Daily Archives: January 8, 2020

January—8 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

A pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue, Bethesda.—John 5:2.

Go down, my soul, this evening to the pool and cloisters of Bethesda, as the Prophet was commanded to go down to the potter’s house. Peradventure thy Lord may do by thee as he graciously did by him; cause thee to hear his words. The pool of Bethesda was the place or house of mercy. It was so to the bodies of those whom the Lord healed there. It becomes so now to the souls of those who behold Jesus in the representation. In the cloisters around the pool, lay a great multitude of sick, waiting for a cure. Ponder over the miseries of our fallen nature. It is always profitable to note distinguishing blessings. Are hospitals numerous; frequently filled; numbers sick; numbers dying; numbers dead? Am I in health? And will not the voice of praise go forth to the bountiful Author in a consciousness of the distinguishing mercy? This pool was blessed with a miraculous quality. One poor creature, and but one, at that season when the waters were moved by the descent of an angel into the pool, (most probably discovered by the agitation of the pool,) was cured of whatsoever disease he had. Sweet testimony, before the coming of Christ, that the Lord had not left his people, although the Church was then in a very languishing state. But, my soul, attend to the spiritual beauty of this interesting record. The pool of Bethesda, no doubt, was intended as a typical representation of the fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. And the Son of God, by visiting the pool, and healing a poor paralytic by the sovereign word of his own power, without the means, seemed very plainly to intimate the inexpediency of the type, when the person signified was present. Behold in this pool, then, the house of mercy always open. In a world like the present, full of misery, because full of sin, multitudes of folk, impotent in soul, should be found in the cloisters of ordinances and under the means of grace. Jesus loves those places. These are his favourite haunts. Here he comes to heal, and to impart blessings. And that not to one only at a season. In his blood a sovereign efficacy is found for all who are washed in it. He cures the guilt of sin, the dominion of sin, the sting of sin. And he doth all in so gracious, so condescending, so sovereign a manner, as cannot but endear him to every heart. Blessed be the Lord that hath led me to his pool at Bethesda, and hath healed my soul in his blood. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he is become my salvation.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 9–10). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

January 8 Streams in the Desert

I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.” (Ezek. 34:26.)

WHAT is thy season this morning? Is it a season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “As thy day so shall thy strength be.” “I will give thee showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessings.” Look up today, O parched plant, and open thy leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering.—Spurgeon.

“Let but thy heart become a valley low,

And God will rain on it till it will overflow”

Thou, O Lord, canst transform my thorn into a flower. And I want my thorn transformed into a flower. Job got the sunshine after the rain, but has the rain been all waste? Job wants to know, I want to know, if the shower had nothing to do with the shining. And Thou canst tell me—Thy Cross can tell me. Thou hast crowned Thy sorrow. Be this my crown, O Lord. I only triumph in Thee when I have learned the radiance of the rain.—George Matheson.

The fruitful life seeks showers as well as sunshine.

“The landscape, brown and sere beneath the sun,

Needs but the cloud to lift it into life;

The dews may damp the leaves of tree and flower,

But it requires the cloud-distilled shower

To bring rich verdure to the lifeless life.

“Ah, how like this, the landscape of a life:

Dews of trial fall like incense, rich and sweet;

But bearing little in the crystal tray—

Like nymphs of night, dews lift at break of day

And transient impress leave, like lips that meet.

“But clouds of trials, bearing burdens rare,

Leave in the soul, a moisture settled deep:

Life kindles by the magic law of God;

And where before the thirsty camel trod,

There richest beauties to life’s landscape leap.

“Then read thou in each cloud that comes to thee

The words of Paul, in letters large and clear:

So shall those clouds thy soul with blessing feed,

And with a constant trust as thou dost read,

All things together work for good. Fret not, nor fear!”[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 8–9). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

“Evil Sunrise” – Creepy Red Devil Horns Rise Over Iran — The Gateway Pundit

Creepy red devil horns over the Persian Gulf were photographed during a solar eclipse.

Amateur photographer Elias Chasiotis captured the incredible photos of the giant red horns rising on December 26 whilst he was in Qatar.

Just days after this omen, the US killed top Iran commander and terrorist Qassam Soleimani.

Another photo shows the red crescent rising:

“Astronomy has attracted me since I was a kid,” Chasiotis told Bored Panda. “I’ve been an amateur astrophotographer for the last 15 years as well. I took these photos in the coastal city of Al Wakrah, Qatar, on the morning of December 26, 2019, when an annular eclipse was in progress.”

 “I hoped that optical effects like inferior mirage would be visible and I was lucky enough to capture them,” he said. “The weather conditions didn’t look good in the beginning as there was a lot of haze and low clouds in the southeast.”

“I was worried that nothing would come out of the eclipse. However, when the sun finally began to rise, it looked like two separate pieces, some sort of red horns piercing the sea. It soon took the form of a crescent, with the so-called ‘Etruscan vase’ inferior mirage effect visible. Due to its shape, the phenomenon was nicknamed the ‘evil sunrise.’”

via “Evil Sunrise” – Creepy Red Devil Horns Rise Over Iran — The Gateway Pundit

January 8th The D. L. Moody Year Book

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.—Luke 16:25.

I BELIEVE that when God touches the secret spring of memory, every one of our sins will come back, if they have not been blotted out by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they will haunt us as eternal ages roll on.

We talk about forgetting, but we cannot forget if God says “Remember!” We talk about the recording angel keeping the record of our life. I have an idea that when we get to heaven, or into eternity, we will find that the recording angel has been ourselves. God will make every one of us keep our own record; memory will keep the record; and when God shall say, “Son, remember,” it will all flash across our mind. It won’t be God who will condemn[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (pp. 11–12). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

Luther’s Doctrine of the Priesthood of All Believers: The Importance for Today — Credo Magazine

When the spark was lit for the reform of church doctrine and practice in 1517, not even Martin Luther himself could have perceived what was about to be unleashed. For Luther, his rediscovery in the Bible of the doctrine of justification by faith alone had immense implications for a whole array of doctrinal beliefs and church practices. One key implication was the equality that it created among those who trust Christ alone for their salvation. For Luther, the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers was an implication of the doctrine of justification by faith.

While Luther seems to have never actually used the term “priesthood of all believers” (the closest he comes is “general priesthood of all baptised Christians”),[1] he repeatedly referred to baptised believers as “priests.”[2] The doctrine of the priesthood of all believers meant that all who have faith in Christ and are baptised are designated priests and share in Christ’s royal priesthood. This meant that every believer has equal access to the Father through Jesus. The corollary is that every believer has the responsibility to act as a priest to other believers, to minister to them, particularly through proclaiming Scripture to them. 

One spiritual estate

Luther maintained that there is no spiritual divide between priests and laity; there is simply “one estate” to which all baptised believers belong.[3] Because justification by faith puts all baptised believers on equal footing, there are no tiers of spirituality or hierarchy in accessing God. Luther needed to retrieve the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers because, from the third century onwards, a gulf had opened between ordained and lay people, until it reached something of a chasm in the sixteenth century. This gap between the spiritual world and temporal world de-sanctified the earthly realm and created a chasm between the two, exalting the spiritual world over the temporal world.

It was this view of two worlds, two realms, two estates that Luther considered unscriptural. The priesthood of all believers meant that there could only be one world, one realm, one spiritual estate—all of which belonged to God. Luther maintained:

It is pure invention that pope, bishops, priests and monks are to be called the “spiritual estate;” princes, lords, artisans, and farmers the “temporal estate.” [On the contrary] . . . all Christians are truly of the “spiritual estate,” and there is among them no difference at all but that of office.[4]

How then, if all believers are of equal standing, is the church to carry out its ministry? How was Luther to have “priests” among the priesthood of all believers?

Luther’s implementation of a functional priesthood

For the sake of order in churches, Luther maintained a distinction in the role and office of different believers. This emphasis on order was particularly important for Luther, for some Reformation ideas had been turned into cause for disorder among the Anabaptists, and Luther would have none of that. This was not an ontological distinction but rather a functional distinction:

There is no true, basic difference between laymen and priests . . . between religious and secular, except for the sake of office and work, but not for the sake of status. They are all of the spiritual estate, all are truly priests, bishops, and popes. But they do not all have the same work to do.”[5]

Those who are to perform the office of a “priest” are to be chosen from among the priests in the congregation because “we are all priests, as many of us as are Christians. But the priests, as we call them, are ministers chosen from among us. All that they do is done in our name; the priesthood is nothing but a ministry.”[6] Thus, a “priest” is to be chosen by the consent of the priests of the congregation and apart from self-promotion: “Because we are all priests of equal standing, no one must push himself forward and take it upon himself, without our consent and election, to do that for which we all have equal authority. For no one dare take upon himself what is common to all without the authority and consent of the community.”[7]

If a priest is a priest by function, not essence, what is his function? For Luther, the primary responsibility of a priest is to speak God’s Word to the people of the congregation by faithfully carrying out the ministry of the Word and sacrament.[8] Luther guarded the ministry of the Word by guarding the ordained office of the priest; for him, ordination was about choosing preachers.[9] “The duty of a priest is to preach. . . . It is the ministry of the Word that makes the priest and the bishop.”[10]

When Luther set forth his first outline for a church service in An Order of Mass and Communion for the Church at Wittenberg (1523), he wanted to correct abuses that had arisen through neglect of God’s Word.[11] He emphasized: “And this is the sum of the matter: Let everything be done so that the Word may have free course instead of the prattling and rattling that has been the rule up to now. We can spare everything except the Word.”[12] The priesthood of all believers meant that there could only be one world, one realm, one spiritual estate—all of which belonged to God. Click To Tweet

Viewing the priesthood as a function and office rather than an ontological status also meant Luther believed that ordination is not a permanent state; the priesthood is not irrevocable as in the Roman Catholic tradition. The role of priest is simply a ministry that can be started and stopped as required, not part of the essence of the person. Indeed, someone who has served in the role of priest can again become a lay person, as Luther explained: “I cannot understand why one who has been made a priest cannot again become a layman; for the sole difference between him and a layman is his ministry.”[13]

Implications for today

What might Luther’s doctrine of the priesthood of all believers mean for us? Here are a few suggestions. First, we are to remember that leaders and laity are both justified by faith alone in Christ alone. We are to respect and give due honour to those who serve us in a leadership role in the church, however we are not to invest them with some special spiritual power. Likewise, those in a leadership role are not to lord it over those in their care but recognise their same standing before God.

However, we must be careful not to misapply Luther’s doctrine of the priesthood of all believers; he didn’t want to bring pastors down, but rather wanted to raise the bar for congregation members. All of us are priests, and so we must exercise that function, especially in ministering the Word of God to one another, but also in praying for one another, hearing each other’s confession and assuring one another of divine forgiveness, serving one another including physical provision (Phil 4:18; Heb 13:16), ultimately offering our whole being as a “living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom 12:1; notice the priestly language). Luther particularly emphasised the priestly role in the household, which is why catechisms were so important to him – may we be encouraged in the God-given duty of instructing the children in our care in the ways of the Lord.

Second, by doing away with the demarcation between the spiritual and temporal realms, Luther invested a dignity in vocation whereby a Christian may live a whole life in worship of God (Rom 12:1). Each daily activity, from the mundane to the material, from the remunerated to the unpaid, is a realm in which to glorify God. Whereas the world tempts us to think that the value of a task is wrapped up in the amount paid to do it, we are offered a new way – all tasks are a way to glorify God as priests, which is the ultimate bottom line at the end of the day.

Third, Luther encourages us to remember that that the function of a priest (or pastor, elder, minster, bishop) is to correctly present the Word of God to people under their care, recognising that it is through the Spirit-inspired Word of God that the Spirit works in people’s lives.[14] According to Scripture, the key requirement that an elder/bishop should meet—a qualification that is distinguishable from every other Christian—is being “able to teach” (1 Tim 3:2); this competency entails that the elder/bishop must “hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine” (Titus 1:9). Amidst the many pulls on a pastor’s time, he cannot be allowed to neglect the Word and prayer, asking that God’s Word may do its work in people’s lives by God’s Spirit. May we do all we can to encourage and ensure that those in Christian leadership persevere in presenting the Word of God to us. In the words of Luther, “we can spare everything except the Word.”


Endnotes

[1] Martin Luther, Selected Psalms II, in Luther’s Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan and Helmut T. Lehmann, 55 vols. (St Louis: Concordia and Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1955-86), 13:332.

[2] Uche Anizor and Hank Voss, Representing Christ: A Vision for the Priesthood of All Believers (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2016), 18.

[3] Luther differentiated between two estates and one estate in “To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation,” in Luther’s Works, 44:129. See later discussion.

[4] This is Luther’s gloss on Paul’s affirmation, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” Luther, “To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation,” in Luther’s Works, 44:129.

[5] Luther, “To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation,” in Luther’s Works, 44:129.

[6] Luther, “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” in Luther’s Works, 36:113.

[7] Luther, “To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation,” in Luther’s Works, 44:129.

[8] For Luther, a very close connection exists between the Word of God—that which is preached and received by faith—and the two sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper—that which is enacted by means of the physical elements of water, bread, and wine and received by faith as the promise of the forgiveness of sins.

[9] Kuhn, Celebrating the Reformation, 251.

[10] Luther, “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” in Luther’s Works, 36:115. The ministry of the Word was the primary differentiating characteristic of Lutheran priests. See Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 24, in The Book of Concord: Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, ed. Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 267.

[11] Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey, Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2018), 77.

[12] Martin Luther, “Concerning the Order for Public Worship,” in Liturgy and Hymns of Luther’s Works, ed. Ulrich S. Leupold, trans. Paul Zeller Strodach, 73 vols. (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1965), 53:9-14. See Gibson and Earngey, Reformation Worship, 77.

[13] Luther, “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” in Luther’s Works, 36:117.

[14] Luther in particular stressed the connection between the Word of God and the Spirit of God: “Because God has now permitted his holy gospel to go forth, he deals with us in two ways: First, outwardly, and second, inwardly. Outwardly he deals with us through the preached Word, or the gospel, and through the visible signs of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Inwardly he deals with us through the Holy Spirit and faith. But this is always in such a way and in this order that the outward means must precede the inward means, and the inward means comes after through the outward means. So, then, God has willed that he will not give up anyone the inward gifts [of the Spirit and faith] except through the outward means [of the Word and the sacraments].” Martin Luther, “Against the Heavenly Prophets in the Matter of Images and Sacraments,” in Luther’s Works, 40:83.

via Luther’s Doctrine of the Priesthood of All Believers: The Importance for Today — Credo Magazine

Foundations of Worship — Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family

“In the beginning, God.”

With those opening words of the book of Genesis, we find the very foundation for all biblical religion. God’s self-existence, creative power, and divine providence over all things provides the basis for a Christian worldview and theology, which should flow into how Christians worship (cultus) and, indeed, the entirety of how they live (culture).

As Christians, we might be tempted to bypass the Old Testament as we seek to understand the relationship between what we believe and how we worship, but that would be a grave mistake. The historical record, poetry, and prophecy contained in the OT were “written for our instruction,” Paul said (Rom 15:4, 1 Cor 10:11). Although, as we will see, the coming of Christ does fundamentally changed some aspects of how we relate to God as his people, the core and essence of biblical Christianity finds its center in the worldview and theology of the Old Testament. Therefore, careful study of worship in these ancient books will help us as Christians to properly shape our theology and practice of worship in a way that is founded upon transcendent principles.

Creation is the very basis of and foundation for worship. The central principle of biblical worship is the fact that it is God-initiated and based upon his self-revelation. God’s speaking the world into existence was in its very essence an act to create worship. God created the universe ex nihilo through his spoken word for the express purpose of displaying his own glory (Psalm 19:1), and he created Adam in his image in order that Adam might witness that glory and respond in worship. God’s chief end is to glorify himself, and he calls all people everywhere to fulfill their purpose in life of doing the same (Isaiah 43:6-7).

Yet this desire to be worshiped did not stop with speaking the world into existence; creation certainly displays the glory of God, but creation alone is not enough to reveal the God to be worshiped. Adam would not have known whom he was to worship except that God said something to him. God revealed himself to Adam and told him of his purpose in Genesis 2:15: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” The phrase “work it and keep it” seems to imply that man’s purpose was to garden, yet the work of gardening would not have been necessary prior to the Fall. Rather, the two verbs in this phrase have a deeper significance. The first verb is avid, which, according to Allen Ross, is “used frequently for spiritual service, specifically serving the LORD (Deut. 4:19) and for the duties of the Levites (see Num. 3:7-8; 4:23-24, 26).”1 The second verb is shamar; and Ross notes that “its religious use is that of observing spiritual duties or keeping the commands (Lev. 18:5).”2 He explains,

In places where these two verbs are found together, they often refer to the duties of the Levites (cf. Num. 3:7-8; 8:26; 18;5-6), keeping the laws of God (especially in the sanctuary service) and offering spiritual service in the form of the sacrifices and all the related duties—serving the LORD, safeguarding his commands, and guarding the sanctuary from the intrusion of anything profane or evil.3

God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden—the perfect sanctuary of God—to literally “worship and obey.” This purpose for humankind is expressed elsewhere in Scripture (e.g., Isaiah 43:7). God created Adam and Even in order that they might serve as priests in his holy sanctuary.

What did this worship entail? Several clues give us early indication of what worship is all about. The early chapters of Genesis demonstrate the nature of the relationship between God and his image-bearers in the Garden. Each day God “walked” with them in the cool of the garden (Gen 3:8). The garden God had made for Adam and Eve served as a sanctuary where God was present with his people. His desire was to fellowship with them, to commune with them, not as equals, but as the Creator with his creation. Notably, the verb for “walked” in Genesis 3:8 is used later to describe God’s presence in the sanctuary (Lev 26:12, 2 Sam 7:6–7). This idea of communion with God in his sanctuary as revealed by him distills the essence of worship as it is developed through the entirety of Scripture.

But this notion of communion with God was not of the casual nature of two equal friends. Father, this communion with God was on his terms. He set specific boundaries and limits to what that communion would entail, and disobedience of his instructions would result in death—separation from this communion in his very presence. In other words, this communion was covenantal in nature; it was a formal relationship between God and his people in which both parties had a part to play, God as creator and provider, and humankind as servant with particular commands to obey. This formal relationship does not diminish the personal essence of communion with God, any more than a formal wedding covenant prevents intimacy between husband and wife. Nevertheless, communion with God was instituted by and regulated by God such that he received ultimate glory and his people would receive the greatest good.

But, of course, Adam and Eve disobeyed. Their sin broke the perfect communion they had enjoyed with him in his holy sanctuary, and thus God expelled them from his presence, placing cherubim with a flaming sword to guard entrance into God’s presence (Gen 3:24). Before he did, however, God himself provided the solution to that broken communion. By slaying an innocent animal and covering Adam and Eve’s nakedness with the animal’s skin, God was already picturing the means by which he would restore the broken communion. He made a promise to Adam and Eve in the form of a protoevangelium—a “pre-gospel” in Genesis 3:15 when he promised the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal.” In this way, two key elements of worship that would be developed later appear in the creation/fall narrative, namely, atonement and covenant.

Thus all the elements that later describe biblical worship are already available to us in these early pages of Scripture: worship entails drawing near to communion with God himself in his holy sanctuary. This communion is on his terms and it is initiated by his revelation to his people. Sin breaks this communion, however, and erects barriers that prevent people from drawing near to God’s presence. God responds to this terrible situation by establishing a unilateral covenant with his people and providing atonement by which they can draw near to (for now) imperfect fellowship with him.

via Foundations of Worship — Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family

Crude Oil About To Decline 50% Again? Will It Take Stocks With It Again? — Kimble Charting Solutions

Crude Oil double topped in late 2018, then it fell nearly 50% in 90-days, taking stocks along with it. Could Crude be “Double Topping” again? Let’s investigate what the chart is showing us.

Crude oil created a weekly Doji Star topping pattern at (1) in the summer of 2018. A few months later it then created a bearish reversal pattern at the same level as the Doji Star pattern, forming a double top.

Right after the double top, Crude experienced massive selling pressure driving the price down nearly 50% in 90-days. What did stocks do during this large Crude decline? The S&P fell nearly 20% in 90-days.

Crude looks to have created another Doji star topping pattern at (2) this past April. The rally over the past few months has Crude testing the “Doji Star” level, as well as, it’s 61% Fibonacci retracement level at (3).

Could it be creating a bearish reversal pattern?

If Crude is double topping, will it experience another 50% decline similar to 2018? If there is another large price drop, will it impact stocks again?

via Crude Oil About To Decline 50% Again? Will It Take Stocks With It Again? — Kimble Charting Solutions

Living In A Post-Truth Culture — Cross Examined – Christian Apologetic Ministry | Frank Turek | Christian Apologetics | Christian Apologetics Speakers

By Bob Perry

I’ve made the case that truthgoodness, and beauty are objective features of the world we live in. Hopefully, you’ve found that to be interesting. But please don’t think this is just an esoteric triviality. It’s not. We are living in a post-truth culture. But it’s a place where the objective nature of truth, goodness, and beauty are deeply relevant. Our view of objective truth affects everything about how we live our lives. It’s the antidote to moral relativism. Truth matters. And understanding the profundity of that simple fact will revolutionize the way you interact with our world.

Living In A Post-Truth Culture

Here’s why.

The Assumptions of the Culture

Consider the three topics I’ve been talking about. And think about how you’re used to hearing about them:

Truth — “That may be true for you, but it’s not for me.”

Goodness — “Don’t impose your morality on me!”

Beauty — “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Despite thousands of years of human knowledge and experience, our contemporary culture has made every one of these subjective. Suddenly, they’ve each become things we decide for ourselves.

In fact, if you were to express the notion that anyone of these is not subjective, you would be considered arrogant. Oppressive. A Neanderthal who wants to impose your personal values on the rest of the world.

Who are you to do that?!

The World Turned Upside Down

This is cultural relativism. A place where we are supposed to accept the idea that everyone’s opinion about every topic is equally valid.

And remember that pesky definition of truth as: “correspondence to reality”? That’s out the window. The new normal tells us that our highest calling is to “be true to ourselves.”

But what does that mean, exactly?

Follow Your Heart

When your standard for truth and virtue is the person you see in the bathroom mirror, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see what’s coming. Feelings rule. You are encouraged to “follow your heart.” And following your heart means you evaluate reality based on emotion instead of reason and logic.

If it feels good, you do it.

“If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad …”

Sheryl Crow

Conforming to reality becomes passé. An archaic inconvenience.

But there is a problem with that. And the problem is that the “persistent belief in something that does not conform to reality” is called a delusion.

Our culture has elevated delusion to an art form.

Philosophy Is About The Real World

It turns out that the whole discussion of truth, goodness, and beauty is more than the hobby of navel-gazing philosophers. These things have real-world consequences. Ideas always do. Good or bad, we live in a world where those ideas will play themselves out.

And so, we see the consequences of bad thinking in our politics and in the family and community relationships on which our politics depend. We read about them in the news — and in the “fake news” generated at both ends of the political spectrum. We suffer the repercussions of denying reality in our economics. And our children and grandchildren will — quite literally — pay the price for those willful delusions.

Most of all, we see it in the glorification of sexual autonomy that has infiltrated every corner of our culture. Denying reality is at the core of issues like abortion, sexual libertinism, transgenderism, and same-sex behavior. Defending each of them is nothing but a persistent delusion.

Faith Communities Are Not Immune

The Church is most certainly not immune to the corrosive acid of bad thinking. The vacuous nonsense you can find in the Word-Faith Movement, Universalism, and so-called “Progressive” Christianity is proof enough of that. And every societal ill listed above has also found its way into the church.

But when you boil it all down, the problems we see in our culture are nothing new. In fact, they’re as old as mankind. The denial of truth, goodness, and beauty started soon after we came on the scene. The Fall of Man was simply the first instance where human beings made the free-will decision to exchange the truth of God for a lie. Since then, we’ve only pushed the limits of that futile exercise even further.

The good news is that the antidote to bad thinking has always been the same. Seek truth in all its forms. Then align your life with it.

The Church should never be a safe space for bad ideas. It must be a place where people are treated with gentleness and respect, but also a place where corrupted thinking goes to die.

Recommended resources related to the topic:

Digging for the Truth: Archaeology, Apologetics & the Bible by Ted Wright DVD and Mp4

Is Morality Absolute or Relative? by Dr. Frank Turek DVD, Mp3 and Mp4

When Reason Isn’t the Reason for Unbelief by Dr. Frank Turek DVD and Mp4

Right From Wrong by Josh McDowell Mp3

Can All Religions Be True? mp3 by Frank Turek

Counter Culture Christian: Is There Truth in Religion? (DVD) by Frank Turek

How Can Jesus be the Only Way? (mp4 Download) by Frank Turek


Bob Perry is a Christian apologetics writer, teacher, and speaker who blogs about Christianity and the culture at truehorizon.org. He is a Contributing Writer for the Christian Research Journal and has also been published in Touchstone, and Salvo. Bob is a professional aviator with 37 years of military and commercial flying experience. He has a B.S., Aerospace Engineering from the U. S. Naval Academy, and a M.A., Christian Apologetics from Biola University. He has been married to his high school sweetheart since 1985. They have five grown sons.

Original Blog Source: http://bit.ly/39xoLwt

via Living In A Post-Truth Culture — Cross Examined – Christian Apologetic Ministry | Frank Turek | Christian Apologetics | Christian Apologetics Speakers

Are atheists unbiased about the question of God’s existence?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Brian Auten has a book review posted up at Apologetics 315.

The book is “If There’s A God, Why Are There Atheists?”, by theologian R.C. Sproul. R.C. Sproul is one of my favorite theologians. The book in question has a very, very special place in my heart, because I think that it is one of the major reasons why I was able to resist pernicious ideas like religious pluralism and postmodernism for so long. Once you put on the glasses of Romans 1 and see for the first time what man is really doing with respect to God, you can never see things the same again. I’ll say more about this at the end, but let’s see what Brian wrote first.

The review

So often, you hear atheists complaining about religion is nothing but wish-fulfillment or some sort of crutch for people who are frightened by a variety of things…

View original post 1,111 more words

As Part Of Settlement With Nick Sandmann, CNN Hosts Must Wear MAGA Hats During All Broadcasts — The Babylon Bee

ATLANTA, GA—According to a report, as part of the settlement with Nick Sandmann, CNN hosts will be required to wear MAGA hats throughout every broadcast.

“Let the punishment fit the crime,” counsel for Sandmann said as Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, and Wolf Blitzer all solemnly donned Make America Great Again caps.

Hosts were seen with downcast expressions as they commented on the day’s events, MAGA hats in place.

Sandmann says the hosts will be forced to wear the hats until they’ve learned their lesson, which could take a while. “Just be careful you don’t make an expression some could construe as ‘smug.’ Wouldn’t want you to get punched or your lives to get ruined, or anything like that.”

CNN hosts must also finish every broadcast by saying, “Good night, and I am a big, fat dummy, while Trump is the best president we’ve ever had.”

Brian Stelter requested an exemption and was allowed to wear a clown nose instead, as usual.

via As Part Of Settlement With Nick Sandmann, CNN Hosts Must Wear MAGA Hats During All Broadcasts — The Babylon Bee

Iran To Replace State-Run Television With MSNBC Broadcast — The Babylon Bee

TEHRAN—In a bid to cut costs and save time, Iran has announced that its 24/7 state propaganda station will be replaced with an MSNBC broadcast.

The decision to broadcast MSNBC instead of official state propaganda came after an MSNBC reporter parroted the false claims of the Iranian government after yesterday’s rocket attacks.

“Why spend so much time creating propaganda to brainwash our people when MSNBC could do it for us?” a representative for Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting said to reporters. “It takes a lot of work to put together news broadcasts that obscure the truth and tell the masses exactly what we want them to believe. But MSNBC has it down — they really understand what we’re trying to do. We decided we had to get those experts on our team.”

The Iranian people say they have noticed no difference in the bias of the one television station they’re allowed to watch after the switch occurred, except “maybe it skews a little more anti-America now.”

via Iran To Replace State-Run Television With MSNBC Broadcast — The Babylon Bee

Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2019 — Counseling One Another

I’m a week behind everyone else in posting a “best of” last year, but here it is.

Again, thank you for being a reader and/or subscriber to Counseling One Another. I am blessed and humbled by your encouragement.

via Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2019 — Counseling One Another

Bill Clinton Pictured with Epstein’s ‘Pimp’ Ghislaine Maxwell and a Sex Slave on Infamous Private Jet “Lolita Express” — The Gateway Pundit

Bill Clinton poses with Ghislaine Maxwell

New photos of former President Bill Clinton with Epstein’s ‘pimp’ Ghislaine Maxwell and a sex slave on board the private jet “Lolita Express” has surfaced.

The Sun exclusively obtained the photos of Bill Clinton who was also pictured with his arm around Epstein’s masseuse and sex slave Chauntae Davies.

Chauntae Davies told The Sun that she was required to wear a pilot’s uniform in order to appear ‘professional.’

The photos of Bill Clinton were taken on a long distance flight to Africa where he participated in a 5-day ‘humanitarian’ trip with celebrities such as Kevin Spacey.


Bill Clinton with sex slave Chauntae Davies

The Sun also obtained photos of Slick Willie smoking a cigar while relaxing on board the Lolita Express.

The Sun reported:

Now, for the first time, Chauntae Davies has revealed the extraordinary details of Clinton’s long distance flight to Africa with Maxwell and a number of other celebrities.

The star-studded group – which included actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker – visited Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Mozambique, Johannesburg and Cape Town in a five-day humanitarian trip.

There is no suggestion Clinton, Spacey, 60, or Tucker, 48, did anything wrong during the tour, or knew of Maxwell’s alleged activities on Epstein’s behalf, or the abuse Chauntae suffered at his hands.

However, it will further raise concerns about how some of the world’s most famous and powerful people were drawn into Epstein’s circle at a time when he was committing horrific sex crimes.

Chauntae, now 40, told The Sun: “It’s clear that Epstein was using this private jet and his wealth to get close to rich and powerful people.

“Looking back at these images now it raises a lot of questions about why Bill Clinton was using the plane and what perhaps Jeffrey may have been trying to accomplish by having him around.”

We reported in 2016 before the election that Bill Clinton took numerous trips on Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’ to Epstein’s private “Orgy Island” where underage girls as young as 14 were prostituted for Epstein’s rich and famous clients like Clinton, Kevin Spacey and Prince Andrew.

Clinton’s claim that his Secret Service were with him every during every trip is bogus because according to reports he simply ditched his security detail in order to stealth travel with Epstein.

In May 2016 FOX News reported that Bill Clinton traveled with Jeffrey Epstein on his famous “Lolita Express” at least 26 times and frequently ditched his secret service detail.

Last summer shortly after Epstein was arrested for sex trafficking minors, Bill Clinton released a panicked statement claiming he knows nothing about Epstein’s horrific sex crimes.

A month later Epstein was found dead in his prison cell and the autopsy photos released sure looks like a wire was used to strangle Epstein.

After all, dead people can’t talk.

via Bill Clinton Pictured with Epstein’s ‘Pimp’ Ghislaine Maxwell and a Sex Slave on Infamous Private Jet “Lolita Express” — The Gateway Pundit

President Donald Trump Delivers Remarks on Iran – Video and Transcript…. — The Last Refuge

Earlier today President Trump addressed the outcome and ramifications from last nights’ missile attack by Iran against two bases in Iraq. [Video and Transcript Below]

.

[Transcript]

via President Donald Trump Delivers Remarks on Iran – Video and Transcript…. — The Last Refuge

God Has a Plan, and You Really Can Trust Him | Lies Young Women Believe

by Samantha Nieves | 1/08/20

Happy New Year, friends. We can’t wait to spend another year with you. To kick off 2020, we’ve pulled your favorite posts out of the vault. Enjoy them again (or for the first time) with our “Best of” series all month long. 

There will likely be times in the year ahead when question God’s plan. In preparation for those moments, check out this post from Samantha. 

I love a good story.

Good storytelling sparks a fire in my belly. And I know it’s because masterful storytelling points us to the Creator of stories. God is the Author who originated plotlines themselves. He is the first Storyteller, the best Storyteller—and the Bible is where we discover the most intricate and powerful story ever told.

The words on every page weave together a plotline from Genesis to Revelation, and God has a plan for every chapter within His greater story.

What’s one of my favorite stories in Scripture? It’s Esther’s.

God isn’t mentioned in the book of Esther. (Nope, not once.) But His fingerprints are all over her story—the story of God’s people rescued from annihilation in Persia.

The ten chapters of Esther shout God’s plan-creating sovereignty. If we aren’t paying close attention, we might miss the dramatic and careful storytelling.

The Jewish people weren’t saved from total destruction by mere chance; God arranged the right things to happen at the right moments in order for His purposes to come to fruition.

Esther’s story reminds us that nothing and no one can stop God’s plan.

The Author Is at Work

Here’s the thing I’ve been learning about trusting God’s plan when life looks bleak or intimidating or entirely impossible: God really is at work. 

It may not seem like He’s working in your life right now. It might feel like your prayers have gone unanswered. You may feel stuck in circumstances that hurt like you never imagined. Perhaps you don’t even see a fork in the road. The path has seemingly ended, and uncharted territory stares you down.

The words “just trust God’s plan” could sound frustrating to you right now. The idea of blind faith seems like someone is trying to slap a Band-Aid over a gunshot wound. I’m bleeding out here, you think. And I’m supposed to have faith and hope when nothing is happening for me?

But God is at work. He really is.

He doesn’t necessarily dump a bucket of “His Plan” over our heads all at once; He gives us a drop at a time so that we can learn to trust Him one day at a time. If we aren’t looking, we can miss all the ways He is crafting our own stories, plot twists and all.

One Faith Step at a Time

Sometimes those next steps are big. They require bravery and boldness. We couldn’t face them without the things He’s brought into our lives in the days and months and years leading up to it: that friend who taught and encouraged us, that perfectly timed sermon that challenged us, that trial that flexed our suffering muscles . . .

Can you look back and see God’s faithfulness woven throughout your story? The ways He has shown up by giving you gifts of grace each day (Lam. 3:16–24)? The people, the circumstances, the words, the hard things—they all prepare us as God builds the story for His good purposes (Gen. 50; Rom. 8:28–38).

Esther couldn’t see the big picture, and neither can we. But like Esther, we can take the next step of faith and declare, “I trust you, God.” And because He promises to be faithful, there will be a day when we can turn around and say, “God, You arranged those pieces of my story in ways I never would have imagined. You did answer my prayers. You did show up. Thank you for writing my story.”

January 8, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

Iranian forces fired missiles at military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq on Wednesday in retaliation for the U.S. killing of an Iranian general, raising the stakes in its conflict with Washington amid concern of a wider war in the Middle East.

Trump administration officials will brief the U.S. Congress on Wednesday on the killing of an Iranian commander that has sparked a new Middle East crisis, as Democrats push for legislation to rein in the president’s ability to launch a war.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday that he would like to see a conflict between the United States and Iran resolved peacefully via dialogue, and asked those involved to say “no to war.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the attack by Iran on military bases in Iraq housing western troops in retaliation for the U.S. killing of an Iranian general.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, after an Iranian missile strike on U.S.-led forces in Iraq that Israel would hit back hard against anyone who attacked his country.

A Ukrainian airliner crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran early on Wednesday, bursting into flames and killing all 176 people on board.

Puerto Rico’s power grid crept back to service on Wednesday after it was shut down entirely as a safety measure on Tuesday amid a storm of earthquakes including the most powerful to strike the Caribbean island in 102 years.

Impossible Foods is no longer trying to win a coveted deal to supply McDonald’s Corp with plant-based burgers, telling Reuters it cannot produce enough of its imitation meat to partner with the world’s No. 1 fast-food chain.

AP Top Stories

Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at U.S. troops and coalition forces at two bases in Iraq on Tuesday, an apparent retaliation for a U.S. drone strike days earlier that killed one of Tehran’s most powerful officials, Qasem Soleimani.

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered another Earth-sized, potentially habitable planet orbiting around a star in the range of distances where conditions could allow for the presence of liquid water on the planet’s surface.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that last week’s seemingly random knife attacks by a homeless man at an Austin shopping plaza magnified a “sense of lawlessness” in the liberal state capital city, whose mayor has accused the governor of demonizing people living on the streets.

Iraq’s outgoing prime minister said that the U.S. has no alternative and must pull its troops out of the country, or else face an impending crisis, as the remains of a senior Iraqi militia commander killed in a U.S. drone strike was brought to Iraq from Iran for burial.

A Hong Kong legislator who was temporarily blinded after a riot officer lifted his protective goggles to fire pepper spray directly into his eyes on New Year’s Day has vowed to return to the frontlines of the months-long pro-democracy movement to record allegations of police brutality.

Boy Scouts of America faces mounting legal liability as lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by leaders and volunteers continue to roll in, thanks in part to loosening statutes of limitations across the country.

Twelve New Jersey schools will begin piloting a new LGBTQ-focused curriculum this month, the first wave of a requirement that will soon be mandated across the state.

Four men sentenced to death for the gang rape and murder of a woman on a New Delhi bus in an attack that sent shockwaves across the world will be hanged on Jan. 22.

A more than four year fight to secure equal access to locker rooms for transgender students in a north suburban Chicago school district ended Tuesday when a new policy allowing them unrestricted access took effect.

Indonesia’s air force deployed fighter jets to the South China Sea in an ongoing standoff with Beijing after Jakarta protested a Chinese violation of its exclusive economic zone.

BBC

Oil prices have risen after two bases hosting US troops in Iraq were hit by ballistic missiles.

Thousands of camels in South Australia will be shot dead from helicopters as a result of extreme heat and drought. A five-day cull started, as Aboriginal communities in the region have reported large groups of camels damaging towns and buildings.

Final-year candidates at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (Owlag) in South Africa have passed their exams. The school’s executive director tweeted the news saying all the 59 candidates got “100% passes”.

The number of people killed by a measles epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo has passed 6,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

WND

A Muslim teen who was accused along with his brother of starting a fire in Australia was seen laughing as he left court in Sydney on Tuesday.

A recent survey of 2,000 British citizens found that the average modern family spans roughly 2,077 miles all over the world.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Jan. 8, 2020

The Foundation

“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace … it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.” —George Washington (1793)

Democrats Invite Iranian Retaliation — Get Missiles

Assuring Iran that retaliation will help it weaken Trump’s resolve is an open invitation to escalation.


McConnell Can Override Pelosi’s Dubious Impeachment Demands

The House speaker has been stalling for weeks, but the Senate GOP called her bluff.


Methodist Church Split a Victory for the Rainbow Mafia

The plan to split the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination is a rejection of Scripture.


Fake News CNN Settles Covington Defamation Suit

Nick Sandmann and CNN agreed to an undisclosed settlement over phony news coverage.


AOC Wants Dem Party Purged of Non-Leftists

Get on board with socialism or get out. That’s Ocasio-Cortez’s tolerant message.


Soleimani Sympathizers

It is awfully convenient to speak against America while benefiting from this republic.


Video: Hot Air on the Hill

Politicians use congressional hearings to score cheap points and bully productive people.


Video: Gervais Pounds Hollywood Into Dust

Andrew Klavan explains Hollywood’s hilarious reaction to Ricky Gervais’s monologue.



Today’s Opinion

Star Parker
President Trump’s Timely Move Against Evil
Ben Shapiro
Trump’s Iran Policy Isn’t the Problem; Barack Obama’s Was
Betsy McCaughey
Pelosi’s Impeachment Stunt
Byron York
Behind Bolton’s Decision
Walter E. Williams
The New Racism
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday Top News Executive Summary

Iran retaliates, Senate-trial rules, CNN settles with Sandmann, and more.


Wednesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Gary Bauer, Nikki Haley, Nancy Pelosi, 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 – 1/8/2020

Trump’s media-shy new peace envoy Berkowitz meets Israeli leaders

US Berkowitz in Israel to debate peace plan rollout – discusses possible release of peace plan prior to the Israeli election in March

Israel is on precipice of losing option of two-state solution, say US advisers

Netanyahu’s office said blocking construction of 2,000 new homes in Har Homa due to ‘diplomatic difficulties’

Trump goes all out against congresswomen for being ‘totally against Israel’

Israel Police Filmed Kicking Palestinian in the Head During Arrest on Temple Mount

Across the US, police and locals rally in wake of rise in anti-Semitic attacks

At UN, Iran protests Israeli officials’ past statements on potential strike

For Israel, Iran strike could be back on the table

IRGC threatens to attack Israel if US responds to missile attack in Iraq

Iran will suffer ‘crushing blow’ if it attacks Israel, Netanyahu warns

After Soleimani Killing, Hamas Caught Between Gaza Calm and Iranian Support

Iranian Jews pay condolence call to family of Soleimani

Michael Moore apologizes to Iran on behalf of the American people for airstrike that killed Soleimani

Meghan McCain confronts Warren on Soleimani: Why is it ‘so hard to call him a terrorist?’

Biden calls Trump ‘dangerously incompetent’ for ordering Soleimani killing

Andrew Yang: Iran Escalation ‘Heightens Urgency’ To Get Trump Out Office

Nikki Haley claims Democrats the ‘only ones mourning loss’ of Suleimani

Eric Trump blasts Democrats for ‘ironic’ claims of president using Iran as ‘distraction’ from impeachment

2020 Democrats risk backlash in trashing Trump’s Iran strike

Iranian American activist outraged by ‘propaganda machine’ glorifying Soleimani

Soleimani’s death will put Iran’s proxy network to the test

Raab warns Isis would be only winner of war in Middle East

Oil prices surge 4% at high following attacks on Iraq bases

OPEC secretary general says Iraqi oil facilities secure, production continuing

Why Iran crisis is unlikely to hit US consumers hard at the gas pumps

Death of Iran general spurs anxiety over fate of US hostages

Iranian foreign minister accuses US of ‘state terrorism’ as country’s parliament votes to designate US forces as ‘terrorists’

By killing Qassem Suleimani, Trump has achieved the impossible: uniting Iran

Iran minister tells US: “Get the hell out of our region” after attacks

Soleimani successor vows to ‘rid the region of America’

US interests in region ‘in danger,’ Iranian president says

Iran vows to ‘set ablaze place America loves’; crowds shout: ‘Death to Israel’

Iran Launches Over a Dozen Ballistic Missiles at Iraqi Bases Housing U.S. Troops

Trump insists ‘All is well!’ after Iran missile attack

Iranian state TV says 80 ‘American terrorists’ killed in Iran missile strikes

No US casualties in Iran missile strike, preliminary reports say

No Iraqi casualties in 22-missile Iranian attack overnight

Iranian foreign minister warned of ‘resolute response’ hours before Iran fired ballistic missiles at US forces

Iran supreme leader boasts of ‘slap in the face’ against US

‘I’ll call him back’: Pelosi puts House business first as Pence calls about Iranian ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases

After missile launch, Iran leader tweets flag – like Trump did after Soleimani death

US forces on high alert for possible Iranian drone attacks, and intelligence shows Iran moving military equipment

Iran officials hint at possible attacks on Trump properties

Pompeo: If Iran makes another bad decision, it will be dealt with swiftly

Esper says US isn’t looking ‘to start a war with Iran, but we are prepared to finish one’

US Deploys Nuclear-Capable Bombers to Within Striking Distance of Iran – Reports

‘We’re going to war, bro’: Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne deploys to the Middle East

Trump pressed to reveal intelligence that prompted Soleimani strike

Mitch McConnell Says Targeting Iran’s Cultural Sites Would Be ‘Inappropriate.’ It’s Also Illegal.

Trump Walks Back Threat To Commit War Crimes Against Iran’s Cultural Sites

Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr bashes Trump as ‘son of gambling halls’

Trump: Iran Will Never Have a Nuclear Weapon

British military on standby to deploy to Gulf ‘within 48 hours’

Iran has responsibility to de-escalate tensions with US: Germany

Philippines orders mandatory evacuation of citizens in Iraq amid soaring US-Iran tensions

India issues travel warning on Iraq after Iran attacks

Texas facing 10,000 potential cybersecurity attacks from Iran per minute, Abbott says

Iran: 50 dead, 190 injured at Soleimani’s funeral

US bans airlines from flying over Iraq and Iran after attacks on military

Ukrainian passenger plane crashes in Iran, killing at least 170

Engine failure, not missile, caused crash of Ukrainian airliner in Iran: Ukrainian embassy

Member of IRGC’s Quds Force killed in Yemen: Report

Saudi Arabia arrests ‘most dangerous wanted terrorist’ in eastern province

Putin makes unannounced visit to the Middle East and held talks with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Damascus

Honduras to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization

Libya chaos intensifies with drone massacre and rebel advances

Senate Republicans close ranks on rules for Trump impeachment trial

Attacks on the Babylon Bee Are Attacks on Free Expression

The FBI and Apple are poised for another battle over unlocking iPhones

Is growing ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ movement dangerous or patriotic?

American family attacked on highway in Mexico says ‘bullets were everywhere’ in deadly rampage

6.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kimbe, Papua New Guinea

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Tallaboa, Puerto Rico

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Tallaboa, Puerto Rico

Deadly earthquake rocks Puerto Rico, causing widespread power outage

‘Everyone’s scared’ – Puerto Rico declares emergency after earthquakes

Puerto Rico declares emergency, activates National Guard after earthquakes

Shishaldin volcano on the Aleutian Islands erupts to 33,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

24 people charged with intentionally setting Australia fires this season

Genetically Modifying Trees To Prevent Air Pollution Proves Successful

Illinois pot shops can’t keep up with demand after state legalizes recreational use

A mysterious pneumonia outbreak is causing panic in China, and nobody knows where it came from

Child Flu Deaths Hit Record High for This Time of Year

Planned Parenthood Murdered Record Number of Unborn Babies in 2018-2019 While Receiving $616 Million in Taxpayer Funds


Apostasy Watch

Mike Oppenheimer – Engle’s Angle part2 Engle’s background, Education and teaching on being a Nazarite 

Israel NAR Leaders And Their Friends

Texas church shooter had history of getting angry with church over charity

China openly changes Christianity while America does it covertly

Christian bride-to-be killed on the way to her wedding by suspected Islamists

Iranian official: Mass conversions ‘are happening right under our eyes’


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

January 8, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Desperate Plea (9:20–24)

The boy’s father was about to get what he so desperately wanted, while the demon would get what he desperately did not want. In response to the Lord’s command, they brought the boy to Him. While he was still approaching Jesus (Luke 9:42), when he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a final, violent convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth.

While this dangerous display of vile demonic power was going on, Jesus calmly asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” The Lord was not asking, of course, for information that He did not already possess, since He is omniscient. He wanted to bear the father’s pain; to have the man tell Him the heartbreaking story of his son’s demonic oppression. The father was not coming to an impersonal force but to a person. The healing miracles Christ performed reveal the compassion of God and that He cares about human pain and suffering. Jesus allowed this suffering man to unfold his heart to the sympathetic and merciful Lord.

His reply, “From childhood,” indicates that his son had been in this terrible state all his life. It was not due to any sin on the part of either the father or the son but for the glory of God (cf. John 9:1–3). And though the demon had repeatedly tried to kill the boy by throwing him both into the fire (commonly used for heating and cooking) and into the water (such as wells and pools) to destroy him, God preserved him for this moment to bring His Son glory. The father’s desperate struggle to keep the demon from killing his son was about to be ended permanently.

Encouraged by the Lord’s sympathetic concern for his beleaguered, battered son, the man asked Him pleadingly, “If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” Boētheō (help) literally means, “to run to the aid of one who cries for help.” His faith was weak and incomplete; he correctly perceived that Jesus was willing to deliver his son, but he was not sure that He had the power to help him. But he was desperate.

Jesus’ reply, “If You can?” was not a question but an exclamation of surprise. In light of His widespread ministry of healing the sick and casting out demons, how could His ability to cast this one out be in question? His further declaration, “All things are possible to him who believes,” is the lesson Jesus intended to teach. This was not the first time He had spoken of the importance of faith (cf. Mark 5:34–36; 6:5–6), nor would it be the last (cf. Mark 10:27; 11:22–24). The lesson that faith is essential to access the power of God applied to all the unbelieving crowd, the father, who was struggling to believe, as well as to the disciples, whose faith was weak and wavering. The disciples especially needed to learn this lesson, since after Christ’s death, they would need to access divine power through believing prayer (Matt. 7:7–8; 21:22; Luke 11:9–10; John 14:13–14; 15:7; 16:24; 1 John 3:22; 5:14–15).

Overcome with emotion, immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” He was honest enough to admit that though he believed in Jesus’ power, he struggled with doubt. Just as he pleaded in desperation for Jesus to deliver his son from the demon, so also did he plead for Jesus to help him be delivered from his unbelief. The Lord is not limited by imperfect faith; even the strongest faith is always mixed with a measure of doubt.[1]


23–24 Jesus seized upon the father’s words at the point where they were most tempered with doubt: “if you can.” Verse 23 can be paraphrased, “As regards your remark about my ability to help your son, I tell you everything depends upon your ability to believe, not on mine to act.” By this reversal of intent, Jesus indicates that the release of the man’s son from possession is not to be a response to the conditional “if you can,” as if his power were something to be elicited through challenge. What is to be tested in the arena of experience is not Jesus’ ability, but the father’s refusal to set limits to what can be accomplished through the power of God. In its struggle with temptation, faith must always free itself from the disastrous presumption of doubt, in the certainty that with God nothing is impossible (Ch. 10:27), and that his majesty becomes most visible when human resources have become exhausted. Jesus thus calls for that faith which bows its head before the concealed glory of God (cf. Chs. 5:36; 11:23f.). The parallel in expression between Ch. 9:23 and Ch. 10:27 indicates that through faith the believer shares in the sovereign rule of God and therefore, either actively or passively, experiences miraculous power. In this instance, healing is to be the response to radical faith in Jesus, through whom the power of God is released.

The father’s response indicates that he understands Jesus’ words in this light, for he immediately relates the solemn declaration concerning faith to himself. His cry expresses humanity and distress at being asked to manifest radical faith when unbelief is the form of human existence. At the same time that he affirms his faith, he associates himself with the rebuke addressed to the disciples: this generation is always unbelieving. The ambivalence in his confession is a natural expression of anxiety in the earnest desire to see his son released, but it is also a candid plea for help at that point where his faith is ready to fail. The exchange between Jesus and the father established the personal relationship necessary for the accomplishment of the release.[2]


9:23 “If you can”? Jesus repeats the father’s words back to him (literally, “As for ‘if you can’ ”). This is usually understood as exasperation on Jesus’s part and a rebuke of the father’s lack of faith. Yet the father was not guilty of the same degree of hardness as the “unbelieving generation” in verse 19. I would link this with the cry for help in verse 24 below as a small amount of faith rather than complete unbelief. The father is unsure but still centers on Jesus, as did the Syrophoenician woman and the deaf mute (7:24–37). He is another of the “little people” (see “Theological Themes” in the introduction) who exemplify the kind of discipleship Jesus requires of his followers.

Everything is possible for one who believes. This does not mean that faith imparts an omniscience to the believer and God is required to yield anything demanded by one with faith (see further on 11:22–24). It does mean that the limitless power of God is available to anyone who will trust entirely in Jesus (cf. Phil. 4:13, 19). This is one of Jesus’s key statements, with important repercussions for the life of faith, as will be explored in 11:22–24.[3]


23. Jesus said to him, As to that if you can, all things are possible for him who believes. It is interesting to notice how quickly and dramatically Jesus turns the tables on this man. “The question is not whether I am able but whether you believe,” the Lord is, as it were, saying. Though it is not true that Jesus never healed anyone unless that person manifested genuine faith, it is true that he placed great emphasis on faith. See 1:15; 5:36; 6:5, 6; 11:23; cf. Matt. 17:20.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2015). Mark 9–16 (pp. 27–28). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Lane, W. L. (1974). The Gospel of Mark (pp. 333–334). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Osborne, G. R. (2014). Mark. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 160). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark (Vol. 10, p. 349). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

January 8 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

January 8.—Morning. [Or January 15.]
“Return unto thy rest, O my soul.”

Genesis 8

AND God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: (The Lord did not forget the saved ones. He thought on Noah first, and then on those with him, and even thus he remembers his dear Son, and us for his sake.) and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;

The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; (How readily are all things ordered by the Lord’s providence. Winds and waters move at his bidding, as well for the deliverance of his people as for the destruction of his foes.)

And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.

And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

¶ And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:

And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. (This foul bird could light on carrion; just as wicked men find delight in sin.)

Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;

But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him in the ark. (Even thus our weary souls when renewed by grace find no rest in polluted things, but return unto Jesus their rest; and he graciously draws us in to himself when we are too faint to come.)

10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;

11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

12 And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more. (In the new and renovated world the dove could live at liberty, as regenerated souls dwell amid holy things.)

15 ¶ And God spake unto Noah, saying,

16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.

18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him:

He did not come forth till he was bidden to do so by the same voice which called him into the ark. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.

19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.

20 ¶ And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Before he built a house he built an altar. God must be first worshipped in all things.)

21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

22 While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Thus Noah’s sacrifice was pleasing to the Lord and the ground of a new covenant; and so the offering of the Lord Jesus is evermore a sweet savour, and for his sake the covenant of grace is made with all the saved ones. Have all of us an interest in it?

O Jesus, Saviour of the lost,

Our ark and hiding place,

By storms of sin and sorrow toss’d,

We seek thy sheltering grace.

Forgive our wandering and our sin,

We wish no more to roam;

Open the ark and take us in,

Our soul’s eternal home.

January 8.—Evening. [Or January 16.]
“He will ever be mindful of His covenant.”

IN this portion we have fuller particulars of the gracious covenant made with Noah and his seed.

Genesis 9:8–17

¶ And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,

And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;

10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.

11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

To those who have been saved in Christ no future destruction is possible. They are for ever secure from the floods of wrath.

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: (The covenant sign is seen in cloudy times when faith most requires a seal of the Lord’s faithfulness. No cloud, no bow. It is worth while to have a cloud to have a rainbow painted upon it.)

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, (This is better than man’s looking upon it, for He will never gaze with forgetful eye.) that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. (The word everlasting has heavenly music in it. A temporary covenant is of small value, but an everlasting covenant is a wellspring of delight.)

17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

The rainbow is thus made the lovely symbol of God’s truth. A bow unstrung, for war is over; a bow without a string never to be used against us; a bow turned upward, that we may direct our thoughts and prayers thither; a bow of bright colours, for joy and peace are signified by it. Blessed arch of beauty, be thou to us ever the Lord’s preacher.

We will now turn to a passage in the prophets where the covenant of divine grace is linked with this bow.

Isaiah 54:4–10

Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.

For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.

For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.

In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.

For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.

10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. (Let us henceforth be ashamed to doubt the Lord. These steadfast signs should create in us unstaggering confidence in the faithfulness of our immutable God. Only let us make sure that we are exercising true faith in Him.)

The warm affections of his breast

Towards his chosen burn;

And in his love he’ll ever rest,

Nor from his oath return.

Still to confirm his oath of old,

See in the heavens his bow;

No fierce rebukes, but joys untold

Await his children now.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 15–16). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

January 8 Family of God

1 John 3:1

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

Perhaps you’ve been exposed to the idea of the “Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.” This idea suggests that God is the Father of us all, and we are all brothers regardless of who or where we are in life. In reality, there are two families in this world. There is the family of God, and there is the family of the devil. Until you are spiritually born again, you are not part of God’s personal family—you cannot call him “Father.” There are many people who have gone all of their lives without knowing God personally. They have prayed the Lord’s Prayer, but to no avail, because you cannot pray “My Father” if He isn’t really your Father. The way He be-comes your Father is by your putting your trust in the gift He provided of His Son, Jesus Christ. When you accept Christ as Lord and Savior of your life, you become a child of God—you are born into His family, and He becomes your Father. [1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 9). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

January 8 Thoughts for the quiet hour

Take good heed therefore unto your souls

Josh. 23:11 (Margin)

Gold cannot be used for currency as long as it is mixed with the quartz and rock in which it lies imbedded. So your soul is useless to God till taken out from sin and earthliness and selfishness, in which it lies buried. By the regenerating power of the Spirit you must be separated unto Christ, stamped with His image and superscription, and made into a divine currency, which shall bear His likeness among men. The Christian is, so to speak, the circulating medium of Christ, the coin of the realm by whom the great transactions of mercy and grace to a lost world are carried on. As the currency stands for the gold, so does the Christian stand for Christ, representing His good and acceptable will.

  1. J. Gordon[1]

 

[1] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.