Daily Archives: October 4, 2019

October 4 Accomplishing the Task

Scripture Reading: Psalm 66:1–16

Key Verse: Psalm 66:16

Come and hear, all you who fear God,

And I will declare what He has done for my soul.

Fear has a way of gripping us so tightly that it can squeeze hope from us. However, when we realize how unfounded our fears are, we can begin to see how inaccurate they are. Many believers experience feelings of inadequacy because of fear. Some fear the responsibility that God has given them. Others fear failure or criticism. And still others fear yielding to God’s call on their lives.

Fear undermines the understanding of who we are in Christ, leading us to believe that we cannot fulfill the requests God makes. However, we must realize that without Christ, we are inadequate to accomplish God’s call on our lives. But God doesn’t call us to do things for His kingdom without equipping us to succeed. We must realize the blessings of our inadequacies.

Instead of fearing to venture into the unknown, we boldly go forth, trusting that if God is the one calling us there, He is going to help us every step of the way. In realizing our inadequacies, we begin to see God’s power and completeness. No one is beyond His reach nor is any situation beyond His touch. No longer will we try to do kingdom activity on our own. We will trust solely in the Lord to successfully accomplish the tasks He sets before us.

Father, I do not know why I fear Your call. I give my fear to You, claiming Your promise to be with me and equip me for whatever lies ahead.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 291). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Comfort of Election (Or: Pelagianism Has No Pity) [Bavinck] — The Reformed Reader

Some people wrongly think that the biblical teaching of unconditional election is a frightening and dark teaching that hinders evangelism and makes people into fatalists.  It is true that wrong views of election (such as a hyper-Calvinist view, for example) do get in the way of evangelism and can give people a fatalistic outlook.  However, a biblical understanding of election does neither; in fact, it ascribes all glory to God, it gives comfort to followers of Jesus, and it’s a reason to share the gospel with all kinds of people!  Herman Bavinck said it well:

The Son did not move the Father to love; electing love arose from the Father himself. Scripture, accordingly, everywhere teaches that the cause of all the decrees does not lie in any creature but only in God himself, in his will and good pleasure (Matt. 11:26; Rom. 9:11ff.; Eph. 1:4ff.).

For that very reason, both for unbelievers and believers, the doctrine of election is a source of inexpressibly great comfort. If it were based on justice and merit, all would be lost. But now that election operates according to grace, there is hope even for the most wretched. If work and reward were the standard of admission into the kingdom of heaven, its gates would be opened for no one. Or if Pelagius’s doctrine were the standard, and the virtuous were chosen because of their virtue, and Pharisees because of their righteousness, wretched publicans would be shut out. Pelagianism has no pity.

But to believe in and to confess election is to recognize even the most unworthy and degraded human being as a creature of God and an object of his eternal love. The purpose of election is not—as it is so often proclaimed—to turn off the many but to invite all to participate in the riches of God’s grace in Christ. No one has a right to believe that he or she is a reprobate, for everyone is sincerely and urgently called to believe in Christ with a view to salvation. No one can actually believe it, for one’s own life and all that makes it enjoyable is proof that God takes no delight in his death. No one really believes it, for that would be hell on earth. But election is a source of comfort and strength, of submissiveness and humility, of confidence and resolution. The salvation of human beings is firmly established in the gracious and omnipotent good pleasure of God.

Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 401–402.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

via The Comfort of Election (Or: Pelagianism Has No Pity) [Bavinck] — The Reformed Reader

October 4 Preparation for Praise

Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 16:1–36

Key Verse: 1 Chronicles 16:24

Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.

Some churches hold special services just for praise. The usual order of worship is set aside so that the entire time can be spent in the act of adoration of the Lord. Singing, prayer, and personal testimonies of God’s goodness are often key ingredients in such gatherings.

The idea of a praise service isn’t a new one, though. In the days of King David, the ark of the covenant was about to be returned to Jerusalem after months in the house of Obed-Edom (1 Chron. 14–16). However, David had earlier made a grievous mistake and angered the Lord. He decided to bring the ark to Jerusalem by transporting it in a manner directly opposing what God commanded.

David learned his lesson well, and his heart was filled with rejoicing at the blessing that would soon come to his people as a result of their obedience. At his directive, the priests made burnt sacrifices to God. A loaf of bread and some meat were given to every man and woman in the land, and spirits were bursting with anticipation.

Then came the final and most important part of the worship preparation: “He [David] appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, even to celebrate and to thank and praise the Lord God” (1 Chron. 16:4 nasb). David consecrated a time of praise, and that is what God wants you to do in response to His work.

Father, prepare my heart for praise. Let me learn its value and practice it regularly in response to Your wonderful works.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 291). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Gospel Grace in a Courtroom and the False-Gospel Resentment it Provoked — Founders Ministries

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”

– Galatians 1:6-7

Paul wrote these words to Christians he evangelized living in churches he planted. They had been converted by the gospel that he preached—a gospel that teaches that salvation comes by grace alone through Christ alone who can only be received through faith alone. It is a gospel that turns rebels against God into His loyal subjects. It turns His enemies into His children.

This gospel not only transforms our relationship with God it also transforms our relationships with people by fundamentally giving believers a new identity. Paul explains some of the practical implications of this in 2 Corinthians 5. “If anyone is Christ, he is a new creation” (17). What that means is that one who turns from sin and trusts Jesus is now controlled by the love of Christ (14). Christ “died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (15). Living for Christ means living according to His way and His commandments. It means submitting to His lordship and learning to think His thoughts after Him as they are given to us in Scripture. It means adopting attitudes, values, and aspirations that are shaped by His life and work.

Paul draws out a further implication our new life in Christ when he writes, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer” (16). Being joined to Christ, who shed His blood to reconcile us to God, transforms the way that we regard people—how we think about and relate to them. We no longer look at people through lenses supplied by this fallen world. Rather, we view them with new, spiritual eyes that are supplied by our crucified and risen Lord.

This is what enables Paul to write in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” What Christians share in Christ trumps everything and anything that they may not have in common. What this means is that a middle-aged black Christian who is a husband and father has more in common with a teen-aged white Christian single mother than he does with other middle-aged black husbands and fathers. Oneness in Christ forbids Christians from participating in the tribalism that intersectional ideologies promote so strongly today.

The power of the gospel to work in these ways was put on display this week at the sentencing of Amber Guyger, the Dallas Police officer who mistakenly entered the apartment of Botham Jean and shot him, thinking he was an intruder in her apartment. She was found guilty of murder by a Dallas County jury earlier this week. At the sentencing hearing, a turn of events occurred that can only be attributed to the power of a risen Savior.

Brandt Jean took the stand to speak about the impact of his brother’s murder. In course of his comments, he gave one of the clearest displays of the power of the gospel that I have ever witnessed. Through unimaginable grief and sorrow, he looked at his brother’s murderer and said,

I want the best for you. Because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do. The best would be to give your life to Christ….I think giving your life for Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do. Again, I love you as a person, and I don’t wish anything bad on you.

After this, he asked Judge Tammy Kemp if he could embrace her. “I don’t know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug please? Please?” Such a request is exceedingly rare, if not altogether unprecedented, in such cases. The judged hesitated, then granted permission. What unfolded in the middle of that courtroom over the next few minutes as Brandt and Amber embraced, with sobs and tears, was a sacred moment created by the gospel of Jesus Christ working powerfully in a brokenhearted young man.

Powerful grace displayed. But God was not finished. After that, Judge Kemp, with tears in her eyes, went to her chambers, retrieved her Bible, returned and presented it to Guyger and told her to read and live John 3:16. “You haven’t done so much that you can’t be forgiven,” the judge said.

Grace upon grace. What kind of God makes people act this way? Only the God who gave up His own Son to be slaughtered on a cross for sinners can create such grace and love in those whom He saves. Judge Kemp stated exactly this when she responded to a statement made by Guyger. “It’s not because I’m good, it’s because I believe in Christ.”

Christians everywhere are rejoicing at the glory of our God being displayed in that Dallas courtroom. We are humbled, rebuked, challenged and encouraged to draw more deeply from the wells of grace that are found in our Savior. The testimonies of Brandt Jean and Judge Kemp make us thank the Lord for such grace and motivate us to follow their example and to pray that such a public commendation of Jesus will be used to bring thousands—millions—into a life-transforming encounter with the gospel.

But not all who name the Name of Christ see it that way. Some, including notable and would-be Christian leaders, indicated that what happened in that courtroom frustrated, angered, and even traumatized them. It’s as if their racism-everywhere narratives were being hijacked by those events. So they took to social media to express their dismay and try to reframe that courtroom scene to help us see what was “really” going on in there.

You think that was grace? That wasn’t grace, according to Bishop Talbert Swan, it was “Post Traumatic SLAVERY Syndrome.” Kyle J. Howard, a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and prominent Baptist advocate of all things social justice related, stated that the day of the sentencing was “filled with racial trauma triggers that left me and many others is [sic] a dark place. Thankfully we had each other.” That day, he continued, “was dark, I was reminded of how Evangelicals weaponized faith against BIPOC [Black/Indigenous/People of color] saints.” Howard elaborated, “Weaponizing aspects of faith like forgiveness as a means of silencing/shaming other aspects of faith like righteous indignation, sorrow, grief, & mourning is a form of spiritual abuse & historically has been an aspect of slave master theology. It’s also common in sexual abuse.”

Jemar Tisby, President of The Witness, a Black Christian Collective, wrote an article for the Washington Post warning us not to get too excited about what happened in that courtroom, making a special point to racialize the reactions.

Some viewed Brandt’s actions as a stunning example of forgiveness, a moment of grace and tenderness that briefly bridged the chasm between races and provided an example for all to emulate. Although Christians of different backgrounds shared a variety of responses, this moment was especially celebrated by white Christians. It seems to indicate a desire to hastily move on from the wrong done and offer a perfect picture of reconciliation.

How can professing Christians look at the events in that Dallas courtroom and see such different—even contradictory—things? A conclusion to which I have slowly, reluctantly, and sorrowfully come, is that some choose to look at events like this with suspicion that is borne of worldly thinking rather than with the lens of gospel grace.

How would Paul respond to that courtroom scene? Or the martyr Stephen? Or Corrie Ten Boom? Or Louis Zamperini? Or those Amish parents whose children were murdered in school? Or Felicia Sanders, whose son was murdered by Dylan Roof during a Bible study? I cannot imagine their responses passing muster with those who are upset by celebration of grace so many Christians have displayed.

Perhaps to gain more clarity, how would Tisby, Howard and Swan (and those like them) tell us we should think about Stephen’s dying words as he was stoned, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60)? Is this post traumatic slavery syndrome? After all, Stephen was a Jew living under Roman domination. Did such subjugation and oppression leave him with delusions that kept him from properly calling for the death of his murderers? Should we be triggered, traumatized, or offended at the thought of another Jewish man being mistreated at the hands of fellow Jews? Or perhaps we should acknowledge the grace of forgiveness at work, but before we get carried away by the power of that grace on display make sure that we underscore how grace doesn’t mean that we don’t care about and seek justice? After all, couldn’t we see Luke’s inclusion of Stephen’s story as an attempt to “weaponize forgiveness?”

At best, it’s wearisome. At worst…well, at worst, I fear that we may be seeing a different gospel at work. One which, as Paul puts it, is no gospel at all. J. Gresham Machen faced a similar challenge in his day when liberalism came into evangelical circles like a flood. Once he got clarity and addressed the issues confronting the church, he rightly diagnosed and refuted the error in his 1923 book, Christianity and Liberalism. In that classic work he shows how liberalism is not only a different religion from Christianity, but a completely different kind of religion. His prophetic words are instructive for us today. He writes,

The greatest menace to the Christian Church today comes not from the enemies outside, but from the enemies within; it comes from the presence within the Church of a type of faith and practice that is anti-Christian to the core p. (p. 160).

I fear that the display of God’s grace in the sentencing of Amber Gugyger has further revealed the fault lines within evangelical and even “reformed” Christianity in America. On one side are those who recognize that what they have in Christ trumps all of those things that would otherwise divide us. They are committed to living out their union with Christ by viewing each other and all of life through gospel lenses. On the other side 2are those whose misguided zeal to pursue what they think is justice prevents them from recognizing and celebrating the grace of God in the gospel.

These are not two different kinds of Christianity. One is simply not Christian at all.

via Gospel Grace in a Courtroom and the False-Gospel Resentment it Provoked — Founders Ministries

October 4 The Rewards of Waiting

Scripture reading: 1 Samuel 1:1–28

Key verse: Psalm 27:14

Wait on the Lord;

Be of good courage,

And He shall strengthen your heart;

Wait, I say, on the Lord!

You’ve just finished gathering all the ingredients for baking, and you mix them together carefully in a large bowl. Then you pour the batter evenly in two round pans and slide them gently onto the oven rack. You set the timer and sit back for a while to enjoy the delicious smells coming from the kitchen.

Suppose that twenty minutes before the timer rings you decide you want to take the cake out of the oven anyway. It’s only partially baked, with gooey spots everywhere, and obviously isn’t fit for consumption.

Such a decision would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it? Yet in an interesting way that scenario parallels what we do as believers when we try to outrun God’s timing and take ourselves out of His preparation time too soon. We do not give Him time to reveal His purposes in the way He knows is best.

Hannah is an inspiration in the area of spiritual patience. She knew that God was the One in charge of whether she would conceive a child, and she took her sorrows and fears to Him daily. We don’t know how long Hannah waited on the Lord. All the Bible says in 1 Samuel 1:7 is “year by year.” What a wearying process, especially with the taunts of Peninnah.

God knows what you need. Don’t give up and try to satisfy that need your own way. Wait on Him, and He will take care of you according to His goodness.

Heavenly Father, I thank You that I can rest in the assurance that You know exactly what I need.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 291). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Gohmert: ‘Ironically, Democrats Are Accusing Trump of What They, Themselves, Engaged In’ in 2016 | CNS News

House Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) (Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) — House Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a former Army JAG officer and former chief justice of Texas’s 12th Court of Appeals, said the drive to remove President Donald Trump from office is an “impeachment circus” to obstruct the Justice Department’s investigation into the Democrats’ “own collusion with foreign governments to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.”

“Ironically, Democrats are accusing President Trump of what they, themselves, have engaged in: colluding with foreign governments to change the outcome of an election,” said Gohmert in an Oct. 3 statement, and now they are trying to stop any investigation of that collusion, which the U.S. Justice Department is actively pursuing under the direction of Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John H. Durham.

“There is a struggle going on in Washington, D.C., which threatens to bring about the destruction of our American experiment in self-governance,” said Gohmert in his statement.

“Not bound to a party affiliation, it is born of the notion the globalist elites of the world know better how to run the lives of the average American citizen than we do ourselves,” he said. “These elites want to destroy the very idea of a government of, for and by the People and are willing to continue in the light of day their lawless coup attempt against a duly elected president.”

Further excerpts from his statement are published below.

“The whistleblower complaint itself reads like a policy rant written by a partisan attorney focused on facilitating the Democrats’ latest lurch toward impeachment. President Trump is alleged to have done what we know Vice-President Joe Biden admitted to doing. Yet again, it is another example of Democrats projecting their criminal acts on President Trump.

“There is no law that restricts the president’s ability to ask a foreign leader – at the request of his own attorney general no less– to give his or her government’s cooperation in an investigation by our Department of Justice. In the instance of Ukraine, there is ample reason to request their cooperation and documentation, as this was one of the countries through which Democrat senators and the Obama Administration sought to derail then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential bid.

Former FBI chief counter-intelligence officer Peter Strzok. (Getty Images)

“Just last week, Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham met with Italian authorities in Rome where, according to reports, they were briefed on the Italian government’s investigation surrounding a taped deposition from the mysterious Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud.

“Mifsud, as you may recall, became the linchpin of the FBI’s sham investigation into President Trump after it was revealed that he met with Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos in 2016 and allegedly informed him that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, who prodcued the Trump “dossier,” which

was paid for by the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic

National Committee.  (YouTube)

“According to a report by the left-leaning Daily Beast, Mifsud feared for his life, sought police protection in Italy and provided authorities with his deposition, ‘to explain just why some people might want to harm him.’ Given the likelihood everything he said that would harm the Trump presidency has already been made public, it becomes clear that his video deposition endangers the authors and facilitators of the Crossfire Hurricane operation to derail the Trump campaign.

“Based solely on hearsay from an anonymous whistleblower and empowered by the Speaker of the House, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have now begun a farcical ‘impeachment inquiry’ where they have no authority or jurisdiction in impeachment matters. They were chosen decidedly by the Speaker, I would argue, for their proximity to the Deep State Intelligence Community apparatus where this latest of their three-year-long drive to impeachment has surfaced.

Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS and a former journalist, who hired Christopher Steele, who

“Ironically, Democrats are accusing President Trump of what they, themselves, have engaged in: colluding with foreign governments to change the outcome of an election. The top brass operatives in the Obama Administration, including coup leaders at the helm of the Obama DOJ and FBI, the Clinton campaign, DNC, Fusion GPS and the discredited former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele, the foreign governments of Russia, Ukraine (under the former, corrupt regime) and rogue, elitist elements in the intelligence apparatus of the Brits and Australians were involved in the anti-Trump plot.

“This entire impeachment circus is an attempt to obstruct the Department of Justice investigations into their own collusion with foreign governments to affect the outcome of the 2016 election while once again accusing the President of doing the colluding.

Former Obama administration CIA Director John Brennan, who is anti-Trump,

accuses the president of impeachable behavior and labels him “treasonous” and

a tool of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“… We stand on the precipice of the greatest self-governing country in history being destroyed by political manipulators who would rather end freedom for the world than lose political control as a result of losing a lawful election. What they did not anticipate was a president who would not go gentle into that good night as other ‘good Republicans’ have in the past.

“And by the way, it isn’t a legitimate, actual impeachment hearing until the House Judiciary Committee is formally having an impeachment proceeding; not an ‘inquiry.’ Any other is yet another lie added to the ultimate deceit. The accessory list continues to grow.

Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, who claims Donald Trump is an

“illegitimate  president” and a “puppet” of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. (YouTube)

“God bless President Donald J. Trump.”

Rep. Gohmert is a senior member on the House Judiciary Committee.

Source: Gohmert: ‘Ironically, Democrats Are Accusing Trump of What They, Themselves, Engaged In’ in 2016

NY Fed Announces Extension Of Overnight Repos Until Nov 4, Will Offer 8 More Term Repos | ZeroHedge News

Anyone who expected that the easing of the quarter-end funding squeeze in the repo market would mean the Fed would gradually fade its interventions in the repo market, was disappointed on Friday afternoon when the NY Fed announced it would extend the duration of overnight repo operations (with a total size of $75BN) for at least another month, while also offer no less than eight 2-week term repo operations until November 4, 2019, which confirms that the funding unlocked via term repo is no longer merely a part of the quarter-end arsenal but an integral part of the Fed’s overall “temporary” open market operations… which are starting to look quite permanent.

This is the statement published moments ago by the NY Fed:

In accordance with the most recent Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) directive, the Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will conduct a series of overnight and term repurchase agreement (repo) operations to help maintain the federal funds rate within the target range.

Effective the week of October 7, the Desk will offer term repos through the end of October as indicated in the schedule below. The Desk will continue to offer daily overnight repos for an aggregate amount of at least $75 billion each through Monday, November 4, 2019.

Securities eligible as collateral include Treasury, agency debt, and agency mortgage-backed securities. Awarded amounts may be less than the amount offered, depending on the total quantity of eligible propositions submitted. Additional details about the operations will be released each afternoon for the following day’s operation(s) on the Repurchase Agreement Operational Details webpage. The operation schedule and parameters are subject to change if market conditions warrant or should the FOMC alter its guidance to the Desk.

What this means is that until such time as the Fed launches Permanent Open Market Operations – either at the November or December FOMC meeting, which according to JPMorgan will be roughly $37BN per month, or approximately the same size as QE1…

… the NY Fed will continue to inject liquidity via the now standard TOMOs: overnight and term repos. At that point, watch as the Fed’s balance sheet, which rose by $185BN in the past month, continues rising indefinitely as QE4 is quietly launched to no fanfare.

And remember: whatever you do, don’t call it QE4!

Source: NY Fed Announces Extension Of Overnight Repos Until Nov 4, Will Offer 8 More Term Repos

Ben Shapiro: On impeachment, Democrats have already begun to move the goalposts | FOX newsby Ben Shapiro

As the grounds for the impeachment inquiry broaden, it’s becoming clear that the Democrats’ enthusiasm for impeachment outweighed their supporting evidence.

Source: Ben Shapiro: On impeachment, Democrats have already begun to move the goalposts

President Trump Impromptu Remarks Departing White House – Video and Transcript… — The Last Refuge

Chopper pressers are the best pressers.  Earlier this morning President Trump delivered remarks to the assembled press pool as he departing the White House for a visit with wounded warriors at Walter Reed medical center in Bethesda, Maryland.  [Video and Transcript below]

.

[Transcript]

via President Trump Impromptu Remarks Departing White House – Video and Transcript… — The Last Refuge