Daily Archives: September 18, 2019

September 18 Avenues of Hope

Scripture Reading: Psalm 103:1–22

Key Verse: Psalm 103:6

The Lord executes righteousness

And justice for all who are oppressed.

After Peter Marshall’s death, three well-meaning friends approached his wife, Catherine, with the news that she had very little money to live on. She listened to their advice but felt something was missing from their counsel. In The Best of Catherine Marshall she recalls the experience:

Alone in my room later, I stared out the window into the moonlight shining on swaying treetops.… Suddenly, standing there at the window, I knew what the missing factor was.

My three friends who saw my many inadequacies, who had meant to be so kind, had reckoned without God. I remember how often Peter had faced this same attitude with his church officers. He would come home from a trustees’ meeting sad and grim. “Catherine, no matter what’s presented for their approval, their litany is always the same: ‘But Dr. Marshall, where is the money coming from?’ Where’s their faith in God?”

Either God was with me—“I am that I am,” a fact more real than any figures or graphs—or He was not. If He was there, then reckoning without Him was certainly not being “realistic.” In fact, it could be the most hazardous miscalculation of all.

Catherine Marshall discovered one of the purest truths of the Christian life: God is in control of all things. He holds our futures within His omniscient hand. Impossibilities are grand avenues of hope to Him.

Father, help me realize that my impossibilities are avenues of hope. I am assured that You hold my future in Your omniscient hand.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 273). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Do We All Believe the Same Thing? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

In this brief clip from his teaching series Defending Your Faith, R.C. Sproul explains why Christianity is different from every other religion.

Transcript

I hear people say, “there is this underlining unity, we all believe the same thing.” That’s not true. What Muslims believe about what is good and the nature of redemption is radically different from what Christianity teaches, for example. Buddha was an atheist who simply claimed to be enlightened, Confucius talked about the veneration of ancestors—that’s a long way from the faith of the Scriptures. And what you don’t have in Buddhism and Islam, Confucianism, Shintoism, Taoism, and these other religions is an atonement. You don’t have a way of redemption that we have in Christianity, nor do you have a living Mediator. Moses is dead, Buddha is dead, Confucius is dead, and Muhammad is dead. There is no resurrection in these other religions. Christianity has elements to it, content to it that distinguish it from all other religions, and with that distinction comes the claim of Christ that it [He] is the only true way to God.

via Do We All Believe the Same Thing? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

September 18 Your Talents

Scripture Reading: Luke 19:12–27

Key Verse: Luke 19:17

He said to him, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.”

An essential ingredient for success in the personal or corporate realm is productivity. Businesses must be profitable if they expect to survive. Employees must work hard and wisely if they are to progress.

Although the believer’s identity and security in Christ should never be confused with his performance (the Father unconditionally loves and accepts him), God expects him to be productive in the use of his natural talents and spiritual gifts. This is clear in the parable of the talents where the industrious servant is rewarded and the indolent worker is reprimanded for his lack of initiative and effort.

The fear of failure is perhaps the greatest obstacle for many Christians. We flunk a course, flub an assignment, disappoint a boss, and decide we must not be made of the right stuff. What heresy! Failure is never final in God’s eyes. Look at David, Moses, Mark, and others who blew it but still found great favor with God. All God desires is that you learn from your mistakes and trust Him to help you.

A productive, satisfying life can be your experience. There will be unexpected lapses and momentary pauses as you seek to maximize your talents, but in the end, you will hear God say, “Well done, my good servant” (Luke 19:17 niv). This is reward enough.

Father, I praise You that failure is never final in Your eyes. Remove my fear of failure, and replace it with divine confidence. Help me learn from my mistakes.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 273). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Why You Need to Fight Your Attraction to Pornography — Stand to Reason

Matthew Anderson’s deeply thoughtful article “How Pornography Makes Us Less Human and Less Humane” (a chapter from The Gospel and Pornography) is worth your time. Though I want to direct you to the article, I hesitate to post an excerpt here simply because to focus on merely one aspect of his article would be to miss much of his overall case against pornography. The problem isn’t merely that pornography is wrong (something he compares to both murder and adultery) but also why it is wrong and how it violates both love and our humanity. Any such discussion also requires an understanding of the beauty of love and sex the way both were intended to be experienced between valuable human beings made in the image of God. And a condemnation of pornography is needed, yes, but a gospel response is also necessary.

Anderson includes all of these things, so I am left with the task of picking out one tidbit with which to tempt you to read the whole in all of its raw beauty and horror. I decided to go with words of hope and a way forward since hopelessness might be causing you to avoid the topic altogether.

Pornography deceives. Its sexualized depiction of human persons promises the viewer what it cannot deliver. But how pornography lies is difficult to see, if only because our eyes have gone blind from our frequent exposure to the medium. Pervasive consumption of pornography dulls the mind: if we delightedly give ourselves over to falsehoods, we lose our ability to sort truth from fiction. Sin has a compounding effect. The twin wraiths of confusion and ignorance preserve the charm of its false pleasures. It is easier for those drowning in a whirlpool of deceits to embrace their situation as “normal” than it is to escape.

The inescapable availability of pornography, and the corrosive “pornification” of all other forms of media, means that the most pressing challenge for Christians is rediscovering what purity feels like. C. S. Lewis famously proposed that spiritual mediocrity is the equivalent of playing with mud pies instead of taking the seaside holiday God offers us. Our situation is more dire, though: we are in danger of forgetting what the sea even offers. The warmth of sunshine that lifts our eyes and our hearts to heaven has been hidden by the stale pollution of our passions. Pornography is the only atmosphere we know: it has clotted our lungs, and we cannot get enough of it.

We have been told by our society to accept porn as the “new normal”—which is an extremely pernicious and effective lie….

Imagining a world that has not so cheapened human sexuality, then, is the first act of resistance to the many lies pornography tells. A porn-saturated world or life is not inevitable: there is nothing in the cosmos that says it must be a permanent feature of our experience. To confess this, and to acknowledge our own responsibility in making the world we have, is to take the first steps toward freedom. By the grace of God, we can live in a world other than that which we now know. That such a thought is so foreign to most of our society betrays how weak the pornography regime is: the moment we begin contemplating the prospect of living otherwise, the whole shoddy artifice that makes it seem attractive collapses into rubble. Finding a “more excellent way” begins with remembering that another way is possible—a thought that the pornography industry does not want anyone to truly believe.

Please read the rest of Anderson’s article here.

via Why You Need to Fight Your Attraction to Pornography — Stand to Reason

September 18 Encouraging Others

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 1:6–11

Key verse: Isaiah 40:1

“Comfort, yes, comfort

My people!” Says your God.

When we see a friend hurting or going through a difficult time, one of our first urges is to think of ways to help fix his situation. It’s a natural response. If something’s wrong, then there must be a solution. We’re often surprised when the person isn’t very open to our suggestions and seems to pull away from us.

Think about how you feel when you are down. Which would you rather experience—a warm hug and an expression of love or a discussion of solution alternatives? There is a time for both, but most people prefer a boost of encouragement. Sometimes a friend will come to you specifically for practical tips on how to work through a set of circumstances. If such is the case, don’t turn down the request.

However, most of the time your friend will simply need your love and support. Often, God will bring someone into your life who can benefit from specific comfort that you have to offer. For example, if you have lost a loved one, you are better able to talk to someone experiencing deep grief.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:3–4). When you hurt, look for ways to share God’s encouragement with others without trying to correct.

I praise You for Your comfort, Father. I receive it. Now help me share that encouragement with others in need.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 273). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

09/18/2019 — Wretched

WR2019-0918

•Witnessey Wednesday:
•John left evangelicalism for Orthodoxy and works
•An unemployed actor who understands the Gospel, mostly.
•What does a Mason really believe?
•Will this 32nd degree mason see his need for a savior?

Download Now (right click and save)

via 09/18/2019 — Wretched

DOJ Inspector General Horowitz Confirms He’s in Communication with US Attorney John Durham (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Wednesday morning.

Horowitz confirmed that he is in communication with US Attorney from Connecticut John Durham.

US Attorney General Bill Barr previously appointed Durham to investigate the origins of Spygate/Russiagate.

DOJ IG Horowitz does not have the power to impanel a grand jury, however he can criminally refer individuals to US Attorney John Durham for prosecution.

“Regarding US Attorney Durham, are ya’ll in any discussions about what he’s finding or what you have found?” Congressman Hice (R-GA) asked Horowitz.

Horowitz hesitated at first and deferred the question to Durham and AG Barr — then admitted he has communicated with Durham.

“I have had communications with them, but they are a separate entity that…he’s working at the direction of the Attorney General and I’m obviously independent,” Horowitz said.

WATCH:

Horowitz also revealed to lawmakers that he criminally referred former FBI Director James Comey for prosecution.

The Justice Department ultimately declined prosecution and despite Comey bragging about this, the IG indeed concluded he criminally acted.

Horowitz is expected to release a report on FISA abuse any day now.

via DOJ Inspector General Horowitz Confirms He’s in Communication with US Attorney John Durham (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

MSNBC Slightly Embarrassed by Results of Online Gun Poll — Pulpit & Pen

No television news network is quite as invested in the anti-gun lobby as MSNBC, where liberty-hating idealogues can be found arguing against the Second Amendment almost nightly. However, an online poll being conducted by MSNBC on the subject seems to have backfired.

Apparently feeling bold from nearly a month of constant attacks on gun ownership following several prominent mass-shooting incidents and with Democrats finally coming clean on their desire to confiscate firearms, MSNBC put up a poll online to ask Americans if they feel that guns should be carried publicly.

You can take the poll yourself.

But for now, suffice it to say, it has slightly backfired (no pun intended).

Oops.

via MSNBC Slightly Embarrassed by Results of Online Gun Poll — Pulpit & Pen

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz Reveals He Referred James Comey For Criminal Prosecution — The Gateway Pundit

James Comey

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Wednesday morning.

Horowitz revealed to lawmakers that he criminally referred former FBI Director James Comey for prosecution.

The Justice Department ultimately declined prosecution and despite Comey bragging about this, the IG indeed concluded he criminally acted.

The Washington Times reported:

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Wednesday that he referred ex-FBI Director James Comey for criminal prosecution.

“We are required by the [Inspector General] Act to send information that we’ve identified that could plausibly be criminal to the Department of Justice,” said Mr. Horowitz, confirming what amounted to a criminal referral.

The Justice Department ultimately decided not to prosecute Mr. Comey despite Mr. Horowitz’s team concluding he improperly leaked information to the news media. The documents leaked by Mr. Comey were sensitive, but not classified.

Comey gave portions of his classified memos to his friend-turned-lawyer-turned-unpaid-FBI-official Daniel Richman to leak to the New York Times in order to prompt a special counsel investigation into President Trump.

Horowitz released a report last month on Comey’s handling of his classified memos and said he “set a dangerous example” when he leaked his Trump memos to his friends and attorneys.

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) on Wednesday asked Horowitz to investigate allegations that Comey lied during a 2017 Senate hearing because there were “numerous” times where Comey’s testimony did not match up with what was written in Horowitz’s report.

Horowitz agreed to look into the allegations, according to the Washington Times.

Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA) called Horowitz’s revelation that he criminally referred Comey for prosecution “monumental.”

Comey is not out of the woods yet because the Inspector General is releasing another report on FISA abuse any day now.

via DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz Reveals He Referred James Comey For Criminal Prosecution — The Gateway Pundit

Is the Reformed Christian Movement Splitting over “Woke” Theology? — Enemies Within: The Church

Predictions of a split in the Southern Baptist Convention have intensified since the infamous “Resolution 9,” which endorsed Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality as useful “analytical tools,” was passed during the Convention meeting in June. However, the first signs of a split within evangelical Christianity are not coming from the Southern Baptist Convention, at least directly.It did not escape notice when John MacArthur was not included in the speaker line up for Together for the Gospel’s 2020 T4G conference. Conversely, T4G speakers and Shepherd’s Conference regulars, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, and Ligon Duncan, were not included in the initial 2020 Shepherd’s Conference line up at MacArthur’s Grace Community Church.

This past Tuesday, while speaking to The Master’s Seminary student body, John MacArthur stated:

“There seems to be less and less willingness to fight these days among many evangelical leaders. They seem to be capitulating to whatever the whims of the culture happen to be. And that is because we now are into about the 4th decade of pragmatism and it has sucked all the masculinity out of so many people who are unwilling to take a strong stand when it may be unpopular.”

He continued:

“Caught up in the feminist agenda are evangelicals who don’t want to offend people because they’re pragmatic and they’ve sold their souls to pragmatism in ministry so they become part of the MeToo or YouToo, or this race or that race, or this identity or that identity. They lose the fierceness that is required in defending the faith.”

Reflecting on his own personal battle for truth and biblical authority MacArthur said:

“I don’t think I really understood in seminary how relentless this battle would be, and how much discernment it would take, and how it would affect relationships. How many relationships eventually look like they’re going the right direction but are eventually sacrificed to an unwillingness to do battle. And you wind up sort of at the end of your life being stripped of people who at some point gave in to the other side and the ranks get thinner and thinner. I’m sort of living in that era.” “I watch my life as it comes to an end being stripped of relationships with many many evangelical leaders because at some point they’re unwilling to stand where I stand.”

After recounting his own involvement in the charismatic and lordship salvation controversies, the aged radio preacher and seminary chancellor emeritus declared:

“Now the enemy is inside the church in ways that I’ve never seen it.”

He explained:

“Always you’re surprised by who all of a sudden defects. And what causes that? Well briefly, ‘Certain persons have crept in unnoticed.’ Persons of influence, teachers in seminaries, writers, theologians, but false teachers. That is they’re inside the Christian wall. They’re part of the church. They’re supposedly representatives of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

If a split is occurring over “woke” doctrine, it appears the Reformed Christian movement is the first place it’s happening.

YouTube Video

via Is the Reformed Christian Movement Splitting over “Woke” Theology? — Enemies Within: The Church