Daily Archives: September 15, 2019

September 15 Spiritual Safety

Scripture Reading: Matthew 17:15–23

Key Verse: Matthew 17:22

Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”

Physical safety is on our minds today, especially after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, which changed our world forever. We are rightly concerned about homeland security, yet when it comes to protection, many people neglect the even more precious arena of soul and spirit. The fact is that there are spiritual terrorists on the loose. Jesus called them “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and issued some stern warnings to alert us.

These wolves are false teachers and false prophets who appear to be genuine spiritual guides but are instead full of schemes to advance their own agenda. They look good and they sound good, but they are consumed with lust and greed. None of this is apparent at first. Instead, they preach a fine gospel in a most compelling manner. Gradually, however, they begin to blend inaccuracy with fact. At this point, people seem to forget that truth mixed with error is no longer truth; instead, it has become error.

You can recognize these folks in a number of ways. Jesus said they would bear fruit that would eventually reveal their true character. At first you might detect that they are subtly questioning the Bible’s authority and its relevance for the twenty–first century. Then you will notice little is said about living a holy life or being careful to obey the whole counsel of God. Later they will begin to equate obedience to God with living the way they want you to live. False teachers desire a following more than they care for your welfare. Here we must be very discerning, so remember: “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16).

Dear Lord, protect me from false teachers and false prophets. Let me recognize them by their fruits. Keep me safe spiritually.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 270). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 15 The Cost of True Discipleship

Scripture Reading: Luke 14:25–35

Key Verse: Luke 14:27

Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Jesus certainly knew how to drive away a crowd. When He spoke of wholehearted commitment and absolute surrender to His mission, the multitudes melted away. The only ones left were those who recognized that He spoke the words of life, uncompromising yet loving truth about what it means to really know Him.

Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest about the kind of total absorption Christ wants us to have:

There is no such thing as a private life, or a place to hide in this world, for a man or woman who is intimately aware of and shares in the sufferings of Jesus Christ.

God divides the private life of His saints and makes it a highway for the world on one hand and for Himself on the other. No human being can stand that unless he is identified with Jesus Christ. We are not sanctified for ourselves. We are called into intimacy with the gospel, and things happen that appear to have nothing to do with us.

But God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have His way. If you refuse, you will be of no value to God in His redemptive work in the world, but will be a hindrance and a stumbling block.

Jesus wants all of your devotion, not just a portion. You cannot have other priorities plus Jesus. He is the priority.

Precious Lord, adjust my priorities. Call me into greater intimacy with the gospel. Deepen my relationship and fellowship with You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 270). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 15 An Anger-Ridden Spirit

Scripture reading: 1 Samuel 25:2–38

Key verse: Proverbs 29:8

Scoffers set a city aflame,

But wise men turn away wrath.

David was furious. He and his fatigued cadre of wilderness warriors had sought provisions from a rich businessman named Nabal, whose flock of sheep and herdsmen they had protected.

Nabal spurned David’s request. David’s response was quick and vivid. “Every man gird on his sword,” he ordered his fighting men (1 Sam. 25:13). Only the intervention of Nabal’s circumspect wife, Abigail, prevented David from murdering Nabal and his men.

You probably have never reached this level of hostility, but seething anger has no doubt caused you to consider irrational acts or erupt in speech you wish you could later retract. This illustration is marked with several takeaway principles.

First, it’s not the fact that we are angry that matters; it’s what you do with your anger that counts. Everybody gets angry. But does your anger remain as the impetus for future deeds and words? David’s rage distorted his reasoning and prompted him to vengeful behavior.

Second, you can count on God to assuage your anger. If you take your hostile feelings to Christ, He will always prompt you to turn away from anger.

Third, it is better to trust God for the outcome than to take matters into your hands. If another wrongs you, leave the results to the Lord. Forgive as Christ has forgiven you, and you won’t pay the price for an anger-ridden spirit.

Dear heavenly Father, help me trust in You rather than take matters into my own hands. Keep me from an anger-ridden spirit.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 270). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Sunday Talks: Kellyanne Conway -vs- Bill Hemmer… — The Last Refuge

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway appears on Fox News Sunday for an interview.  Bill Hemmer is filling in for Chris Wallace.  The recent Iranian attacks on Saudi Arabia oil production is the top issue covered.

Additionally, Ms. Conway discusses John Bolton’s replacement as National Security Adviser, current WH positions on legislation to restrict firearm ownership, the ongoing negotiations with China on trade, the impeachment nonsense and the democrat 2020 race.

via Sunday Talks: Kellyanne Conway -vs- Bill Hemmer… — The Last Refuge

Why parents should be concerned about their kids’ ‘EQ,’ not just their IQ | Washington Post

Emotional intelligence involves our ability to identify our feelings and emotional responses, and to empathize. You can help foster that in your kids.

Source: Why parents should be concerned about their kids’ ‘EQ,’ not just their IQ

5 Things to Remember When Your Faith is Weak | Core Christianity

When life is hard and trials seem to flood over us, we can easily feel like we are useless— maybe even worse than useless. Temptation loves to strike us in these moments. Doubts about God’s grace knock us down when we feel weakest. It is in those moments, when our faith seems smallest, that we need to have patience with God himself. We need to remember why we were created and that God gives something to us that can never be taken away. When your faith feels small, remember these five things:

1. God created us for his delight and joy.

Pain in this life is inescapable for anyone who wants to live in this world. Difficulties will always come. Nevertheless, we must remember to trust in God, knowing these hard providences are never in vain. God created you because he delights in you. He wants you to know him, delight in him, and love him even in the midst of suffering. God offers you a life of meaning and purpose. All good things come from his hand. His goodness never changes, even when we do (James 1:16–18).

Remember what a wonderful thing life is and how God created each one of us for eternal communion with him. Falling and failing cannot overcome his purpose for us and will never prevent his goal of having us with him in eternity (Rom. 8:32). Reach out to God when you fail, and earnestly seek his face in prayer. He will never deny joy and delight to those who seek it in him. Pray that he will convert your soul again and again to his love each morning (Psalm 23).

2. God pursues us when we fall.

Too often we attempt to use God to merely get things from him, or worse, we give things to God to get what we want. Yet, God often doesn’t give us what we want, because it would not lead to our actual good. When God fails to give us what we want, that is usually when we fall into temptation—when we want something too much. We may think that we need something or someone to find happiness and so we are willing to cut corners to get it. We are looking to use God for our personal happiness. God sees what we are doing but, nevertheless, pursues us.

God had compassion on us in our foolishness and folly. Our heavenly Father demonstrated his mercy by sending Jesus Christ, his Son to die for our sins (John 3:16–17). He knew we would fall again and again. Even when we pursued our own glory and happiness apart from him, he still sent his Son! He pursued us like a good father running after a wayward child.

God reached down to us in our sin because he wants to be with us and he prizes us. Christ took on the likeness of men in humility, being obedient to his Father even to the point of death, so we would be reunited with him (Phil. 2:5–11). The cross is where we see God’s reckless pursuit when we fall. He won us to himself on that day.

3. God still loves us when we fail.

Even when we continually fail, God still loves us. The good work God began in declaring us righteous by faith will continue until his last Word finalizes that restoration and perfection, making us just like his Son (Rom. 5:5Gen. 1:26). We will never enter into eternal judgment. Nothing can or will separate us from his love—nothing (Rom. 8:38–39).

When Christ died on the cross, his sacrifice made it possible for you to enter the very presence of God (Heb. 4:16). When the Father looks at us, he sees his Son and the life Jesus lived on our behalf. There is no blemish or spot, no sin or failing that can change his vision of us. The very thing we need and want, that we look for in the arms of so many other idols—God’s unconditional love—is what we receive as a gift of grace.

Just as Christ is in heaven at the Father’s right hand, so our inheritance of love can never be taken away. The Spirit of God is given to us so we might know that nothing will separate us from that inheritance. We can now approach God as his own children. We can approach this loving Father who loves and cares for his children even when we fail. We have been reconciled to God by Jesus’ death. How much more then will we be saved by his life?

4. God gives us himself in the gospel.

We often think of salvation as the entirety of what we get from God. He loves to forgive, I love to sin—could there be a better deal?  Yet, when we think of grace in this way, we miss the whole point. We often think of salvation as one thing over there, quite apart from our personal happiness right here and now. “Salvation” is religion and dealing with God, and yet happiness is something radically different. Or so we think. We look for happiness everywhere else, believing God is not very interested in those sorts of things. We cannot find happiness and so we get mad at God in our circumstances. But this gets at everything all wrong.

Grace is not a something. Grace is a someone. When God saves us, it is because he gives us himself. When God saves us, he is saving us to find true happiness and love. But God can only do that by giving us himself—which is precisely what salvation is. His unconditional love which is imperishable is what we were made and saved for. He saves us for an eternity with himself—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He can give us no greater thing than himself and that is precisely what he does by giving us his Son. In so doing, he actually gives us the happiness we were made for. As Augustine famously wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you” (Confessions, Book 1).

5. God provides us with a new delight in him.

If we truly understand that God gives us himself by creating us and by pursuing us when we fall and that he gives us himself again in Christ, we will see how God provides us with a new delight in him. Even when the flood waters of this world seem to drown us, God gives us himself again by the Spirit and speaks words which cannot be uttered, declaring God’s abiding love (Rom. 8:26–27). No chasm of sin or doubt is too deep for God to deliver us! We have a redeemer who delights in us so that we can delight in him. Christ would have us live life at his side and remember the suffering he went through to bring us to himself and the future hope of glory.

So when your faith feels small and weak, when you fall into temptation, when you doubt God’s goodness or grace, have patience with God. Remember that God gives us salvation and happiness, joy and delight because he has given us nothing less than himself— the triune God. He has given us eternal life. And so, remember, that when your faith is in this eternal God, it is never small or weak.

Source: 5 Things to Remember When Your Faith is Weak

Traders Are “Playing With Fire” | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Sven Henrich via NorthmanTrader.com,

This week’s renewed move above 3,000 on $SPX prompted victory laps by bulls as the multiple expansion program inspired by central bank intervention and trade optimism once again dominated the market action. Whether these victory laps were justified or were rather pre-mature remains to be seen. From my perch bulls are playing with fire as stock market capitalization to GDP once again exceeded 144% by Friday’s close making markets accident-prone to unexpected events.

The unexpected weekend event of one of Saudi Arabia’s key oil production facilities getting hit by a drone attack shutting down a significant portion of its oil production being a possible example.

Hope is that any production shutdown will be fixed in short order and whatever happens in the next few days in oil markets will not have a lasting impact. That may well be the case, but the event imposes a new element of political uncertainty onto a fragile global economic backdrop that can ill afford any accidents or mistakes.

Bulls are counting on central banks to fix everything again as in 2012 or in 2016. Continued efficacy of central bank intervention at this stage of the business cycle is indeed key to everything and an open question. So far central banks indeed look to retain control as equity prices once again appear well protected from any slowdowns in economic growth and earnings. I remain of the variant view that all these efforts are an expression of policy failure and that these desperate efforts will eventually fail miserably.

My perspective on the recent rally: Four main factors.

1. Central bank meetings.

Keeping it in its simplest form the rally can be viewed as a simple front run into the big central bank meeting in September. The ECB was expected to cut rates and re-introduce QE and hence $DAX rallied for 3 weeks straight right into resistance back testing its broken wedge:

And of course US stocks rallied right into the US Fed meeting scheduled for this coming week as well. Two big central banks offering intervention is a carrot hard to resist for bulls. And as most Fed meetings are viewed as positive triggers for market gains this rally was simply a front run on the expectation of easy money greatly aided by additional factors:

2, Bond reversal.

Bonds were historically overbought and we saw a technical reaction off of the most overbought weekly bond RSI readings in history:

Is it a long term bottom in yields or simply a corrective move before heading to lower yields eventually? We’ll get a sense of this when $TLT hits some basic technical retrace levels, the .382 fib being one of these potential pivot points. Note that fib now shows confluence with the 2016 high of $TLT, if it now proves support $TLT may bounce off of there and resume its ferocious uptrend. A key chart to be watched for sure.

Banks and small caps of course benefited from this reversal in bonds and put in fierce rallies as a result:

None have broken out of their respective ranges, but have clearly put in a chink in the bear argument, that of lack of broader market participation. The recent rotation out of growth momentum into value could be viewed as shift in the market structure, but one which could have lasting consequences as big cap stocks have dominated the landscape for so long and hence the short term relief may turn into long term pain as the market’s valuation equation is so closely intertwined with extreme market cap concentration just a few stocks.

But note on the $RUT chart a structural pattern on its underlying volatility index. It’s a key indicator to watch which brings me to the 2nd factor in this rally:

3. Volatility compression.

This coming week is September OpEx (quad witching) and also expiry of the monthly $VIX futures contract, and volatility compression into the monthly expiration has been a regular part of the market structure:

And this month has been no different, yet $VIX retains its pattern of higher lows in 2019 and could well be on the ascent again following this pattern of compression. The first test of this will come on Monday following the drone attack on the Saudi oil production facility.

The timing couldn’t be more interesting, after all it could be argues that the recent rally simply backtested the broken 2019 trend while compressing $VIX to the bottom range of its flag pattern:

Ironically this backtest has an eerie similarity to the fall of the 2018 when $NDX did precisely the same thing, backtesting its broken wedge then:

What was then a cause for victory laps turned into a valley of tears as this backtest marked the top for 2018.

Note also the repeat pattern of wedges that ultimately fail and this rally here is no different which bring us to the final factor behind the rally:

4. Trade Optimism.

We’ve seen a multitude of trade optimism inspired rallies this past year and a half, any sign of easing of tensions and markets rally. How worried are markets about trade tensions at this point? With $SPX near all time highs I submit not very, but they should, because there is likely not to be a trade deal of size or consequence. It is no accident that the idea of an interim trade deal was trial ballooned this week. Why? Because they know they can’t agree on the big issues:

And will an interim trade deal be enough to cause companies to re-invest? Doubtful. It may be enough to inspire a year end rally, but it will not be enough to address any of the major issues and likely disappoint many of the supporters for the trade war in the first place.

But because the rally was again headline driven and not substance based we again see a rising wedge and many open gaps below on the charts:

Not only do we see many open gaps note last week’s rally stopped precisely at the 3020 gap left open in July on the heels of the Trump tariff tweet.

Gap filled, and now many open gaps below. And I mean many open gaps:

September 2019. A Fed meeting on September 18 expected to cut rates and declaring little to no recession risk and a president calling for zero rates or lower and the re-launching of QE.

Irony is like the gin in the campari, the cream in the coffee Christoper Hitchens once opined and one can’t help but be impressed of the irony of history aligning here.

For not only was it a September 18 when the Fed was going through the same motions as it is now:

…but it was also a September when a certain someone called the Fed’s intervention efforts a form of manipulation intended on creating artificial numbers for short term gains:

Oh yes irony, the creme in the coffee.

But that’s not all: In 2007 the September rate cut produced a rally that lasted 3 weeks before it was all over. The irony for me? It was the early October time frame that I suggested as a potential point of technical combustion back in April with this chart:

Bottomline: From my perch bulls have been and continue to play with fire and can’t afford a single misstep.  The winds of intervention via central banks remain in bull’s favor as does the continued efficacy of “trade optimism” jawboning. As long as this remains the case rallies can continue to push the wall of valuation toward unprecedented territory, but resistance remains (measured move), multiples keep expanding and earnings growth continues to decline.

The housing market recently saw little incremental growth from recent record low yields. Will it now benefit from rising yields? Doubtful. Ex auto sales recent retail sales were flat year over year. As auto loan interest rates and credit card interest rates are at cycle highs monthly payments will increasingly impact consumer monthly budgets. A sudden jump in gas prices would likely not help matters.

At 144% market cap to GDP US markets remains priced to perfection in an increasingly imperfect world. No bull market without central bank intervention. That has been the game for 10 years. In 2001 and 2007 that was not enough. No bull market even with central bank intervention.

And hence the Fed’s action this week absolutely must produce new highs on markets this week. If they don’t Powell and crew will stare at a 2nd failed break above 3,000 following its 2nd rate cut action in this cycle. And then what are we looking at ? A double top? No bull market despite repeated central bank intervention? And now a Fed with even less ammunition than before and nothing to show for?

As I said: Playing with fire. Sustained new highs are imperative here or this all looks like a failed backtest on the charts and recent compressed volatility could come back with a vengeance and bull victory laps will turn into a valley of tears. But there’s always a silver lining in bad news. Will the new geopolitical uncertainty be a cause for the Fed to suddenly cut by 50bp? We will know more on Wednesday.

Source: Traders Are “Playing With Fire”

September 15, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

36:26 The statement I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you reflects the teaching of Dt 30:6–8—that the Lord will circumcise the hearts of his people so they may live in obedience. This radical new creation (Ezk 11:19; 18:31; Jr 31:31–34) was necessary to break the people’s bondage to the cycle of sin and retribution emphasized in Ezk 20. Regeneration is a secret act of God by which he imparts new spiritual life to dead hearts. Texts that address regeneration include Eph 2:5; Col 2:13; Jms 1:17–18; and 1Pt 1:3.[1]

36:26 new heart … new spirit. See 11:19 and note on 18:31. Instead of a heart of stone, unable to respond to God with love and obedience, God will provide a new heart and a new spirit. Note that these come as the result of divine initiative and not human attainment. Jeremiah describes the new covenant in the same way (Jer. 31:33; and Prov. 3:3; 7:3; Rom. 2:15, 29; 2 Cor. 3:3).[2]

36:26 a new heart to you, and a new spirit Develops the promise from Ezek 11:19–20. Yahweh’s cleansing entails a total transformation of heart and spirit. From a biblical perspective, the heart was the seat of the mind and will, not just emotion. Ezekiel seems to use heart and spirit in tandem to refer to a person’s whole being (compare 18:31).

I will remove the heart of stone See 11:19. The people’s arrogance and stubborn self-reliance had hardened their hearts, making them unable to respond to Yahweh as they should.[3]

36:26 — “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

God does not want remodeled hearts, but brand new ones. He doesn’t want a reform in character, but a new spirit that loves to do His will. He wants transformation, not mere accommodation.[4]

26. new heart—mind and will.

spirit—motive and principle of action.

stony heart—unimpressible in serious things; like the “stony ground” (Mt 13:5, 20), unfit for receiving the good seed so as to bring forth fruit.

heart of flesh—not “carnal” in opposition to “spiritual”; but impressible and docile, fit for receiving the good seed. In Ez 18:31 they are commanded, “Make you a new heart, and a new spirit.” Here God says, “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” Thus the responsibility of man, and the sovereign grace of God, are shown to be coexistent. Man cannot make himself a new heart unless God gives it (Php 2:12, 13).[5]

[1] Rooker, M. F. (2017). Ezekiel. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1300). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1191). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eze 36:26). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Eze 36:26). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[5] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 610). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Salt and Light: Practical Applications for Today | Meet The Puritans

How can we be salt and light in our world, so that instead of being “trodden under foot” or “hidden under a bushel” (vv. 13, 15), we can resist evil and do good, and moving unbelievers to glorify God as our Father in heaven?  To answer that question, let’s listen to the wisdom of the English Puritans.

Practical Applications for Today

What have we learned about being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, as Christians and as Christ’s church on earth? Here are four concluding lessons:

  1. Know what your position is, what your resources are, and where your strength lies. You must be in Christ by faith, and under Him as Lord. The gospel must be “the power of God unto salvation” in your hearts and lives, as Christ works in you by His Word and Holy Spirit. In fact, the Word of God must be your rule of faith and life. And You must have grace to be gracious, and light to be light. Remember that your strength lies in God! “The God of Israel is He that giveth strength unto his people” (Ps. 68:35). Draw strength from Him by the continuous exercise of faith laboring in prayer: “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your hearts before him” (Ps. 62:8).
  2. Beware, lest your salt lose its savor and the light be hidden under a bushel. Great pressures are exerted by the world to entice, cow, or coerce us into a situation of compromise with the man-centered values and ways and ends of the world. Our power to influence the world for good lies in our resolve to be faithful to our God and our Savior at all costs. We must fear God and not men. We must obey God and not men. We must be willing to be hated of all men for Christ’s sake. Nor can we bring the light of God’s Word to bear on the life of the world if we retreat into a safe place of our own where we hide from the world and preach only to ourselves. The church is not to be a monastic cloister or an underground bunker. Whether we like it or not, Christ has set His city on a hill, to be seen of all men. He bids us lift up the gospel as a candle put on a candlestick, to give light to all the world. We cannot fulfill our mission if we hide ourselves away and talk only to ourselves.
  3. Let your vision for Christian life and witness be as high and holy, as loving and gracious, and as wide and open-handed as the gospel itself. We cannot call men to faith in Christ if we do not walk by faith in Him. We cannot call men to repentance if we are hardhearted and impenitent. We cannot commend the grace of God to others if we are ungracious and unforgiving in our dealings with them. We cannot proclaim the love of Christ for sinners if we are unloving toward one another. We cannot expect the world to be better than we are, or have higher standards than we have set for ourselves as Christians.
  4. The Word preached must become the Word practiced. Your faith in Christ and love for God must be translated into visible terms. Men must see your good works. These works must be done in obedience to God’s Word, out of faith in Him; and done to His glory, out of love for Him. Those who see them will see God’s grace at work in you and say, “Blessed be the God whom these Christians serve! He is great and good, and mighty to save!” Many will be gained to Christ by your godly conversation; others will at least be put to shame by their own evil deeds. “The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth” (Ps. 107:42).

More In This Series: 

  1. Salt and Light
  2. Like a Little Salt
  3. Let the Light Shine
  4. Working Lights
  5. Lights for God’s Glory

Joel Beeke (@JoelBeeke) is president and professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and one of the pastors of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation both in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has written, co-authored, and edited over 80 books.

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Source: Salt and Light: Practical Applications for Today