord, saying,

“Shall I pursue after this band? Can I overtake it?”

and he said to him,

“Pursue! For you can surely overtake and rescue them!”[9]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (1 Sa 30:6). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[2] Beyer, B. E. (2017). 1 Samuel. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 456). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Sa 30:6). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 538). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (1 Sa 30:6). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 382). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[7] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 Samuel (p. 548). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[8] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 194). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[9] Tsumura, D. (2007). The First Book of Samuel (pp. 638–639). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Saturday Selections – Sept 7, 2019 — Reformed Perspective

Is college worth it? (5 min)

If you want to be a nurse or architect, college is vital. But if you don’t know why you’re going – if you’re not going in with a plan – then this fellow below argues that it isn’t a good investment of your time or money. The dollar figures are US, but on both sides of the border, the investment of time is always considerable.

If the link above and the video below are about why not to go (or why to wait) here’s a link to help make it possible. There should be something to help everyone here: 68 ways to save money in college

Facebook experimenting with removing “Like” counts?

The social media giant shared that it has been experimenting with removing Like counts on Instagram posts and is considering it for Facebook too.

Gun violence: Prov. 18:17 and the other sides to the story…

Mass shootings south of the border fill the news, and each time one happens there are calls to ban guns. Most of those proposed bans are directed at military-looking rifles, but as the Daily Wire‘s Ryan Saavedra noted this past week, the number of homocides by rifle is comparatively low. What he shares below are the average number of deaths per day in US caused by:

Abortion: 2,408
Heart disease: 1,773
Cancer: 1,641
Medical error: 685
Accidents: 401
Stroke: 401
Alzheimer’s: 332
Diabetes: 228
Flu: 150
Suicide: 128
Opioids: 115
Drunk driving: 28
Underage drinking: 11
Teen texting-and-driving: 8
All Rifles: 1

This additional information is in keeping with Prov. 18:17, where we learn that to discern the Truth it helps to hear the two sides questioning each other. So, still in keeping with this verse, it’s worth noting that Saavedra didn’t share the overall number of gun-related deaths per day – those that involve not just rifles, but handguns and other guns as well – which gives us a considerably higher number: 30 per day. That’s comparable to drunk-driving (though far less than abortion) so if gun bans could lower those numbers, shouldn’t we try? Well, to go all Prov.18:17 again, another important side of this discussion is to consider how effective previous gun control legislation has been (can the gov’t even do what it is attempting to do?), and how often do people use guns to defend themselves (how many lives are saved by guns)? When trying to track down those numbers Prov. 18:17 needs to be our guide once again because the different sides of this debate provide very different numbers that have to be questioned to get any sort of understanding of them.

Female soccer player says she could definitely play in the NFL. No, she could not.

Just because your three-year-old knows it doesn’t mean adults don’t need to hear the Truth stated clearly. Matt Walsh helps out here by explaining women cannot play football at the NFL level for the it-should-have-been-obvious reason that men and women are different.

Faithfulness is not theologically complicated (10 minute read)

Confused Christians don’t know what to think about abortion, marriage, gender, homosexuality, and Jesus’ exclusive claims because they aren’t looking to Scripture. But, as Greg Koukl shares here, in His Word God is very clear on all these issues.

Is sex assigned at birth? – what would you say? (4 min)

The Colson Center is a conservative Judeo-Christian think tank (with some Reformed influences to it) that’s probably best known for their daily audio Breakpoint commentaries on 1,200 radio stations across North America. Now they’re expanding into video, with short “PragerU” type videos tackling controversial issues under the theme: “What would you say?“. So far they have three videos, with this one tackling the topic of gender fluidity.

As good as this video is, it would best be characterized as a secular presentation because God is never mentioned, which is a strange omission for a professedly Christian think tank. So watch the video, but when you share it be sure to add what they missed: that even when the activists, celebrities, politicians, and scientists are confused, we can turn to God’s Word for the unchanging Truth. And when it comes to gender, the Truth is God made us male and female (Gen. 1:27).

via Saturday Selections – Sept 7, 2019 — Reformed Perspective

How Long and Why? – Programs – Truth For Life

Scripture makes it clear that God is all-powerful. Why, then, does He allow so much suffering and heartache in the world? We’ll address this age-old concern as we study the book of Habakkuk together on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg. 
Listen…

09/07/19 Rest Again — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Psalms 116-118, 1 Corinthians 11:2-26

Psalm 116 reflects the thanksgiving of a writer who had faced the reality of death. Indeed, his fear and turmoil had apparently been great: “The ropes of death were wrapped around me, and the torments of Sheol overcame me; I encountered trouble and sorrow” (Psa 116:3). All he knew to do was cry out, “Lord, save me!” (Psa 116:4).

What the psalmist learned to do was to cry out to God and to trust His character to help him: “The Lord is gracious and righteous;our God is compassionate” (Psa 116:5). When he did that and recalled God’s care, he spoke hope to himself: “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you” (Psa 116:7).

How many times I’ve needed to say similar words to myself! I can let worry consume me. I sometimes get more focused on the struggle than on the answer that God has already provided. It usually takes others to speak into my life, but I need to learn to say to myself, “Quit worrying. Stop fretting. The Lord has been good to me, and I should have continued confidence in Him. Rest, my soul, rest in Christ.”

PRAYER: “Lord, help me to rest in You all day long.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Review and catch-up day

via 09/07/19 Rest Again — ChuckLawless.com

September 7 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

2 Samuel 1; 1 Corinthians 12; Ezekiel 10; Psalm 49

 

in light of the terrible judgments pronounced against Jerusalem in Ezekiel 8–11, with the beginning of the withdrawal of the glory of the Lord in Ezekiel 10, we should think through the bearing of such sins in our own framework:

Why do we choose what can last but an hour

Before we must leave it behind?

Why do possessions exert brutal power

To render us harsh and unkind?

Why do mere things have the lure of a flower

Whose scent makes us selfish and blind?

The cisterns run dry, and sour is our breath;

We dwell in the valley of death.

Why is betrayal attractive to us

Who often are hurt and betrayed?

Why barter faithful devotion for lust,

Integrity cast far away?

Why do our dreams, then our deeds, beggar trust,

Our guilt far too heavy to pay?

The cisterns run dry, and sour is our breath;

We dwell in the valley of death.

Why do we stubbornly act out a role,

Convincing the world that we’ve won?

Why for mere winning will we sell our soul,

In order to be number one?

Why sear our conscience so we’re in control—

Despairing of what we’ve become?

The cisterns run dry, and sour is our breath;

We dwell in the valley of death.

O Jesus—

Why do you promise to quench all our thirst,

When we have despised all your ways?

Why do you rescue the damned and the cursed,

By dying our death in our place?

Why do you transform our hearts till they burst

With vibrant expressions of praise?

The well flows with life—and we’re satisfied—

The fountain that flows from your side.[1]

 


[1] Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God: a daily companion for discovering the riches of God’s Word. (Vol. 2, p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

September 7 For the love of God (Vol. 1)

2 Samuel 1; 1 Corinthians 12; Ezekiel 10; Psalm 49

 

when david hears of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan (2 Sam. 1), his grief is not merely formal. He could not help but know that the way to the throne was now open to him. Nevertheless, his sorrow is so genuine that he composes a lengthy lament (1:19–27), sets it to music, and teaches it to the men of his tribe (1:18) so that it will be sung for a long time as one of the folk ballads of the land.

Many elements of this lament deserve long reflection. Today I shall reflect on just one verse: “Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice” (1:20). Formally, the text is plain enough. Gath and Ashkelon were the two leading Philistine cities. David is saying, in effect, not to let the Philistines know of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, lest they be glad and rejoice.

Of course, the Philistines could not help but find out, and David, of all people, knew that. But his purpose in penning these words is not literally to keep the Philistines in the dark a little while longer. How could that be? They had already hoisted the body of Saul onto the wall of Beth Shan (1 Sam. 31:10) and sent messengers with the news throughout Philistia (31:9). But if these lines from David’s pen do not function as literal advice, what is their function?

In part, it is simply a lament. It is a powerful way of saying that the opponents of the Israelites would be delighted with the news, and therefore their pleasure is a measure of the tragedy. But I suspect there is another overtone. When one of our leaders falls, conduct yourself in such a way as not to give strength to the opposition.

That is a lesson that must be learned again and again by the church. When a minister of the Gospel is caught embezzling funds or having an affair, then certainly the biblical principle for discipline must be brought to bear immediately. If the law has been broken, the civil authorities must be contacted. If families have been damaged, there may be a great deal of pastoral work to be done. But understand well that many unbelievers will be gleefully rubbing their hands and saying, “See? What can you expect? All this religious stuff is so hypocritical and phony.” Thus Christ is despised and the credibility of Christian witnesses diminished. Christians must restrain their tongues, watch what they say, and be especially careful about saying anything unnecessary to unbelievers. This is a time for mourning, not gossip. “Tell it not in Gath.…”[1]


[1] Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God: a daily companion for discovering the riches of God’s Word. (Vol. 1, p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

09/06/2019 — Wretched

WR2019-0906

•How should men and women interact?
•Should I get a tattoo when I can’t find a ring that fits?
•The Billy Graham rule and adiaphora
•What verse says that pedophilia is wrong?
•Great Britain allows 3 year olds to change gender
•Should Biblical Counselors be as qualified as pastors?
•Can church musicians go barefoot?
•Yoga without meditation
•How do we love abortion advocates?
•How should Christians use their leisure time?

Download Now (right click and save)

via 09/06/2019 — Wretched

Pete Wilson* Joins Tullian Tchividjian, Dustin Boles, and Perry Noble on the *We’re Baaack* Conga Line — The Wartburg Watch

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Conga_Line_(2681876523).jpgConga Line: Creative Commons

* With a guest appearance by Maurilio Amorim, Pete’s buddy

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” ― Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Tchividjian, Boles, Noble starting churches for *imperfect* people and hold themselves up as role models

Several days ago, I wrote about Dustin Boles making a return to the pastorate after a well known fail.

Then there is the growing concerns about Tullian Tchividjian reentering the ministry with his second wife Stacie (TT divorced his first wife and had a relationship with Stacie whom he later married). She has also confessed to a rather dubious personal history. He now proclaims that he was not involved in the abuse of women and that all of it was consensual.

Perry Noble started his Second Chance Church after being fired and confessing that he was an alcoholic. Then he seemingly pulled back on that announcement and said he had anxiety issues. He is now divorced.

They spout a common theme of sins, problems, mistakes and short order recovery which makes them perfect role models for the rest of us shlubs. They exhibit a curious silence on their road of repentance. Divorce also enters the picture except for Boles.

Noble, Tchividjian and Boles now proclaim that they are in a position to help other people recover from their problems or sins or mistake (they seem to use all terms) by starting churches emphasizing grace, forgiveness and recovery with a sound track of Kum Ba Yah playing sweetly in the background.

Pete Wilson is reportedly a teaching pastor and small groups pastor at Northridge Church, Plymouth, Michigan while still living in Nashville and working for the A Group

I was contacted by a person at the church. As he/she relayed this information, I was startled, to say the least. I called the church for confirmation but have not received a call back. That usually means that the answer to my awkward questions are “Yes.” However, the information on social media is so extensive that I’m going forward with the story.

I plan to do this story in two parts. This post is about another pastoral failure who has found his way back into ministry in a rather unique way. Basically, Wilson is flying in and out of Michigan, while still maintaining his face at The A Group.

For those who you who do not know about The A Group and Maurilio Amorim, I wrote a post a couple of years ago which some people might find interesting…Pete has been a long time friend of Maurilio and even brought one of his closest Cross Point associates, Jordyn Wilson, along with him when he transferred over there. I’m sure Maurilio would be devastated if Pete left The A Group given that they do a lot of outreach to church organizations..,.

I plan to write more about the new commuting practices of church pastors next week. These ain’t your old timey circuit riders, baby. Relevancy is now the name of the game.

Northridge Church  in Plymouth Michigan.

Northridge Church is lead by Brad Powell. According to one source, he makes all of the decisions about everything. There are reportedly some elders who basically serve as *yes* men although I was told there may have been some mild push back on the hiring of Pete.

It is hard to find out much about the leadership from the website. However Powell shows up front and center. Powell presents himself as a rainmaker, claiming he is waking up the world for Jesus.

Today, NorthRidge is not only revived, but thriving. Under Brad’s leadership, the ministry has flooded the surrounding communities, creating an entirely fresh culture of faith. And because the church continues to grow in impact and influence, Brad remains certain of his and NorthRidge’s mission to Wake the World Up to Jesus.

The bio on his own website for his book reads like a CEO’s vision  for some mid-level company with a jab at the people who were in the church before Brad came to save them from irrelevancy.

If you are a leader seeking a blueprint for change—or a member praying for a miracle—this living example can serve as a springboard for your church. Transitioning NorthRidge Church into a thriving congregation, recently named the Midwest’s “Fastest Growing Church” and “One of the Top 50 Most Influential Churches,” was hard work but eternally worth it. Though once irrelevant and dying, this church is now reaching thousands of people for Christ and providing the hope of renewal to churches around the world.

Given his rhetoric, it is no surprise to me that he decided to bring in Pete. Powell doesn’t care that Pete doesn’t live there. He doesn’t care that Pete left his church in the lurch. Pete knows how to *relate.* Maybe with Pete’s help, Northridge could become the fastest growing church *in the world* and that, folks, is what constitutes a real church.

The church even has a performing arts school that gives kids discounts if they sign up friends. And even adults can learn how to cardio hip hop to keep those tickers ticking and the giving units giving.

Here is a tweet showing what good buddies they are. Brad even had his *creative team* put together a rap to welcome Pete to the pulpit or stage or whatever hip thing they call it .

Here is one of many videos of Pete preaching at Northridge.

What does Northridge Church know about Pete?

Pete Wilson and Cross Point Church: Until There is Truth, Lessons Will Not Be Learned

I believed sources that said that Pete left the church without leveling with the elders. There is something I redacted that is now relevant. Months before Pete resigned, he was reportedly living separately from his wife. After putting up with Pete’s stuff, Brandi filed for divorce. I also was told (from a close source) that Maurilio’s wife also went through a divorce at the same time. I know that both of them were heartbroken. I do not believe that either of them were the cause of the divorces.

I do have a question. i would hope that Northridge church members have asked for the truth about Pete’s divorce. Were they told he was divorced?

Pete Wilson Is So Exhausted and Burned Out That He Became the President of the A Group.

Pete told his church, shortly after he returned from his sabbatical, that he was *burned out.*  This prompted all sorts of sympathy posts about pastors and burn out. I call it *baloney.”

Think about it. A pastor who is so burned out, after months of a paid vacation sabbatical that he immediately (3 weeks later) takes a position as the President of a business? A business run by his buddy who needs a nice pastor’s face on his website? Was this job just a happy blessing from God for all of Pete’s hard work? Ask him.

To make matters worse, the church called in Dino Rizzo to comfort the church who lost their *exhausted* pastor. You can read about his history in the post…

When Pete left, he brought along his closest associate, Jordyn Wilson, to work at The A  Group. Another associate, Holly Brown left as well..

Cross Point church experienced a decline in giving and giving after Pete took off

The person who called me said they heard Pete say that he lost all of his friends when this happened. What a shocker…Has anybody asked him why that might be? Did he just pick stupid and mean friends? At least he is still friends with Jordyn but she is quite a bit younger than him…

From what I can see there is no repentance, no truth telling, a divorce which wasn’t discussed much, and maybe some other activities that have not been fully disclosed.  This is what is considered a good resume for a teaching pastor at a church which is changing the *world?*

Sometimes I wonder…church which claim they are changing the world often appear to be conformed more and more to the image of the world I see around me. In my opinion Pete Wilson is no role model and Northridge members should ask lots of questions. Why is their hard earned money is paying for some dude to commute back and forth from Nashville?  Does this sound like a guy who really cares about the people in the church? Also, do the members of this church merely want a guy who can give a *good talk?*  There are cheaper ways to do that. More on that subject on Monday.

So, we have one more guy on the conga line. I cannot wait for the typical, ho hum explanations about forgiveness, grace, restoration, King David and the same, tedious yackity yack. Warning, If it is the typical stuff, commenters will be and should be embarrassed by the lack of depth in the teaching that they have received from these guys.

PS: For Willow Creek followers, guess who else is getting teaching gigs at Northridge?

Steve Carter!!!

via Pete Wilson* Joins Tullian Tchividjian, Dustin Boles, and Perry Noble on the *We’re Baaack* Conga Line —

Tom Fitton Discusses the IG Report on James Comey… — The Last Refuge

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton discusses the IG report on James Comey’s activity during the 2016 election including the motives behind the soft-coup attempt:

via Tom Fitton Discusses the IG Report on James Comey… — The Last Refuge

North Korea Number One For Executing Christians 12th Year in a Row — Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Chinese pastor shared Christian faith with 1,000 North Koreans before execution, defector claims

When most of us think of the countries which persecute and slaughter Christians, we usually think of countries in the Middle East or in Northern Africa.

But the number one country in the world for imprisoning, torturing and executing Christians for the 12th year in a row is North Korea.  This is the face of Communism.

Kim Jong-un demands the the worship of his people. It is against the law to even mention “God” in this country. So, why don’t we hear about these killings?  Because the government runs the press and they dictate to the press what to say and what not to say.

This is Communism.

And the 2020 elections in America will decide whether America will remain a free country, or will it become Socialist?  Do you understand that history shows us clearly that Socialism morphs into Communism?  It’s true. And this next election will be pivotal for America.

The next election is exactly what Benjamin Franklin feared might happen to our government after a course of years. He said that this could happen if there was enough corruption in our government.  Brethren, we are there.

From foxnews.com

Chinese Pastor shared Christian Faith with 1000 North Koreans before his execution, defector claims

A pastor on the ChinaNorth Korea border shared his faithwith at least 1,000 North Koreans in the Hermit Kingdom before he was assassinated in 2016, a defector claims.

Rev. Han Chung-Ryeol, a Chinese pastor of Korean descent, who ministered on the border town of Changbai since the early 1990s, was reportedly on Pyongyang’s most-wanted list as early as 2003 for his faith-based charitable work.

Han fed and sheltered thousands of North Koreans over the years — many of whom had fled the famine-stricken country in search of food and jobs. One of them, Sang-chul, shared his story in a short documentary from The Voice of the Martyrs, as a way to encourage believers around the world to participate in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on Sunday, Nov. 3.

“In primary school, we were taught that all missionaries were terrorists,” Sang-chul shares in the video through a translator. “They told us that a missionary will be nice to you at first, but when they get you into their homes, then they will kill you and eat your liver.”

The North Korean said he didn’t have work or food in his village so he snuck across the mountain border into China, picking mushrooms along the way in hopes of selling them in a market. He ran into Han, who offered to sell them and give him the money. Sang-chul knew something was different when the pastor didn’t cheat him out of any money, but he wondered why a Chinese citizen would help him, knowing the danger.

“We hope that our sacrifice, when the day comes, will be worthwhile, just like it was for Pastor Han.”

— Sang-chul

“It is because I am a Christian,” Han reportedly said, causing the North Korean to be fearful of him.

And then one day Han told him: “God is real. There is hope for every person,” but he wondered why he would say “Hananim,” the word for God.

“I could not believe he would say that word, ‘God.’ Nobody says that word,” Sang-chul continued. “We know that it is an act of treason…and can lead to soldiers coming in the night.”

Eventually, Sang-chul asked him for a Bible and shared about the gospel with his wife and best friend, who both found hope before he received the tragic news that Han was stabbed and axed to death by North Korean assassins, who were honored for their mission.

“Pastor Han gave his life, but he gave hope to me and to many other North Koreans,” Sang-chul said. “And despite the ever-present danger, many of us will continue to share the message that God is real.”

VOM encourages people to “please pray for the courageous Christians who risk their lives daily to share the hope of Christ in North Korea.”  source

We MUST be praying for the body of Christ in North Korea and China.  Just imagine if this same scenario happens in the U.S., and we cannot worship our Lord without fear of imprisonment and execution.

It’s not farfetched anymore.

The irony is this:  During times of intense persecution, the body of Christ grows in number and in devotion to Christ.  These brothers and sisters in Christ are probably praying for the church in America.  We need it desperately!

 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18)

How Can I Be Saved?

Shalom b’Yeshua

MARANATHA!!

via North Korea Number One For Executing Christians 12th Year in a Row — Absolute Truth from the Word of God

September 6 Help for Troubled Times

Scripture reading: Matthew 14:22–34

Key verse: Matthew 14:27

Immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

Jesus did not come to His disciples during the first, second, or third watch the night the storm swept over the Sea of Galilee. Instead, He waited until the fourth watch, approximately 3:00 a.m., when the waves were at their fiercest and the wind at its strongest.

The afternoon before, He had miraculously fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two sun-dried fish. The people had witnessed a miracle but missed the underlying lesson of Christ’s deity. Christ immediately withdrew to the hillside to be alone with the Father while sending the disciples ahead of Him across the sea. Then the storm hit.

Storms often come even when we have been obedient. The disciples never questioned Jesus’ judgment in directing them to set sail without Him. The feeding of the five thousand was meant to illustrate that Christ was their complete sufficiency. However, the lesson needed underscoring; and Jesus allowed the winds and the waves to do just that.

Is there a storm raging in your life, maybe one that is not of your own doing? Has the cry just gone out for the beginning of the fourth watch, and you feel as though all hope is gone? Take courage! Jesus will not leave you alone in the storm but will come to you. He is your present help for troubled times.

Don’t leave me alone in the storm, Lord. Come to me and be my help in troubled times.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 261). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 6, 2019 Evening Verse Of The Day

The Supreme Reality of the New Heaven and the New Earth

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, (21:3)

The supreme glory and joy of heaven is the Person of God (cf. Ps. 73:25). Here, as twenty times previously in Revelation, a loud voice heralds an announcement of great importance. The source of the voice is not revealed. It is not God (who speaks in v. 5), but is probably an angel (cf. 5:2; 7:2; 14:9, 15, 18; 19:17). The portentous announcement he makes is “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men.” Skenē (tabernacle) can also mean “tent,” or “dwelling place.” God will pitch His tent among His people; no longer will He be far off, distant, transcendent. No more will His presence be veiled in the human form of Jesus Christ, even in His millennial majesty, or in the cloud and pillar of fire, or inside the Holy of Holies. The amazing reality that “the pure in heart … shall see God” (Matt. 5:8) will come to pass. Christ’s prayer, recorded in John 17:24, will be answered: “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me” (cf. John 14:1–3; 1 Thess. 4:13–17). There will be “no temple in [heaven], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22). Their presence will permeate heaven and will not be confined to one place of manifestation.

So staggering is this truth that the heavenly voice repeats it several ways. To the mind-boggling reality that the tabernacle of God is among men he adds the statement that God will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them (cf. 22:3–4). This will be a manifestation of God’s glorious presence to His people like no other in redemptive history and the culmination of all divine promise and human hope (Lev. 26:11–12; Jer. 24:7; 30:22; 31:1, 33; 32:38; Ezek. 37:27; 48:35; Zech. 2:10; 8:8; 2 Cor. 6:16).

What will it be like to live in God’s glorious presence in heaven? First, believers will enjoy fellowship with Him. The imperfect, sin-hindered fellowship that believers have with God in this life (1 John 1:3) will become full, complete, and unlimited. In his classic book on heaven entitled The Saints’ Everlasting Rest, seventeenth-century Puritan Richard Baxter describes the intimate communion with God that believers will enjoy in heaven:

Doubtless as God advanceth our senses, and enlargeth our capacity, so will he advance the happiness of those senses and fill up with himself all that capacity.… We shall then have light without a candle, and perpetual day without the sun.… We shall then have enlightened understandings without Scripture, and be governed without a written law; for the Lord will perfect his law in our hearts, and we shall be all perfectly taught of God. We shall have joy, which we drew not from the promises, nor fetched home by faith or hope. We shall have communion without sacraments, without this fruit of the vine, when Christ shall drink it new with us in his Father’s kingdom and refresh us with the comforting wine of immediate enjoyment. To have necessities, but no supply, is the case of them in hell. To have necessity supplied by means of the creatures, is the case of us on earth. To have necessity supplied immediately from God, is the case of the saints in heaven. To have no necessity at all, is the prerogative of God himself. (The Practical Works of Richard Baxter [reprint; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981], 7, 16)

Second, believers will see God as He is. In 1 John 3:2 the apostle John writes, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” Such an unveiled view of God is impossible for mortal men. No living person has ever seen God in the fullness of His glory (John 1:18; 6:46; 1 John 4:12); He is invisible (Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17) and “dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:16; cf. Ps. 104:2), exposure to which would mean instant death for any living person (Ex. 33:20). But in heaven, “the pure in heart … shall see God” (Matt. 5:8), since they will be perfectly holy. They will be given an eternal and expanded vision of God manifest in His shining glory (21:11, 23; 22:5). Even the saints in heavenly glory will not be able to comprehend all the infinite majesty of God’s wondrous being. But they will see all that glorified beings are able to comprehend. Is it any wonder that Paul, thinking of the glory of heaven, had “the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better” (Phil. 1:23)?

In her marvelous but seldom sung hymn, “My Savior First of All,” Fanny Crosby echoed Paul’s sentiments:

When my life work is ended and I cross the swelling tide,

When the bright and glorious morning I shall see,

I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,

And His smile will be the first to welcome me.

Thru the gates to the city, in a robe of spotless white,

He will lead me where no tears will ever fall,

In the glad song of ages I shall mingle with delight—

But I long to meet my Savior first of all.

Third, believers will worship God. Every glimpse of heaven in Revelation reveals the redeemed and the angels in worship (4:10; 5:14; 7:11; 11:1, 16; 19:4). That is not surprising, since Jesus said in John 4:23 that “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” In heaven, the glorified, perfected saints will offer God perfect worship.

Fourth, believers will serve God (22:3). It is said of the saints in heaven pictured in 7:15 that “they serve [God] day and night in His temple.” Believers’ capacity for heavenly service will reflect their faithfulness in this life. All believers will be rewarded with capacities for heavenly service, but those capacities will differ (1 Cor. 3:12–15; 4:5).

Finally, and most astounding of all, the Lord will serve believers. Jesus told a parable reflecting that truth in Luke 12:35–40:

Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.

Jesus pictures Himself as a wealthy nobleman, who returns to His estate after a long trip. Finding that his servants ministered faithfully in His absence, He rewards them by taking the role of a servant and preparing a feast for them. So will it be for believers in heaven, forever to be served a heavenly feast of joy by their Lord.[1]


3 A loud voice is heard from the throne, announcing the fulfillment of a basic theme that runs throughout the OT. It is clearly stated in the Holiness Code of Leviticus 26, “I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will … be your God, and you will be my people” (Lev 26:11–12; cf. Jer 31:33; Ezek 37:27; Zech 8:8). The voice from heaven declares that the dwelling place of God is with people, and that he will live with them. The Greek word for tabernacle (skēnē) is closely related to the Hebrew Shekinah, which was used to denote the presence and glory of God. In the wilderness wanderings the tabernacle or tent was a symbol of the abiding presence of God in the midst of his people. In the Fourth Gospel, John writes that the Word became flesh and tabernacled (eskēnōsen) among people so that they saw his glory, the glory of the One and Only (John 1:14). When the Seer writes that the tabernacle of God is with us, he is saying that God in his glorious presence has come to dwell with us. The metaphor does not suggest a temporary dwelling. From this point on God remains with his people throughout eternity.

It is interesting that most recent translations have the plural, peoples (e.g., NRSV, “they will be his peoples”), rather than the singular, people.17 Apparently, John modified the traditional concept (Jer 7:23; 30:22; Hos 2:23) and substituted a reference to the many peoples of redeemed humanity. Jesus had spoken of “other sheep that are not of this sheep pen” that must become part of the one flock (John 10:16). It is with the redeemed peoples of all races and nationalities that God will dwell in glory. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. It is the presence of God, and the fellowship with him of all believers, that constitutes the principal characteristic of the coming age.[2]


3. out of heaven—so Andreas. But A and Vulgate read, “out of the throne.”

the tabernacle—alluding to the tabernacle of God in the wilderness (wherein many signs of His presence were given): of which this is the antitype, having previously been in heaven: Rev 11:19–15:5, “the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven”; also Rev 13:6. Compare the contrast in Heb 9:23, 14, between “the patterns” and “the heavenly things themselves,” between “the figures” and “the true.” The earnest of the true and heavenly tabernacle was afforded in the Jerusalem temple described in Ez 40:1–42:20, as about to be, namely, during the millennium.

dwell with them—literally, “tabernacle with them”; the same Greek word as is used of the divine Son “tabernacling among us.” Then He was in the weakness of the flesh: but at the new creation of heaven and earth He shall tabernacle among us in the glory of His manifested Godhead (Rev 22:4).

they—in Greek emphatic, “they” (in particular).

his peopleGreek, “His peoples”: “the nations of the saved” being all peculiarly His, as Israel was designed to be. So A reads. But B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic read, “His people”: singular.

God himself … with them—realizing fully His name Immanuel.[3]


Ver. 3.—And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying. Out of the throne is read in א, A, and others; out of heaven is the reading of B, P, etc. As usual, the voice is described as a great voice (cf. ch. 19:17, etc.). It is not stated from whom the voice proceeds, but comp. ch. 20:1. Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them; literally, he shall tabernacle with them. Still the seer is influenced by the language of Ezekiel: “And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore” (37:28). Thus God makes his abode in his glorified Church—the New Jerusalem, among his spiritual Israel (cf. ch. 7:15, where this vision has been already anticipated). And they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God; and they shall be his peoples, and himself shall be God with them, their God. The balance of authority is in favour of retaining the two last words, though they are omitted in א, B, and others. Evidently the same words as Ezek. 37:27. (see above), “My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Cf. “God with them” with “Emmanuel” (Matt. 1:23; Isa. 7:14). Now, the promise is redeemed in all its fulness. The plural “peoples” seems to point to the catholic nature of the New Jerusalem, which embraces many nations (cf. ver. 24; also ch. 7:9).[4]


FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD (1)

Revelation 21:3–4

And I heard a great voice from heaven. ‘Behold,’ it said, ‘the dwelling place of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them; and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, nor will there be any grief or crying, nor will there be any more pain, for the first things have gone.’

Here is the promise of fellowship with God and all its precious consequences. The voice is that of one of the angels of the presence.

God is to make his dwelling place with human beings. The word used for dwelling place is skēnē, literally a tent; but in religious use it had long since lost any idea of an impermanent residence. There are two main ideas here.

(1) Skēnē is the word used for the tabernacle. Originally, in the wilderness, the tabernacle was a tent—the skēnē supreme. This, then, means that God is to make his tabernacle with men and women forever, to give his presence to them forever. Here in this world and amid the things of time, our awareness of the presence of God comes and goes; but in heaven we will be permanently aware of that presence.

(2) There are two words totally different in meaning but similar in sound which in early Christian thought became closely connected. Skēnē is one, and the Hebrew shechinah, the glory of God, is the other. SKĒNĒ—SHECHINAH—the connection in sound brought it about that no one could hear the one without thinking of the other. As a result, to say that the skēnē of God is to be with mortals immediately brought the thought that the shechinah of God is to be with mortals. In the ancient times, the shechinah took the form of a luminous cloud which came and went. We read, for instance, of the cloud which filled the house at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 8:10–11). In the new age, the glory of God is to be not a transitory thing but something which remains permanently with the people of God.

FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD (2)

Revelation 21:3–4 (contd)

God’s promise to make Israel his people and to be their God echoes throughout the Old Testament. ‘I will place my dwelling in your midst … And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people’ (Leviticus 26:11–12). In Jeremiah’s account of the new covenant, the promise of God is: ‘I will be their God, and they shall be my people’ (Jeremiah 31:33). The promise to Ezekiel is: ‘My dwelling-place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people’ (Ezekiel 37:27). The highest promise of all is intimate fellowship with God, in which we can say: ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’ (Song of Solomon 6:3).

This fellowship with God in the golden age brings certain things. Tears and grief and crying and pain have gone. That, too, had been the dream of the prophets of past times. ‘They shall obtain joy and gladness,’ said Isaiah of the pilgrims of the heavenly way, ‘and sorrow and sighing shall flee away’ (Isaiah 35:10). ‘I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress’ (Isaiah 65:19). Death, too, shall be gone. That, too, had been the dream of the ancient prophets. ‘He will swallow up death for ever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces’ (Isaiah 25:8).

This is a promise for the future. But, even in this present world, those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted, and death is swallowed up in victory for those who know Christ and the fellowship of his sufferings and the power of his resurrection (Matthew 5:4; Philippians 3:10).[5]


3. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look, the tabernacle of God is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

The expression a loud voice occurs frequently in Revelation and implies that everyone is able to hear the message coming from God’s throne (16:17 and 19:5). John fails to identify this voice, which may be that of God. If we assume that he tries to avoid the use of the divine name, we see further evidence in verse 5 where John circumscribes the name of God with the words “the one seated on the throne.” Even so, the emphasis is not on the speaker but on the joyful message. The voice calls attention to the unity of God and his people expressed in the image of the Old Testament tabernacle. John alludes to a well-known passage, in which God, speaking about an everlasting covenant with his people, says: “I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God and they will be my people” (Ezek. 37:26–27). This text is a golden thread woven into the fabric of Scripture from beginning to end (Gen. 17:7; Exod. 6:7; Lev. 26:12; Ezek. 11:20; Zech. 2:10–11; 2 Cor. 6:16; Rev. 21:3, 7).It is the thread of God’s abiding love toward his covenant people.

In an earlier passage (13:6), John had used the illustration of the scene of God dwelling in his heavenly tent (Greek skēnē) surrounded by his people. The tabernacle in the desert had the holy of Holies where God dwelled. The temple in Jerusalem likewise had the sacred place behind the curtain as God’s dwelling. But neither in the desert nor in Jerusalem did God and his people live under one roof. Now notice that when Jesus came, he dwelled among his people; literally, “he pitched his tent” among them (John 1:14). This is also the case in the new Jerusalem, where God and his people live together in perfect peace and harmony. The people will fully know him, love and serve him, and forever taste his goodness. The symbolic tent in which God and his people dwell is not a picture of their dwelling in a temporary shelter. The symbolism points to the privilege his people have in contrast to the Old Testament saints. From them only the high priest once a year might enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. Now his people are always in his presence. The emphasis in this verse is on God, for he has made it possible for human beings to dwell with him, he is their God, and he is forever with them.

The literal translation of the Greek text is “and they will be his peoples,” but in most translations it is given in the singular as “people.” The text, however, intimates that they come from “every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.” All of them are accommodated as priests in the presence of God. “Therefore, this is the first hint that there is no literal temple in the new Jerusalem” (v. 22).

One last remark. The phrase and God himself will be with them is reminiscent of the name given to Jesus, Immanuel, which means, “God with us” (Matt. 1:23; Isa. 7:14).[6]


21:3–4. For the third and final time John hears a loud voice from the throne (16:17; 19:5). The word for dwelling is traditionally translated “tabernacle” or “tent.” When the Israelites had lived in the wilderness after the exodus, God’s presence was evident through the tent (Exod. 40:34). Part of the reward for Israel’s obedience to God was, “I will put my dwelling place [tabernacle] among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people” (Lev. 26:11–12). Israel’s disobedience, of course, led finally to the destruction of the temple.

The permanent remedy began when God became enfleshed in Jesus: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). A form of the same verb translated “made his dwelling” in John 1:14 is now used by the heavenly voice: he will live with them. Here, then, is the final eternal fulfillment of Leviticus 26.

They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God is a divine promise often made, particularly in context of the new covenant (Jer. 31:33; 32:38; Ezek. 37:27; 2 Cor. 6:16). In eternity, it will find full completion in its most glorious sense. One striking note here is that the word translated “people,” while often singular in Revelation (for example, 18:4), here is plural, literally “peoples.” This points to the great ethnic diversity of those in heaven.

The great multitude who came out of the Great Tribulation received the pledge of many blessings including the final removal of any cause for tears (7:15–17). Now this promise extends to every citizen-saint of the New Jerusalem. The picture of God himself gently taking a handkerchief and wiping away all tears is overwhelming. It pictures the removal of four more enemies:

  • death—destroyed and sent to the fiery lake (20:14; 1 Cor. 15:26)
  • mourning—caused by death and sin, but also ironically the eternal experience of those who loved the prostitute (18:8)
  • crying—one result of the prostitute’s cruelty to the saints (18:24)
  • pain—the first penalty inflicted on mankind at the Fall is finally lifted at last (Gen. 3:16)

All these belonged to the old order of things where sin and death were present. The last thought could also be translated, “The former things are gone.” No greater statement of the end of one kind of existence and the beginning of a new one can be found in Scripture.[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2000). Revelation 12–22 (pp. 266–268). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (pp. 382–383). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 601). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Revelation (p. 510). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[5] Barclay, W. (2004). Revelation of John (Vol. 2, pp. 227–229). Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Vol. 20, pp. 556–557). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[7] Easley, K. H. (1998). Revelation (Vol. 12, pp. 394–395). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.