Daily Archives: October 7, 2019

October 7 Your Greatest Legacy

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:10–19

Key Verse: Ephesians 1:7

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

People have endeavored to secure their places in history through varied avenues. At one time, great leaders measured their legacies by the vastness of their families or their gains in battle.

Since then, the famous and infamous alike have attempted to break athletic records, flourish in the arts, and perpetrate perfect crimes to remain memorable. Though Christians are often called to competition and dedicated public service, the goal should not be fame in this world. A Christian’s treasure is Christ, so it is the hope of heaven that is the legacy.

Ephesians 3:14–16 instructs, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.”

Man looks to the past for his legacy, but the Christian’s legacy lies in the future. Christ desires that you reflect His holiness and love in this world so that others can understand the reality of His kingdom.

Your legacy might not be acknowledged by historians, but you are certainly celebrated by God for every step in love and holiness that you take here on earth. Let your greatest legacy be to love the Lord your God with all your heart.

Lord, I want my greatest legacy to be loving You with all my heart. That is the measure of true success.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 294). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Hold Fast to the Word of Life

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, 20 “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” Acts 5:19-20 (NASB) 

We are in a period of the Church in which we must keep our eyes fixed on Christ alone for if we look to men we are in danger of being deceived. To counter this, we must become focused where God wants us to be focused, doing as He desires us to be doing.

View original post 861 more words

10/07/19 Flaunting Sin — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Isaiah 3-6, Ephesians 2

I am continually struck by the nature and power of sin, even among God’s people. It seems that people personally and corporately choose at first to hide in their sin (much like Adam and Eve did in Genesis 3), then a growing acceptance of sin gives people illegitimate permission to bring their sin increasingly into the public without shame. The combination of the pleasure of sin and numbness toward conviction leads to open rebellion—and God must then bring judgment.

Here’s the way Isaiah described that situation in his day: “For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen because they have spoken and acted against the Lord, defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them, and like Sodom, they flaunt their sin; they do not conceal it” (Isa 3:8-9). Their words, their actions, and, indeed, the looks on their faces revealed that they openly stood against their Creator. They were no better than the people of Sodom, who showed no embarrassment or remorse in their drive to have sex with Lot’s guests (Gen 19:1-11). As one writer said of Isaiah’s people, “Sin is no longer sin, it is the new morality.”*

The sinful revolt of the Israelites in Isaiah’s day would not last without judgment, however; instead, Isaiah wrote, “Woe to them, for they have brought disaster on themselves” (Isa 3:9). The Lord God of Armies would carry out judgment on His people, and they would reap what they had sown (Gal 6:7). Once again, the scriptures remind us of the long-term destructive nature of our sin—and that “the Lord of Armies is exalted by his justice, and the holy God shows that he is holy through his righteousness” (Isa 5:16).

PRAYER: “God, bring me to the place where I detest my sin.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Isaiah 7:1-10:4, Ephesians 3

*Motyer, J. A. (1999). Isaiah: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 20, p. 64). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

via 10/07/19 Flaunting Sin — ChuckLawless.com

Suicide, Heaven, and Jesus—the Final Answer to Our Sorrow — Randy Alcorn’s Blog

Since it made national headlines, many of those both inside and outside the church are familiar with the story of Jarrid Wilson, the vibrant, passionate, Jesus-loving, 30-year-old associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California who took his life. That happened on September 9, the day before Suicide Awareness Day (September 10). He left behind his wife, Juli, and two young sons.

Over the years I’ve spoken at Harvest four times with my good friend Greg Laurie, at both the Riverside and Orange campuses, and consider it to be on my short list of churches I dearly love. In his ministry, Jarrid had been vocal and vulnerable about his own depression and mental health struggles. Together he and Juli founded “Anthem of Hope,” an organization to help those dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.

In the wake of Jarrid’s death, much has already been said about suicide and mental health and the need to address them within the church. But I want to highlight some things Greg Laurie, the senior pastor at Harvest, has said, and also share some more thoughts related to suicide. This is an issue that will not go away until Jesus returns. Countless Christian families have been profoundly affected by suicide and the constant threat of and vulnerability to suicide.

This issue is very personal for me, too. Three years ago a close friend—a godly brother who loved Jesus and loved to share his faith—took his life, and it rocked my world. A month earlier Nanci and I had talked with him and his precious wife about depression, stress, and sleep deprivation, and had encouraged him to get medical treatment and qualified counseling, and he had taken steps to that end. He had a great family, church, and support system. He drove me to the airport just three days before taking his life, and I talked with him directly about his struggles.  He told me the depression was still there, but that he was feeling better about his life and state of mind, and he assured me all would be well. We hugged and said goodbye on a Sunday evening, and that Wednesday afternoon I got the call telling me he had died. That weekend I spoke at his memorial service.

Does Suicide Keep Someone from Heaven?

Because I’ve written a lot about Heaven, over the years I’ve been asked by readers whether those who have professed Christ but take their own lives would be turned away from Heaven.

Greg Laurie shared in a blog post after Jarrid’s death, “One dark moment in a Christian’s life cannot undo what Christ did for us on the cross.” Based on what Scripture says, I agree.

Suicide is the unjustified killing of a human being, and is therefore included in and forbidden by the commandments not to murder. Scripture says very little directly about suicide. However, it says much about God’s character and we can certainly trust in His love, fairness, and judgment. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Abraham asked in Genesis 18:25, and it is a rhetorical question that assumes and demands a “yes” answer.

At Jarrid’s memorial service Greg said, “I believe Jarrid Wilson is in Heaven. He put his faith in Christ, and Romans 8:38 reminds us that nothing will ever separate us from the Love of God. ….When you stand before God, you won’t be judged by the last thing you did before you died but by the last thing Jesus did when He died.”

If someone truly knows Christ, then regardless of what they do, they cannot be snatched out of the Father’s hand (John 10:28). Ephesians 1:13 and 2 Corinthians 1:22 speak of believers being sealed in Him. Only God knows a person’s heart and if they were truly were a believer.

In the same passage that says we can’t be snatched out of the Father’s hand, Jesus made it even more emphatic: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27). Eternal life could not be called “eternal” if it doesn’t last forever. The promise that Christ’s sheep “shall never perish” would not be true if by choosing suicide they would perish in hell. If people could snatch themselves out of Christ’s hands or the Father’s hands, or be snatched out by others, then that too would make Jesus’ words false. His words are true and the three-fold assurance of John 10:27 should inform our thinking about suicide.

Ruth Graham, wife of Billy Graham, was asked by the family of a woman who took her own life, “What does God say to a Christian who’s committed suicide?” She tenderly replied, “I once heard someone say, ‘God did not call her home, but He welcomed her.’”

God has already forgiven our sins, past, present and future when we trust in Him as our Savior and Lord. But He wants us to confess our sins to restore fellowship with Him, as 1 John 1:9 says. A person who commits suicide, if it is instantaneous, wouldn’t have opportunity to confess that sin before dying. Presumably that would mean having to confess and repent upon meeting God after death. Christ died for sins of suicide, so suicide is forgivable—but it is also tragic, unnecessary, and cruel and debilitating for loved ones left behind. (These loved ones need help and support. See David Powlison’s booklet Grieving a Suicide: Help for the Aftershock.)

Love Gets the Last Word

Greg Laurie and I first connected eleven years ago when he called me after his son Christopher, then 33, died in a tragic car accident. Greg and I talked a lot about Heaven then, and have continued that conversation over the years, and we’ve also talked about the problem of evil and suffering, and the fact that Jesus is the only answer bigger than the questions. (See our first and second conversations at Harvest.)

Greg said at Jarrid’s service, “We shouldn’t be spending too much time wondering ‘Why.’ Better than asking ‘Why?’ We should be asking, ‘Who do we turn to at an hour like this?’ The answer is Jesus Christ.”

In situations like these, we should remind ourselves Jesus has not broken any promises. He never promised that everything in this life would go well. He specifically promised that it wouldn’t. He said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NKJV). He also said in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Those are God’s promises.

In his last tweet, Jarrid wrote,

Loving Jesus Doesn’t Always Cure Suicidal Thoughts.

Loving Jesus Doesn’t Always Cure Depression.

Loving Jesus Doesn’t Always Cure PTSD.

Loving Jesus Doesn’t Always Cure Anxiety.

But That Doesn’t Mean Jesus Doesn’t Offer Us Companionship And Comfort.

He ALWAYS Does That.

Not only in Heaven but also while we are still here on Earth, our God is “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). Any sorrows that plague us now will disappear on the New Earth as surely as darkness disappears when the light is turned on. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain” (Revelation 21:4).

Jarrid’s wife Juli wrote on Instagram, “Suicide doesn’t get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said ‘Hope Gets the last word. Jesus does.’”

She’s right. Our sorrow will not have the final say. In the eternity that awaits us, God will replace it with everlasting good and happiness: “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11). Consider these great words from Jason Gray’s song “Love Will Have the Final Word”:

Sorrow may close the chapter
But the story will end with laughter
Cause the worst thing is never the last thing
No, the last thing will be the best thing

Of all the things I’ve ever heard
Let me remember when it hurts
That love will have the final word
As long as God is on His throne
I am carried by the hope
That love will have the final word

A Word to the Depressed

I can’t leave out something I felt was vital to say in my book Heaven. If you are facing depression and especially if you have ever contemplated suicide, please read this:

The fact that Heaven will be wonderful shouldn’t tempt us to take shortcuts to get there. If you’re depressed, you may imagine your life has no purpose—but you couldn’t be more wrong.

As long as God keeps you here on Earth, it’s exactly where He wants you. He’s preparing you for another world. He knows precisely what He’s doing. Through your suffering, difficulty, and depression, He’s expanding your capacity for eternal joy. Our lives on Earth are a training camp to ready us for Heaven.

I have faced depression and I know it can be debilitating. Many godly people have experienced it. But if you are considering taking your own life, recognize this as the devil’s temptation. Jesus said that Satan is a liar and a murderer (John 8:44). He tells lies because he wants to destroy you (1 Peter 5:8). Don’t listen to the liar. Listen to Jesus, the truth teller (John 8:32; 14:6). Don’t make a terrible ending to your life’s story—finish your God-given course on Earth. When He’s done—not before—He’ll take you home in His own time and way. Meanwhile, God has a purpose for you here on Earth. Don’t desert your post. (And by all means, go to a Christ-centered, Bible-believing church, get help to find a wise Christian counselor, and also explore medical treatment as an option.)

If you don’t know Jesus, confess your sins and embrace His death and resurrection on your behalf. If you do know Him, make your daily decisions in light of your destiny. Ask yourself what you can do today, next week, next year, or decades from now to write the best ending to this volume of your life’s story—a story that will continue gloriously in the new universe.

By God’s grace, use the time you have left on the present Earth to store up for yourself treasures on the New Earth, to be laid at Christ’s feet for His glory (Revelation 4:10). Then look forward to meeting in Heaven Jesus Himself, as well as all those touched by your Christ-exalting choices.

For more on Heaven, see Randy’s books Heaven and 50 Days of Heaven. For more on suffering, see his books If God Is Good and 90 Days of God’s Goodness.

via Suicide, Heaven, and Jesus—the Final Answer to Our Sorrow — Randy Alcorn’s Blog

October 7 – Resurrection life — Reformed Perspective

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… – 1 Peter 1:3

Scripture reading: Luke 7:11-17

When hundreds of years after Elijah you read of a prophet raising a dead son to life and giving him back to his mother, who is a widow, you are encouraged to link Elijah’s miracle with that story. Though written by many writers the Bible has one divine Author and through the similarities between the stories, the Holy Spirit is alerting us that 1 Kings isn’t just about Elijah but about a greater than Elijah, the great Prophet Who has arisen among us, God, Who has visited His people. That is, the Old Testament is about Jesus Christ. So, in reading about Elijah, we should learn about Jesus.

In this New Testament counterpart to yesterday’s reading, we learn of Jesus’ compassion for the needy. He is willing to enter enemy territory. By touching the bier, Jesus demonstrates that He shares our uncleanness. He bears our sins and enters our death by experiencing God’s curse on the cross. He engages in conflict with the devil and triumphs. The risen Christ is the victor over sin, death, hell, and Satan. His resurrection life revives our spiritually dead souls and He takes us and presents us to the Father, saying, “See, Your son/daughter lives.”

If they glorified God in Nain because they saw the Lord Jesus’ miracle as an evidence of God’s visitation, how much more ought we to glorify God for the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Himself and His resurrection power that raises the spiritually dead. Surely, God has visited us.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that God would visit us and bring to life the spiritually dead in our church and nation and praise Him that He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta.

via October 7 – Resurrection life — Reformed Perspective

09-07-2019 Worldview and Apologetics in the News — Truthbomb Apologetics


Atheist Group: Judge Committed Ethics Violation by Giving Bible to Amber Guyger

Beth Moore answers: Does complementarian theology cause abuse within the Church?

Coyne, Bechly, Miller, Berlinski: Scientists Debate David Gelernter’s Darwin Apostasy

Douglas Axe on Polarized Science, the Reliability of the Design Intuition, and More

The Biblical Edom Unearthed: Not a Myth, a Historical Reality

Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now Misses the Impact of Christianity

Movie Review: Joker

Anne Graham Lotz Completes Cancer Treatment, Says the Spirit Was Her ‘Constant Companion’

The testimony of healing from hearing loss and poor eyesight

Lauren Daigle’s Christian song just broke the record with 62 weeks at No. 1 in the category

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad

Our last edition is here.

via Worldview and Apologetics in the News — Truthbomb Apologetics

10/07/2019 — Wretched

WR2019-1007

•The eternal question; says who?
•British courts say Genesis 1 is in conflict with human dignity
•Math is racist?
•We are in the times of the book of Judges
•Who is Kanye West’s pastor?
•Have we reached the bottom of the barrel?
•Abortionists allow you to spend time with your aborted baby
•Mattel offers a gender-neutral doll
•Chick Fil A doesn’t want LGBT+ people to exist?

Download Now (right click and save)

via 10/07/2019 — Wretched

New Law Requires You To Listen To Greta Thunberg Lecture Before Purchasing Gasoline — The Babylon Bee

U.S.—A series of new bills working their way through state legislatures in New York, California, Oregon, Hawaii, and several other progressive states will require you to listen to a Greta Thunberg lecture before purchasing gasoline.

Motorists will be required to watch a 20-minute lecture by the 16-year-old climate activist before they purchase gallons and gallons of harmful fossil fuels.

“We want to make sure drivers are informed,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom, who says he will sign the bill into law. “So we are having them get lectured by a 16-year-old so they will have all the facts before they do something rash like put gasoline in their cars to go to work.”

Once the driver has listened to Thunberg’s entire lecture, they will be prompted to complete a quick, fifteen-question quiz to show they understand how horrible they are for driving a car. Drivers who get at least 80% will then be allowed to refuel their vehicles. As they refuel, the screen will simply play a clip of Thunberg saying, “How dare you!” over and over again.

The law will not apply to celebrities purchasing jet fuel.

via New Law Requires You To Listen To Greta Thunberg Lecture Before Purchasing Gasoline — The Babylon Bee

October 7 Your Umbilical Cord to God

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 33:1–3

Key Verse: Psalm 17:6

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech.

How often do you find yourself dropping into bed at night without having told God you love Him? God is not controlled by emotions, but He does have them. Think of Jesus crying at Lazarus’s tomb, compassionately looking into the face of Mary as she anointed His feet with oil, or rearranging His daily plans to meet with the woman at the well. His love, His deep sense of caring, motivated Him to reach out to others.

We reach out to Him through prayer. This is your umbilical cord to God. If it becomes damaged through sin or complacency, your fellowship with Him is the first thing that suffers. The enemy’s intent is to draw you away from spending time with Christ in prayer. He will do anything to distract, discourage, and cause you to doubt God’s good will for your life.

How do you combat this type of covert activity? For one, be creative in your prayer time. God knows your daily schedule. Ask Him to help you organize your day so that you may spend time with Him at some point. Rising earlier or staying up later are simple options.

The heart is the key. God sees your intentions—good or bad. If you are sincere in your desire to pray to Him, He will open the door to intimacy between you and His Son.

Precious Lord, strengthen the cords of prayer that bind my spirit to Yours. Help me organize my day so that I can spend more time with You. Open the door to intimacy between us.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 294). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 7, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

A federal judge on Monday rejected Donald Trump’s request to block
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from enforcing a subpoena for eight
years of tax returns related to a criminal probe into the U.S. President
and his family business.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a dispute over the assets of
Puerto Rico’s largest public sector pension fund even as the U.S. Caribbean
island territory’s bankruptcy enters a major new phase.

The United States began pulling troops back from the northeast Syria border
on Monday, opening the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led forces long
allied to Washington, in a move U.S. President Donald Trump hailed as a bid
to quit “endless wars”.

Hong Kong police took to the streets on Monday night in an apparent show of
force in a district that has seen some of the most violent clashes with
protesters in recent months, but retreated after a confrontation with angry
residents.

A record 35 candidates have filed nominations to take part in Sri Lanka’s
presidential election on Nov. 16, nearly twice as many as participated in
the last poll in 2015.

Pope Francis on Monday told an assembly of bishops discussing the Amazon
region of South America that modern society should not try to impose its
rules on indigenous people but respect their culture and let them chart
their own future.

General Electric said on Monday it was freezing pension plans for about
20,000 U.S. employees with salaried benefits, as the industrial
conglomerate makes another drastic move to cut debt and reduce its pension
deficit by up to $8 billion.

Top U.S. officials will welcome a high-ranking Chinese delegation starting
Oct. 10 for the latest round of trade talks aimed at easing tensions
between the world’s two largest economies.

Half of the euro zone’s biggest banks wouldn’t survive a six-month cash
drought, with larger firms and subsidiaries of foreign institutions among
the most vulnerable, the ECB said.

The U.S. Supreme Court kicks off its new term this week, with a major
dispute on tap over whether a landmark decades-old federal
anti-discrimination law that bars sex discrimination in the workplace
protects gay and transgender employees.

AP Top Stories

The first negotiations in eight months between the Trump administration and
North Korea aimed at breaking the logjam over dismantling the North’s
nuclear program broke down only hours after they began in Stockholm on
Saturday, the North Koreans said. It was the latest indication that
President Donald Trump’s signature diplomatic initiative has stalled.

A 3.5 magnitude earthquake hit Colma, which is south of San Francisco, on
Saturday morning.

Rwandan security forces have killed 19 people who were part of a group that
carried out a deadly attack in a tourist hub in the north of the country on
Friday, a police spokesman said.

Thousands rallied in Ukraine’s capital Sunday against the president’s plan
to hold a local election in the countries rebel-held east, a move seen by
some as a major concession to Russia.

An elderly convict who confessed to 93 murders of “marginalized and
vulnerable” women across a period spanning 35 years is the United States’
most prolific serial killer, the FBI said.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping will
hold an informal summit in southern India on Friday, officials said, amid
strains in their relationship.

Philippine authorities said they arrested an Indonesian woman who was
carrying $1 million worth of illegal drugs in her carry-on bag from her
flight from Cambodia on Monday, amid a crackdown on drug smuggling
attempts.

Germany’s interior minister warned on Sunday that the country could soon
face a refugee influx bigger than the one it dealt with in 2015, as he
sought support for his plans for an EU quota system for rescued migrants.

Hundreds of climate activists barricaded themselves in a Paris shopping
center on Saturday as security forces tried to remove them, ahead of a
planned series of protests around the world by the Extinction Rebellion
movement.

Ohio University suspended all 15 fraternities on its campus after seven
allegations of hazing at different fraternities were submitted within the
first three days of October.

Nearly a decade after first requesting them, the Taiwanese air force
finally could get 66 new F-16 fighters to begin replacing some of its older
fighter aircraft. But the $8-billion fighter-acquisition likely will do
little to alter the overall balance of power across the Taiwan Strait.

BBC

Heavy rains have extinguished wildfires which destroyed more than four
million hectares of land in eastern Bolivia in recent months, officials
said.

Academic institutions in West Africa have increasingly been facing
allegations of sexual harassment by lecturers. This type of abuse is said
to be endemic, but it’s almost never proven.

Eleven senior Taliban members have been released in exchange for three
kidnapped Indian engineers, sources in the militant group told the BBC.

Unmarried foreign couples will now be allowed to rent hotel rooms together
in Saudi Arabia as part of a new visa regime announced by the religiously
conservative kingdom.

WND

The blacklisting of a London actress for posting a Bible verse about
homosexuality on Facebook several years ago reflects a “chilling” message
society is conveying to Christians, says the head of Britain’s Christian
Legal Center.

The city of Anchorage, Alaska, has given up its demand that a shelter for
abused and homeless women also house men.

A man with a spinal-cord injury leaving him wheelchair bound has been able
to walk thanks to a revolutionary new spinal implant.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Oct. 7, 2019

The Foundation

“When occasions present themselves, in which the interests of the people are at variance with their inclinations, it is the duty of the persons whom they have appointed to be the guardians of those interests, to withstand the temporary delusion, in order to give them time and opportunity for more cool and sedate reflection.” —Alexander Hamilton (1788)

McConnell Turning Tables on Democrat Impeachers

“The way that impeachment stops is with a Senate majority with me as majority leader.”


Dems Expand Ukraine Charade With Second ‘Whistleblower’

The original complaint was refuted by the phone-call transcript, so Dems pivot tactics.


A Rebirth in Black Conservatism

What really happened at the Black Leadership Summit 2019 (#BLS2019).


Sanders Received Much Better Healthcare Than What He Prescribes for Others

Congressional elites receive far better than the socialism some of them advocate.


NCAA: Is It Time to Pay to Play?

A new California law challenges long-standing policy regarding student athletes.


Atheists Go After Christian Judge

Freedom from Religion Foundation cries foul over judge giving a Bible to a defendant.


Video: Pelosi Threatens Impeachment Charges for Obstruction

If the White House fails to submit to impeachment subpoenas from House committees.


Video: Renewable Portfolio Standard Scam

Does your state have a Renewable Portfolio Standard? Not sure? That’s not surprising.



Today’s Opinion

Ryan T. Anderson
What’s at Stake in Supreme Court’s ‘Sex Discrimination’ Case
Todd Starnes
Christian Crackdown? Students Must Submit Speeches, Swear Oath to School
Peggy Noonan
Can Democrats Take Impeachment Seriously?
Gary Bauer
Ten Hours of Testimony
Kathryn Jean Lopez
Little Moments of Grace
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Monday Top News Executive Summary

Tax-return ruling, SCOTUS underway, new whistleblower, immigration decree, and more.


Monday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Lindsey Graham, John Brennan, Rashida Tlaib, Cory Booker
, and more.



Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

Headlines – 10/7/2019

Commentary: Is Israel facing the biggest conflict since Yom Kippur War?

Exiting US peace envoy says he tried to change the discourse about the conflict

Abbas says he’ll discuss elections with Hamas, factions but provides no timeline

‘Israel’s ancient NYC’: 5,000-year-old Canaanite megalopolis may rewrite history

The Biblical Edom Unearthed: Not a Myth, a Historical Reality

Oil in the North: Moses’ blessing coming to life

Kurds protest in Syria against Turkish offensive threat

Turkey Adds Troops to Syrian Border as Erdogan Vows Imminent Incursion

Erdogan, Trump discuss Syria ‘safe zone’ in phone call; to meet next month: Ankara

Syria’s future looms large over Russian-Israeli ties

104 people killed in Iraq unrest, 6,000 wounded: Interior Ministry

After brief respite in Iraq, another 7 protesters killed by gunfire

Iraqi PM pledges reforms to calm angry, deadly protests

‘We have nothing to lose’: Iraqis vow to keep up protests

Netanyahu Seeks Billions to Fund Israeli Defense Against Iranian Cruise Missiles

Merkel’s gov’t says Iran’s call to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ not antisemitic

Trump’s policy of inaction is expanding Iran’s appetite for aggression

Iran Will Use Every Means Possible to Export Its Oil: SHANA

Iran says Chinese state oil firm withdraws from $5b natural gas deal

Iranian MPs seek probe into violent clashes over uptick in HIV cases

Anger in Afghanistan as Civilian Deaths Caused by U.S. and Government Forces Rise

Rwandan forces ‘kill 19 terrorists’ in retaliatory attack

Thousands Protest Ukraine Leader’s Peace Plan

North Korea’s Demands Throw Cold Water on Denuclearization Talks

N. Korea says no talks unless US stops hostile policies

North Korea accuses the Trump administration of ‘misleading’ the public after nuclear talks break down

North Korea doubts U.S. will have alternative plans inside two weeks

Hong Kong Demonstrators Continue Anti-Government Protests, Clashes With Riot Police

Socialists tipped to stay in power as Portugal votes

Britain’s Johnson asks France’s Macron to ‘push forward’ on Brexit

Macron: EU Brexit deal decision ‘at end of the week’

House Dems believe they have enough votes to pass articles of impeachment, senior member says

Lawyer: Second Trump whistleblower comes forward with first-hand information

2nd whistleblower adds to impeachment peril at White House

Trump blames Energy Secretary Rick Perry for Ukraine call at center of impeachment inquiry

Trump Calls for ‘Pompous Ass’ Romney’s Impeachment as Second Republican Senator Joins in Criticizing Trump

House chairman: Pompeo not complying with impeachment inquiry

Trump should be allowed ‘confrontation rights’ against Ukraine call whistleblower, ex-Clinton prosecutor says

Graham vows to publicly question whistleblowers if Trump is impeached

NYT: The ‘Never Trump’ Coalition That Decided Eh, Nevermind, He’s Fine

‘It Just Exploded’: #WalkAway Movement Grows as Former Democrats Leave Party

Scoop: Mulvaney predicts post-impeachment landslide

Ocasio-Cortez accuses Trump of anti-Semitism over his attacks on Schiff

Jewish astronaut to take part in 1st all-female NASA spacewalk

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Calama, Chile

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Road Town, British Virgin Islands

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 38,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 28,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 24,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Kerinci volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Nevados De Chillan volcano in Chile erupts to 13,000ft

Developing Typhoon Hagibis may become strongest storm on Earth

Banana republic: Israel faces killer fungus that can destroy the crop nationwide

Trick-Or-Treating Hours Moved Due To EEE Concerns In Methuen

China Is Breeding Giant Pigs the Size of Polar Bears

France IVF bill: Protests gather thousands in Paris

A 17-year-old planned to shoot up his school until his mother turned him into police


Apostasy Watch

Who Is Lord: Christ or Caesar?

Sermon Review — Joseph Prince — A Transference of Wealth in the Last Days

Phil Pringle gives ‘altar call’ for church to tithe, suggests ‘death and curses’ if they don’t?

Guest Post: Why I Left Elevation Church

Pope Francis Worships Topless Earth Goddess with Pagans at Vatican

California pastor speaks after woman threatens to shoot up church with baby in hand

Michigan church helps eradicate $3.89 million in medical debt

Church Hosted Gas Giveaway Is Shut Down after 2 Times the Anticipated Number of People Turn Up


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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

October 7 Hearing Tests

Scripture reading: Ephesians 5:15–17

Key verse: Psalm 19:12

Who can understand his errors?

Cleanse me from secret faults.

If you have been through a time in which you felt God was silent, you remember the disquiet you experienced in your inner being. Sometimes God chooses to withhold specific direction for a while. He wants you to wait on Him with a spirit of obedience and expectancy. However, it’s always important to examine your heart because something there may block your ability to hear Him.

The influence of others might be getting in the way. If people close to you give you counsel, the temptation is strong to listen. They may be right. God may use them to direct you. But if they’re wrong, then your ties of affection may actually bind you. It’s so natural to want to please others that you may interpret that urge as trying to please the Lord.

A sin in your life may prevent good communication with the Lord. If you ask Him to reveal any problem areas, He certainly will. More than you can imagine, God wants you to be free of sin habits and the guilt that goes with them. He has already forgiven you in Christ, but you still need to confess and repent.

Finally, be sure to ask yourself, Do I really believe God wants to guide me? If you feel confused right now, maybe it’s time for you to take these “hearing tests.”

Dear Lord, don’t let others influence me in decisions. Continually cleanse me from sin so that the lines of communication will remain open between us.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 294). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 7, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

3 (4) This verse and the first bicolon of v. 4 (Eng. 5) are a reflection on the preceding verse. What have God’s actions over the years taught the people about their God? They have taught them that there is no God like him. He is in a class by himself. No one has heard of such a God, or seen one. The emphasis here is on experience. The prophet has no interest in the great myths with otherworldly settings. Those narratives are meaningless for him. He wants to know what human experience sequentially considered can tell us about the one in whom reality resides. This is precisely what the Christian Gospels are about, as 1 John 1:1–4 succinctly explains. The apostles had “heard” and “seen” and “touched” Life. The sum total of all that experience for Isaiah is that nothing else in the universe has a right to be called God except the one God, the Holy One of Israel.

But what one thing is it that puts the Holy One beyond compare? Is it the power to split the heavens and smash the rocks (cf. Ps. 18:8–16 [Eng. 7–15])? No, for Baal could do that, or at least such things could be attributed to him. What truly distinguishes God from the gods in the prophet’s eyes is that he is the Savior. With perfect confidence Isaiah asserts that the evidence proves that Israel’s God is the only one who can be trusted. He is the only one who will act on behalf of those who wait for him. This expression is not merely used because of the occurrence of the parallel term in the final colon of the preceding verse. In many ways, it is at the heart of what the book is about. Biblically speaking, “to wait” is to manifest the kind of trust that is willing to commit itself to God over the long haul. It is to continue to believe and expect when all others have given up. It is to believe that it is better for something to happen in God’s time than for it to happen on my initiative in my time. As was just said, waiting for God is, in many ways, what Isaiah is about. The book is about waiting for a God whose face is hidden to reveal himself to his people (8:17); waiting for the restoration of a people from long before they were even exiled; waiting for a Servant to deal a death blow to sin; waiting for a Messiah to establish his kingdom forever. But as Isaiah and his people wait, they know one thing: unlike all the gods, God will act on behalf of those who wait for him (cf. esp. 25:9; 30:18; 33:2; 40:31; 49:23).[1]


64:4 Paul cites this verse with some changes in 1 Cor. 2:9. Nor … seen any God besides You: For similar ideas see 43:11; Deut. 4:35.[2]


64:4 — For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.

We cannot imagine how God will move on our behalf—He does “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20)—but we confidently expect that He will act when we wait for Him in faith.[3]


64:4 ear … eye. God’s judgmental manifestations are unique. No one has witnessed the likes of His awesome works on behalf of His own. Paul adapts words from this verse to speak of direct revelation of God imparted to His apostles and prophets and pertaining to mysteries hidden from mankind before the birth of the church (1Co 2:9).[4]


64:4 a God besides you. Essential to Isaiah’s message is the uniqueness of Israel’s God (cf. 43:11; 44:6; 45:5–6, 18, 21–22; 46:9; 47:8, 10). who acts. Unlike the idols, the God of Israel intervenes (cf. Ps. 135:5–18; Isa. 31:1–9; 37:14–38). He never fails to meet those with true faith. who wait. See note on 40:31.[5]


64:4 no eye has seen a God except you A central part of Isaiah’s message is asserting the total sovereignty and uniqueness of Yahweh, the only true God (see Isa 43:11; 44:6; 45:5–6). Yahweh has proven Himself through action to be the only God (see note on 41:21).[6]


64:4 The hearing and seeing refer to knowledge of God through His works. The Holy Spirit is the One who unfolds God’s revelation to man: (1) Man is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), and God has a particular and unique plan for each individual (cf. Ps. 139:13–16, note; Eph. 2:10). (2) God made provision for man’s reconciliation with his Creator. (3) The way of salvation is carefully taught in Scripture. (4) The millennial kingdom in which God’s people will be fellow citizens is promised. The apostle Paul refers to this verse in a free paraphrase (cf. 1 Cor. 2:9). Man cannot help being astonished at the wonder of the works of God.[7]


4. From of old they have not heard. This verse confirms what has been already said, that believers do not here ask anything strange or uncommon, but only that God may shew himself to be to them what he formerly shewed himself to be to the fathers, and that he may continue to exercise his kindness, and that, since he has been wont to assist his people, and to give them undoubted tokens of his presence, he may not cease in future to cause his strength and power to shine forth more and more brightly. He represents believers as praying to God in such a manner that they strengthen themselves by the remembrance of the past, and betake themselves with greater courage to God’s assistance.

Eye hath not seen a God besides thee. The Prophet’s design unquestionably is, to celebrate God’s immense goodness, by relating the numerous benefits which he bestowed upon his people in ancient times; and this kind of praise is highly magnificent, when, rising to rapturous admiration of them, he exclaims that there is no God besides him, and that those things which the Lord has carried into effect for the sake of his people are unheard-of and uncommon. But there are two ways in which these words may be read, for אלהים (ĕlōhīm) may either be in the accusative or in the vocative case. “O Lord, no one hath seen besides thee what thou doest for them that wait for thee.” But another reading is more generally approved, “No one hath ever seen or ever heard of such a God.” Yet in this reading we must supply the particle of comparison, as; for otherwise the sentence would be incomplete. The verb יעשה (yăgnăsĕh) is put absolutely, “No ear hath heard, and no eye hath seen, such a God as doeth such things.” And thus God is distinguished from idols, from which superstitious men imagine that they obtain all good things; for they are the mere inventions of men, and can do neither good nor harm, seeing that God bestows on his worshippers benefits of every kind.

Paul appears to explain this passage differently, and to torture it to a different purpose, and even quotes it in different words, that is, because he followed the Greek version. (1 Cor. 2:9.) In this respect the Apostles were not squeamish; for they paid more attention to the matter than to the words, and reckoned it enough to draw the attention of the reader to a passage of Scripture, from which might be obtained what they taught. As to the addition which Paul appears to have made of his own accord, “Nor hath entered into the heart of man what God hath prepared for them that love him,” he did so for the purpose of explanation; for he added nothing that does not fully agree with the Prophet’s doctrine.

That we may understand better how thoroughly he agrees with the Prophet, we must understand his design. In that passage he treats of the doctrine of the Gospel, which he demonstrates to surpass the capacity of the human understanding; for it contains knowledge that is widely different and far removed from the perception of our flesh, and, in short, is “hidden wisdom,” so that Paul is justly led to view it with astonishment. And as the Prophet, when he takes into consideration the wonderful acts of God’s kindness, exclaims, like one who is lost in amazement, that nothing like this was ever heard of; so, in the most excellent of all benefits, namely, that in which Christ is offered to us by the Gospel, we may exclaim in the same manner, “O Lord, what thou bestowest on thy people exceeds all the capacity of the human mind: no eye, no ear, no senses, no mind can reach such loftiness.” Thus Paul applies this passage admirably to his reasoning, and does not make an improper use of the statement made by the Prophet when he elevates above the world that peculiar grace which God bestows on his Church.

There remains but one difficulty, namely, that Paul applies to spiritual blessings what the Prophet here says about blessings of a temporal nature. But we may say that Isaiah here looks merely at the cause of God’s benefits, though he has in his eye the condition of the present life; for all the benefits that we receive from God, for the sake of food and nourishment, are proofs of his fatherly kindness toward us; and it is the peculiar excellence of faith, to rise from visible favours to those which are invisible. Although therefore the Prophet appears to speak of external deliverance and other benefits of this life, yet he rises higher, and looks chiefly at those things which belonged especially to the people of God. What stupidity would it be, if, while we enjoy God’s benefits, we did not consider the fountain itself, that is, his fatherly kindness! Ordinary favours are enjoyed indiscriminately by the good and the bad; but that favour with which he embraces us belongs especially to citizens. The consequence is, that we do not merely observe those things which fall under the senses of men, but contemplate the cause itself. Although therefore neither eyes nor ears reach so far as to comprehend the grace of adoption, by which the Lord testifies that he is our Father, yet he reveals it by the testimony of his Spirit.

It is even probable that the Prophet, when he spoke of a particular instance of God’s kindness, was elevated, by means of it, to a general reflection; for, in considering God’s works, it was frequent and customary for good men to pass from a single instance to the whole class. In that way might this single but remarkable instance of the divine goodness raise the mind of the Prophet to so high a pitch as to meditate on that infinite abundance of blessings which is laid up for believers in heaven. We even see clearly that this commendation includes the gracious covenant by which God adopted the children of Abraham into the hope of eternal life. (Gen. 17:7.) What has been said amounts to this: “Seeing that the goodness and power of God are so great, we have no reason to distrust him; but we ought to place our confidence in him, so as to hope that he will assuredly assist us.” And such is the design of those excellent benefits which are here mentioned by the Prophet.[8]


4. perceived by the ear—Paul (1 Co 2:9) has for this, “nor have entered into the heart of man”; the virtual sense, sanctioned by his inspired authority; men might hear with the outward ear, but they could only by the Spirit “perceive” with the “heart” the spiritual significancy of God’s acts, both those in relation to Israel, primarily referred to here, and those relating to the Gospel secondarily, which Paul refers to.

O God … what he … prepared—rather, “nor hath eye seen a god beside thee who doeth such things.” They refer to God’s past marvellous acts in behalf of Israel as a plea for His now interposing for His people; but the Spirit, as Paul by inspiration shows, contemplated further God’s revelation in the Gospel, which abounds in marvellous paradoxes never before heard of by carnal ear, not to be understood by mere human sagacity, and when foretold by the prophets not fully perceived or credited; and even after the manifestation of Christ not to be understood save through the inward teaching of the Holy Ghost. These are partly past and present, and partly future; therefore Paul substitutes “prepared” for “doeth,” though his context shows he includes all three. For “waiteth” he has “love Him”; godly waiting on Him must flow from love, and not mere fear.[9]


[1] Oswalt, J. N. (1998). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66 (pp. 622–623). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[2] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 872). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[3] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Is 64:4). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 64:4). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (pp. 1356–1357). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Is 64:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Is 64:4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Vol. 4, pp. 363–366). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[9] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 501). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

October 7 Nourishing Your Faith

scripture reading: Numbers 13–14
key verse: Proverbs 24:10

If you faint in the day of adversity,
Your strength is small.

Of the millions of men, women, and children who trudged through the wilderness, only two (Caleb and Joshua) saw “the promise” of the promised land. The millions suffered a faith failure.

Like the sinning Israelites, we, too, hesitate when we face a challenge, allowing the obstacles to frighten and even immobilize us. We don’t reach our objectives, and our faith sags instead of stretching us.

The key to a growing, confident faith is a consistent focus on the power and might of God. Caleb and Joshua saw imposing giants—as did the rest of the Israelite spies—but they measured them against the power of the most high God.

The focus that develops faith to tackle life’s challenges comes from sustained, concentrated meditation on the Word of God. Remember God’s instructions to Joshua: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night” (Josh. 1:8).

Joshua and Caleb kept their gaze on God in an unwavering faith in His Word. Then when the challenge came, they drew their conclusions on the basis of God’s unlimited resources, not theirs.

Nourish your faith for tomorrow’s challenges by renewing your mind in God’s Word today.

Nourish my faith today, O Lord, that I will be equipped to face tomorrow’s challenges. Teach me to measure every “giant” of my life against Your mighty power.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

7 october (1855) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Conversion

“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:19: 20

suggested further reading: 2 Corinthians 2:5–11

The poor backslider is often the most forgotten. A member of the church has disgraced his profession; the church excommunicated him, and he was accounted “a heathen man and a publican.” I know of men of good standing in the gospel ministry, who, ten years ago, fell into sin; and that is thrown in our teeth to this very day. When you speak of them you are at once informed, “Why, ten years ago they did so-and-so.” Brethren, Christian men ought to be ashamed of themselves for taking notice of such things so long afterwards. True, we may use more caution in our dealings; but to reproach a fallen brother for what he did so long ago, is contrary to the spirit of John, who went after Peter, three days after he had denied his Master with oaths and curses. Nowadays it is the fashion, if a man falls, to have nothing to do with him. Men say, “he is a bad fellow; we will not go after him.” Beloved, suppose he is the worst; is not that the reason why you should go most after him? Suppose he never was a child of God—suppose he never knew the truth, is not that the greater reason why you should go after him? I do not understand your excessive pride, that won’t let you go after the chief of sinners. The worse the case, the more is the reason why we should go. But suppose the man is a child of God, and you have cast him off—remember, he is your brother; he is one with Christ as much as you are; he is justified, he has the same righteousness that you have; and if, when he has sinned, you despise him, in that you despise him you despise his Master. Take heed! You also may be tempted, and may one day fall.

for meditation: Discipline should not be lax or non-existent (1 Corinthians 5:1–2). But it is possible to go to the other extreme and overdo it.

sermon no. 45[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 287). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

6 october (preached 7 october 1857) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Fast-day service

“Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.” Micah 6:9

suggested further reading: Nehemiah 1

This world is not the place of punishment for sin; not the place; it may sometimes be a place, but not usually. It is very customary among religious people, to talk of every accident which happens to men in the indulgence of sin, as if it were a judgment. The upsetting of a boat upon a river on a Sunday is assuredly understood to be a judgment for the sin of Sabbath-breaking. In the accidental fall of a house, in which persons were engaged in any unlawful occupation, the inference is at once drawn that the house fell because they were wicked. Now, however some religionists may hope to impress the people by such childish stories as those; I, for one, renounce them all. I believe what my Master says is true, when he declared, concerning the men upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, that they were not sinners above all the sinners that were upon the face of the earth. They were sinners; there is no doubt about it; but the falling of the wall was not occasioned by their sin, nor was their premature death the consequence of their excessive wickedness. Let me, however, guard this declaration, for there are many who carry this doctrine to an extreme. Because God does not usually visit each particular offence in this life upon the transgressor, men are apt to deny altogether the doctrine of judgments. But here they are mistaken. I feel persuaded that there are such things as national judgments, national chastisements for national sins—great blows from the rod of God, which every wise man must acknowledge to be, either a punishment of sin committed, or a premonition to warn us to a sense of the consequences of sins, leading us by God’s grace to humble ourselves, and repent of our sin.

for meditation: Reflect and pray over the state of the nation and its standing before God (Proverbs 14:34).

part of nos. 154–155[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 286). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

7 OCTOBER 365 Days with Calvin

Quickened from the Dead

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1

suggested further reading: Romans 6:15–23

We see what the spiritual life of man is and where it lies, namely, in the light of God’s Word and in the working of the Holy Spirit. We are fashioned anew according to the image that was lost and utterly defaced in us by Adam’s sin.

Is this new life found among worldly men who are most honored? Certainly not! Not without reason does our Lord Jesus Christ say that we are raised from death by means of the gospel. For no matter how much we seem to flourish, no matter how splendid we appear before men, and no matter how much we possess to invite the esteem of others, yet we are only wretched, putrefying flesh. There is nothing but rottenness and infection in us.

God thus loathes us. We are damned and lost before him, the angels abhor us, all creatures curse and detest us, and all things demand vengeance on us because we defile them. There is such corruption in us that heaven and earth are infected with it until God brings about a change (Rom. 8:19).

Our Lord Jesus Christ says that we are like dead men until we are renewed by the gospel and by the faith that proceeds from it. There is not one drop of life in us that deserves the name of life. In brief, we are like corpses buried in the grave, and it is necessary for us to be drawn out of that. We are cut off from God’s kingdom; consequently, there is nothing but filth in us. In spite of all this, God promises to be linked and united with those who put their trust in him and his goodness. In this, we are quickened to new life.

for meditation: Until we realize that we are dead in sin while outside of Christ, we entertain far greater thoughts of ourselves than is appropriate. As Calvin vividly describes, we are disgusting in the sight of all that is good and holy. This clear understanding of who we are apart from Christ can only come by the grace of God. Pray that God would show you who you were, before his renewal, and never let you forget it.[1]

 

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 299). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

October 7, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

22  On the contrary, there will be a return to regularity and predictability in the world of nature. Seedtime/harvest, cold/heat, summer/winter, and day/night are the four couplets testifying to the resurrection of predictability in the world. However irregular the human heart may be (8:21b), there will be a regularity in God’s world and its cycles.

It is interesting that the Bible here introduces the promise of seasonal cycles after the Flood. But note how it denies the dynamics of the fertility cult by stressing that man’s actions for good or evil have no impact on the patterns of the season. The biblical mind has no room for the concept of sympathetic magic wherein the desired result is first mimed. Regularity in nature is a given, a promise of God. Thus Yahweh has spoken negatively (v. 21) and positively (v. 22). Both what he will not do and what he will do stem from unmerited grace.[1]


8:22 / From now on the movement of the seasons would be dependable, despite the crises humans face. The seasons—seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter—along with day and night, mark the flow of time. This assures humans that life on earth continues uninterrupted, while at the same time letting them know that as individuals they are getting older.[2]


8:22 while the earth remains: The words of this verse are in a poem of powerful effect (12:1–3). These words might easily have become a song of faith, the response of the people of God to the promise He made (v. 21). Later in Israel’s history, the prophets recalled God’s great promise to Noah (Is. 54:9, 10).[3]


8:22 — “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”

God’s promises mean the difference between life and death. Even when things look darkest, we can rely on His trustworthy Word.[4]


8:22 While the earth remains. With many alterations from the global flood, God reestablished the cycle of seasons after the catastrophic interruption.[5]


8:22 As long as the earth endures This wording resolves the tension between the promise of this verse and subsequent descriptions of a final judgment of the world (2 Pet 3:12–13). The final apocalypse will produce a new heaven and new earth. God promises to keep His wrath from humanity until the earth—as it is currently known—is no more (or renewed).[6]


8:22 While the earth remains. This qualifies “neither will I ever again” in v. 21. God will preserve the earth until the final judgment (2 Pet. 3:7, 13); the earthly order will not end prematurely.[7]


8:22 God gave providential assurance that nature would be predictable and dependable.[8]


8:22 The terrifying chaos of the flood would give way to the predictable, comforting rhythms of life—the harvest, the seasons, day and night—for as long as the earth endures.[9]


22. While the earth remaineth. By these words the world is again completely restored. For so great was the confusion and disorder which had overspread the earth, that there was a necessity for some renovation. On which account, Peter speaks of the old world as having perished in the deluge, (2 Pet. 3:6.) Moreover, the deluge had been an interruption of the order of nature. For the revolutions of the sun and moon had ceased: there was no distinction of winter and summer. Wherefore, the Lord here declares it to be his pleasure, that all things should recover their vigour, and be restored to their functions. The Jews erroneously divide their year into six parts; whereas Moses, by placing the summer in opposition to the winter, thus divides the whole year in a popular manner into two parts. And it is not to be doubted, that by cold and heat he designates the periods already referred to. Under the words, “seed-time,” and “harvest,” he marks those advantages which flow to men from the moderated temperature of the atmosphere. If it is objected, that this equable temperament is not every year perceived; the answer is ready, that the order of the world is indeed disturbed by our vices, so that many of its movements are irregular: often the sun withholds its proper heat,—snow or hail follow in the place of dew,—the air is agitated by various tempests; but although the world is not so regulated as to produce perpetual uniformity of seasons, yet we perceive the order of nature so far to prevail, that winter and summer annually recur, that there is a constant succession of days and nights, and that the earth brings forth its fruits in summer and autumn. Moreover, by the expression, ‘all the days of the earth,’ he means, ‘as long as the earth shall last.’[10]


22. While the earth remaineth—The consummation, as intimated in 2 Pe 3:7, does not frustrate a promise which held good only during the continuance of that system. There will be no flood between this and that day, when the earth therein shall be burnt up [Chalmers].[11]


Ver. 22.—While the earth remaineth. laterally, as yet, all the days of the earth, i. e. henceforth, so long as the earth continues, עֹד expressing the ideas of repetition and continuance (vide ver. 12). Seed-time and harvest,—from roots signifying to scatter, e. g. seed, and to cut off, specially grain; σπέρμα καί θερισμὸς (LXX)—and cold and heat,—ψύχοσκαὶκαὶκαῦμα (LXX)—and summer and winter. Properly the cutting off of fruits, from a root meaning to cut off, hence summer; and the time when fruits are plucked, hence autumn (including winter); the import of the root being to gather, to pluck off; θέρος καὶ ἔαρ (LXX.). The first term of each pair denotes the first half of the year, and the second term of each pair the second half. And day and night (cf. ch. 1:5) shall not cease. Hebrew, lo yish-bothu, shall not sabbatise, or keep a day of rest; i. e. they shall continue ever in operation and succession. This Divine promise to conserve the orderly constitution and course of nature is elsewhere styled “God’s covenant of the day and of the night” (cf. Jer. 33:20, 25).[12]


22 “As long as the earth exists”: literally, “all the days of the earth.” Elsewhere in Genesis “all the days” is only used of human life (cf. 3:17; 9:29) and therefore here intimates earth’s mortality.

But though not eternal, the regular alternation of the times and seasons is assured. The first three pairs may be contrasting the hot season (harvest, heat, summer) with the cold season (sowing, cold, winter), but this leaves “day and night” somewhat isolated. Westermann therefore asks whether “cold and heat” might be an alternative way of expressing “night and day,” but since elsewhere (Jer 17:8; Job 24:19) “heat” refers to the hot season, this is not proven.

Perhaps then it is simply best to take these pairs as referring to the diurnal and seasonal rhythms of nature on which all life depends. God’s assurance that these rhythms will be maintained is a mark of his continuing providential blessing on the world.[13]


[1] Hamilton, V. P. (1990). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17 (pp. 310–311). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[2] Hartley, J. E. (2012). Genesis. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 105). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 21). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[4] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ge 8:22). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ge 8:22). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 8:22). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 22). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[8] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ge 8:22). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[9] Bergen, R. D. (2017). Genesis. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 22). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[10] Calvin, J., & King, J. (2010). Commentary on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis (Vol. 1, p. 286). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[11] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 22). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[12] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Genesis (p. 133). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[13] Wenham, G. J. (1987). Genesis 1–15 (Vol. 1, p. 191). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

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

1 Kings 10; Philippians 1; Ezekiel 40; Psalm 91

 

apart from ezekiel 29:17–21, the nine chapters before us, Ezekiel 40–48, take place later than the other visions and oracles that constitute the book. As the book began with a vision, so now it ends with one. Although this vision is sufficiently cut off from the rest of the book that some have labeled it an appendix, nevertheless there are some dramatic connections. In the vision of 8:1–11:25 Ezekiel saw the glory of God abandon the temple; now he witnesses the glory returning and filling the new temple (43:5). In the years following the catastrophic sack of Jerusalem Ezekiel has been comforting the people by the promise of a return to the land and to God; in some ways this vision of a temple must have lent encouragement and hope.

But that does not make this vision an easy one to understand. Today I shall lay out, rather superficially, the flow of thought not only in Ezekiel 40 but through these nine chapters. Tomorrow I shall lay out four principal lines of interpretation, and indicate the one I think is closest to what this Scripture says.

In the twenty-fifth year of his exile (by which time he was about fifty), Ezekiel in a visionary experience is transported to “a very high mountain” (40:2) near what turns out to be the holy city. Probably Mount Zion is intended. An angelic figure gives him a tour around the temple area, measuring everything as he goes. He begins with a detailed study of the east gate to the outer court (40:6–16). This is followed rapidly by the outer court itself, two other gates to the outer court (north and south), then gates to the inner court (40:17–37). There are no gates on the west, because the temple itself is situated there. After a brief tour of the sacrificial equipment and of the rooms reserved for the sacrificing priests (40:38–47), Ezekiel is given a fairly detailed description of the temple (40:48–41:26), followed by a survey of the temple area with special attention devoted to the rooms for the priests (42:1–20). The glory of God enters the temple, and Ezekiel is told what he must do with this information (43:1–12). The rest of chapter 43 deals with the altar of sacrifice and how it is to be used (43:13–27). Chapters 44 and 45 give regulations for the ordering of the temple (not least with respect to Levites and Zadokites), and then with the distribution of land around the temple. More ritual regulations follow (45:18–46:24). Ezekiel 47:1–12 describes a flow of water from the sanctuary bringing life to the barren Dead Sea valley. The rest of the vision divides up the land for the twelve tribes and specifies the gates of the city.[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.

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

1 Kings 10; Philippians 1; Ezekiel 40; Psalm 91

 

the visit of the queen of sheba (1 Kings 10) has often been spiced up in books and films until it has become a royal love story. Not a hint of love interest or sex scandal peeps out of the biblical text. The function of the queen of Sheba is to demonstrate by a concrete example that Solomon’s reputation had extended far and wide, and that that reputation was grounded in reality. Some observations on the encounter:

First, at a rather superficial level, this account provides an opportunity to say something about the nature of truth in the Old Testament. Some have argued that the Hebrew word for “truth,” ‘emet, really means “faithfulness” or “reliability,” and that it has to do with relationships and not propositions. Indeed, some argue, Old Testament writers simply do not have a category for true propositions. Like most errors, this one has a modicum of truth (if I may use the word) to it. Certainly ‘emet has a broader range of meaning than the English word truth, and can refer to faithfulness. But words can display faithfulness, too. The queen of Sheba tells Solomon that the report she heard in her own country about his achievements and wisdom was ‘emet: it was “true” (10:6, NIV); more literally, because the report was faithful, i.e., because the propositions conformed to the reality, the report was the truth. Away, then, with a reductionistic analysis of what ancient Hebrews could or could not have known.

Second, much of the chapter provides succinct descriptions of Solomon’s wealth, military muscle, successful trading expeditions in seagoing vessels, musical instruments, and more. Yet space is reserved for several explicitly theological themes. Royalty visited Solomon to listen to his wisdom—and this wisdom God himself had put in his heart (10:24). Indeed, Solomon enjoyed an extraordinary reputation for maintaining justice and righteousness in his kingdom, so much so that the queen of Sheba thought his achievements in this regard demonstrated “the Lord’s eternal love for Israel” (10:9).

But third, all of this is in some ways a setup for the next chapter. Despite all the blessings, wisdom, power, wealth, prestige, and honor that Solomon enjoyed, all received from the hand of God, the sad fact of the matter is that his own conduct was paving the way for judgment and the undoing of the Davidic dynasty. These convoluted developments await tomorrow’s meditation. Here it is enough to reflect on the fact that extraordinary blessings do not necessarily signal faithfulness. Because God is so slow to anger (surely a good thing!), the judgments that our corruptions deserve are often long delayed. Do not be hasty to assume that present blessings signal present fidelity: the terrible fruit of faithlessness may take a long time in coming.[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.