Daily Archives: January 16, 2020

January—16 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

A certain man made a great supper, and bade many.—Luke 14:16.

Is not this certain man designed to represent the Father of mercies, and God of all grace? And is not the great supper intended to set forth the full, generous, free, and plentiful feast made for poor sinners by Jesus Christ in his gospel? My soul, thou art invited, for the message of grace is to the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. Jesus keeps a noble house, and it is an open house. The evening is come—the hour of supper is arrived: arise, then, and accept the invitation. Behold, Lord, I am come! And now what are the spiritual delicacies of thy table? First, methinks I hear the generous Lord proclaim a hearty welcome. And it is a sweet thought for my poor soul to cherish, that in whatever heart Jesus is welcome, that heart is welcome to Jesus; for as a poor hungry sinner needs a full Saviour, so a full Saviour needs a poor empty sinner, to give out of his fulness upon, and grace for grace. Neither is a poor sinner more happy in receiving Jesus, than Jesus is glorified in receiving a poor sinner. “The Lord waits to be gracious.” And what are the viands at his table? The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Here, then, I find the whole of the blessed feast. Here is Jesus himself, the bread of life, and the water of life, whose flesh is meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed. Here are pardon, and mercy, and peace; here is strength to help in every time of need; all grace treasured up for his people in himself, and now to be imparted as their several circumstances require. Moreover, the King himself is come to his table. I could not be mistaken in his voice. He saith, “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse. I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey. I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends! drink, yea drink abundantly, O beloved!” What doth our Jesus mean by “his myrrh with his spices?” Doth he mean the preparing the souls of his guests for this banquet, by enduing them with the spirit of repentance and faith? or is it to set before them his own sufferings and death, “by whose stripes they are healed?” In either sense, blessed be my bountiful Lord! he is himself the provider; it is his table, and he furnisheth the whole of it. He is the substance, the life, the way, the means, the end, the first and the last of all; it is all his own, and of his fulness do we all receive. And, dearest Lord! art thou pleased with thy guests when they come at thine invitation, under a deep sense of want, earnestly desiring to partake of thy bounty, approaching under the sweet leadings of thy Holy Spirit, and clothed in the wedding-garment of thine own righteousness? O thou bountiful Lord! how blessed are they that sit in thine house, they will be continually praising thee! Now, my soul, thou hast eaten, and art full; arise from the holy table as one fed and filled with the Spirit, bless the kind Master of the feast, and give thanks, crying out with holy Simeon, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”[1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 19–20). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

January 16 Streams in the Desert

And there arose a great storm.” (Mark 4:37.)

SOME of the storms of life come suddenly: a great sorrow, a bitter disappointment, a crushing defeat. Some come slowly. They appear upon the ragged edges of the horizon no larger than a man’s hand, but, trouble that seems so insignificant spreads until it covers the sky and overwhelms us.

Yet it is in the storm that God equips us for service. When God wants an oak He plants it on the moor where the storms will shake it and the rains will beat down upon it, and it is in the midnight battle with elements that the oak wins its rugged fibre and becomes the king of the forest.

When God wants to make a man He puts him into some storm. The history of manhood is always rough and rugged. No man is made until he has been out into the surge of the storm and found the sublime fulfillment of the prayer: “O God, take me, break me, make me.”

A Frenchman has painted a picture of universal genius. There stand orators, philosophers and martyrs, all who have achieved pre-eminence in any phase of life; the remarkable fact about the picture is this: Every man who is pre-eminent for his ability was first pre-eminent for suffering. In the foreground stands that figure of the man who was denied the promised land, Moses. Beside him is another, feeling his way—blind Homer. Milton is there, blind and heart-broken. Now comes the form of one who towers above them all. What is His characteristic? His Face is marred more than any man’s. The artist might have written under that great picture, “The Storm.”

The beauties of nature come after the storm. The rugged beauty of the mountain is born in a storm, and the heroes of life are the storm-swept and the battle-scarred.

You have been in the storms and swept by the blasts. Have they left you broken, weary, beaten in the valley, or have they lifted you to the sunlit summits of a richer, deeper, more abiding manhood and womanhood? Have they left you with more sympathy with the storm-swept and the battle-scarred?


The wind that blows can never kill

The tree God plants;

It bloweth east, it bloweth west,

The tender leaves have little rest,

But any wind that blows is best.

The tree that God plants

Strikes deeper root, grows higher still,

Spreads greater boughs, for God’s good will

Meets all its wants.

There is no storm hath power to blast

The tree God knows;

No thunderbolt, nor beating rain,

Nor lightning flash, nor hurricane;

When they are spent, it doth remain,

The tree God knows,

Through every tempest standeth fast,

And from its first day to its last

Still fairer grows.



[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 18–19). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

January 16th The D. L. Moody Year Book

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.—Nehemiah 8:8.

WE must study the Bible thoroughly, and hunt it through, as it were, for some great truth.

If a friend were to see me searching about a building, and were to come up and say, “Moody, what are you looking for? have you lost something?” and I answered, “No, I haven’t lost anything; I’m not looking for anything in particular,” I fancy he would just let me go on by myself, and think me very foolish. But if I were to say, “Yes, I have lost a dollar,” why, I might expect him to help me to find it.

Read the Bible as if you were seeking for something of value. It is a good deal better to take a single chapter, and spend a month on it, than to read the Bible at random for a month.[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.) (p. 17). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

“Everyone Is Extremely Long ‘Frothy’ Stocks”, World’s Biggest Hedge Fund Warns; Sees Gold Soaring As Dollar Loses Reserve Status | Zero Hedge

“There will no longer be an attempt by any of the developed world’s major central banks to normalize interest rates. That’s a big deal.”

With the market meltup accelerating at an unprecedented pace, and hitting new all time highs day after day even as broad S&P valuations are now at nosebleed levels last seen during the dot com bubble…

… investing luminaries have emerged from the woodwork to issue increasingly dire warnings to anyone who buys stocks here.

And so, two days after Oaktree founder Howard Marks told Bloomberg TV that “now is not a good time to be investing“, Greg Jensen, the co-CIO of Bridgewater, warned that he his fund was cautious on stocks, describing them as “frothy” as “most of the world is long equity markets in pretty extreme situations”, and predicted that gold would soar to $2000 and higher because the Fed and other central banks would let inflation run hot for a while and “there will no longer be an attempt by any of the developed world’s major central banks to normalize interest rates. That’s a big deal.”

In an interview with the FT, the man who oversees $160 billion at the world’s biggest hedge fund, also anticipated even more “political turbulence” on multiple fronts as slowing US economic growth exacerbates the divide between rich and poor while tensions rise with China and Iran.

Bridgewater co-CIO, Greg Jensen.

It is against this backdrop that Jensen said gold could rise 30% from its current price of $1,550 and should be considered as “a cornerstone of investors’ portfolios.”

“There is so much boiling conflict. People should be prepared for a much wider range of potentially more volatile set of circumstances than we are mostly accustomed to.” Jensen told the FT.

Addressing an issue we have repeatedly said is the weakest link in the bubble-bust loop, namely the Fed’s inability to correctly measure and thus target inflation, Jensen said even if inflation were to reach the central bank’s 2% target, “the Fed won’t be pre-emptive” which “takes off the table, in the short term, the normal reason cycles end . . . For most of the post-World War II recessions, the Fed dealing with inflation has ended the cycle.”

In short, as Richard Breslow said earlier, the Fed now “owns” this bubble, and once the market crashes so will the last trace of Fed reputation. 

And not just the Fed: soaring recession fears in 2019 which sent a record $17 trillion in debt in negative yield territory prompted 49 central banks around the world to cut rates 71 times in 2019, according to JPMorgan. The Fed itself reduced interest rates three times last year, and launched QE4 in October ostensibly to “fix” the repo market but in reality to push stocks higher, just as the president had demanded.

It gets worse: while the “tinfoil” blogosphere has repeatedly said the Fed could cut rates back to zero, if not negative, Jensen is one of the first “serious people” who told the FT he would not rule out the possibility that the Fed could slash rates to zero this year as it looks to avoid recession and disinflationary pressures.

But the main reason why Bridgewater is going long gold is also the most startling one: as a result of coming inflation surge and the ballooning US budget and trade deficits, the status of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency could be threatened.

“That could happen quickly or it could happen a decade from now. But it’s definitely in the range of possibilities. And when you look at the geopolitical strife, how many foreign entities really want to hold dollars? And what are they going to hold? Gold stands out.”

What about other assets? After all, Bridgewater is mostly an equity fund? Well, if there was one word to summarize Jensen’s position it would be that of Howard Marks: “sell.”

Although rate cuts by the Fed have bolstered equity markets, Jensen said the group was “more cautious” on US stocks, describing them as “frothy.” Echoing what we said in “Institutions, Retail And Algos Are Now All-In“, Jensen warned that “most of the world is long equity markets in pretty extreme situations”, particularly in the US, raising the appeal of emerging markets.

What happens next? Well, since humans are rather predictable creatures, he expects even more frothiness until it all comes crashing down: “a decade-long outperformance of the US is now being extrapolated and so people are generally under geographically diversified.”

Is Bridgewater talking its book?  Probably – its flagship Pure Alpha strategy was flat in 2019, while its All Weather fund gained 16 per cent for the year. That said, it is unclear if the “book” that is being talked in this case is the long gold, or short equities one.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/markets/everyone-extremely-long-frothy-stocks-worlds-biggest-hedge-fund-warns-expects-gold-soar

Trump Trial Begins – Guilty As Charged? by Ron Paul

Article Image
• Ron Paul Liberty Report

After a bizarre pause in the impeachment proceedings, House Speaker Pelosi has finally decided to send the House-passed articles of impeachment over to the Senate for trial. Constitutional duty…or political grandstanding? And are they missing the whole point on impeachment?

Kanye West to Join Host of False Teachers for Awaken 2020 Conference — Christian Research Network

“It appears that Kanye West has fully embraced the charismatic New Apostolic Reformation “signs and wonders” movement and will be joining a host of self-proclaimed “prophets” and “apostles” at the Awaken 2020 Conference this weekend. Some of the false prophets and false apostles heading up the event include Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, Guillermo Maldonado, Brian Welch, and many others.”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  I’ve been cautiously optimistic about Kanye West’s supposed conversion to Christianity. While I’ve been hopeful that his conversion is true, I’ve been skeptical about the sincerity of his conversion and have refrained from promoting him or his music to other believers.

While others have urged us to give him time to show fruits, we’ve held the position that if West is truly born-again, our criticism isn’t going take that away from him. In fact, as a highly visible popular figure — and one who now claims Christ — this does place him in a position to be scrutinized publicly for his words, actions, and associations. View article →


New Apostolic Reformation

Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel

Watch Out! Apostasy Alert – naming names

via Kanye West to Join Host of False Teachers for Awaken 2020 Conference — Christian Research Network

Somber Impeachment Ceremony Concludes With The Impeachment Dancers — The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—It was a somber day for the U.S., as House Democrats formalized the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took seven solemn hours to sign the articles of impeachment with 582 custom pens on silver trays before she sent them over to the Senate. As the articles were handed over, the Impeachment Dancers entered the room, marking the dark day with a well-choreographed dance number accented by a tasteful amount of pyrotechnics.

“It is gravely serious to accuse the president of high crimes and misdemeanors,” Pelosi said as dancers gyrated behind her. “And we do this reluctantly and with a heavy heart.”

After the ceremony and the dance number concluded, Democratic leaders all had a moment of silence to reflect on the gravity of their undertaking, the only sound now being the making of impeachment balloons by the Impeachment Clowns there to entertain the children.

With President Trump officially impeached and the trial now in the hands of the Senate, the House Democrats left feeling their important work was done — except for all the fundraising emails they had to write.

via Somber Impeachment Ceremony Concludes With The Impeachment Dancers — The Babylon Bee

11 Self-Refuting Arguments Against Christian Truth — The Fight of Faith

If you publicly express your faith in Jesus, you will undoubtedly face challenges to your beliefs. This should not surprise us because Jesus told us this would happen. Thankfully, for those of us in the United States, most of these challenges are only verbal in nature. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world face threats to their property and lives. Wherever we find ourselves, Scripture calls us to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in us, and that answer is always, Jesus.

The context in which we must give that answer will vary. For those of us facing intellectual challenges to our faith, we must be ready to expose fallacious arguments as well as give them the gospel. With that in mind, here are 11 common self-refuting arguments. I will break them down into three categories

Truth is relative.

Whenever someone claims that truth is relative, it is important to remember that that would apply to their statement as well. The statement, “truth is relative” would also be relative. This would make their statement about the relativity of truth just as true or false as any of your statements. Thus they lose all authority to speak. Here are a few ways this argument presents itself.

1. Language cannot communicate truth.

Postmodernism has taken root, not only in secular society, but in more liberal denominations as well. About 10 years ago, it was called the emergent church. Though that name has died, these ideas are still infiltrating many churches. Postmoderns argue that language is an invention of man and therefore cannot communicate truth, but they always try to communicate it using language.

2. Propositions are not truth.

The idea with this argument is that experience is truth, not words. This is a clear attack on the word of God. The funny part is, they often try to use the word of God to defend their point, which, of course, would only work if the word of God can communicate propositional truth.

3. There are no metanarratives

This idea that truth is relative leads them to believe that there are no metanaratives. There is no one story that controls all other stories. There are no universal beliefs through which all people should be viewed like creation, fall, and redemption. They believe all metanarratives are a masked play for power. This, of course, is the one overarching story they use to control all other stories. It is the lens they universally apply to everyone else.

4. Christians should not disagree about doctrine.

Their belief in the subjectivity of truth leads them to downplay biblical doctrine. From here, they argue that Christians should not disagree about doctrine. The problem is that this is a doctrinal disagreement they are having with you. Let’s not be naive, doctrinal disagreement can go too far, but to censure all doctrinal discernment leaves the arguer with only one option: to close their mouth and nod in agreement to everything you say.

5. Humans are prone to error so they cannot be trusted.

Finally, you will sometimes see another self-refuting argument in the way they try to justify their belief that truth is relative, but every argument comes back to haunt them. Every time they use the fact that man can err to make everything untrustworthy, they make themselves untrustworthy.

Do Not Tell People How to Live

6. Morality is subjective.

A second area were people often refute themselves is when they argue that morality is relative, and that we ought not tell people how to live. What they fail to realize is when they say “we ought not tell people how to live” they are telling people how to live.

7. Do not judge.

The “Do not judge” argument is probably the most common version of this argument. Of course, if you misinterpret Jesus’ words to mean you have no right to tell people when they they wrong, you refute yourself because you are telling someone they are wrong.

Everything Must be Proven with Science

There are people who take the benefits of scientific inquiry and try to make it the sole source of truth, but they fail to realize that there is a philosophy of science which must under gird all scientific endeavors. Here is how a few of these arguments present themselves.

8. Everything must be empirically proven.

When someone says you should only believe in things that can be experienced with the five senses, realize, their theory cannot be experienced or proven with the five senses.

9. Science is the only source of truth.

Never forget, science itself depends upon immaterial realities like the laws of logic, mathematics, time, and space.

10. Metaphysics are a waste of time.

This one is a little more sophisticated, but it suffers from the same problem. Metaphysics, according to the dictionary, is the study of first principles. These first principles include abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space. Often, as a Christian, when you begin delving into these topics, you will hear this argument from naturalists. The problem, for them, is that they make this statement because of there naturalistic metaphysical pre-commitments to these questions.

11. Humans are programmed by natural selection.

Finally, let us not forget that the naturalist often considers themselves free thinkers because they do not buy into “superstition,” but their own views of a closed system of cause and effect means that their own thought is the product of a closed system of cause and effect just like everyone else’s. The only conclusion that can be drawn from a closed system of cause and effect is determinism, and determinism leaves no room for freedom.

As Christians, let us be aware of fallacious arguments, but more importantly, let us stay close to our Savior and His word. The goal of apologetics is to help clear the intellectual impediments to the gospel, but if we never give them the gospel, or if we are not living close to our Lord and His word, we might as well not do apologetics at all. Though apologetics is helpful and important, it does not save the soul. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

-D. Eaton

via 11 Self-Refuting Arguments Against Christian Truth — The Fight of Faith

January 16, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

3 With the dawning of each new day, prayer is renewed, with the hope that the Lord will soon respond. The “morning” is symbolic of a renewal of God’s acts of love (cf. La 3:23). The change from darkness to light brings with it the association of renewed hope. In the early morning hours (cf. 55:17; 88:13; 92:2) the psalmist sought the Lord (his covenantal God) in prayer because he knew that Yahweh would not forsake him. It is to this end that he presented God with his “requests” (or “offerings”; see Notes). During the day he waited “in expectation” to see what the Lord would do for him.[1]

3. Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; morning by morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation (v. 3). Just as there were morning sacrifices, so prayers were directed to the Lord at that time. This was part of the threefold pattern of daily prayer (cf. Dan. 6:10). The language of sacrifice is carried over here, for ‘lay my requests’ represents the verb used of laying in order the wood (Lev. 1:7) or the victim for sacrifice (Lev. 1:8; 6:12). The psalmist then waits expectantly for God’s answer.[2]

5:3 I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. The Hebrew verb for “lay” is used of laying wood on the altar (Lev. 1:7), preparing a lamp (Ps. 132:17), setting a table (Ps. 23:5), laying out a legal case (Ps. 50:21), and setting forth thoughts (Ps. 40:5; see KJV).2 The NIV translates the verb in the last sense, supplying the missing object “my requests.” The ESV chooses the first meaning, “prepare a sacrifice.” Coupled with the imagery of the morning (sacrifice), this meaning seems preferable, although the ambiguity here is quite impressive (see “Historical and Cultural Background”). The verb “wait” has the same meaning in Habakkuk 2:1, where the prophet stations himself in the tower to “watch” (NIV: “look”) for the oncoming messenger.[3]

3. What a blessed view is here again given of Jesus! The apostle saith he was heard in that he feared. Heb. 5:7. And what an assurance have all the faithful of being heard, when they are led by his Spirit, act faith upon his person and mediation, and thus direct their prayer with the first dawn of the morning, unto him that proves himself the hearer of the prayer of the poor and destitute, and despiseth not their desire. Reader! do put it down as a sure unerring mark, that wherever the Spirit gives grace to pray, the Lord is already come forth to answer prayer. Isaiah 65:24.[4]

3. The words a sacrifice are a translators’ assumption, though probably a correct one. The Hebrew has the single word prepare, which can be used for setting out in order anything from a feast (23:5) to a case at law (50:21), and therefore perhaps for one’s plea to God (av), or one’s self-preparation (‘I hold myself in readiness for you’, jb); but it is often a priestly term for laying the altar fire and arranging the pieces of the burnt offering (Lev. 1:6f.). The emphasis on the morning rather suggests this by its possible allusion to the daily sacrifice at God’s threshold, ‘where I will meet with you, to speak there to you’ (Exod. 29:42). David, it seems, puts his praying into such a context (as in 141:2) to express the assurance of atonement and the total commitment with which he comes before God. But he also comes expectantly. The word watch is used of God’s prophets posted to report the first sign of his answers: cf. Isaiah 21:6, 8; Micah 7:7; Habakkuk 2:1. As at the tent of meeting, God would ‘speak there’, not only listen.[5]

Ver. 3. In the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee.—How to begin every day with God:

  1. The good work itself that we are to do. To pray. A duty dictated by the light and law of nature, but which the gospel of Christ gives us better instruction in. See how David expresses his pious resolutions.
  2. My voice shalt Thou hear. Understand as promising himself a gracious acceptance with God. “Thou wilt hear.” It is the language of his faith, grounded upon God’s promise, that His ear shall be always open to His people’s cry. Wherever God finds a praying heart, He will be found a prayer-hearing God. Understand as David’s promising God a constant attendance on Him, in the way He has appointed. God understands the language of the heart, and that is the language in which we must speak to God. We must see to it that God hears from us daily. He expects and requires it. Thus He will keep up His authority over us; and testify His love and compassion towards us. We have something to say to God every day: as to a friend we love, and have freedom with; as to a master we serve, and have business with. Our happiness is bound up in His favour. We have offended Him, and are daily contracting guilt. We have daily work to do for God and our own souls. We are continually in danger. We are dying daily. We are members of that body whereof Christ is the head, and are concerned to approve ourselves living members. Lay all this together, and consider whether you have not something to say to God every day. If you have all this to say to God, what should hinder you from saying it? Let not distance, or fear, hinder you. Let not His knowing what your business is hinder you. Let not any other business hinder our saying what we have to say to God.
  3. We must direct our prayer to God. We must with deliberation and design address ourselves to Him. The term “direct” indicates fixedness of thought, and a close application of mind, to the duty of prayer. It speaks the sincerity of our habitual intention in prayer: the steadiness of our actual regard to God in prayer.

III. We must look up. We must look up in our prayers; and after our prayers, with an eye of satisfaction and pleasure; with an eye of observation, what returns God makes to our prayers. Let us be inward with God in every duty, to make heart-work of it, or we make nothing of it. The particular time fixed for this good work is the morning. Then we are fresh and lively. Then we are most free from company and business. Then we have received fresh mercies from God, which we are concerned to acknowledge. In the morning we have fresh matter ministered to us for the adoration of the greatness and glory of God. In the morning we are addressing ourselves to the work of the day, and therefore are concerned by prayer to seek unto God for His presence and blessing. (Matthew Henry.)

Morning prayer:

  1. The Christian’s resolution. To pray.
  2. Prayer is a duty and a privilege. It implies spiritual life—filial relationship—freedom of access to God. The spirit of prayer must be earnestly cultivated.
  3. God is the supreme and immediate object of prayer. “I will direct my prayer unto Thee.” The mediation of priests and saints or of the Virgin Mary superfluous. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble,” &c.
  4. Prayer must be definite in its aim. “I will direct,” &c. A soul soliloquy is not prayer. Nor is the enumeration of the Divine attributes hid. True prayer is the earnest expression of the deep necessities and longings of the soul in the simplest language possible. The grain of prayer should not be lost in the chaff of vague generalities.
  5. The best time for private prayer. “In the morning,” &c.
  6. There is a greater freedom from the distracting cares of the family, business, &c.
  7. We should seek Divine strength in anticipation of duties, trials, temptations, &c.
  8. A day begun with prayer, generally proves a happy day.
  9. The most eminent Christians have devoted the early morning to prayer. Mention some.

III. The becoming attitude for a prayerful soul. “I will look up.” Describe watch-tower.

  1. We should not be satisfied without the conviction that our prayers have been heard by God. Many prayers never reach the goal of the throne of grace.
  2. Our prayers should not be forgotten, but an answer looked for. It will be so if our eye be single and our aim definite.
  3. Such an attitude prepares us for the recognition of the Divine hand in answer to our prayers. (Homilist.)

Morning devotion:

The essence of real religion is a filial disposition of heart towards God.

  1. Morning is the time for reflection. It seems natural to think, and to be quiet, in the early morning. The very laws of our physical being demand quiet in the morning.
  2. Morning is the time for observation. The curtain is drawn aside, and we look upon the face of God’s creation.
  3. Morning is the time for purpose. We may begin again, every morning, with fresh purposes, that will be achieved if the strength of God is made perfect in our weakness.
  4. Morning is the time for prayer. As the morning gives wings to the day, so prayer gives wings to the morning. Wise reflections will become wiser through the power of prayer, and our purposes will only be binding on the conscience, or wrought out in the life, as prayer gives them their character of sincerity or religiousness. Mornings are monitors, text-books, and registers. (W. G. Barrett.)

The protective power of prayer:

Among the elegant forms of insect life, there is a little creature known to naturalists, which can gather round it a sufficiency of atmospheric air—and so clothed upon, it descends into the bottom of the pool, and you may see the little diver moving about dry and at his ease, protected by his crystal vesture, though the water all around and above be stagnant and bitter. Prayer is such a protector—a transparent vesture, the world sees it not—but a real defence, it keeps out the world. By means of it, the believer can gather so much of heaven’s atmosphere around him, and with it descend into the putrid depths of this contaminating world, that for a season no evil will touch him; and he knows where to ascend for a new supply. (James Hamilton.)

Morning prayer:

A battle is every morning fought in every Christian’s closet. The morning is the key of the position. The season of morning prayer is, so to speak, the citadel, the Hougomont, the critical point in each successive day. If he wins those morning minutes, the devil knows he has won that day. (Ibid.)

The upward look:

It is said that the monks of Mount Athos are accustomed to hypnotise themselves into trance conditions by gazing at their own bodies—no very ennobling objective if true. In some of the Buddhist monasteries of Eastern Asia devotees are pointed out who have sat facing blank walls for twenty or thirty years and have gazed themselves into mysterious ecstasies. In the modernised Buddhism of London and New York theosophy the same virtue is ascribed to intense and sustained contemplation. What change, think you, ought to effect itself within us if with the same steadfastness we contemplate the personality of Him who is the leader and consummator of our faith? (Thomas G. Selby.)[6]

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Observe, this is not so much a prayer as a resolution, “ ‘My voice shalt thou hear,’ I will not be dumb, I will not be silent, I will not withhold my speech, I will cry to thee, for the fire that dwells within compels me to pray.” We can sooner die than live without prayer. None of God’s children are possessed with a dumb devil.

In the morning.” This is the fittest time for intercourse with God. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. While the dew is on the grass, let grace drop upon the soul. Let us give to God the mornings of our days and the morning of our lives. Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night. Devotion should be both the morning star and the evening star.

If we merely read our English version, and want an explanation of these two sentences, we find it in the figure of an archer, “I will direct my prayer unto thee,” I will put my prayer upon the bow, I will direct it towards heaven, and then when I have shot up my arrow, I will look up to see where it has gone. But the Hebrew has a still fuller meaning than this—“I will direct my prayer.” It is the word that is used for the laying in order of the wood and the pieces of the victim upon the altar, and it is used also for the putting of the shewbread upon the table. It means just this: “I will arrange my prayer before thee;” I will lay it out upon the altar in the morning, just as the priest lays out the morning sacrifice. I will arrange my prayer; or, as old Master Trapp has it, “I will marshal up my prayers,” I will put them in order, call up all my powers, and bid them stand in their proper places, that I may pray with all my might, and pray acceptably.

And will look up,” or, as the Hebrew might better be translated, “ ‘I will look out,’ I will look out for the answer; after I have prayed, I will expect that the blessing shall come.” It is a word that is used in another place where we read of those who watched for the morning. So will I watch for thine answer, O my Lord! I will spread out my prayer like the victim on the altar, and I will look up, and expect to receive the answer by fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice.

Two questions are suggested by the last part of this verse. Do we not miss very much of the sweetness and efficacy of prayer by a want of careful meditation before it, and of hopeful expectation after it? We too often rush into the presence of God without forethought or humility. We are live men who present themselves before a king without a petition, and what wonder is it that we often miss the end of prayer? We should be careful to keep the stream of meditation always running; for this is the water to drive the mill of prayer. It is idle to pull up the flood-gates of a dry brook, and then hope to see the wheel revolve. Prayer without fervency is like hunting with a dead dog, and prayer without preparation is hawking with a blind falcon. Prayer is the work of the Holy Spirit, but he works by means. God made man, but he used the dust of the earth as a material: the Holy Ghost is the author of prayer, but he employs the thoughts of a fervent soul as the gold with which to fashion the vessel. Let not our prayers and praises be the flashes of a hot and hasty brain, but the steady burning of a well-kindled fire.

But, furthermore, do we not forget to watch the result of our supplications? We are like the ostrich, which lays her eggs and looks not for her young. We sow the seed, and are too idle to seek a harvest. How can we expect the Lord to open the windows of his grace, and pour us out a blessing, if we will not open the windows of expectation and look up for the promised favour? Let holy preparation link hands with patient expectation, and we shall have far larger answers to our prayers.[7]

[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 115). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Harman, A. (2011). Psalms: A Mentor Commentary (Vol. 1–2, pp. 117–118). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[3] Bullock, C. H. (2015). Psalms 1–72. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (Vol. 1, pp. 39–40). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Hawker, R. (2013). Poor Man’s Old Testament Commentary: Job–Psalms (Vol. 4, p. 175). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Kidner, D. (1973). Psalms 1–72: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 15, pp. 74–75). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Exell, J. S. (1909). The Biblical Illustrator: The Psalms (Vol. 1, pp. 93–95). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company; Francis Griffiths.

[7] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 1-26 (Vol. 1, p. 46). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

January 16, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


The U.S. Senate takes formal steps on Thursday to consider the removal of U.S. President Donald Trump on charges that he abused his power, even as key issues such as whether witnesses will appear at his impeachment trial remain up in the air.

The Russian parliament overwhelmingly backed President Vladimir Putin’s surprise choice for prime minister on Thursday after what one daily called a “January revolution”, a major political overhaul that some say could set Putin up as leader for life.

Ukraine has appealed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for help in investigating a suspected cyber-attack by Russian military hackers on the energy company Burisma, a Ukrainian interior ministry official said on Thursday.

The S&P 500 crossed 3,300 for the first time and the Dow and the NASDAQ opened at new highs on Thursday, after the United States and China signed an initial trade deal and Morgan Stanley wrapped up big bank earnings on a strong note.

U.S. retail sales increased for a third straight month in December, with households buying a range of goods even as they cut back on purchases of motor vehicles, suggesting the economy maintained a moderate growth pace at the end of 2019.

China has lost millions of pigs in outbreaks of the disease, pushing its pork prices to record highs, forcing purchases of costly imports and roiling global meat markets. African swine fever has spread to Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, with cases found in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Korea, Myanmar, the Philippines, Poland, Belgium and Bulgaria. Around the globe, those countries and others that have so far sidestepped the epidemic are cracking down on travelers, increasing cargo screenings and banning meat imports.

AP Top Stories

The possibility that a new virus in central China could spread between humans cannot be ruled out, though the risk of transmission at the moment appears to be low, Chinese officials said Wednesday.

The U.S. Marine Corps could soon get the Navy’s new Naval Strike Missile for use as a shore battery, according to the Navy’s acquisitions chief.

Finland plans to increase its naval modernization budget in 2020 as part of a broad and ambitious effort to deepen its overall presence and surface capability in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia.

Representatives of two top business groups warned that it’s getting increasingly harder for foreign companies to put their money in Mexico and said that messages from President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government that hinder investment need to stop.

America’s leading newspapers are aiding China’s communist regime by running the oppressive government’s propaganda, respected watchdog organization Freedom House reported. The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and New York Times have all run paid supplements from China Daily, the Chinese government’s state media arm. The paid supplements, dubbed “China Watch,” are designed to look like real news articles.

Parts of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir have been hit by heavy rain and snowfall since Sunday, triggering deadly avalanches and landslides in and around the region. At least 76 people have died in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.


Ukraine says it has launched a criminal investigation into alleged illegal US surveillance of former American ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. It follows the release of text messages that suggested Ms Yovanovitch was being spied on.

Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos, who is embroiled in a huge financial scandal, has suggested that she may seek to become the country’s president.

US politicians expressed concerns about the accuracy and growing use of facial recognition software, at a hearing on Wednesday. The technology is being developed by firms including Amazon and Microsoft and increasingly used by law enforcement worldwide. Some facial recognition technologies misidentify women and people of color.

Mexico says it will not grant transit visas or free passage for hundreds of migrants who have left Honduras in an attempt to reach the US border. The interior ministry said officers would check the status of each migrant and offer them the option of remaining in the country legally.

Peru’s top court has ruled that the dissolution of the country’s Congress on 30 September was legal.

A 1,758-carat diamond unearthed in Botswana has been sold to French luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton for an undisclosed sum. The second-largest found in a century.

A Kenyan teachers’ union wants teachers in areas affected by militant attacks to undergo military training and have guns for their own safety.


A Texas high school apologized after a question about rape was included in a biology assignment for freshman students. The assignment asked, “Suzy was assaulted in an alley and is a victim of rape. The police collected a sample of sperm that was left at the crime scene and now have three suspects in custody. Which of the suspects raped Suzy?”

Mid-Day Snapshot · Jan. 16, 2020

The Foundation

“If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check.” —Thomas Jefferson (1811)

Sanders and Warren Face Impeachment Conundrum

Is Pelosi working to give Biden a leg up in Iowa with her impeachment delay? Not likely.

Trump Signs China Trade Deal, Pelosi Signs Impeachment Articles

While Dems press on with their impeachment charade, the president gets another trade win.

A FISC-Deep State Alliance?

An Obama-era FBI apologist and left-wing blogger will head up “reform.”

‘Jeopardy!’ Jeopardizes Facts About Israel

“What is Palestine?” Wrong answer to a botched question on a sensitive topic.

Bloomberg’s Brokered Demo Convention Gambit

Bloomberg is positioning himself as an insurance policy against Sanders’s nomination.

Texas Church Shooting Hero Receives Medal of Courage

“I feel more as a protector than I do a hero,” Wilson said with the medal around his neck.

Video: Illegal Aliens Offered Exclusive Faculty Mentoring at Cali University

The program’s website demonstrates how “oppressed” illegal aliens are in the age of Trump.

Video: The Debate Night of the Living Dead!

Joe Biden is alive (barely), CNN reveals its agenda, and Bernie Sanders scraps with Elizabeth Warren.

Video: TikTok’s Nurse Holly Slammed for Abstinence Advice

Did Nurse Holly jeopardize the health of impressionable young girls?

Today’s Opinion

Gary Bauer
China Trade Deal: A Big Win
Cal Thomas
The Iran Protests
Victor Davis Hanson
Energy Paradoxes Put Europe in a Precarious Position
Tony Perkins
The Unrest Is History
Larry Elder
Ilhan Omar and Steve King: A Tale of Two Flamethrowers
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Thursday News Executive Summary

Pelosi’s impeachment souvenirs, House handoff, China trade deal, and more.

Thursday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Gary Bauer, Ted Cruz, Jerry Nadler, Liz Warren, 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 – 1/16/2020

Abdullah: What if world gives up on two-state solution? Failure to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict endangers world peace

IDF strikes Hamas in Gaza in response to rocket fire, as sustained calm tested

Experts advise US synagogues on use of armed security personnel

Gaza theme park’s new train ride simulates the ‘return’ journey to Jerusalem

Netanyahu urges immediate return of international sanctions on Iran

US expects UN sanctions on Iran to ‘snap back into place’: Treasury Secretary

Iran rejects UK’s call for ‘Trump deal’ to replace nuclear accord

Iran’s Zarif Says 2015 Nuclear Deal Is ‘Not Dead’

Iran nuclear deal in serious danger, needs diplomatic solution: France

“A proxy response”: Iran has retaliation options beyond Hormuz in hitting Gulf oil supplies

Iran’s secret underground ‘missile city’ unveiled

US-Iran war would bring ‘untold chaos’ warns Jordan’s King

Trump Defends Killing Iranian ‘Son of a *****’ Soleimani in Profanity-laced Rally

Iran’s Rouhani slams disqualification of thousands from running for parliament

US troops in Iraq resuming operations against Islamic State

Turkey, Russia talks over ‘secure zone’ in Syria’s Idlib to enforce ceasefire: Turkey

Saudi Arabia rejects Turkish military presence in Syria: Saudi FM

Arab Parliament condemns Turkey sending troops to Libya

Lebanon protests turn violent for second night

Lebanese banking association condemns delay in forming new government: Statement

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to finalize agreement on Blue Nile dam later this month

Putin consolidates power as Russian government resigns

Russia’s prime minister resigns after Putin suggest constitutional amendments to boost power

Shock as Putin taps new PM, proposes reforms that could secure his grip on power

Russian parliament to review Putin PM pick after shock overhaul

Sen. Kennedy: Pelosi ‘swollen with partisan rage’ as she sends Trump impeachment articles to Senate

House leaders march Trump impeachment articles to Senate for trial

Pelosi names Schiff, Nadler as prosecutors for Trump trial

Rep. Adam Schiff: We feel the weight of history with impeachment

New evidence against Trump is likely to emerge during Senate impeachment trial, Schiff says

McConnell makes case for Trump acquittal ahead of trial

Republican leader in Delaware ousted after blaming Jews for Trump impeachment

Political Turmoil to Be ‘New Normal’ for 2020, Risk Firm Says

Northam declares state of emergency, Capitol weapon ban ahead of gun rights rally

Navy may arm new destroyer with conventional missile able to hit anywhere on Earth in an hour

Top-secret UFO files could ‘gravely damage’ US national security, Navy says

Asteroid that shot fireball at us ‘could be dangerous to life on Earth’

This Year Will Mark the Lowest Solar Activity in Over 200 Years

NY governor visits Puerto Rico, authorizes deployment of 115 National Guard to island as temblors continue

In quake-hit Puerto Rico even the bees are fleeing their homes

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Kuqa, China

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Huarmey, Peru

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Guanica, Puerto Rico

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Nemuro, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near San Martin, Argentina

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Naisano Dua, Indonesia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 23,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 21,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

At least 77 killed and 94 injured after avalanches bury homes in Pakistan

Pineapples have turned gray in the Philippines from ash spewed by Taal volcano

Major floods hit Iran after a year’s worth of rain in 3 days, at least 3 dead and over 20 000 homeless

A blob of hot water in the Pacific Ocean killed a million seabirds, scientists say

Fever chart: Earth had its hottest decade on record in 2010s

California Teachers Could Be Required To Teach About Climate Change

Thousands of teens protest education minister’s remarks about LGBT couples

Christians see ‘alarming’ trend worldwide as China builds ‘blueprint of persecution’

Apostasy Watch

Mike Ratliff – Wheat and Tares

Joseph Mattera adds his NARpostolic ‘weight’ to the latest Todd Bentley scandal

Demonic Kundalini Spirit at The Send Conference? Watch and Tell Us Your Thoughts

Charismatics Freak Out Over Moon’s Color Again

Hardline Hindus protest huge Jesus statue in India’s Karnataka

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

Today’s Last Days 2 Timothy 3:1-7 America! — The Ignorant Fishermen Blog

Today’s American Leftist Secularism –  rejects outright the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God! If one is seeking a definition of  “American Leftist Secularism, there you have it! The root and source of this rejection is their subjective lawless hatred towards their ETERNAL RIGHTEOUS Creator (Romans 1:18-32)! It is really just that simple! This lawless and base ideology today is greatly expressed, manifested and directed in their disdain and hostility towards the American blueprint drawn up by our Founding Fathers, which was based on the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. This dominant demonic lawless spirit REIGNS over America today in an America which our Founding Fathers would throw up in their mouths if they were to visit!

The root and source of this rejection is their subjective lawless hatred towards their ETERNAL RIGHTEOUS Creator! It is really just that simple!

Dear friend, read the Declaration of Independence where the signers entered into a covenant with our ETERNAL RIGHTEOUS Creator, read their personal writings, read their warnings, etc. Our Founders were geniuses because they believed in Almighty God their Creator, His moral laws and His ETERNAL RIGHTEOUS providence! Even the signers who did not have a saving faith in Almighty God fully comprehended, the Nebuchadnezzar Rule that, “Almighty God rules in the affairs of men (Psalm 76: 6–10, Dan. 2:20-23; 3:37; 4:1-3, 17, 32)! Now dear friends, look how EXPONENTIALLY removed we have become as a nation, culture, and society from our Founder’s vision! Just look at the Last Days Democratic presidential platform of 2020! It is total EXPONENTIAL demonic lawlessness on parade for ALL to see; but how many truly see it??  Zero sane logic, zero REALITY, zero morality, zero common sense! But what do you expect in Last Days America in which more than half of our nation doesn’t know what a boy or girl is?  These Dem candidates are vengeful advocates for baseness, reprobate ideology, lawlessness, and godlessness! They may not win in November 2020 but they have already won the culture war; and in a land without morality, justice, and RIGHTEOUS it will surely perish (Psalm 11:3, Prov. 14:3)! The EXPONENTIAL irreversible damage to our nation can NEVER be overturned and if you do not see that, I pray that you allow Almighty God to open your eyes, for the Day of the Lord, is indeed at hand and Almighty God’s Kingdom about to come forth (Matt. 6:8-10, 24, 1 Tim. 4:1-3, 2 Tim. 3:1-7, Rev. 6-19)! Remember, the HEART of the Lord’s Prayer is; Thy KINGDOM come, Thy Will be done! The GREAT HOPE in our day is that Jesus saves and His Kingdom is at hand! “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you!”- Matt. 6:33

This base ideology is expressed and manifested in their disdain and hostility towards the American blueprint drawn up by our Founding Fathers, which was based on the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. 

Now dear friends, let us look at the “2 Timothy 3:1-7” spirit of our day and the reprobate leftist mind! The mind and heart which abandons sound morality and RIGHTEOUSNESS can ONLY bring forth lawlessness and its poisonous fruit (Psalm 14, Prov. 17:15; 29:27, Isa. 5:20, Rom. 1:18-32, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, Gal. 5:19-21, Rev. 21:27)! It absolutely despises and hates anything or anyone that robs them from their lawless narcissistic supply, base desires and self-center worship (2 Tim. 3:1-7)! There is NO truth in them and they are fully opened up to obey and follow their father’s voice and commands (John 8:44, Eph. 2:1-2)! This 2 Timothy lawless and narcissistic spirit absolutely dominates our American culture today and is found in every facet of  24/7 media, politics, culture, and society! Dear friends, step back and objectively observe that American conservatism has absolutely failed and has only been on the defensive retreat for the last 60 years! It has only been by Almighty God’s grace, His covenant with our Founding Fathers, our support for Israel and a believing remnant in Jesus Christ that we have not been consumed as a nation! Biblical objectivity is absolutely critical for our hour! For without it, we (as a nation) are as a blind man, driving his car down a road where the bridge is out and doom awaits to fully consume!

 It absolutely despises and hates anything or anyone that robs them from their lawless narcissistic supply, base desires and self-center worship (2 Tim. 3:1-7)! There is NO truth in them and they are fully opened up to obey and follow their father’s voice and commands (John 8:44, Eph. 2:1-2)!

Liberal /progressives reject these core moral absolutes and practice a sensual subjectivism that refuses to see Almighty God-ordained absolutes and view life and their existence through the prism of euphemisms, moral relativism, and pluralism. They possess a hatred and fear of moral absolutes and believe that true freedom is freedom from any Divine ordained and established moral absolutes or laws that suppress their unbridled passions (Psalm 14:1-3, Isa 24:5, 2 Tim 3:1-7, Jude 1:10). In their minds to follow their ETERNAL RIGHTEOUS Creator in RIGHTEOUSNESS is tyrannical, oppressive and slavery! They like their idol Saul Alinsky, would rather follow their father ‘s rebellion and suffer their ETERNAL Damnation in the ETERNAL prison called the Lake of Fire than to submit to RIGHTEOUSNESS and enjoy the wondrous fruits thereof (Prov. 14:34, Matt. 25:41, 46; Gal. 5:22-23; 6:7; 2 Thess. 2:10-12; Rev. 20:10-15; 21:27; 22:11)! How absolutely and ETERNALLY tragic! Almighty God has NO PLEASURE in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 18:23; 33:11; Luke 19:41-44), and He so loved the world that He sent His ETERNAL Son to be humanity’s propitiation and Redeemer (John 3:16-17; 1 John 4:10, Acts 4:12, Rom. 10:2-4)!

They possess a fear of moral absolutes and believe that true freedom is to be free from any Divine instituted moral absolutes or laws that suppress their unbridled passions.

Today more than ever we need to be believing, discerning and light to a world that is heading like a rocket into the Day of the Lord (Rev. 6-19)! The Lord Jesus stated that you shall know men by their fruits and by their actions (Matt. 7:16-20). It is simple enough to see that where ever the “virtues” of secular liberalism are promoted and exercised that poverty, disease, anarchy, crime, social chaos, the break down of the family unit, violence and horrific social devastation is to be found!

When a nation REJECTS and ABANDONS the core moral building blocks for a healthy society for a godless delusion of lawlessness, expect to find horrific social devastation and chaos in nearly every facet of society!

When a nation REJECTS and ABANDONS the core moral building blocks for a healthy society for a godless delusion of lawlessness, expect to find horrific social devastation and chaos in nearly every facet of society (Jer. 2: 11-13, Tim. 3:1-7)History has testified to this RIGHTEOUS equation over and over and yet mankind will not learn. Our Founders perfectly understood this but that was the rare exception since the Tower of Babel 4300 years ago! And my dear friends that is where we are today as a nation! Thank God for President Trump, but all he is doing is a holding the line and getting very very very little back in light of 60 years of aggressive and successful secular liberalism, indoctrination, lawlessness and its EXPONENTIAL tsunami upon the American landscape (Psalm 11:3).

America’s only HOPE is in Jesus Christ the Savior of the world! Do you know Him? Dear friend, be sure that you do!

This is an objective evaluation and not a defeatist attitude. Today’s American social culture is at the extreme breaking point! The evidence SUPER ABUNDANT and MANIFESTED everywhere in American culture, yet the majority of American’s live in the apathetic delusion that all is well and that we will remain and prosper as times past. Wake up America, Almighty God’s Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! America’s only HOPE is in Jesus Christ the Savior of the world (John 1:12, 3:16-17, Acts 16:28-31, Rom. 6:23; 10:2-4)! Do you know Him? Dear friend, be sure that you do!


via Today’s Last Days 2 Timothy 3:1-7 America! — The Ignorant Fishermen Blog

January 16 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

January 16.—Morning. [Or January 31.]
“Thy testimonies are very sure.”

Genesis 21:1–21

AND the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. (The Lord’s promises are always fulfilled to the hour.)

And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. (Or laughter, for both parents had laughed for joy. The best laughing in all the world is that which arises from fulfilled promises; then is our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing.)

And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac, being eight days old, as God had commanded him. (Abraham’s laughter was no worldly merriment, but a joy which led him to be obedient to the Lord’s will. This is solid pleasure.)

And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

¶ And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.

When the promise is realised by any of us, others ought to share our joy. Let us tell the saints what the Lord has done for us, that they may rejoice also.

And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

¶ And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. (Children are too apt to do this; but how wrong it is for the elder to tease and grieve the younger. God notices it and is displeased.)

10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.

12 ¶ And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

It was hard for Ishmael to be sent from home, but God ordered it for the best, even for him.

14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. (Had she forgotten the Lord who appeared to her before? So it seems. Our forgetfulness of former mercy is the root of present despair.)

17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

God takes pity on boys and girls, and hears their little prayers as well as those of their fathers and mothers. Dear children, do you pray?

18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.

21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. (Thus God who ordered Hagar and her son to be sent away, took good care of them in the desert: he will therefore watch over us if we commit ourselves to his care.)

Our Lord is rich and merciful,

Our God is very kind;

O come to him, come now to him,

With a believing mind.

The Lord is great and full of might,

Our God is ever nigh:

O trust in him, trust now in him,

And have security.

January 16.—Evening. [Or February 1.]
“We are the children of promise.”

PAUL teaches us how to gather instruction from the ancient story of Ishmael and Isaac. Writing to those who were anxious to introduce Jewish ceremonialism into the Christian church, he says in—

Galatians 4:21–31

21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

Are ye not able to see a meaning in the incidents it records? Will ye only learn one part of its teaching, and shut your ears to the rest?

22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. (We were not made sons of God by the energy of nature, but by the power of divine grace.)

29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. (Pharisees and self-righteous persons display great enmity towards those who depend upon the grace of God in Christ Jesus. They call them presumptuous, and revile their doctrine as tending to licentiousness.)

30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

The system of salvation by works must be banished if grace is to reign; you cannot mix the two systems. The power and energy of self must also be no longer our trust if we desire to be saved through the promise. Human merit, the child of the flesh, will never agree with faith, the offspring of the promise.

31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Galatians 5:1–6

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Do not go back to legal hopes, and ceremonial observances. You are free-born; do not submit to the yoke of bondage.

Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (If a man could be justified by the law he would have left the system of grace altogether, for the two are diametrically opposed. Thanks be to God, we dare not even hope for a legal righteousness, and if we never fall from grace till we have become justified by the law, that evil will never befall us.)

For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. (Our confidence is in the promise and grace of God; thus we are true Isaacs, born of the promise of God.)

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (The outward is disregarded and the inward becomes all-important. The flesh, like Ishmael, is sent away, and the newborn nature abides with the father, and inherits the covenant promises. All believers understand this riddle: can all of us in this household interpret it?)

Once all my servile works were done

A righteousness to raise;

Now, freely chosen in the Son,

I freely choose his ways.

“What shall I do,” was then the word,

“That I may worthier grow?”

“What shall I render to the Lord?”

Is my enquiry now.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 31–32). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Thursday Briefing January 16, 2020 – AlbertMohler.com


 The Dictator’s Dilemma—Stay in Power or Leave Feet First: Raw Power on Display in Moscow as Putin Seeks to Hold Power Indefinitely


 In the U.S. Constitutional Order, Who Has the Power to Initiate War?


 Dictatorship or Democracy? The Clash of Worldviews





 Putin’s New Plan to Hold Power Forever, by Leonid Bershidsky


 What Putin Really Wants, by Julia Ioffe


January 16 Crown of Creation

Psalm 8:4–5

What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor.

The night sky casts a divine, pensive spell over us, as people have found through the ages; God designed it to do so. David the psalmist, who gazed out upon those stars during so many nights of watching over his sheep, must have continually marveled. And he must have realized who was watching over him. As he considered his Lord, according to the psalm, he finally was brought to consider himself. “Who am I that I would be worthy of even a thin moment of Your attention?” he wondered. “I look upon the crown of Your creation, and I wonder: How is it that You could place a crown upon me?”

For David, of course, a royal destiny did beckon. But true worship has this effect upon us: It simultaneously humbles and uplifts us. In other words, worship places us exactly where we should be, in the realization that we are small, yet a little lower than the angels; we are tiny creatures in the presence of God, but tiny creatures whom He adores.[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 17). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

The Cross Is Enough for Your Most Shameful Sin — Lies Young Women Believe

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.

In today’s post, Kim reminds us that we cannot out-sin God’s grace.

In the years God has blessed me to work with people and to minister to other women, I have come to see the enemy holding believers down and robbing them of joy with shame and guilt. The Evil One is masterful at deceiving people, even God’s children, into believing God can’t possibly forgive them and they will always be defined by what they did in the past.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard women say:

  • I can’t be used by God because _________.
  • I know they will think I’m crazy if I tell them I did _______.
  • I can’t serve at church. Don’t you know I used to _______?
  • I can’t ask for help because____________.
  • I can’t have any joy because I did _______________.
  • I can’t teach my kids about Jesus if they know I _______________.

It’s hard to live like the redeemed when you keep forgetting you are redeemed!

The Bible really does say, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17).

But the enemy doesn’t want you to believe that . . . and he certainly doesn’t want you to live like you do!

Watch Out for the Accuser’s Lies

In Revelation 12:10, Satan is called the “accuser of our brothers.” Do you know that “Satan” in Hebrew means “accuser”?

Pay attention to the accusations you hear about yourself. They are often an assault meant to keep you from doing all God wants to do through you and to keep you from living free from guilt and shame.

The accuser wants to rob us of all joy and peace and contentment. He is the one who reminds us of sin that God has already forgiven. Satan wants us to believe that the blood of Jesus is not enough to remove that sin and shame from our lives.

What a liar.

I know he’s a liar because he has lied to me. Just like every other subject God has ever allowed me to write or speak about, I’ve personally experienced this. Can I just tell you I’ve been on the field trip of believing Satan’s lies, and it is no place to stay?

Maybe you aren’t like me. Maybe you don’t have any big regrets. However, I do. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve laid awake at night with an ache in my stomach over something I’ve said or done.

Anybody else?

And what about those really bad things we’ve done? Those things that have so horrifically hurt someone else and have consequences we can’t fix? How can we live with shame and regret so deep that we dare not tell anyone about it?

What about those sins that everyone knows about? What about when asking for forgiveness from the one we’ve hurt is not even possible? What then? How can we be free from that choking, heavy burden and live life abundantly? Is it possible?

It is possible—but only in the light of the cross.

As Far as the East Is from the West

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us (Ps. 103:11–12).

“As far as the east is from the west.” I read those words, yet how I have struggled to apply them to my own life!

Why does it seem so easy to tell others that God has forgiven them and sometimes so hard to accept it ourselves?

For many years, I spoke and gave my testimony and had people come up to me telling me how it encouraged them. I would then get in my car and want to throw up because I would remember my past sins. I knew those women in the audience didn’t really know everything about me, and I knew they certainly didn’t know that I had told my best friend—my sweet, tall, dark, and handsome turned pitiful, drug-addicted husband—that I hated him only a few days before he committed suicide.

For years, I had told no one. For years, I had pleaded with God that Rick remembered my words of love the last morning I saw him and not my stinging horrible words the night before. I drove to his grave many times and watered the grass with my tears. I couldn’t take those words back. I prayed God would somehow tell Rick I was so sorry, and I prayed God would forgive me. Yet for years I didn’t accept God’s forgiveness, and the awful scene played over and over in my head like a horror movie.

Then one day the Holy Spirit helped me realize it wasn’t God who wants to remind me of those hurtful words—it was the enemy who wants to drown me in shame and make me feel unworthy to tell others about my story of God’s goodness in my life.

This I know: Without God, I am nothing but a heap of tears and regrets, but because of the cross I am forgiven. Completely, forever forgiven!

As I follow God daily and seek out His Truth, I can fend off the lies of enemy and keep on walking in freedom. I’m not perfect and I never will be, but because of Jesus my sins (the old ones and the new ones) are removed as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12).

I seek to live my life every day as He would have me live it—not because I could ever be good enough, but because He is the One who knows all the answers, makes no mistakes, and perfectly loves the sinner that I am. He did it all. His blood is enough. He is my everything. And He provides freedom over my sin, guilt, and regret.

Grateful for the Grace

Those truths that are true for me are true for you, too!

You have not out-sinned God’s ability to forgive you, and shame is never a place our Father wants you to live.

If there is someone who needs to hear your apology, go to them. However, if that is no longer possible, tell your Father and accept the forgiveness He offers. Remember, God’s forgiveness is complete and forever, and He doesn’t bring it back up and remind you of it. (That is the voice of our accusing enemy—not God!)

And by all means, don’t allow the enemy the joy of holding you down and keeping you from serving God! Instead, be eternally grateful for the grace you have received, be deliberate to praise your Father on every remembrance of it . . . and serve Him!

And consider this: Though you may have been knocked down by the enemy, though you may have cooperated with him in sin, like Peter, when you get up (yes, get up!), strengthen your brothers (Luke 22:31–32).

I will leave you with this: I have two friends. One had an abortion, and one had two babies outside of marriage. These two women are serving on the frontlines of the pro-life movement with tremendous authenticity and amazing effectiveness. I’m sure the accuser would like to have kept them down and out, shackled by their shame and guilt. Instead, they’re walking in freedom and being used by the King to set captives free and save lives of the unborn like few I have ever met.

I just wonder . . . what did the enemy intend for evil in your life that God most certainly wants to use for good (Gen. 50:20)? Oh friend, there is nothing impossible for Him (Matt 19:26)!

Remember, none of us are perfect. That’s why we need a Savior! In the words of Martin Luther, “We are all mere beggars showing other beggars where to find bread.”

So, let’s go show them!

via The Cross Is Enough for Your Most Shameful Sin — Lies Young Women BelieveLies Young Women Believe

January 16 Thoughts for the quiet hour

And Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights

Exod. 24:18

The life of fellowship with God cannot be built up in a day. It begins with the habitual reference of all to Him, hour by hour, as Moses did in Egypt. But it moves on to more and longer periods of communion; and it finds its consummation and bliss in days and nights of intercession and waiting and holy intercourse.

  1. B. Meyer[1]


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

Why Women Flocked to the Early Church | Stand to Reason

In a talk by Michael Kruger on “The Dynamic Ministry of Women in Early Christianity,” Dr. Kruger explains why, contrary to the opposite charge people tend to make today, early Christianity was mocked for being too pro-women.

After going through the historical data we have about the number of women in the early church (possibly as much as two-thirds of the church), their involvement in ministry, their learning of theology, etc. (which, as he points out, was all highly unusual for religions at the time), he offers some reasoned speculations as to why so many women flocked to Christianity, contrasting what they would have found in Christianity versus other religions at the time:

  1. Christianity gave women real opportunities for involvement in this religion with honor and dignity….
  2. Christianity had a very different sexual ethic than the broader Greco-Roman world [i.e., “They promoted sexual purity for both spouses in marriage”—see here for more on that]….
  3. The Christian condemnation of divorce….
  4. Christians condemned female infanticide….
  5. Christianity condemned female child brides.

His commentary on all of these points is well worth listening to. Our culture is unthinkingly swimming in Christian ideas at this point, so it’s easy to miss how revolutionary those ideas were when the early church began living by them despite derision and persecution from the surrounding culture.

Those who assume Christianity is anti-women simply because different roles are laid out for men and women in the family and in the church have missed the broader picture of Christianity’s view of women as well as the numerous implications that view (not to mention other aspects of theology) had for society. It was Christian theology—the value of women (including newborn women) and bodies, the purpose of sex and marriage, and more—that drew in women and created a dramatically new world for everyone.

For more, see Kruger’s book Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church.

Throwback Thursday ~ Basic Training: Bible Studies and Sermons — Michelle Lesley

Originally published January 25, 2019

For more in the Basic Training series, click here.

When I started the Basic Training series, I thought I’d be writing about foundational theological concepts and practices in Christianity. You know, like baptism or the sufficiency of Scripture. It never occurred to me that I might someday need to explain something so basic that most lost people could define it as well as (sometimes better than) many professed Christian leaders.

But the more “Bible” studies and sermons I take in, the more I think a remedial course in exactly what those things are supposed to consist of might be very beneficial to the church at large, and an unfortunate necessity for many pastors, teachers, and Christian celebrities.

I could be way off base here, but I’d almost bet that if you went up to ten random people on the street and asked them what a Bible study class is supposed to do, at least nine out of ten of them would answer, “Study the Bible.” If you asked those same people what a sermon is, you might get more varied answers, “It’s when the preacher explains what the Bible says,” or “It’s a pastor telling you how to be a good person,” (remember these are random, probably unsaved, people) or “A sermon tells you about God.” But I’m guessing none of them would answer, “It’s when a preacher gives a stand up comedy routine,” or “A sermon is mostly stories about the preacher, his family, and other people,” or “A sermon is when you watch a movie and then the preacher adds a few remarks at the end about what you can learn about God or life from the movie.”

Yet, that’s pretty much where way too many churches are these days.

So let’s take a look at what Bible studies and sermons are and aren’t supposed to be.

It’s All About The Bible

This is supposed to be a “duh” moment for Christians, pastors, teachers, and churches. If someone is teaching a Bible study or a pastor is preaching a sermon, the first thing he should reach for is his Bible. He is to be preaching or teaching God’s written Word. It’s right there in black and white in 2 Timothy 4:1-2:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

That’s a very solemn and weighty charge to pastors. In today’s vernacular, it’s almost like placing your right hand on the Bible, raising your right hand, and saying, “As God is my witness, I swear to God I will ______.” (and actually understanding the gravity of that and meaning it). God is witnessing this charge to you pastor – you’d better take seriously your duty to preach His Word.

And notice, there are only two times when a pastor is supposed to preach the Word: in season and out of season. When his people want to hear it and when they don’t. When he feels like it and when he doesn’t. When he’ll be persecuted and when he won’t. When it’s easy and when it’s hard. When it’s a pleasant, encouraging passage, and when it’s a passage that offends people. Pastors, and, by extension teachers, are to preach and teach the written Word of God in every sermon and teaching opportunity. Always.

It’s Not About the Preacher/Teacher/Author

There are a lot of awesome pastors, teachers, and authors out there who labor faithfully to rightly teach God’s Word to His people. I am unspeakably grateful to them and for them.

But let’s face it, there are also a lot of narcissistic gas bags out there who use the pulpit and the pages to pump up their already over-inflated egos by endlessly blathering on and on about themselves, their families, their friends, and their experiences. You can tell by the ratio of personal stories to Scripture who they love best and are most interested in.

I’ve read books and heard sermons that I walked away from thinking, “I know more about that pastor or author, his family, his trips, the charity work he does, and who his important friends are than I do about God and His Word.” (I’ll tell you this, he’s received his reward.)

Pastors, teachers, authors aren’t to preach themselves, they’re to preach the Word.

It’s Not About Gimmicks and Entertainment

A sermon series based on movies. A pastor riding a motorcycle into church. Ziplining during the sermon. Rock concerts and light shows. Raffles and giveaways of carsand other big ticket items. The pastor and his wife promoting a sermon series on sex. On the news. From a bed. On the roof of the church.

Pastors and teachers aren’t charged to entertain people or get them in the doors of the church and keep them there by any means necessary. Pastors and teachers are charged – with God as their witness – to faithfully preach and teach His written Word. Jesus said shepherds who love Him will feed His sheep, not entertain them.

Newsflash – the world isn’t going to find that interesting enough to get out of bed for on Sunday morning. Newsflash – That’s fine. The gathering of the church isn’t for the world. The gathering of the church is for the church – the people who have been saved out of the world and into the body of Christ – to give them an opportunity to worship the Savior they love with their brothers and sisters, to disciple them in God’s Word, and to equip them with God’s Word to go out and share the gospel with the world.

It’s Not About You, Either

The flip side of “it’s all about the Bible” is, it’s not about you. What does that mean? The sermon or the Bible study lesson should not teach us to look down in narcissistic navel-gazing, it should teach us to look up at God, who He is, what He has done, and what He says in His written Word.

Over the years, I’ve had the discouraging duty of reviewing various women’s “Bible” studies. Though some have been better than others, the theme running through the majority of them is “it’s all about you” – your feelings, your hurts, your ego, your opinions, your personal experiences. It’s evident in the way authors insert long stories about their own lives and base their ideas, agendas, and assertions on those personal experiences rather than on Scripture. It’s evident in the questions the reader is supposed to answer at the end of each lesson: “Have you ever experienced _____?” “How does ____ make you feel?” “If you could ____, how would you do it?” “What do you think others’ opinion of you is?”

Good Bible studies give you rightly handled, in contextScripture until it’s coming out of your ears, and then they ask questions like, “What are the attributes of God listed in this passage?” “Verse 3 talks about lying. What are some other verses that talk about lying, and how can we tell from these verses how God views lying and why?” “How does this passage point us to Christ?”

Is there a need for introspection during Bible studies and sermons? Sometimes. But the focus is not you and your feelings and experiences. The focus is on reflecting on the glory of God in the passage you’ve just heard, repenting of the sin the passage you’ve just read has convicted you about, obeying the command in the passage you’ve just heard, and things like that. It’s Bible-focused, driven, and governed, not me-focused, driven, and governed.

Context, Context, Context

It’s not just important to preach and teach the Bible, it’s important to handle the text of the Bible correctly and in context.

You’ve probably heard the old joke about the guy who wants God to tell him what he should do with his life. So he opens up the Bible to a random spot, closes his eyes, puts his finger down on the page, and looks at the verse he’s pointing at. It’s a New Testament verse: “Judas went and hanged himself.” “Hmm,” he thinks, “that doesn’t make much sense.” He shuts his Bible and tries the process again. This time, it’s an Old Testament verse, “Go and do thou likewise.”

We laugh at the silliness of this little story, but it hits frighteningly close to home for far too many pastors and teachers.

Perhaps you’ve read a devotional that quotes a Bible verse (or maybe even just part of a verse) at the top of the page. The author then goes on to teach on that verse or tell a personal story. When you look up the verse and read a little more of the chapter it’s in, you discover it has nothing to do with the author’s story or doesn’t mean what the author was teaching.

Or maybe you’ve sat in a church service where the pastor reads a verse or two at the beginning of the sermon and then basically closes his Bible and shares personal thoughts and stories for the rest of the sermon time that have nothing to do with the verses he read at the beginning. Or a sermon in which the pastor hopscotches all over the Bible (often using a myriad of translations) reading a verse here, half a verse there, in an effort to prove his homespun thesis or support the agenda he’s crafted.

Yes, technically, there’s Bible in all of those teachings, but none of those methods handle Scripture properly or in context. That’s called eisegesis, and it basically means reading your own ideas into the text of Scripture, or twisting Scripture to get it to say what you want it to mean.

The proper method of teaching Scripture is exegesis. Exegesis is taking a passage of Scripture in context, and “leading out” of it- teaching what the passage means. That’s nearly always going to require reading several verses from the passage to catch the reader or listener up on what’s going on in the story she’s just parachuted into.

Good pastors and teachers read and teach the biblical text in an organized way. When you sit down to study, say, a history book, you start at the beginning of the book and you work your way through to the end. You don’t start by reading two paragraphs out of the middle of chapter 7, then move on to the last three sentences of chapter 49, then the first half of chapter 1. That’s how people preach, teach, and “study” the Bible sometimes, and it’s just as crazy to read the Bible that way as it would be to study a history book, or math book, or science book that way, or even to read a novel or a magazine using that helter-skelter method.

Expository vs. Topical

This section is a brief, modified excerpt from my article The Mailbag: Expository or Topical Preaching: Which is better?.

For readers who might not be familiar with the terms, expository preaching and teaching is basically when a pastor preaches (or a teacher teaches) through books of the Bible from beginning to end carefully explaining what each passage means. (Ezra is an example of an expository Bible study.)

Topical preaching can have a couple of different meanings depending on who you’re talking to and what she understands the term to mean. Some people understand “topical preaching” to mean a sermon series, usually in a seeker driven church, that centers around something in pop culture. (For example, popular movies or the Olympics.) Normally, these sermons are very shallow, biblically – sometimes nothing more than a pep talk or self-help tips. This type of preaching and teaching is unbiblical, and if it makes up the bulk of the teaching at your church, I’d recommend finding a new church.

There is, however, a biblical form of topical preaching and teaching that can be very helpful, occasionally. If a doctrinally sound pastor sees an issue in the church that needs to be addressed, or a biblical topic to explore, there is nothing wrong with his taking a break from preaching through a certain book (or when he’s between books) to teach on this issue from the pulpit. (Imperishable Beauty: A Study of Biblical Womanhood is an example of a biblical, topical Bible study.)

In my opinion, the majority of a pastor’s preaching and a Bible study’s teaching should be expository with occasional breaks for (biblical) topical preaching and teaching as needed. There are a variety of reasons for this (more in the linked article):

• Expository preaching models for the congregation the proper, systematic way they should study the Bible at home.

• Expository preaching helps a pastor better preach the whole counsel of God.

• Expository preaching pushes pastors to tackle hard and unfamiliar passages as they come up in the text.

• Expository preaching should keep the Old Testament and certain books of the Bible from being neglected as much as they usually are.

• Expository preaching gives the congregation a better grip on the overall story arc of the Bible and the culture of the period being studied.

Expository and topical preaching are both helpful in their own ways, but the most important thing is that the pastor is “rightly handling the word of truth.”


There’s a lot of lousy preaching and teaching out there these days, but if you’ll look for good, solid biblical preaching and teaching (check the Recommended Bible Teachers and Bible Studies tabs above for ideas) God can use it mightily in your spiritual life to grow you to greater Christlikeness.

via Throwback Thursday ~ Basic Training: Bible Studies and Sermons — Michelle Lesley

January 16 – Proverbs on wicked people — Reformed Perspective

“The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble.” – Proverbs 12:13

Scripture reading: Proverbs 6:16-19

There are extremely wicked people around you. These wicked people are sinister and savage. They don’t care what they do; they abuse their bodies and live however they want. They cheer each other on in their sin. An example of this is the government of Canada which rewarded Dr. Morgentaler, who aborted thousands of babies, with national honors. Consider two things Solomon taught regarding wicked people.

First, don’t be close to them as they will pull your heart away from God. Don’t marry them. (Wicked women led Solomon away from worshipping God.) They don’t really care about you even if they pretend to. They will hurt anyone who gets in their way and they might use you as a stepping stone to get what they want. Further, if you are close to them you will start acting like they act. They will hinder you from progressing in your Christian walk (Proverbs 28:28). Keep your children away from them.

Second, know the real danger in which wicked people are. They have rejected God’s authority and care nothing about God’s law. Proverbs 3:33 tells us, “The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked…” With no faith and obedience, the wicked are heading to the tortures of hell.

Knowing the danger they are in, don’t close your eyes. Get the Gospel to them. Yes, being very close to them will hurt your sanctification, but you have to be close enough to share the Gospel they need for their salvation.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you will guard yourself from being close to wicked people, but be close enough to share the Gospel with them to save them from hell.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed.

via January 16 – Proverbs on wicked people — Reformed Perspective

The Qur’an gets the Trinity wrong — Reformed Perspective

Islam teaches that the Qur’an is the perfect revelation of Allah, but that presents a problem for Muslims then when it gets things wrong. One of the more notable errors is found in its explanation of what Christians believe about the Trinity. It makes two clear mistakes, first describing us as worshipping three gods. As we read in the fourth and fifth surahs:

.…The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs. (4:171)

They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment. (5:73)

Secondly, the Qur’an describes Christians as believing in a Trinity made up of the Father, Jesus, and Mary.

And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?’”…. (5:116)

As you might expect, Muslims do have their explanations for these verses. In some translations they change 5:73’s “…third of three” to say “…one of three in a Trinity” to correct the original error. And they do the same with the “three” in Surah 4:171, changing it to “Trinity.” But as Luke Wayne, of the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, notes in his article “Did the author of the Quran understand the Trinity?” that’s not how the earliest Islamic scholars understood these passages:

Muqatil ibn Sulayman’s mid-eighth-century tafsir is considered by scholars to be the earliest complete commentary on the Quran to have survived in good condition. In it, Sulayman claims that Christians “say that Allah, powerful and exalted, is the third of three – he is a god, [Jesus] is a god, and [Mary] is a god, making Allah weak.”

To explain away the error in 5:116 the suggestion is made that Allah, rather than addressing Christians here, was addressing some obscure sect that worshipped a Trinity made up of the Father, Son, and Mary. Or some will point to how Catholics are elevating Mary to an almost god-like status. That is the best they can do.

As Wayne concludes:

It is not hard to understand how a pagan Arab might make these kinds of mistakes based on second-hand stories, hearsay, and uninformed observations and thus end up with the Quran’s erroneous conception of Christian belief. But to say that God Himself might get so confused as to what Christians believe is ludicrous.

via The Qur’an gets the Trinity wrong — Reformed Perspective