Daily Archives: October 14, 2019

October 14 Rise Again

Scripture Reading: John 21:1–17

Key Verse: John 21:15

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

Have you failed? Are your insides being gnawed away by the insidious emotions of embarrassment and remorse?

Then be encouraged by the failure of one of the great disciples. During Christ’s trial and crucifixion, it was crucial that the disciples stayed together and kept their faith strong. Instead, they fled. Simon Peter went as far as denying his beloved Friend three times.

However, when they met again after the Resurrection, Jesus held no malice for Peter. John 21:15 reports, “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ [Peter] said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ [Jesus] said to him, ‘Tend My lambs’ ” (nasb).

Jesus did not chastise Peter; rather, He stressed that for Peter to truly show his love, Peter would have to take on the commission: feed My lambs. The same is true for you. God does not desire for you to remain ashamed. His direction is that you renew your commitment and take up the purpose for which He called you.

As Oliver Goldsmith astutely notes, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time we fall.” You have no reason to live in shame. Rise again and take on the godly life to which God called you. You may find your biggest failure was only the beginning of your greatest success.

When I wallow in guilt, Lord, I am not doing it for You, but for me. Help me to rise quickly, ignore the naggings of embarrassment and remorse, and be about Your business.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 301). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Instrumental Cause of Justification — Ligonier Ministries Blog

The Reformation doctrine of justification is frequently summed up in the slogan sola fide, which means “by faith alone.” The phrase sola fide stands for the teaching that justification is by faith alone.

The Roman Catholic Church, historically, has also taught that justification is by faith. They say that faith is the initial stage of justification. It is the foundation and root of our justification. Rome insists on the necessity of faith for justification. So the fide in sola fide is clearly affirmed by Rome. What is not affirmed by Rome is the sola, because even though faith is the initiation, the foundation, and the root of justification, its mere presence is not enough to effect justification. There must be something besides faith in order for us to be justified—a necessary condition. A necessary condition is something that must be present in order for an effect or consequence to follow, but its presence does not guarantee the result.

For example, under normal circumstances, a necessary condition for fire is the presence of oxygen. But, fortunately for us, the mere presence of oxygen is not enough to cause a fire. If it were, we would catch on fire every time we took a breath of air. So we distinguish between a necessary condition and a sufficient condition. A sufficient condition absolutely guarantees that the result will follow.

Given that distinction, we can see the difference between the Roman Catholic view and the Reformation view of the relationship between faith and justification. In the Roman view, faith is a necessary condition for justification, not a sufficient condition for it. In the Protestant view, faith is not only a necessary condition but also a sufficient condition for justification. That is, when we put our faith and trust in Christ, God will most surely declare us justified in His sight. The Reformation view, which is the biblical view, is that if faith is present, justification is inevitably present as well.
What is unthinkable in the Reformation view is that we could have faith without justification. We cannot have justification without faith, and we cannot have faith without justification. Rome says that we cannot have justification without faith, but we can have faith without justification. We can keep our faith but commit a mortal sin that will destroy the grace of justification, so that we will be damned (without proper penance). But for the Reformers, the mere possession of genuine faith is all that is required in order for us to receive the grace and maintain the state of justification.

The confession says this:

Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification.

An instrument is a tool that is used for a particular purpose. When the framers of the Westminster Confession wrote that faith is the alone instrument of justification, they were aware of the sixteenth-century dispute regarding the instrumental cause of justification. It is necessary to have a clear understanding of this doctrine—the instrumental cause of justification—because it is about how we are saved.

The term instrumental cause goes back in history to the fourth century before Christ, to the philosophy of Aristotle. He was concerned to explain motion and change. In that process, he tried to isolate various causes that contribute to something’s change of state or status. How does that relate to our question here? We, by nature, are not justified. We are unjust, and our status before God is that we deserve his unmitigated wrath. We need a change of our status, from a state of damnation to a state of justification.

Aristotle distinguished four kinds of causes: the formal cause, the efficient cause, the final cause, and the material cause. He did not include the instrumental cause. His four causes, however, formed the basis for the idea of instrumental cause.

He used the illustration of a statue that starts out as a block of stone from the quarry. Aristotle defined the block of stone as the material cause, the stuff out of which something is made. The formal cause is the idea in the sculptor’s mind, or his blueprint or sketch, of the way that he wants the finished product to look. There has to be an idea before there can be a result. The efficient cause is that which brings about the change from stone to statue, and in this case it is the sculptor. He is the one who makes it happen. The final cause is the purpose for which the thing is made, which in this case may be to beautify a garden.

To these four causes, we may add the idea of the instrumental cause, which is the means by which the change takes place. If the sculptor wants to change the block of stone into a statue, he has to chip away at the stone to shape, form, and smooth it. His chisel and his hammer are the instruments, the means by which the change is wrought. In English, we often indicate means with the words by and through.

When the Reformers said that justification is by faith or through faith, they affirmed that the means or the instrument by which we are justified is faith and faith alone. The only instrument that we need, the only tool required to move us from a state of damnation to a state of justification is faith, but faith is not the only thing that we need in order to be justified. We also need Christ in order to be justified. That is, in order to be justified, we need His perfect righteousness and His atonement on the cross. Everything that is required by God to meet His standard of righteousness and justice has been fulfilled objectively in and through the work of Christ. He has done it all. The whole Roman Catholic–Protestant debate on justification is not over the objective work of Christ so much as it is over how we receive the benefits of His work. How is the objective work of Christ subjectively appropriated? The answer that the Reformers gave, based on the teaching of the Apostle Paul, was “in and through, or by and through, faith alone.” But it is not faith alone that saves us. When we say that justification is by faith alone, we are saying that justification is by and through our faith in Christ alone.

The instrumental cause of justification, according to Rome, is baptism and penance. Rome defines these sacraments as the instruments by and through which a person is justified. The difference is between salvation that is accomplished sacerdotally (that is, through the church’s administration of the sacraments) and salvation that is experienced through faith in Christ alone. This is all the difference in the world. The confession says that faith is the only instrument of justification because it is through faith alone that we rest on and receive the righteousness of Christ. The righteousness of Christ, the benefits of His atonement, the objective merit or grounds of our justification, are freely offered to anyone who believes.“The righteous shall live by faith” (Rom.1:17). We are justified not by faith plus works but by faith alone. All that is needed to enter the kingdom of God is faith or trust in the work of Christ alone.
Faith is not the grounds of our justification. The grounds of our justification is the righteousness of Christ, His merit. The Reformers said that the meritorious cause of our justification is the righteousness of Christ alone. The instrumental cause of our justification is faith, but when we say that we are justified by faith alone, we do not mean that faith is a meritorious work that adds anything to the ground of our justification.

What difference does that make practically? There are people who say they believe in justification by faith alone but who rely on their faith as if it were meritorious or a good work that will satisfy the demands of God’s justice. The fact that a person possesses faith adds no merit to his account. It adds infinite merit to his account by imputation, but it is the merit of Christ that is imputed to him. We can receive Christ’s merit only by faith, and there is no merit to that. The only One who can save us is Christ, and the only way we can get access to Him is through faith. We do not rest on anything else in our lives except Christ and His righteousness for our salvation.

This excerpt is adapted from Truths We Confess by R.C. Sproul. In Truths We Confess, now thoroughly revised and available in a single, accessible volume, Dr. Sproul introduces readers to this remarkable confession, explaining its insights and applying them to modern life. Order the hardcover book today.

via The Instrumental Cause of Justification — Ligonier Ministries Blog

October 14 Starting a Prayer Journal

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18

Key Verse: Psalm 48:9

We have thought, O God, on Your lovingkindness, in the midst of Your temple.

Have you ever considered the value of keeping a prayer journal? It’s a record of your prayer relationship with God so that you can remember what you talked about with Him.

It works in this way. After you pray, write in a small notebook what you have said, along with the date. As God answers a particular item, draw a single line through the request, so that you can still read it, and put the date of the answer at the end of the line. When you review the journal, you can rejoice at His provision. You will be able to say, “God loves me. He is interested in me. I am growing in my faith, and He is working in my life.”

What a thrill it is to trace His involvement and see your spiritual growth unfold as you trust Him, releasing all of your worries and problems to Him. As you pour out your heart to Him, you feel His tender care.

In addition, prayer is a purification process. God changes more than just your outlook on external things; He opens your eyes to aspects of your behavior and attitude that were not obvious before. As you respond to His conviction and make the appropriate changes through His strength, your character is molded more and more into the likeness of Jesus.

A prayer journal will help you observe and chronicle this process for yourself and others.

Lord, I cherish the ways You’ve answered me in the past. Thank You for loving me and working in my life.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 301). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 14 Your Way or God’s Way?

Scripture reading: Psalm 119:129–136

Key verse: Psalm 27:11

Teach me Your way, O Lord,

And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.

A father carefully explained the basics of safe driving to his newly licensed son. The boy ignored the message: “Dad, I already know how to drive. There’s nothing you can really tell me.” But a subsequent trip to the grocery store ended with a thud in the parking lot—the result of rear-ending a slow-moving vehicle.

We sometimes operate in the same stubborn manner. We make our plans, do it our way, and tag God onto the end. But since God’s ways are higher—different and better—than ours, we do well to follow His plan of action.

How can you know God’s ways when the path is unclear, the next step tentative at best? The best means to know God’s way is to know His Word. God’s Word expresses His will and character; and the better you know it, the more familiar you are with His ways.

Just as important is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, your Guide for rough ground and Teacher for perplexing circumstances. God is not reluctant to help you in time of need; you simply need to confess your helplessness and sincerely lean your weight on the Holy Spirit’s ability.

Tell God you want to know His way in your situation. Then expect Him to show you. You won’t be disappointed.

God, I want to know Your plan. Show me. Be my Guide through perplexing circumstances.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 301). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Mailbag: Should Christians listen to “Reckless Love”?

Michelle Lesley

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be preparing to speak at the Cruciform
conference, so I’ll be re-running some popular articles from the archives.
I hope you’ll enjoy this one.

Originally published May 28, 2018

Should Christians listen to the song Reckless Love? Should churches use this song in their worship services or other activities? Aren’t songs like this OK if they point people to Jesus and the lyrics don’t blatantly contradict Scripture?

Goodness, I have never seen so much buzz over whether or not a particular song is OK to listen to or use at church. Regardless of your opinion of the song itself, I think we could all agree that one awesome thing that has come out of the Reckless Love debate is that it has encouraged Christians to actually look at the lyrics of, and think theologically about, the songs they listen to on the…

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Oligarchs Will Crash System to Boot Trump – Paul Craig Roberts

Article Image
https://usawatchdog.com, By Greg Hunter

Dr. Roberts, who has a PhD in Economics and is a former Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan Administration, predicts the NWO will take down the financial system as a last resort if all else fails. Dr. Roberts explains, “Now, if they can’t get Trump out, they will crash it. There will be a big crash before the election, and people will blame Trump. That’s about how smart Americans are. Now, there is one constraint for the Fed doing that because the Fed is a tool of the New York banks. If they crash the economy, they are going to crash those New York banks. That’s the only restraint on the elites. That’s their ultimate nuke. If they can’t get him out, they will say, okay, we are going to bring down the economy and too bad for the New York Banks, or they will find some special way to bail them out while everything else goes: the pension funds, the hedge funds, the mutual funds. They will wipe us out in order to get rid of Trump.”

Russia Brokers Deal Between SDF, Assad as Turkey Continues Invasion | CBNNews.com

On Sunday the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) struck a deal with the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad to push back Turkey’s invasion into northeast Syria. Russia mediated the deal and the move changes the complexion of the war with unseen and perhaps disastrous consequences for the Middle East.

Source: Russia Brokers Deal Between SDF, Assad as Turkey Continues Invasion

More money is being pulled out of stock funds than at any point in the last 10 years | Business Insider

Associated Press

  • Investors pulled roughly $60 billion from stock funds in the third quarter, marking the largest equity outflow since 2009, according to Morningstar data cited by the Wall Street Journal.
  • The trend follows summer volatility in equity markets as global economic slowdown and trade tensions. Bonds took in more than $118 billion in the third quarter, and money markets added $225 billion in investor capital.
  • Management firms have seen new competition in recent months as trading platforms slash commission fees and robo-advisors offer high-yield savings accounts.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Investors pulled roughly $60 billion from stock funds in the third quarter, marking the largest equity outflow since 2009, according to Morningstar data cited by the Wall Street Journal.

The trend follows heightened US-China trade tensions and a global economic slowdown — just some of the factors that roiled equity markets through summer. Equity fund inflows and outflows don’t account for all investments in US stocks, but the multibillion-dollar shifts hint at how major players expect markets to perform in the near future.

While investors pulled money from funds, they sank more capital into traditionally safer assets. Bond funds took in over $118 billion over the same period, according to Morningstar, while money-market funds saw a net inflow of $225 billion.

Read more: The man responsible for the finances of NYC’s richest millennials details the road to mastering and growing your wealth in 3 simple steps

Investors have also been driven away from expensive funds as competitors lower the costs of investing. Charles Schwab, E*Trade, and TD Ameritrade were among the slew of brokerages that recently slashed commission fees from their trading platforms in a bid to boost customer value.

A rapid rise in passive investment platforms and high-yield savings accounts has also pulled interest from fee-laden money managers. Zero-commission trading startup Robinhood opened the waitlist for its new Cash Management feature on October 8. The service will pay users 2.05% interest on their uninvested cash.

Robo-advisors like Betterment and Wealthfront already offer high-yield savings accounts with similar interest rates.

The equity outflow arrives just days before money-management firms begin reporting third-quarter earnings. BlackRock announces its latest figures Tuesday, with State Street and Brookfield reporting in the following weeks.

Source: More money is being pulled out of stock funds than at any point in the last 10 years


Thomas Littleton                                                                                                   10/ 14 /2019


Betrayal today is so commonplace it is often unnoticed . Perhaps it is because it has become expected and we no longer care.We respond with little more than a shrug. This may even be an acquired skill to ensure survival. It is correctly stated “Those who expect little will not be disappointed.” Yet not all betrayal is equal.

Spiritual leaders who betray the trust and position they are assigned by divine appointment sell short not only the flock of God under their care but the Good Shepherd Himself. Judas betrayal was foretold -even on the night it took place but that did not lessen his guilt or accountability or alter his fate. Judas paid a high price for his thirty pieces of silver and so too will the modern evangelical sell outs -those followers of Judas whose spines have turned to rubber ,hearts have grown cold ,and convictions either never existed or have become like silly putty left exposed to the sun.

Some may only be going along with the prevailing winds of culture but others are enemies of the CROSS of CHRIST. They know who they are . Betrayers as used here mean evangelical leaders who allow themselves to be taken for biblical conservatives but drive narrative that undermine the very values their hearers take them as espousing . Hiding progressive politics behind historic theological positions is a betrayal of the kind of trust invested to those who play this game . If the narratives were coming out of true Biblical conviction by these leaders then there would be no need to source or coordinate them from progressive political and social science think tanks. Would there ?


There are five major areas of betrayal rising on the evangelical horizon today. Take the time to look a them in this writers VIEW -of deepening order of importance and decide for yourself about the gravity of each and the long range error these betrayals bring with them.








In this article we will look at Evangelical Political Betrayal.

Political life is , at its core ,a life of betrayal . This is universally true because political life requires making promises its betrayer cannot keep and endless efforts to be all things to all constituents . Today we see spiritual leaders forming a whole new type of political betrayal.  This one is framed around a false gospel and laced with talking points from the social sciences and left wing think tanks. This betrayal is made to sound Christian with the overuse of hybrid theological jargon which people like Tim Keller seem willing to simply make up along the way as needed. The political engagement stew is then salted with some bible verses tossed in and then published like a global VBS lesson for spiritual children and made to especially appeal to the idealism of the next generation.It really appears to be more like  a set of cheap shots and sucker punches to the intellect and biblical foundation of believers . And yes- they do appear to assume that we are all too stupid to notice .

Example of the rhetoric : (stop when you have had enough )












There was a gathering of LEADING EVANGELICAL THINKERS called by Doug Birdsall because, in his words he was ” fearful that this association with Trump now threatened the focus on personal salvation”. Nice of him to be concerned about other believers salvation just because he does not like how the vote. Over 50 leaders gathered secretly at Wheaton to discuss these issues. One blogger likened  the closed door meetings to a Bilderberg Group approach for solving evangelicalism problems .


“Doug Birdsall, the honorary chair of the Lausanne Movement, an international evangelical organization, decided to move ahead with a two-day “consultation” for evangelical leaders that he had been mulling. According to Birdsall, its aim would be to revitalize Graham’s original mission and to discuss the future of the faith.

In the e-mail invitation Birdsall sent to participants, he wrote that the meeting was “prompted by the challenges of distortions to evangelicalism that have permeated both the media and culture since the 2016 election.” He recruited Harold Smith, the president of the Christianity Today ministry, which publishes the evangelical magazine of the same name founded by Graham, in 1956; Claude Alexander, a respected pastor in North Carolina; and Philip Ryken, the president of Wheaton College, in Illinois, to help host the gathering. Jenny Yang, a vice-president with World Relief, a refugee-resettlement group, and Gabriel Salguero, the president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, were asked to co-chair. (I was invited to attend because for several years I was the managing editor of Christianity Today.) Like many other young Christians, the 2016 Presidential election left me with an acute sense of abandonment.

Birdsall’s invitation stated that the “support of ‘eighty-one per cent of self-identifying white evangelicals’ for Donald Trump is a call to self-reflection on the current condition of Evangelicalism.” Nevertheless, he insisted, “Our purpose . . . is neither political nor centered on public policy.”

Last week, more than fifty pastors, scholars, and college presidents converged on the Billy Graham Center, at Wheaton, for the meeting. Participants included the Presbyterian pastors Timothy Keller and John Ortberg, and also Mark Noll, a historian of American evangelicalism who is perhaps best known for his book “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind,” a critique of the movement’s anti-intellectual bent.”

Image result for tim keller political quotes

( Photo from Christian Post article https://www.christianpost.com/books/tim-keller-evangelicals-politics-social-justice-how-churches-should-treat-non-christians.html


Why are the “conservative evangelical ” leaders who found great joy in being in the company of the Obama administration so upset about Trump being President ?


Love him or hate him Donald Trump altered the US political landscape forever. Presidential politics are a billion dollar industry since the 2008 election and now it is likely to become more and more a billionaire’s game. What is really at issue is the future of Conservative Christian conviction reflected in voting patterns .

Leadership in the Old Testament times was a mixed bag. Leaders often are. Moore and Keller and others desire to shame Christians for voting the best they can. The goal goes beyond voting habits to Christian public identity . Betrayers want American Christians to disown their convictions reflected in their political stand but also call openly for evangelicals to disown the very name or label “evangelical ” along with the very identity . The call is repeated over and over but the goal is not to find a Gospel stance in political engagement but rather to move believers left of center on EVERY

Ironically the spiritual political betrayers are everywhere and seldom even try to hide their betrayal . “Never Trumper Evangelical” leaders like Russell Moore and Tim Keller appear willing to brazenly feed themselves without fear among the flock while they sell you the snake oil of progressive political talking points and assert them as “gospel values ” reflected in the “justice policies” of the Democratic Party. All this takes place while one of the most honest people in the Democratic loop Cecile Richards will plainly tell you “you cannot be a Democrat unless you support ABORTION”. Worst of all your children are being sold this bill of goods at every hand.Even in Christian media , educational institutions ,(where parents are often paying the tuition ) and in your very own churches .  Soon it is likely  Planned Parenthood will have no problem finding even more support from “conservative Christians ” . Liberal churches are already devotees at these pagan alter fires.


So who is HONEST here ? Is it the woman whose organizations budget reached over a billion dollars a year by 2015 by being faithful to its supporters who want to promote “women’s rights to choose” and control “global birth rates ” ? Or is it the SBC “ethicist “Russell Moore and the PCA’s new C S Lewis Tim Keller who wrap their narratives in theological packaging and offer answers and responses to the Christian masses which undermine one of the most black and white convictional issues of our time or any time? Sadly the former head of Planned Parenthood – perpetrator of global child slaughter that would make the priest of  Moloch blush – is more honest than our evangelical talking heads in their political talking points.

This art of theological deceit is practiced across the realm of those leaders in network with Moore and Keller. They cover a range of issues in their casting the vision of a new liberal Christianity with conservative dressing but none more revealing than in the issue of abortion . You can read at this link as Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman or The Gospel Coalition/ 9MARKS / ERLC practice the talking points calling out Christians for being “single issue voters”. How dare we think the value of life can be distilled into a single issue i.e. saving babies from slaughter ?


If we have been slain it was either by the hand of our own or the willingness to deliver Christians  up to their slayers. David did not escape his betrayal of Uriah the Hittite even though it was a hand other than Davids who did the deed. Guilt will find the shedder of innocent blood. It is  had and fast rule of life in God’s economy .Betrayal  results in death .If not  death of the person betrayed – Betrayal does bring about the death of Hope and Trust and often the Hope of the Future .In the worst of cases it brings about the death of the most precious commodity -the FAITH of the betrayed. This is the worst of all possible results. Many are being and have been so betrayed by spiritual leadership today that their very faith in God and His Word are in crisis. While modern day betrayers count their thirty pieces of silver , build their etifacies and organizations and write endless books and conference -many do so over the scattered dry bones of their victims .

We must ask and answer again the question “can these bones live?”. The 2020 election cycle is well inplay . So are the betrayers of your faith and ,if the have their way’ the betrayers of your vote and of life as we know it in America .