Daily Archives: October 29, 2019

October 29 Encouraging Others

Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 2:17–20

Key Verse: Nehemiah 2:18

And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work.

Yesterday we discovered how the prophet Nehemiah used prayer to overcome discouragement. Today, as we move to the second chapter of Nehemiah, we will see how he used the same situation to encourage others to be successful.

Traveling to Jerusalem to assist with the reconstruction of the destroyed city walls, Nehemiah was immediately confronted with a chance to testify to others concerning God’s goodness. He told his people of God’s guidance and care. Seeing his confidence in the Lord, the people began to help with his project.

Then, in verse 19, we see that as he worked, Nehemiah was challenged by doubters and mockers. They constantly questioned him, but despite their questions, the prophet remained strong, giving glory to God, in whom his trust lay.

Once again we can learn a valuable lesson from Nehemiah’s example. When faced with the daunting task of rebuilding the fallen city walls, he did not fear his enemies, nor did he collapse under pressure from skeptics. The Lord had given him a task, and he was bound to complete it no matter what obstacles stood in his way.

What was the source of this confidence? Nehemiah’s foundation of faith was firmly established upon the God of promise. Therefore, not only was he able to move forward with confidence, he was also able to encourage others to trust in the Source of his strength.

Lord, help me to keep You at my core, so that others can be encouraged by the faith they see at work in me.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 316). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 29 The Benefits of Meditation

Scripture Reading: Psalm 145

Key Verse: Psalm 145:5

I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works.

Meditation on God’s Word brings countless benefits to your relationship with the Lord. Do you long for deeper intimacy? Do you want the source of strength that comes from acknowledging God as Provider? Coming before the Lord with a genuine desire to know Him more is the foundation of your faith.

Meditation quiets your spirit. You cannot humble yourself before God and open up your thoughts and feelings to Him without experiencing His gentle touch. Your spirit calms down from the stress of living as you realize how much He cares for you.

Meditation purifies your heart. Have you ever been reading your Bible and felt God tugging at your heart about something you said or did? That is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is making you more like Christ. In the process called sanctification, God brings your heart in tune with His.

Meditation increases your discernment. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16 nasb). You’ll know what is right by the standard of His Word.

Meditation confirms good counsel and exposes the bad. When you know what God says, you can evaluate the words of others. Compare all counsel to God’s Word before you accept it. Meditation is the first step to knowing what He says.

O God, I wait before You. Please quiet my spirit, purify my heart, and increase my discernment. Confirm the good counsel I receive, and expose the bad. Strengthen the foundation of my faith.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 316). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 29 The Quiet Time

Scripture reading: Psalm 62:1–12

Key verse: Psalm 62:5

My soul, wait silently for God alone,

For my expectation is from Him.

You may be waiting for God to answer your prayers, but are you listening? There is a reason our daily devotion and prayer time is called quiet time; we are supposed to be still and quiet before Him. It is easiest to hear a still small voice when all is silent. Yet in the hustle and bustle of a workaday world it is easy to fall into a rut of simply reporting requests to God and walking away without taking the time to be quiet and listen.

Patrick Morley comments on the problem:

Our quiet times often become yet another perfunctory duty of the Christian life, another activity to verify our Christianity to ourselves. When this happens, the quiet time has become secularized. We cannot apply worldly methods to spiritual needs.

We are too busy. The suffocating pace of secular society subtly strangles our personal devotions. We must come apart to meet with the Lord. But, it seems we can barely function without the dull drone of a radio or a television in the background.

Some of us have forgotten why we take time, and with Whom we spend it. Instead of thinking of devotions in terms of what we want from God, perhaps some of us need to reevaluate. Let us go and meet with God and humbly quiet ourselves before the throne of His grace. Leave the religious party horns and hats to others.

Help me be quiet in Your presence, Lord, then speak to me with a still small voice.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 316). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The martyrdom of Kayla Mueller: The transforming power of courage — Denison Forum

Listen to The Daily Article Podcast, then subscribe.

Kayla Mueller was born in Prescott, Arizona. She attended Northern Arizona University, where she graduated in two and a half years with a political science degree.

No one who knew Kayla could have imagined the way her life would end or that the US Special Forces operation to capture or kill her captor would be dedicated to her.

But that’s just part of her incredible story.

“The best composts for compassion” 

Kayla’s ministry began in middle school when she volunteered to serve in homeless shelters. In high school, she raised awareness about the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and won the 2007 Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award for her work with Americorps and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

In college, she was active with United Christian Ministries. Her minister describes her as “a humble, down-to-earth girl who liked to ease the suffering of just one person. Small, seemingly insignificant gestures of compassion did not escape her.”

While in college, she traveled to India, Israel, and the Palestinian territories on volunteer missions. In Arizona, she worked at an HIV/AIDS clinic.

In December 2012, Kayla traveled to the Turkey-Syria border to provide aid to Syrian refugees. Grieved about the suffering she witnessed, she wrote in her blog at the time, “Anger, sadness, and fear are the best composts for compassion.”

On August 3, 2013, she and a friend visited a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo, Syria, to repair the hospital’s internet connection. They were reportedly taken captive by ISIS the next day.

“The only one you really have is God” 

Kayla was not heard from again until the next spring. Then she sent a remarkable letter to her family through cell mates who were released. She stated that she had been “treated w/the utmost respect + kindness,” clearly writing before she faced the torture that was to come.

She noted: “I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no one else.”

Kayla added: “I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free.” She assured her family, “I have a lot of fight left inside of me. I am not breaking down + I will not give in no matter how long it takes.”

She then testified: “I know you would want me to remain strong. That is exactly what I am doing.”

“It is better for you to escape alone.” 

Kayla Mueller would “remain strong” across the horrific ordeal to come.

According to US officials, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi tortured and repeatedly raped her at his compound before announcing in February 2015 that she had died. Her body has never been recovered.

However, her fellow hostages say she never surrendered hope and selflessly put the welfare of fellow captives above her own. One remembered Kayla’s “strong faith that gave her a lot of strength” and added: “As a person, she was a very good friend. She was smart. She was fun to be with. She was very kind, extremely generous.”

Another former hostage told reporters that Kayla passed up a chance to escape in order to increase the odds of escape for a group of teenage girls in captivity with her. They found a way to sneak out of al-Baghdadi’s house late one night and asked her to come with them. She told them, “No, because I am American. If I escape with you, they will do everything to find us again. It is better for you to escape alone. I will stay here.”

At one point, she and several other hostages were watched by Mohammed Emwazi, who was later dubbed “Jihadi John” after he carried out the beheadings and killings of ten hostages. When one of his fellow guards claimed that Kayla had converted to Islam, she denied his claim. A hostage who witnessed her courage said, “I would not have had the guts to say that. . . . It was very clear that all of us were impressed by the strength she showed in front of us. That was very clear.”

How to be a “true follower of Christ” 

Last Saturday evening, a US Special Forces operation dedicated to Kayla Mueller led to the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. His caliphate had already been destroyed; he was hiding in a cave and using his children as human shields when he died.

He will be remembered as one of history’s worst criminals. Kayla Mueller will be remembered as one of history’s most courageous martyrs.

Now it is up to us to make her story our own.

If you’re reading this Daily Article in America, you’re probably not facing martyrdom for your faith. If you’re one of our readers in China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, or Iran, you are facing the very real possibility of dying for Jesus.

Wherever you live, your decision to serve your Lord comes at a cost. Jesus was clear: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Today is the day to decide that we will follow Jesus wherever he leads at whatever the cost. Today is the day to respond to Kayla Mueller’s faith by emulating her courage.

A. W. Tozer: “The true follower of Christ will not ask, ‘If I embrace this truth, what will it cost me?’ Rather, he will say, ‘This is truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may!’”

Will you be a “true follower of Christ” today?

NOTE: First15 is now offering their first printed collection of devotionals. Foundations contains five weeks of devotionals on centering yourself in the Lord and setting a firm foundation for the new year. With this print edition, you can pull away from the distraction of technology to meet with God in a new way. Plus, all orders received this month will receive a free set of beautifully designed reflection cards to carry your daily experience with God into a truly abiding relationship. Request your copy of Foundations today.

 

via The martyrdom of Kayla Mueller: The transforming power of courage — Denison Forum

More Than Half Of Americans Want The Government To Censor Speech | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

The results of a new survey are truly disturbing. It was discovered that more than half of Americans want themselves, others, and the media censored by the government. Unfortunately, instead of learning from history, people are actually asking for a repeat of Nazi Germany or the gulags of the Soviet Union.

The First Amendment, which guarantees Americans freedom of speech, should be overhauled to reflect current cultural norms, according to 51 percent of the respondents to a survey published on Wednesday by the Campaign for Free Speech. The campaign is hoping to call attention to the dire state of Americans’ preeminent civil rights with the poll, which breaks down opposition along gender, race, class, and educational lines.

History will continue to repeat until humans learn the lessons of the past.  Censorship is always necessary for tyranny to thrive.

The younger respondents were, the more they supported overhauling the law to restrict speech. However, college graduates were the least likely of all educational groupings to support the restrictions, indicating that the increasingly regulated speech environment at American universities may be backfiring in some cases and producing adults who cherish their rights because they know what it’s like to be deprived of them. –RT

What was also horrifying, is that over half of millennials believe “hate speech” should be against the law, though no definition of “hate speech” was given (and indeed the definition tends to vary given the time and place) during the survey. Most of those who want a ban on such speech consider jail time an appropriate penalty, although female respondents were the least supportive of such draconian sentencing, according to a report by RT.

And it isn’t just the free speech of their fellow Americans that some people want to be censored.  They also want what is essentially, state-owned media.  In fact, 57 % of respondents support government action against “newspapers and TV stations that publish content that is biased, inflammatory, or false,” with nearly half of those agreeing such offenses should carry a jail sentence.  That means the government will get to decide the official narrative, and those who have evidence otherwise or dare to speculate against the government would be kidnapped and forced to spend time in jail.

The media is not particularly well-liked in 2019, with the average American trusting the press less even than lawyers and members of Congress, and people over 65 years-old were the only group in which the majority opposed punitive government regulation. But using the government to force the media to parrot the official narrative will only result in absolute brainwashing without any resemblance of the free-thinking that made society great left.  A majority of Americans want the government to decide what the truth is and then punish those who disagree.

Buckle up; because 2020 is going to be a bumpy ride.  As far as basic human rights go, expect to start feeling enslaved in the very near future.

Source: More Than Half Of Americans Want The Government To Censor Speech

Inspired By New Friendship With Joel Osteen, Kanye West Launches ‘Sunday Service Experience’ Online Store Selling $250 ‘Jesus Is King’ Sweatshirts — Now The End Begins

Kanye West has launched his online shop where you can purchase very mediocrely-designed sweatshirts with matching pants for a mere $390 for the set

Kanye West shocked the world last month when he announced he had become a ‘born again Christian’ and was preparing to drop a new album entitled ‘Jesus Is King‘. No sooner had that happened when he again shocked the world by announcing a new-found friendship with motivational speaker and false bible teacher Joel Osteen.

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:1-3 (KJV)

Well, Kanye must have taken a long, hard look at Joel Osteen’s business model and decided that the ‘Jesus business’ is a pretty good business to be in. Perhaps you recall Joel selling tickets to his “revival show‘ for $850 apiece, the ‘Your Best Life Now board game‘, and the endless runs on the New York Times best-seller list. So now Kanye West has launched his online shop where you can purchase very mediocrely-designed ‘Jesus Is King’ sweatshirts with matching pants for a mere $390 for the set. Amen, brother! 🙄

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:17,18 (KJV)

So this confirms my initial suspicions that the whole ‘Jesus Is King‘ and Sunday Service Experience is just another Kanye West “joint” designed to promote himself by any means possible. And in a very predictable move, you can look forward to the ‘Jesus Is Born’ Christmas album dropping in December. No, I’m not kidding but I wish I was. Here is a review of his current album, which I trust you will find most insightful.

The Cash-Is-King Sermons of Kanye West

FROM THE RINGER: In 2015, Atlanta-based minister Creflo Dollar decided to put his faith in God, and in the generosity of his sizable following, and purchase a $65 million jet. The jet, Dollar said, would allow him to “safely and swiftly share the good news of the gospel worldwide.” It’d be a Gulfstream G650—the most expensive Gulfstream—reflecting the sterling standard of blessing you could hope to receive at Dollar Ministries. When people were understandably confused about why the good pastor couldn’t just fly commercial, Dollar answered back in sermon, and as it is, his response was a pretty good summary of prosperity theology: “I can believe God as long as I want to! If I wanna believe God for a $65 million plane, you can’t stop me from dreamin’!” (It’s true, we can’t, not really.)

On Kanye West’s new gospel album Jesus Is King, out last Friday, he raps with similar conviction about charging extortionate merch prices. Following a highly visible and protracted fall from grace that I refuse to break down any further because I would sooner die, Kanye has returned to the church. His solvency is now a godly concern, and the devil works in straightforward but nonetheless evil ways, like through operating taxes and overhead cost. “I can’t be out here dancing with the stars,” Kanye says on “On God,” a song where he clumsily shifts accountability for the past few years of his public life onto a higher power. It’s only made listenable by a high-spirited Pi’erre Bourne beat, which sounds like plug-and-play superhero theme music. If Kanye West was ever a lightning rod, an irresistible force that remade popular American music in his image several times over, he’s now more like a personification of Tony Robbins’s flattest aphorisms standing on a Sunday school lesson book and a stack of tarot cards in an oversized Balenciaga jacket. His swift, wholesale change from superstar rapper to megachurch pastor can’t come as a complete surprise, though. He’s always been a fan of Ma$e.

The greatest sin of Jesus Is King is that it’s boring, and Kanye—when not flattening literal centuries’ worth of text and thought about religious custom into a song about Chick-fil-A’s store hours—is inert, ineffectual, and generally difficult to believe in this space. Much like a choral arrangement of “So Anxious.” The only song truly deserving of a second listen, if just to appreciate West’s skill as a producer, is “Follow God”—with its gravelly Whole Truth sample and pounding drums, it could be a good piece of boom-bap in the hands of someone who still had some interest in rapping. How could Kanye, when there are tax shelters and low-income housing communities and hydrogen-powered iPlanes to build? Now that it’s not just the Yeezy Supply line, the music feels even more like an obligation. Jesus Is King is a way to wipe away his transgressions wholesale rather than thoughtfully engage with them. Go figure.

“I will no longer entertain—I’m not here for anyone’s entertainment,” West said during an interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1, during which he proclaimed himself to be “the greatest human artist of all time.” He also announced that another album, Jesus Is Born, will be coming out on Christmas Day. READ MORE

Christianity, Kanye & Chick-Fil-A

Interesting conversation on Kanye’s “conversion”, but made before launch of online merch store. 

Pastor Joel Osteen’s Full Sermon “The Power of ‘I Am’”

Is Kanye West harnessing the “power of I am” preached by motivational speaker and false teacher Joel Osteen? Sure looks like it. 

via Inspired By New Friendship With Joel Osteen, Kanye West Launches ‘Sunday Service Experience’ Online Store Selling $250 ‘Jesus Is King’ Sweatshirts — Now The End Begins

The Spiritual Damage Caused By the Rebellion of Women Preachers in the Church — Christian Research Network

“More than 20 years have elapsed since a group of feminist scholars at Fuller Seminary realized that the truths concerning the economic Trinity (the specific roles of the members of the Trinity in our redemption) posed a threat to the assumptions of feminism. In a paper that rocked the seminary, these feminists proposed that any member of the Holy Trinity could have become the incarnate Son of God.”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  Man’s natural wisdom is perpetually pitted against the wisdom of Almighty God. And, this opposition to God’s wisdom is most commonly disguised as pragmatism. In fact, numerous heresies frequently began as ‘pragmatic’ decisions….

But, pragmatism is seldom static, it inevitably, however slowly, creeps in the direction of man-centeredness — losing along the way the overarching goal of exalting God and His sovereign and infallible ways. The 20th Century has certainly witnessed this drift away from theo-centricity in the spread of Arminianism and its resultant marketing of the church.

Now, of late, in its continued tangle with social justice issues, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is faced with yet another pragmatic decision. Should Beth Moore’s prolific ministry be validated and defended in the interest of popularity, profit, and peace? Permit this author to express the question in a more generic manner, without using proper names or denominations:  View article →

Research

Progressive Christianity

via The Spiritual Damage Caused By the Rebellion of Women Preachers in the Church — Christian Research Network

October 29, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

27 It is understandable, then, how Paul concludes vv. 12–27: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” This is how Paul began the discussion about the body in v. 12, and now he ends it in a similar manner. These two verses frame the entire discussion of the church as the body of Christ.[1]


27 This sentence, which ties all the preceding pieces together, spells out what the Corinthians must have known right along, that the foregoing analogies were all about them. In v. 12 Paul asserted that the body, with its diversity in unity, is like Christ. Now he says plainly, “you are the5 body of Christ,” meaning that collectively in their common relationship to Christ through the Spirit they are his one body (vv. 12–13). At the same time “each one of you is a part of it,” meaning that individually they make up the many parts (v. 14). As the next verses make plain, this means that individually they are members with a variety of “assigned” parts. As before, the emphasis lies on the many who give the one body its necessary diversity.[2]


12:27 / Verses 27–31a apply and explain the metaphor of the church as the body of Christ in relation to the Corinthians’ situation. Verse 27 begins with the bold declaration, you are the body of Christ. This statement means there is diversity among the Corinthian Christians in terms of their gifts, although they are united by God’s design and work among them. Despite the differences, each one … is a part of the body, and each and all are necessary for the good of the whole.[3]


27. You are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

  • “You are the body of Christ.” Paul addresses the members of the Corinthian church with the personal pronoun you. They are the people who have been made holy in Christ Jesus and are called to be holy (1:2). Yet these people quarreled, caused divisions, failed to expel an immoral brother, brought lawsuits against fellow brothers, criticized the apostles, and did not properly observe the Lord’s Supper. In spite of all these shortcomings, Paul tells the Corinthians that they are the body of Christ.

In the Greek text, Paul uses the noun body in the absolute sense of the word. That is, the word appears without the definite article which, for the sake of acceptable English, we have supplied. Paul does not say “a body” or “the body,” but merely “body” to indicate that this is the one and only, for there is no other body of Christ. He is not referring to Christ’s physical body but rather speaks figuratively about the church as Christ’s body (e.g., Eph. 1:23; Col. 1:24). To say it differently, Paul states that the church to which the Corinthians belong is one entity without division.

The church as Christ’s figurative body exists in him and belongs to him. It is genuinely united with Christ, for every individual member is by faith included in him. Each local congregation is a microcosm of the entire church, so that everyone who observes the congregation’s various functions knows that this body is the church in action. Here Paul states the principle of unity in multiplicity. In the next clause he notes multiplicity in unity.

  • “And individually members of it.” We have no information about the size of the Corinthian church, but Paul avers that every individual member is part of Christ’s body. By saying this, Paul underscores the individuality of the members, for each has received a different gift from the Lord. With these gifts and functions at their disposal, all the members together contribute to the well-being of the Christian community.[4]

12:27. Paul next applied the analogy of the human body to the church as the body of Christ. He began with the declaration, Now you are the body of Christ. Paul used this metaphor for the church many times in this letter and in other epistles (Rom. 12:5; Eph. 3:6). Here he focused on the diversity and honor of the various members of Christ’s body, starting with this general assertion and then pointing to each person in the church at Corinth. Each one is a part of the body. Without exception every person who has trusted Christ receives a place in the body of Christ.[5]


27 The Corinthians are the body of Christ and each one of them is part of it. Some felt superior and as a result others were made to feel inferior in their ministry. They were tempted to withdraw, or actually withdrew, from any active role in the Christian meeting. Just as some Corinthians failed to recognize the body in 11:29, so here they exercised their ministry in a way which had a negative effect on other members. They showed partiality in their response to others—something which clearly happened in secular society.[6]


12:27 Paul reminds the Corinthians that they are the body of Christ. This cannot mean the Body of Christ in its totality. Neither can it mean a Body of Christ, since there is only one Body. It can only mean that they collectively formed a microcosm or miniature of the Body of Christ. Individually each one is a member of that great cooperative society. As such he should fulfill his function without any feeling of pride, independence, envy, or worthlessness.[7]


[1] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 369). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Fee, G. D. (1987). The First Epistle to the Corinthians (pp. 617–618). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (p. 266). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, p. 440). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 220). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Winter, B. (1994). 1 Corinthians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1181). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[7] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1794). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

William Lane Craig explains how Christianity explains evil and suffering

WINTERY KNIGHT

A long journey through the night A long journey through the night

A lot of people in the West complain too much about any little suffering they have to experience. But sometimes, when a very harsh suffering is felt by someone who has tried to follow Jesus, an explanation is necessary. I found something very good on the Reasonable Faith web site, written by Dr. William Lane Craig.

He makes the following points:

  1. We are not in a good position to assess the probability of whether God has morally sufficient reasons for the evils that occur.
  2. The Christian faith entails doctrines that increase the probability of the co-existence of God and evil.
  3. Relative to the full scope of the evidence, God’s existence is probable.

I’ve written before about point #1, in which Dr. Craig’s describes the limitations of human knowledge that make it hard for us to know for certain that a specific evil or suffering…

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Stream the Luther Documentary for Free — Ligonier Ministries Blog

More than five hundred years ago, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg. Little did he know how the Lord would use him to ignite a movement that would change the world.

For a limited time, you can stream Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer for free on Ligonier’s YouTube channel. Celebrate Reformation Week by remembering the events God used in Luther’s life that led him to rediscover the gospel of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Tell your friends about this film or watch it together.

To dig even deeper into Luther’s story and significance, you can also download Ligonier’s free accompanying study guide.

With a holy boldness, Martin Luther took his stand contra mundum, against the world.” —R.C. Sproul

via Stream the Luther Documentary for Free — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Praise and Prayer for Kanye — Denny Burk

Over the weekend, I had a chance to listen to Kanye West’s new album and to watch some interviews with him. It’s an amazing thing to watch because everything I’ve seen points to a radical conversion to Jesus Christ. In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel last week, Kimmel asks West, “Would you consider yourself to be a Christian music artist now?”

West responds, “I’m just a Christian everything.”

That is certainly clear in the lyrics of West’s new album “Jesus is King.” The track “Selah” has a line that gets to the heart of West’s conversion:

Everybody wanted Yandhi
Then Jesus Christ did the laundry

“Yahndi” was the album that fans expected West to release a year ago, but “Jesus Is King” is what they got instead. The new work testifies to a complete conversion of the man. Praise God for that.

As I was looking at all this over the weekend, it became clear that West is proclaiming his new found faith with the same abandon that he seems to approach everything in his life. He’s all in. And he’s being bold. So bold that he is daring speak against secular idols. He’s threatening progressive idols in a way reminiscent of Acts 19:23-41. He will likely elicit the same response. And that is what has raised my concern for this young convert.

I’ve been thinking about the parable of the soils and how “affliction and persecution” can choke the word of God out in new believers (Matt. 13:21). I think West is likely in for enormous backlash and rejection from the progressive community of artists and listeners that formerly accepted and lauded his work. I hope it won’t be, but it seems like the pressure and public scrutiny on him and his new faith might prove to be more intense than any of us can imagine.

Paul had a similar concern for the Thessalonians in the immediate aftermath of their conversion. Paul himself had evangelized them and led them to Christ (Acts 17:1-10). He was only with the Thessalonians for about three weeks before he was driven out of the city by persecution. By the time Paul writes to these young converts in 1 Thessalonians, it is clear that Paul is concerned about them. He left these new believers in the midst of a persecution after only a few weeks of instruction in the faith. He was concerned that they might cave under the pressure:

1 Thess. 3:4-5
4 For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor should be in vain.

Paul actually suggests that the pressure might cause some of them to fall away. That he said so is an expression of his tender pastoral concern for them, not of his doubts about the power of God to save to the uttermost.

So, yes. I am praising God for Kanye West’s conversion. Nothing is impossible with God. But I am also concerned for the opposition he is up against. The reality of this opposition means that we need to pray for this brother, and pray for him big time.

I’m thinking of the words that Jesus gave to Peter because of the trials Jesus knew Peter was about to face. Maybe it can be our prayer for brother Kanye: “Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

via Praise and Prayer for Kanye — Denny Burk

Millennials: Communism is Cool, Trump a Threat to World Peace — David Fiorazo

According to a new poll, seventy percent of Millennials now support Communism – or at least they think they do – and they’re going to vote for socialists and Democrats. For those keeping score at home, that’s one in three youngsters who were brought up in the modern, atheistic, secular-progressive education system in America.

Not surprisingly, with the help of today’s media and Democrat Party, these same Millennials believe President Donald Trump is a bigger threat to world peace than North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Most of us born prior to 1980 learned the truth about socialism before history books were completely rewritten in government schools, what’s so bad about Communism and what kind of death and destruction have socialist leaders inflicted on the world?

In its fourth annual report on attitudes toward socialism, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation reveal some alarming trends among young people in the under-educated United States of Entertainment.

I hope you’re sitting down for this next one. Only 57% of Millennials believe the Declaration of Independence better “guarantees freedom and equality” over the Communist Manifesto. And, only 62% of future world shakers believe China is a communist country.

Socialism is a centrally planned economy in which the government controls all means of production. Is this confusing at all? Is this historical amnesia or is it the corruption of the left indoctrinating a generation of young people?

Marion Smith, executive director of Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation states:

“When we don’t educate our youngest generations about the historical truth of 100 million victims murdered at the hands of communist regimes over the past century, we shouldn’t be surprised at their willingness to embrace Marxist ideas; We need to redouble our efforts to educate America’s youth about …the dangers of socialism today.”

Most of us don’t understand how kids can go through junior high and high school and not come away with at least a basic understanding of economics and world history. We remember the Soviet Union and Red China, but today, a few obvious examples are Cuba and Venezuela.

Rather than the unbiased facts, too many students buy feelings-based liberal talking points about a softer brand of socialism. They follow people like congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, who wants to give them free stuff. Do they really believe capitalism is the problem? Yup. Ocasio-Cortez has said her generation has never known true prosperity.

This growing love affair with socialism coincides with a foggy understanding of economic philosophies and is a result of a corrupt, ideologically-driven public school curriculum. How else can you explain why even ten percent of Millennials say Trump is “responsible for more deaths and human rights abuses” than Russian leader Joseph Stalin who murdered tens of millions of people, or Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler?

The same way we can explain how 87% of high school students flunked a five-question test of basic knowledge about American history. These same students were also least likely to know who is on Mount Rushmore. Only 35 percent of them got it right.

Millennials generally see the world through their own emotions and experience, which prevents them from acknowledging the truth about life and world history. Combine that with the fact the progressive education system teaches them how bad America is and you can understand why they think the way they do.

People complain about the world and say they want equality, fairness, and justice. But do they really understand what they mean? Those same people are often the first to deny the God who created us, ignore the truth in the Bible, and criticize the Judeo-Christian principles that have set the foundation for the great freedoms and moral values we have in America.

We might not be able to re-educate people, but we can pray for God’s protection on this nation and speak the truth on these issues.

via Millennials: Communism is Cool, Trump a Threat to World Peace — David Fiorazo

October 29, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the U.S. military had killed the
person who likely would have succeeded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the leader
of Islamic State.

Democrats in Congress, answering Republican complaints that their
impeachment investigation of U.S. President Donald Trump is being conducted
in secret, plan a vote on Thursday on how to make their inquiry public, a
significant new stage in the probe.

The U.S. oil and corn industries will continue a long-running public battle
over America’s biofuels policy on Tuesday during a Congressional hearing
about the Trump administration’s use of “secret waivers” for refineries.

Iraqi security forces killed at least 14 people in the Shi’ite holy city of
Kerbala overnight after opening fire on protesters, medical and security
sources said, in a return to tactics denounced by the government’s own
internal inquiry.

The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said on Tuesday that
militant right-wingers were mixing with less radical conservatives,
blurring the lines to make extremism more acceptable and harder to detect.

German prosecutors have charged two Syrians with crimes against humanity
that include torturing and killing opposition activists, setting the stage
for the first trial of suspected members of President Bashar al-Assad’s
feared security service.

The U.S. government has extended temporary protection for Salvadorans
living in the United States by an extra year, U.S. Ambassador to El
Salvador Ronald Johnson said on Monday, in a possible sign of easing
tensions over migration.

Oil slipped to around $61 a barrel on Tuesday, falling for a second day,
pressured by expectations of a rise in U.S. crude inventories and doubts
that OPEC and its allies will cut oil output further in December.

Contracts to buy previously owned homes increased more than expected in
September, suggesting that the housing market was getting a lift from lower
mortgage rates though tight supply remains a constraint.

AP Top Stories

Tens of thousands of Los Angeles residents were ordered out of their homes
Monday, joining almost 200,000 Northern Californians previously forced to
flee sprawling wildfires fueled by high winds and drought conditions.

The remains of ISIS leader and founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were disposed
at sea after he died during the U.S. military raid that targeted his
compound in northwest Syria over the weekend, a U.S. official confirmed
Monday. Authorities would not reveal details about which U.S. Navy ship was
used for the burial or in which body of water it took place, but they told
ABC News that the procedure was similar to the one used to dispose of the
remains of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

An elected official in Arizona was suspended Monday after he was charged
with running a human smuggling scheme that brought pregnant women from the
Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give birth and then paid them to give up
their children for adoption.

A 6.6-magnitude quake struck the southern Philippines Tuesday, authorities
said, causing injuries and damaging buildings in a region still reeling
from a previous deadly tremor.

Pakistani authorities have closed a prominent art exhibition in Karachi
that sought to denounce police raids led by an infamous officer that had
killed hundreds of people in the southern port city, the artists, exhibit
organizers and rights activists said Tuesday.

Ending forced celibacy and ordaining female priests are among the reforms
needed to address the shortage of Catholic priests in Ireland, an
influential lobby group has said. The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP)
warned that if the decline in the number of serving priests is not halted
then members of the faith in Ireland face the prospect of being denied
church weddings and christenings.

Vietnamese customs discovered and seized about $4.3 billion of Chinese
aluminum falsely labeled “Made-in-Vietnam” before being shipped mostly to
the U.S., the Dan Tri news website reported, citing Nguyen Van Can, head of
the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

A Mississippi woman missing in Sequoia National Park was found safe Monday
after rescuers spotted an SOS spelled out in rocks.

A girl aged 11 claimed she jumped on the back of a crocodile and gouged its
eyes as it was trying to eat her friend near their homes in north-western
Zimbabwe.

BBC

Ukrainian government troops and Russian-backed separatists have begun
withdrawing from a key front-line area in eastern Ukraine.

A Nepali mountaineer and former British Marine has climbed the world’s
tallest 14 peaks in six months – beating an earlier record of almost eight
years.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and
its Zambian counterpart are appealing for $3.5m in donations to avert
“catastrophic” food insecurity that it says could affect 2.3 million
people.

A vaccine which could “revolutionize” tuberculosis treatment has been
unveiled by researchers.

WND

In an effort to remove justification for terrorism, a major Muslim
organization plans to abolish the term “infidel” as a reference to anyone
who rejects Islamic beliefs.

A crippling strain of polio virus is no more. Officials confirmed Thursday
that global health efforts have wiped it out, moving humanity one step
closer to completely eradicating the highly infectious virus from the
planet.

The House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that
would make animal cruelty a federal felony.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Oct. 29, 2019

The Foundation

“It behooves you, therefore, to think and act for yourself and your people. The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader; to pursue them requires not the aid of many counselors.” —Thomas Jefferson (1775)

Pelosi’s Gambit on Impeachment Vote

Democrat strategy is to keep Trump on the ropes and take back the Senate.


Trump and Officers Blast Chicago’s Top Cop

Police Chief Eddie Johnson stubbornly boycotts Trump’s speech in Chicago.


Warren’s $4.2 Trillion ‘Free’ Stuff

Adding up all of the Democrat’s proposals yields some really eye-popping numbers.


Durham Probe News a Good Sign for Accountability

With the probe becoming a criminal one, here’s hoping something comes of it.


High Schoolers Raise Money to Give Janitor a New Truck

Travis Kennedy worked at the school for over 22 years and didn’t realize his impact.


Video: Public Pensions — An Economic Time Bomb

Unfunded pensions are the reason entire cities and even states are facing bankruptcy.


Video: Social Disease Epidemic

Bill Whittle, Scott Ott, and Stephen Green on a new study on success and fame.



Today’s Opinion

Gary Bauer
Operation Kayla and the Left’s Meltdown
Cal Thomas
Another Terrorist Leader Bites the Dust
Rich Lowry
California Can’t Keep the Lights On
Stephen Moore
Trump Economy Surges, Biden and Obama Hog the Credit
Dennis Prager
‘Your Past Is Terrible, and Your Future Is Terrible’: What the Left Tells Young Americans
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Tuesday Top News Executive Summary

House impeachment vote, Trump’s defense hurdle, top Republican retiring, and more.


Tuesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Matt Walsh, David Axelrod, Joe Biden, 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 – 10/29/2019

Netanyahu urges Gantz to ‘summon the courage’ to join government with him

Kushner meets Blue and White heads seeking to unseat Netanyahu

Jared Kushner meets with Netanyahu in Jerusalem

Jared Kushner back to gauge political climate to determine plan rollout…again

Trump’s departing peace envoy hails ‘huge shift’ in neighbors’ ties with Israel

Warren: ‘Two-state solution, dividing Jerusalem only solution’

Democratic hopeful Sanders urges giving chunk of US military aid to Gaza instead

International Monetary Fund Report Inadvertently Debunks Myth of Economic Peace in Mideast

Why did Microsoft fund an Israeli firm that surveils West Bank Palestinians?

Palestinian Teen Shot and Wounded After Trying to Stab Israeli Policemen in Jerusalem

Israel’s UN ambassador condemns Erdogan’s support of terrorism

Iran tells UNSC: Long, dark list of Israeli brutality goes on and on

Iran Has Deployed Missiles in Yemen That Could Hit Israel, Netanyahu Says

Israel will have to up security spending to counter Iran, PM says

Iran would need oil at $195 a barrel next year to balance budget: IMF

Unrest in Lebanon is a wrench in Hezbollah and Iran’s plans

Lebanon ‘days’ away from economic collapse if no political solution to protests found, says central bank governor

After Betraying the Kurds, the U.S. Isn’t Leaving Syria After All

US deploying more troops around Syria oil fields after killing of Isis leader

Trump says may release partial video of Baghdadi raid

Kayla Mueller’s mother on Baghdadi death: Daughter might still be alive ‘if Obama had been as decisive’ as Trump

Beheaded journalist’s parents thank Trump for ‘eliminating’ Islamic State chief

The Washington Post faces backlash for headline calling ISIS terrorist ‘austere religious scholar’

Washington Post faces more backlash after columnist blasts Trump for calling al-Baghdadi a ‘coward’

ISIS spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, potential al-Baghdadi successor, also killed in Syria, official says

Trump Campaign Looks to Capitalize on Baghdadi Raid

‘So much hatred’: Pelosi would have leaked Baghdadi raid to sabotage Trump, Senate Republican suggests

Iraq army declares curfew in Baghdad after student protests

Russia Unveils ‘Unique’ Weaponized Icebreaker as It Eyes Arctic Oil and Gas

In echo of 2008 war with Russia, Georgia hit with massive cyberattack

As violence and vandalism escalate in Hong Kong, some protest supporters have had enough

Hong Kong enters recession, official says, as protests again erupt in flames

Chile: riot police fire teargas after a million people protest against government

Argentina’s President Macri Defeated As Voters Cast Verdict On Ailing Economy

EU delays Brexit to Jan. 31; Johnson election bid fails

Here Are The Countries On The Brink Of Recession Going Into 2020

S&P 500 hits all-time high as market extends recent gains

Why would the Fed cut interest rates a 3rd time in a row even as stocks near records? Investors may soon find out

The super rich elite have more money than they know what to do with

1 In 3 Millennials See Communism As Favorable, Survey Finds

7 in 10 millennials say they would vote for a socialist: poll

Hannity: Reports on alleged FISA abuse and origins of Russia probe will ‘shock the conscience and soul of the nation’

Barr defends Durham probe, rips Comey FBI for ‘failure of leadership’

Ratcliffe: Intel Committee hasn’t had terror-related briefing in ‘over a month’ due to impeachment inquiry

Shifting Course, Democrats Plan First Floor Vote on Impeachment Inquiry

Trump impeachment: Democrats to hold vote in bid to undermine Republican ‘cover-up’

White House official defies impeachment subpoena, deepening standoff

Trump booed at World Series and chants of “Lock him up!” break out

Facebook employees raised concerns over political ad policy in letter to Zuckerberg: report

A false ad claiming Republicans back the Green New Deal tests Facebook’s policy on lies

Samsung pseudo satellite falls out of the sky, lands in rural Michigan neighborhood

Pittsburgh bus with passenger aboard swallowed by massive sinkhole

6.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Bual, Philippines

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Brookings, Oregon

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits the Southwest Indian Ridge

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Honiara, Solomon Islands

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 31,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Copahue volcano in Chile erupts to 12,000ft

Strong earthquake and deep earthquake swarm in Bardarbunga volcano

Super Cyclonic Storm Kyarr tracks away from India as Diwali continues

Say hello to Hurricane Pablo, the northernmost hurricane to form so late and so far north on record

Developing tropical system to bring flooding downpours to Vietnam

7 dead, 11 injured as floods sweep through Saudi Arabia

Rounds of rain to bring flood threat and drought relief for the South

Winds top a stunning 96 mph in Kincade fire zone, causing havoc across Sonoma County

A new California wildfire breaks out in LA as a million people face days without power

PG&E equipment may have sparked multiple weekend fires

Intentional blackouts of this magnitude are unprecedented in California history

‘Living laboratory’: New Dubai city pushes for green revolution in the desert

Chinese Startup Develops Smart Toilet that Analyzes Human Waste

Southwest Airlines on allegations of pilots hiding camera in bathroom: ‘Inappropriate attempt at humor’

Missouri, Planned Parenthood debate ‘safety concerns’ at abortion clinic hearing

Hundreds of Pakistani children test positive for HIV after rogue doctor reused syringes, report says

CBD Interest Among Americans Surpasses Nearly All Other Health Products: ‘This Generation’s Snake Oil’

Americans’ love of drugs may soon bring Mexico’s collapse

Over 40 skulls found at altar in den of Mexico cartel suspects


Apostasy Watch

Mike Ratliff – Humility, The Mark of a Genuine Disciple

When C3 Church Global pastors rebel against God’s clear command

Confessed Sexual Assault Perpetrator Andy Savage Aims to Start a New Church

Campus Crusade Insider Comes Forward, Confirms Leftward Drift We’ve Been Reporting

Kirk Franklin announces boycott of TBN, GMA Dove Awards over diversity concerns

Queer hymn collection offers ‘much-needed’ resource for LGBTQ+ Anglicans and allies

Hindu Extremists Beat Pastor Unconscious in Gujarat State, India


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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 29 The Cost of Compromise

scripture reading: 1 Kings 11:1–8
key verse: Psalm 147:5

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.

When we compromise on God’s clearly stated truth, we dilute His standards. God knows best. Rationalize as we might, compromise is simply an attempt to bring God down a notch, to say that we really know what is best, which always leads to distasteful consequences.

When we compromise our convictions, we settle for less than biblical excellence. Obedience to revealed truth in the Bible allows us to maximize our God–given potential. Compromise reduces our effectiveness as God’s servants and is the pathway to spiritual mediocrity.

Likewise, compromise is the precursor to entanglement and enslavement to sin. Compromise seems easy at first, but its long–term consequences are severe. Sin still seeks to master us, and what starts as a minor concession can become a major problem later.

If you are thinking about compromising on any of God’s commandments, think again. You always lose when you compromise, for God will never change His Word.

Father, show me where I have compromised in my life. Reveal where I am trying to rationalize my behavior. Redirect me from the road of spiritual mediocrity to the pathway of excellence.[1]

 

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

29 october (preached 28 october 1860) 365 Days with Spurgeon

A basket of summer fruit

“Thus hath the Lord God shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit. And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the Lord unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.” Amos 8:1, 2

suggested further reading: 2 Peter 3:1–10

For thousands of years the Lord came not, although sin was rampant and the darkness dense, nothing could excite the Lord to an unwise haste. Nor on the other hand did he stay beyond the proper hour; for when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, made under the law. In heaven we shall probably discover that Christ came to die for our sins precisely at the only fitting moment, that in fact redemption’s work could not have been so wisely accomplished at the gates of the garden of Eden as on Calvary; and that the reign of Herod and the Roman Caesar afforded the most fitting era for the sacrifice of the Cross. And so shall it be with regard to the second advent of our blessed Lord and Master. We are apt to say, “Why are his chariots so long in coming? Do not the virgins sleep because the bridegroom tarries, the wise as well as the foolish, have they not all slumbered and slept?” And many are the servants who say in their heart, “My Lord delayeth his coming,” and are ready therefore to beat their fellow-servants, to drink and to be drunken; but cheer your hearts, you who look for his appearing. He will not come too hastily, for why should the sun arise until darkness has had its hour? Nor will he delay his appearing one moment beyond the proper time, for should not the sun beam forth in the morning? We know and are persuaded that when he shall stand a second time upon the earth, it shall be as much the fulness of time for him to come, as it was the fulness of time when he came at first.

for meditation: We know that Christ was born at the right time (Galatians 4:4) and that he died for us at the right time (Romans 5:6). We cannot tell when he will come again, but it will be at the right time (Acts 17:31). The right time to trust in him is now (2 Corinthians 6:2).

sermon no. 343[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 309). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

29 OCTOBER 365 Days with Calvin

Joined Together by the Lord

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:33

suggested further reading: 1 Peter 3

Peter expressly says that when a man is too harsh and rigorous to his wife, and the wife becomes so cross that he cannot cope with her nor is she willing to submit herself as she ought, then their prayers are hindered (1 Peter 3:7). It is as if the apostle says, “Wretched people, what are you thinking? Are you not very miserable in seeing that the gate is shut against you and you cannot invoke God? What will become of you when you cannot put yourselves in the hands of your God?”

God loves concord between husbands and wives and bids them come to him. When a husband behaves peaceably toward his wife, and the wife also does her duty, the Lord says, “If you call upon me, I will give ear to you as if you prayed out of one mouth.” Seeing that our Lord calls us to him for our good and for our salvation, commanding us to call upon him with a pure heart, must we not be possessed by the devil and take leave of our senses if we do not accept such a profitable condition?

Therefore let us note that, if a husband intends to discharge his duty, and the wife similarly, both of them must have an eye to God, accepting their marriage as from him, and assuring themselves that they did not meet by chance but were joined together by the Lord. For it was God’s intent that the husband should be a companion to his wife and receive her as part of himself, and that the wife yield the degree of honor to her husband that belongs to him and submit herself to him as to her head.

for meditation: Marriage is an ordinance of God, and every individual marriage is a part of God’s plan. It is not something to be entered lightly. Great love and many prayers must grace the marriage if it is lived to the glory of God. When marital strife hinders prayer, it does not take much to start a downward spiral that can end only in shipwreck.

What condition is your marriage presently in? Are you arguing with your spouse more than you are complimenting him or her? If so, your downward spiral has already begun. Begin immediately to study your calling in marriage from Ephesians 5, and pray for grace to look at yourself rather than your spouse, asking, “How can I be a better husband?” or “How can I be a better wife?” Consider asking others for help. Don’t let your marriage degenerate if you can possibly help it.[1]

 

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 321). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

How Should Christians Handle Halloween? – Christian Video Q&A

How Should Christians Handle Halloween?
Joe Thorn

Joe Thorn details his family’s thought process with Halloween, factoring in both his past in the occult, and the helpful ways they could engage in their neighborhood. 
http://www.joethorn.net
http://www.christianity.com

— Read on www.crosswalk.com/video-q-a/how-should-christians-handle-halloween-video.html

Tuesday Briefing October 29, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com

PART I

 The Caliphate without the Caliph? ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Dead as a Result of U.S. Operation

PART II

 Intellectual Confusion in the Coverage of al-Baghdadi’s Death: Islamic Terror Presents a Challenge to Secularists

PART III

 The Rights and Responsibilities of Religious Schools: Convictional Belief Is at Stake in Every Decision an Institution Makes


DOCUMENTATION AND ADDITIONAL READING

PART I

NEW YORK TIMES

 ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi Is Dead, Trump Says, by Peter Baker, Eric Schmitt, and Helene Cooper

NEW YORK TIMES

 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Leader Known for His Brutality, Is Dead at 48, by Rukmini Callimachi and Falih Hassan

PART II

PART III

October 29, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

29 “At the appointed time he will return and he will come into the south, but it will not be ⌊as it was before⌋. 30 And the ships of Kittim will come against him, and he will lose heart, and he will turn back, and he will be enraged ⌊against the holy covenant⌋, and he will take action, and he will turn back, and he will pay attention to those who forsake ⌊the holy covenant⌋. 31 And military forces from him ⌊will occupy⌋ and will profane the ⌊sanctuary stronghold⌋, and they will abolish the regular burnt offering, and they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.
32 “And those who violate the covenant he will seduce with flattery, but the persons who know their God will stand firm and will take action. 33 And those who have insight ⌊will instruct⌋ the many, but they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder ⌊for some time⌋. 34 And ⌊when they fall⌋ they will receive little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. 35 And even some of those ⌊who have insight⌋ will fall in order for them to be refined by it, and to be purified and cleansed until the time of the end, for the appointed time is still to come.

Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Da 11:29–35). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.


33–35 The final passage of the section alludes to the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV in the aftermath of his failed second Egyptian campaign (vv. 33–35). As Baldwin, 195, iterates, these verses highlight the polarization between those who are seduced by “flattery” (v. 32a) and those “who know their God” (v. 32b), since “persecution eliminates the waverers.” The expression “those who are wise” (v. 33a) refers to those Jews who remain faithful to Yahweh’s covenant despite the atrocities committed against them by their Seleucid oppressors (i.e., those with “spiritual discernment,” according to Miller, 302). These “wise” (Heb. maśkîlîm) Jews will also teach or instruct (Heb. byn) many others during the time of the Seleucid persecution (v. 33a).

Goldingay, 303, describes the wise or discerning Jews as the “conservative leaders who possess the wisdom which consists in awed submission to Yahweh, that understanding which has reflected deeply on his ways in history, and that insight which perceives how his cause will ultimately triumph.” Presumably, this comprised the instruction the wise shared with others, along with their modeling of obedience to the stipulations of the Mosaic law. The fact that some “will fall” (v. 33b) indicates the Jews faithful to Yahweh’s covenant risk capture, torture, and even martyrdom, whether death by the sword or by burning (v. 33c; cf. Heb 11:34–35).

The revealing angel goes on to indicate that those who fall “will receive a little help” (v. 34a). Seow, 181, comments that two responses to the persecution of Antiochus were available to the Jews: a more passive resistance, as reflected in the example of the “wise”; and an active resistance, exemplified among the “zealous” or “devout Jews” (Heb. asîdîm) described in 1 Maccabees 2:42. The enigmatic allusion “help” may refer to the Maccabean freedom fighters, who rose up actively to resist the forced Hellenism of Seleucid rule by means of guerilla warfare (e.g., Baldwin, 196–97; cf. 1 Macc 3). The rest of the verse (“many will join them in hypocrisy,” NASB; v. 34b) may allude to the harsh actions the Maccabees took against those Jews who complied with the edict of Antiochus, thus leading “some to join them out of fear rather than out of principle” (Lucas, 287; cf. 1 Macc 2:44–47; 3:5–8).

The Antiochene persecution leading to the capture, imprisonment, and even martyrdom of some of the “wise” Jews has the effect of refining and purifying them—making them “spotless” (v. 35a). Their suffering is not viewed as divine judgment in punishment for sin, but rather as “a means of testing and purifying their commitment” (Lucas, 287). Hartman and Di Lella, 300–301, understand the suffering in a communal sense as the purification of the Israelite nation and the vindication of the worship of Yahweh. It seems more likely that Collins (Daniel, 386) is correct to view the test of suffering in more individualistic terms as “purification [that] bespeaks an interest in individual salvation as distinct from (though not opposed to) the deliverance of the nation.”

No doubt the Antiochene persecution also had the effect of further purging the faithful Jews by winnowing out the insincere (so Goldingay, 303). Yet “the death of the martyrs is not vicarious. They are the ones who are purified,” and they have their primary effect on the community by their instruction (Collins, Daniel, 386). For the third time in this section (v. 35c; cf. vv. 24–27), the revealing angel indicates that the period of suffering the Jews must endure as a result of the persecution of Antiochus is an interim one. There is an “appointed time” for its end (v. 35c)—yet another reminder of God’s sovereign control of human history and Israel’s destiny (see comment on v. 27d).[1]


11:29–35 / At the appointed time (11:29), Antiochus conducted a second campaign in Egypt (ca. 168 b.c.). What led up to this was a surprising turn of events. Ptolemy Philometor had a brother, Ptolemy Physcon (later called Euergetes), who earlier had been a rival for the throne. However, the two brothers now united to form a league in opposition to Antiochus Epiphanes, which so angered the Seleucid king that he decided to invade the South again (11:29). However, this time the outcome was different from what it was before (11:29). The reason for Epiphanes’s failure was the intervention of Rome. The text mentions “ships of Kittim” (niv ships of the western coastlands; see the Additional Note on 11:30) that will oppose him, and he will lose heart (11:30). This refers to the Roman legate Gaius Popilius Laenas, who came by sea with a contingent from Rome and forced a reluctant Epiphanes to withdraw his army. (For more details, see “Historical Background” in the Introduction.) This experience was not merely a defeat but a major humiliation in front of the Egyptians, the Romans, and his own army. As a result, he was already enraged when he entered the land of Israel.

Unfortunately for the Jews, events there only increased his wrath. Apparently a rumor reached Jerusalem that Antiochus had been not only defeated but killed. Jason, who had been deposed as high priest earlier by Antiochus, sought to take advantage of this situation by assembling an armed force to reinstate him in the office. Menelaus, the high priest whom Antiochus had appointed to replace Jason, hid in the citadel. Antiochus, thinking there was an open revolt against him, responded violently (2 Macc. 5:5–11): he vented his fury against the holy covenant by persecuting the devout Jews, and he showed favor to those Jews who forsook the holy covenant (11:30) and who embraced Hellenistic culture and religion.

Antiochus’s armed forces arose to desecrate the temple fortress (11:31). They forced Jason to flee and reestablished Menelaus as high priest. They abolished the daily sacrifice (11:31; see also 8:11). The king sent out letters “to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane sabbaths and festivals, to defile the sanctuary and the priests, to build altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and other unclean animals, and to leave their sons uncircumcised. They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane” (1 Macc. 1:45–48 nrsv). Moreover, the royal officers dedicated the Jerusalem temple to Olympian Zeus (2 Macc. 6:2) and set up the abomination that causes desolation (11:31; see also Dan. 8:13; 9:27; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14). This seems to have been a pagan altar installed on top of Yahweh’s altar of burnt offering (1 Macc. 1:54, 59). On it were sacrificed “abominable offerings” (2 Macc. 6:5 nrsv), thought to be swine, which were ritually unclean animals according to Jewish law.

With flattery Antiochus corrupted those who had violated the covenant (11:32). An example of the influence the Syrians tried to exert can be seen when the king’s officers came to the village of Modein. There they attempted to entice Mattathias and his sons to participate in a pagan sacrifice. They said to Mattathias: “You are a leader, honored and great in this town, and supported by sons and brothers. Now be the first to come and do what the king commands, as all the Gentiles and the people of Judah and those that are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons will be numbered among the Friends of the king, and you and your sons will be honored with silver and gold and many gifts” (1 Macc. 2:17b–18 nrsv). In this case it was unsuccessful, though, because Mattathias confessed that he and his family would “continue to live by the covenant of our ancestors” (1 Macc. 2:20 nrsv). When a Jew stepped forward to participate in the sacrifice, Mattathias killed him as well as the officer and tore down the altar (1 Macc. 2:23–26). Thus began the Maccabean revolt. Elsewhere there were apostate Jews who were all too happy to abandon their religion in order to please the king: “Many of the people, everyone who forsook the law, joined them, and they did evil in the land” (1 Macc. 1:52 nrsv). However, others remained faithful: the people who knew their God were resolute in their actions (Dan. 11:32), refusing to eat pork or meat sacrificed to pagan gods: “But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die” (1 Macc. 1:62–63 nrsv).

“The wise ones” (Heb. maskilim; here in 11:33, 35 and also in 12:3, 10) among the Jews are highlighted for special treatment: those who are wise will instruct many [rabbim] (11:33). While some commentators (e.g., Hartman and Di Lella, Daniel, p. 299) identify “the wise ones” with the Hasideans or Hasidim (Heb. khasidim “pious ones”), who are mentioned in the books of Maccabees (1 Macc. 2:42–44; 7:13; 2 Macc. 14:6), it is an unlikely connection. Whereas the Hasideans were soldiers in Judas Maccabeus’s army, the apocalyptist who wrote Daniel apparently was not. He is not looking for deliverance to come from below, by human means. On the contrary, he is looking for the kingdom of God to come from above, brought from heaven to earth by a supernatural act of God, as portrayed in Daniel 7 (Collins, Daniel, p. 385). The author of Daniel identifies with this group known as “the wise ones” and considers himself a member. They are the ones who understand the revelations concerning the end times and the coming kingdom of God. These will bear the responsibility for teaching “the many,” that is, the masses of untutored ones. It is possible that this is an allusion to the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 40–55, because of the use of “wise” and “many.” Yahweh’s servant “will act wisely” (yaskil; Isa. 52:13) and “will justify many” (rabbim; Isa. 53:11; cf. Dan. 12:3; see Ginsberg, “Oldest Interpretation of the Suffering Servant,” pp. 400–404). He will do this through vicarious suffering. Likewise, here in Daniel the wise ones will suffer intense persecution: they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered (11:33).

When the wise ones fall, they will receive a little help (11:34). The help is usually associated with the Maccabean revolt. The apocalyptist does not expect ultimate deliverance to come from that quarter, but he acknowledges the Maccabees’ attempts to drive out the Syrian Greeks during the time of persecution. If this interpretation is correct, then this verse (and perhaps the whole book, except for the epilogue, Dan. 12:5–13) can be dated to the interval between 167 and 164 b.c. It must be after the beginning of the persecution and the revolt, because these are alluded to, but before the final victory in 164, when it would be apparent that the armed struggle was more than “a little help.”

Not all who follow the teachings of the wise ones, the ones who truly understand the revelations about the future, are trustworthy. Daniel warns that many who are not sincere will join them (11:34). This might refer to the Hasideans (Collins, Daniel, p. 386). They agreed with the wise ones about being faithful to Jewish practice but disagreed about how Antiochus Epiphanes would be overthrown. The wise ones believed God would do it directly, while the Hasideans believed they should go on the offensive. Some of the Hasideans may have formed alliances with the wise ones without being forthright about their differences. Another possibility is that the insincere ones were the apostate Jews. Before the Maccabean revolt, they were protected by the king’s army. After the revolt began, they were attacked by the pious Jews (1 Macc. 1:44; 3:5–8), which might have forced some to join the resistance, although they did not not join earnestly, but only because they were coerced (Goldingay, Daniel, p. 303).

Some of the wise will stumble, that is, be martyred, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end (11:35). This may hint at a concern for “individual salvation” (Collins, Daniel, p. 386), or it may express hope for the resurrection (12:1–3; see Lacocque, Daniel, pp. 230–31). It can also be read in such a way that “they” refers to the survivors, not the martyrs. In that case it means that although some will be killed, their deaths will have the effect of purifying the rest of the faithful community. “To refine” and “to purify” are drawn from the metal-production industry. Metals would be heated in the fire to burn off impurities. The term translated “made spotless” in the niv comes from clothing production and actually means “made white.” The same three verbs are repeated in the next chapter: “Many will be purified, made spotless and refined” (Dan. 12:10; see also Rev. 3:18). It is important to recognize the theme of threats to the Jews as a unifying link between the court stories in the first half of the book and the visions in the second half. Daniel and his friends could have been forced to transgress the Jewish dietary laws or to face punishment if they had failed their health test (Dan. 1:8–15). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were cast into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow down before the image (Dan. 3), and Daniel was thrown to the lions for praying to his God when it was forbidden (Dan. 6). So it is that persecution of the Jews is expressed or implied also in chapters 7–12 (Dan. 7:21, 25; 8:10–13; 9:26–27) and especially here in chapter 11, where martyrdom is explicit.

The end will come when God determines it, at his appointed time (11:35; see also Dan. 8:17, 19; 10:14; 11:27, 40, 45; Hab. 2:3). This was a word of comfort, because the persecution could not continue any longer than God permitted (Hartman and Di Lella, Daniel, p. 301). Included in the end would be the death of Antiochus Epiphanes (11:40–45). This notion of an appointed end is mirrored in the nt in the teaching of Jesus that the Father has determined a time for the return of Christ, which no one knows—not the angels and not even the Son (Matt. 24:36). For those who are troubled about the doctrine of predestination, the Bible does not teach that humans are automata or puppets on strings. God has not predetermined every move we make, so we really do have freedom when it comes to individual decisions, whether trivial (e.g., deciding which shirt to wear in the morning) or significant (e.g., choosing whether to follow God or the world). Nevertheless, he is the sovereign Lord of history who directs its course and will bring all things to fulfillment in his time.[2]


11:32b–35 the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Amid Antiochus’s corrupting persecution, “wise” and faithful servants of Yahweh appeared, who honored God’s covenant and instructed others to do the same (cf. 12:3). Many chose death or enslavement over surrendering their faith and practice (1 Macc. 1–2; 2 Macc. 6; see also the comments on 7:25–26 and 8:9–14). The “little help” they receive alludes to the Maccabean Revolts, which were sparked by Jerusalem’s persecution (167 BC). The violent methods of the priest Mattathias and his sons (notably, Judas Maccabeus) led many Jewish zealots who were “not sincere” in their beliefs to join the rebellion. The purpose of the sufferings of the “wise” is spiritual purification. Moreover, these hardships last only “for a time,” that is, until “the time of the end,” which comes “at the appointed time.” These phrases intentionally allude to the approximately three and a half years of Jewish persecution presented throughout Daniel (7:25; 8:13–14; 9:26–27; 12:7, 11–12).

Rather than abandon their faith and religious practice to obey the commands of Antiochus IV, many Jews chose torture and death. This illumination from a manuscript (Royal 15 D I) of the second edition of the Bible Historiale by Guyart des Moulins (ca. 1291–95) shows persecutions by Antiochus IV Epiphanes like those recorded in 2 Maccabees 7.[3]


11:33–35. The Maccabees would experience suffering in their battle with Antiochus—some would die by sword and by flame, while others would experience captivity and plunder (cf. Heb 11:35–38). The phrase the end time literally reads “time of the end” and refers to the end of Antiochus’s oppression of the Jewish people, not to the end of days. At that time, the Maccabees would defeat Antiochus, rededicate the holy temple in Jerusalem, and establish the festival of Chanukah (Dedication), which the Lord Jesus celebrated (Jn 10:22) and Jewish people still observe today.[4]


11:33–35. The Jews who refused to submit to Antiochus’ false religious system were persecuted and martyred for their faith. The word fall (vv. 33–34), literally “stumble” (kāšal), refers to severe suffering on the part of many and death for others. This has in view the rise of the Maccabean revolt. Mattathias, a priest, was the father of five sons. (One of them, Judas, became well known for refurbishing and restoring the temple in late 164 b.c. He was called Judas Maccabeus, “the Hammerer.”) In 166, Mattathias refused to submit to this false religious system. He and his sons fled from Jerusalem to the mountains and began the Maccabean revolt. At first only a few Jews joined them. But as their movement became popular, many joined them, some out of sincere motives and some from false motives. The suffering that the faithful endured served to refine and purify them. This time of persecution was of short duration. It had previously been revealed to Daniel that the temple would be desecrated for 1,150 days (8:14; see comments on 8:23–25). Here Daniel was assured that this persecution would run its course and then be lifted, for its end will still come at the appointed time.[5]


11:33–35 the wise among the people shall make many understand. This likely refers to those who truly fear God and who will encourage others to fight and even die rather than perform abominations before God. This refers primarily to the Maccabean Revolt. In that process many (tens of thousands) would die. In this time of persecution, the nation will receive a little help, which probably refers to the small forces that initially rebelled against the Syrians in Modein, 17 miles (27 km) northwest of Jerusalem, led by Mattathias and later his third son Judas Maccabeus (1 Macc. 2–4). The rest of Dan. 11:34 probably has in view the many who would join themselves to the Maccabean rebellion out of necessity to save their lives, though it may more specifically refer to the Hasidim who joined with the Maccabeans and killed those who were sympathetic to the Seleucids (cf. 1 Macc. 2:42–48). Some of the wise shall stumble likely describes true believers who would die in this persecution; through this persecution they would be refined, purified, and made white. Similarly, church history has shown that the Christian church has flourished under times of intense persecution, which may be what Dan. 11:35b is referring to (until the time of the end). But at least it refers to the end of Antiochus IV’s persecution, which ended with his death in 164 b.c. while he was on a campaign in Persia.

11:35 The refining process looks forward to God’s refining of the church (Rom. 5:3–5; Heb. 12:3–11; 1 Pet. 1:6–7).[6]


[1] Hill, A. E. (2008). Daniel. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, pp. 197–198). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Nelson, W. B. (2013). Daniel. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (pp. 282–285). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Pierce, R. W. (2015). Daniel. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (pp. 182–183). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Rydelnik, M. A. (2014). Daniel. In The moody bible commentary (p. 1311). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[5] Pentecost, J. D. (1985). Daniel. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1370). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1616). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.