Daily Archives: December 30, 2019

December 30 Our All-Sufficient God

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:1–6

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 3:5

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.

Many people would scoff at the idea of inadequacy as any kind of blessing. Too many of us have been tormented by such feelings rather than blessed by them. At the same time, Christians can use them as stepping-stones to blessing:

  1. Our inadequacy forces us to do our work in the power of the Holy Spirit. Anything that drives us to God has to be good.
  2. An awareness of our limitation can relieve us of the burden of trying to do God’s will in our own strength. Without the Holy Spirit, we will be crushed by weights we cannot carry.
  3. Another blessing is that such awareness “frees” the Lord to use us to the maximum of our potential. When we are lowly enough to feel our need, then God will raise us to great heights.
  4. Acknowledging our shortcomings allows God to get all the glory for His work. Spiritually minded people can tell when something is of God and when it’s not. If you are in the Spirit, the glory will rightfully go to the Lord.
  5. Inadequacy can enable us to live in contentment and quietness of spirit. Either we will give God our burdens and cease striving, or we will proceed in our own strength and become overwhelmed.

Like the apostle Paul, we should not claim competence in ourselves but rather acknowledge that our adequacy is from God (2 Corinthians 3:5). What area in your life are you trying to manage in your own power? Relinquish control and watch for God’s blessing in the days ahead.

Lord, I relinquish total control of my life. I acknowledge my inadequacies and rest upon Your divine sufficiency for the days ahead.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 381). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

December 30 Looking for a Shortcut?

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:25–34

Key Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:24

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

The sign read: danger! stay on pathway. But the four hikers ignored the warning and began their climb. Their reasoning: the sooner we get to the top, the more time we will have to explore the cavelike overhangs along the rocky face of the mountain.

Halfway up the precipice, the third man back lost his footing on some loose rocks. In an instant, the last two men went tumbling backward down the steep incline. On their way down, they frantically grabbed at small bushes and weeds, hoping to slow their descent. But nothing worked.

Finally they came to a stop. Cut, bruised, and one suffering from a broken arm, they concluded that taking the shortcut had not been worth their effort. In fact, they had almost cut short the lives of two best friends.

Very few shortcuts in life are worth the time and energy to travel them. We may get by here and there; but in the end, if we decide to take a way other than what God has mapped out for us, we come out the losers.

If you feel God is taking a long time in fulfilling His promises to you, think again about how much He loves you and is dedicated to your growth and success. Don’t get in a hurry. Whatever He has for you, it’s worth the wait. Eternity is His, and you can trust this fact: He won’t forget His promises to you (1 Thess. 5:24).

Lord, sometimes it seems it is taking a long time for Your promises to be fulfilled. Help me not to be in a hurry. Your plan is worth the wait. Let me travel the way You have mapped out for me.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 381). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

December 30 The Reality of the Resurrection

Scripture reading: John 11:21–26

Key verse: Hebrews 2:14

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.

The duke of Wellington once remarked that “man must be a coward or a liar who could boast of never having felt a fear of death.”

Samuel Johnson, the British essayist, commented that “no rational man can die without uneasy apprehension.”

While the prospect of death can create emotional conflict even for Christians (death is still our enemy, though a defeated one), the sure hope of the Resurrection settles our souls.

“Jesus Christ is able to set free even those who all their lives have been ‘held in slavery by their fear of death,’ ” writes John Stott in The Cross of Christ.

This is because by his own death he has “destroyed” (deprived of power) “him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).

Christ had died for our sins and taken them away. With great disdain, therefore, Paul likens death to a scorpion whose sting has been drawn, and to a military conqueror whose power has been broken. Now that we are forgiven, death can harm us no longer.

So the apostle shouts defiantly: “Where, Oh death, is your victory? Where, Oh death, is your sting?” There is of course no reply.

Until Christ returns, we must face the physical and emotional pain of death. Yet our perplexity and fear can be displaced by the reality of the Resurrection, when death was overthrown.

Father, when I face the physical and emotional pain of separation from loved ones, help me realize that death is overshadowed by the reality of the Resurrection.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 381). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

December 30, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day


thirty days of jesus postlude 1

26–27 It is pointless to look for Messiah’s return in the desert (cf. 4:1) or in inner rooms (cf. 6:6)—whether in some desert monastic community or in some hidden, unrecognized enclave for insiders (cf. Stendahl, “Matthew,” in Peake’s Commentary). Far from it! The coming of the Son of Man (see comments at 8:20; here his coming is clearly identified as “your [Jesus’] coming,” v. 3, and Messiah’s coming, vv. 23–24) will be public, unquestionable, and not confined to some little group of initiates. As the lightning (cf. Ps 97:4; Zec 9:14) comes out of the east but is everywhere visible, as far away as the west (Broadus), so also the coming of the Son of Man will be visible to all people everywhere (TDNT, 8:433–34).[1]


27 This verse is a sort of “aside” which draws a sharp distinction between the events during the siege and the still future parousia. The real parousia, when it comes, will not be like the claims of impostors during the siege. The “for” which introduces this saying indicates how it fits into this context: “don’t believe them, because.…” In contrast with a so-called Messiah who has to be sought out in an obscure place and who needs authenticating signs to convince people of his claim, the parousia of the Son of Man will be as unmissable as a flash of lightning which blazes across the whole sky. This warning was perhaps prompted by the disciples’ question in v. 3 which, while differentiating the parousia and the end of the age from “these things” (the destruction of the temple), has nevertheless suggested some association between the two events, probably supposing that the one cannot occur without the other. Not so, says Jesus. The time of the siege and capture of the city will be characterized by claims and counter-claims of those who pretend to a messianic role, but the parousia of the Son of Man will need no such claims or proofs: everyone will see and recognize it (as he will go on to spell out in vv. 36–44). He is thus setting the parousia and the end of the age decisively apart from the coming destruction of the temple. The one may be seen coming and prepared for (that is what vv. 15ff have been about), but the other will carry no prior warning. So the disciples’ request for a “sign” for his parousia was misguided; unlike the offer of “signs” by the messianic pretenders, the Son of Man will give no warning sign of his parousia. There is no sign that lightning is coming, but when it comes no one can escape the sudden illumination.

So the mention of the parousia in this context is intended precisely to distinguish it from the events currently being considered; it will be only after a marked change of subject in v. 36 that the parousia will itself become the focus of the discourse.[2]


The Son of Man’s Coming Glory (24:27–28)

‘For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.’

Jesus now for the first time in the discourse speaks expressly of his ‘coming’ (parousia, 24:27), the event that will bring the present age (aiōn) to its close (synteleia): cf. comments on the disciples’ question in verse 3 (where these three nouns occur). While verses 27–28 thus anticipate the fuller description in verses 29–31, their immediate purpose is to show the folly of heeding the cries of verse 26: note the ‘For’ (gar) that opens verse 27. A set of inner rooms and even a wilderness occupy limited space; and both are hidden from public view, so that those alleged sightings can hardly be verified. By contrast, the parousia of the Son of Man—the true Messiah and Prophet—will be neither limited in scope nor hidden from view: it is likened to lightning (astrapē) that flashes (the verb phainomai) from the eastern horizon to the western. ‘The coming of the Lord will indeed be personal, historical and visible; but it will also be “in power and great glory” [24:30], as universal as the lightning, a transcendent event of which the whole human population of both hemispheres will be simultaneously aware.’

In light of verse 27, one of several suggested interpretations of verse 28 especially commends itself: ‘As the presence of the vultures infallibly indicates where the corpse is, so there will be no need to search for the coming of the Son of Man—it will be obvious.’[3]


24:27 For as lightning … is visible … so will be the coming of the Son of Man. According to R. T. France, this verse functions as a brief aside to clarify a key difference between the temple’s destruction and Jesus’ return (parousia is used here). While Jesus has warned his followers not to confuse precursor signs with the arrival of the temple’s destruction (e.g., 24:26), he clarifies that there will be no such problem of confusion with the Son of Man’s return. It will be as clear as lightning in the sky.[4]


24:27–28. The word For tells us why we should not believe the Messiah will be seen in a single location on earth. When he comes, the whole world will know! Unlike his first advent—through natural birth into a human body and thirty-four years of life as a man—the coming of the Son of Man here Jesus used the title with its full messianic impact) will be like lightning, which comes from the east and is visible even in the west. The picture is that of a bolt of lightning, flashing all the way across the sky, from horizon to horizon, in an instant. Jesus was about to tell us more about his coming (24:29–31), but this alone distinguished him from all the imposters at the end of the age. They would be mere men, lingering about in one place or another, while he would come suddenly and visibly, and he would not be limited to a single location.

Coming (parousia) is a word that appears here for the first time. It becomes an important word for the apostle Paul, who used it to describe the second coming (e.g., 1 Cor. 15:23, 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13). Other New Testament writers used it as well (e.g., Jas. 5:7–8; 2 Pet. 3:4; 1 John 2:28).[5]


[1] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 565). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew (pp. 917–918). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.

[3] Chamblin, J. K. (2010). Matthew: A Mentor Commentary (p. 1195). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[4] Brown, J. K. (2015). Matthew. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 276). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, pp. 402–403). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

December 30, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

The United States would be very disappointed if North Korea tested a long-range or nuclear missile and would take appropriate action as a leading military and economic power, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Sunday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for “positive and offensive measures” to ensure the country’s security before a year-end deadline he has set for denuclearization talks with the United States, state media KCNA said on Monday.

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake struck southern Iran on Monday near Bandar Abbas, site of a major oil refinery, Iranian state media reported, but there were no reports of casualties or damage to oil installations.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington this week to sign a “Phase 1” trade deal with the United States, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday.

Oil prices rose to three-month highs on Monday, underpinned by optimism over an expected China-U.S. trade deal and upbeat industrial data, while traders kept a close watch on the Middle East following U.S. air strikes in Iraq and Syria.

Indonesia said on Monday it had protested to Beijing over the presence of a Chinese coastguard vessel in its territorial waters near the disputed South China Sea, saying it marked a “violation of sovereignty”.

U.S. retailers including Walmart Inc. will add “Do Not Sell My Info” links to their websites and signage in stores starting Jan. 1, allowing California shoppers to understand for the first time what personal and other data the retailers collect, sources said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kiev on Friday, just weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump was impeached over abuse of power involving his handling of Ukraine.

Tesla has started delivering Model 3 electric cars built at its Shanghai factory in just under a year since it began work on the $2 billion plant, a record for global automakers in China, and said it would ramp up deliveries from next month.

AP Top Stories

The Taliban targeted a pro-government militia compound in northern Afghanistan before dawn on Monday, killing 14 members of the Afghan security forces, a local official said. The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.

A suspect has been arrested after five people were stabbed at a Hasidic rabbi’s New York home during a Hanukkah celebration, an attack Governor Andrew Cuomo has branded “domestic terrorism”.

A record haul of 6 tons of cocaine estimated to be worth more than $1bn has been seized in Uruguay, according to the country’s navy.

Police arrested more than 200 people and seized several high-powered weapons after a major drug bust in North Philadelphia. Police, working with federal drug enforcement agents and the FBI, confiscated drugs including cocaine, crack, marijuana, heroin and other hard drugs.

The United States carried out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Sunday, targeting weapons and munitions depots used by Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia.

Gold rose to a two-month peak on Monday as a weaker dollar fueled investor interest in the metal, with U.S. military strikes in the Middle East also providing some limited support in holiday-thinned trading.

A Chinese scientist who set off an ethical debate with claims that he had made the world’s first genetically edited babies was sentenced Monday to three years in prison because of his research, state media said.

Police in Turkey detained at least 124 people suspected of links to the Islamic State group, the state-run news agency reported Monday, in an apparent sweep against the militant group ahead of New Year celebrations.

Residents and vacationers in part of the Australian state of Victoria were urged to leave on Sunday ahead of what is expected to be a day of extreme fire danger.

A Chinese man has been arrested by US authorities while he photographed an American Navy base in the Florida Keys.

Protesters in Hong Kong continued to target shopping malls in the city, harassing mainland Chinese and clashing with police, who used pepper spray on demonstrators.

BBC

Scores of fires are burning out of control across Australia amid a heatwave that has seen temperatures exceed104F in every state. The most dangerous fires on Monday were in the state of Victoria.

Sydney’s iconic fireworks display on New Year’s Eve will go-ahead despite calls for it to be cancelled due to the bushfire crisis.

A Sudanese court has sentenced 29 intelligence officers to death for the torture and killing of a teacher.

Five years ago, the Nigerian government signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, essentially banning gay relationships. Activists say the law has worsened discrimination against sexual minorities in the highly religious country. They also claim there’s been a rise in instances of extortion and blackmail of the LGBTQI+ community by security forces.

WND

Around 480 million animals are feared to have died in the bushfires sweeping Australia, including nearly a third of the koalas in New South Wales’s main habitat.

Seattle Public Schools is warning thousands of students that they will be excluded from school after Christmas break unless they get in compliance with Washington’s vaccine laws.


Headlines – 12/30/2019

Trump condemns ‘horrific’ Monsey attack, blames ‘evil scourge of anti-Semitism’

‘I was praying for my life’: Witnesses of stabbing in rabbi’s home say the attacker had a machete ‘the size of a broomstick’

NYPD Investigating 9th Anti-Semitic Attack Reported This Week

After string of anti-Semitic attacks, de Blasio laments hatred ’emanating from Washington’

Bail reform is setting suspects free after string of anti-Semitic attacks

Will American Jews finally get hint about dangers they face? – analysis

US Jewish leaders urge concrete action after another ‘senseless’ attack

Anti-Semitic graffiti found daubed throughout North London neighborhoods

Israel to Advance Plans for 2,000 Homes in West Bank Settlements

Abbas rules out Palestinian election without East Jerusalem

The UN said Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020 – in truth, it already is

Israel trims funds to Palestinians over militant casualties

Netanyahu to High Court: Intervening against me negates Israeli democracy

Poll finds narrow majority oppose Knesset immunity for Netanyahu in graft cases

UK Labour ex-lawmakers say anti-Semitism among reasons for election failure

Chilean president celebrates Hanukkah, as social riots rage

Photos show rockets used against the US were also shipped to Hezbollah

Trump escalates pressure campaign on Tehran with appeal to Iranians

US strikes in Iraq, Syria target Iran-backed Shiite militia group

US conducts airstrikes in Iraq, Syria after contractor killed, American troops injured in rocket attack

US strikes: Mahdi calls meeting of Iraq’s National Security Council

Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker ends Mohammad cartoon contest within hours

All the missiles and nukes North Korea has tested in one chart

Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists swap prisoners in step to end 5-year war

Putin thanks Trump in call for helping prevent terror attacks in Russia

2 killed, 1 hurt in Texas church shooting during live-streamed service

Texas gunman opens fire during church service, shoots 2 people before being fatally shot by ‘heroic’ parishioners, police say

Texas church shooting is latest of many attacks at US houses of worship in recent years

Republican senator: no rules, many options for Trump impeachment trial

Twitter system ‘outage’ briefly blocked Trump whistleblower tweet

Left presses 2020 Democrats to retake the courts from Trump

‘If He’d Take It, Yes’: Biden Open To Nominating Obama For Supreme Court

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits Southwest of Africa

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 22,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 22,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 22,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Trans man gives birth after using female sperm donor

A very LGBTQ decade: Gay marriage, trans rights and a ‘rainbow wave’

Utah judge won’t recuse himself from bisexual ex-Disney actor’s teen sex case over accusations of homosexual prejudice


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