Daily Archives: February 24, 2020

February 24 Life-Changing Moments With God

Thus says the Lord God: “I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them.”

Lord, You said I do not have because I do not ask and “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” I have this confidence in You, that if I ask anything according to Your will, You hear me. If I lack wisdom, I will ask You, who give to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to me. If I open my mouth You promise to fill it, so I ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Your eyes, Lord, are on the righteous, and Your ears are open to my cry. You hear, and deliver me out of all my troubles. I will ask in Your name … for the Father Himself loves me, because I have loved You, Jesus. I will ask in Your name, and I will receive, that my joy may be full.

Teach me, Father God, to ask according to Your will—with boldness and confidence.

Ezekiel 36:37; James 4:2; Matthew 7:7–8; 1 John 5:14–15; James 1:5; Luke 18:1; Psalm 34:15, 17; John 16:26, 24[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 65). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

February—24 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born.—Jeremiah 31:8, 9.

It is blessed at all times to be refreshed with God’s promises concerning the latter-day glory, but more especially at a time when things are most unpromising. The present hour is eminently so. Therefore, see what a cluster of mercies are folded up on this one branch of them: and let thine evening meditations be sweet of Jesus and his sure work, in whom “all the promises are Yea and Amen, to the glory of God the Father, by us.” Observe, in this blessed scripture, the certainty of the divine promises being all fulfilled, from the foundation on which they rest. If God be the God of all the families of Israel, and if Israel be his son, and Ephraim his first-born, how can the right of inheritance fail? Surely God is engaged by this covenant and relationship; and he will fulfil his promises. And what are they? Why, that he will bring them not only from Babylon, but from all their places of captivity. Jesus, the Son of his love, is commissioned, as the covenant of Jehovah, “to bring the prisoners out of the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.” There shall be a day when a nation shall be born at once. They shall be gathered to Shiloh, and shall come from the East, and from the West, and from the North, and from the South. Pause, my soul, over these blessed promises. Thou art frequently put to it for thyself: and art frequently exercised with fears and apprehensions for the welfare of Zion. But what saith the blessed scripture? “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth.” Do not overlook that it is God who undertakes for them, and not themselves: and what God undertakes, he will surely perform. Well, but they are much scattered. Yes! but God will gather them. But they are diminished. No! a great company shall return. But they are blind, and do not know the way: they are lame, and when they know, have no power to walk in it. Yes, but saith he that made the eye, and he that giveth strength to the lame, both the “blind and the lame,” yea, even the woman in pregnancy and her that is in travail, all shall come. I will be eyes, saith God, to the blind, and feet to the lame: I will lead them in a way they know not: I will undertake for them. And the sole reason is, God’s free grace and covenant mercy in Christ. God is a father, in this relationship, to all the families in Israel: and in him all the families of the earth are blessed. Pause, my soul, again and again, over this sweet and precious scripture; and see that these covenant marks and impressions be upon thee, as a sure, unerring token of thy being in Christ, and gathered from the coasts of the earth; that thou art following Jesus, as Mary Magdalene did, with tears and supplications. Prayers are quickened by tears; and tears flowing from the view of a crucified Saviour, must give energy to prayers. The eye that is looking unto Jesus, will affect the heart; and the heart that is wounded with the view of Jesus dying for our sins, will cause tears to fall from the eye: and both will follow Christ by the waters of ordinances, under the Spirit’s teaching and gracious influences. Lord! give to my soul these tokens for good; and lead me in the way of salvation for thy Name’s sake.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 60–61). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

February 24, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

Disregard For Self

and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. (15:1 b–2)

The right use of Christian liberty, which the strong believer understands and appreciates, often involves self-sacrifice. When our true motivation is to please Christ by helping “to bear the weaknesses of those without strength” (v. 1a), we can expect to forfeit certain legitimate liberties, when exercising them would harm a weaker brother or sister.

The Lord designs that a relationship with Him be from the heart and so graciously grants us freedom for our own sakes, to liberate us from the shackles of religious superstitions and even from certain ceremonial externals and restrictions that He Himself had instituted as symbols, but which, in the New Covenant, He has declared to be no longer valid. Apart from that which in itself is sinful, we are divinely freed to do much as we please.

But the Lord does not grant those freedoms just so we can selfishly please ourselves. He grants them for the benefit of His entire church. Every believer has the same liberty in Christ as every other believer, but because believers vary greatly in spiritual knowledge and maturity, the careless exercise of a liberty by one member can do great harm to the conscience and spiritual well-being of another member and even to the well-being of an entire congregation.

Paul grieved over the Philippian church when he heard that some members there, apparently in positions of leadership and influence, sought “after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:21). It was not that they were teaching wrong doctrine or living immoral lives, but that they had great concern for their own interests and little concern for the interests of fellow believers. And for that reason, Paul declared, they had little genuine concern for the interests “of Christ Jesus” Himself or for His church.

Obviously, the church at Rome also had such members, and the apostle appealed to them, Let each of us please his neighbor. Paul did not exclude himself from the exhortation. Let each of us expresses all-inclusive responsibility and allows no exemptions, even for an apostle.

The objective of pleasing our neighbor is to promote his good and his edification, even if it requires the sacrifice of some of our own welfare and pleasure, which it often does. It is essentially the same appeal Paul had made earlier in this letter, again not exempting himself: “Let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Rom. 14:19, emphasis added).

To do good for our neighbor and to promote his edification is to be “of the same mind” as our brothers and sisters in Christ, “maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose,” doing “nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind” regarding “one another as more important than [oneself]; … not merely[looking] out for [our] own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” It is to “have this attitude in [ourselves] which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:2–5).[1]


2 Indeed, the refusal to live a self-pleasing, self-centered life should characterize every believer, whether strong or weak. Christians should extend their love beyond the narrow circle of like-minded people to all with whom they come in contact—in short, to their neighbors, whoever they may be. This is not a matter of acting merely to please others, for Paul goes on to add the phrases “for his good, to build him up.” In view is the ultimate well-being of the other and his or her spiritual good. The present injunction is akin to Paul’s own principle of making himself all things to all people in order to win as many as possible to the Lord (1 Co 9:19–23). There is no conflict between what is advocated here and Paul’s refusal to “please men” (Gal 1:10), since in the latter context he is merely setting himself against any altering of the gospel message designed to avoid giving offense to those resisting revealed truth. The goal to be achieved here is the good of others, their edification (cf. 14:19). This leaves no room for anything like mere ingratiation.[2]


2  Rather than “pleasing ourselves,” “each of us,” Paul goes on to say, should “please the neighbor.” By using the phrase “each of us,” Paul may expand his address to include all the believers in Rome, whether “weak” or “strong.” Evidence for this inclusiveness can be found at the end of the paragraph, where Paul clearly includes the entire Roman community (cf. vv. 5–6). But the relationship between vv. 1 and 2—not pleasing ourselves/pleasing the neighbor—and the similarity between v. 2 and Paul’s exhortations to the “strong” in 14:13–23 (cf. the “good” with v. 16 and “edification” with v. 19) suggest rather that Paul continues in v. 2 to address the “strong” only. The “neighbor” will, then, be the “weak” fellow believer.16 By using the term “neighbor,” Paul makes clear that he bases his plea to the “strong” on the love command. The “strong” believer “walks in love” when he or she “pleases” rather than “pains” the “weak” believer (cf. 14:15). Paul thus applies to this particular issue his earlier general teaching about the centrality of love for the Christian life (13:8–10).

Picking up another key motif in his earlier exhortation, Paul asserts that the purpose of pleasing others is “the good.” This “good” is the good of the individual “weak” believer: his or her spiritual profit,19 in contrast to the spiritual harm that the insensitive and selfish behavior of the “strong” might cause (14:15, 20). But Paul defines this “good” more specifically in a second clause: “edification,” or “building up.” As in 14:19, this word takes us out of the narrowly individualistic realm. For the spiritual profit of the “weak” believer is at the same time to the advantage of the Christian community as a whole, as its unity in praise and service is enhanced. These two statements of purpose also define what Paul means by “pleasing” others. What is involved is not the “pleasing people” rather than God that Paul elsewhere condemns (Gal. 1:10; Col. 3:22; 1 Thess. 2:4; Eph. 6:6), but a “pleasing” fellow believers rather than ourselves.[3]


15:2 / Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. This is not to say that personal pleasure is bad. Radical asceticism always forgets that God made the world good and for the purpose of human delight (Gen. 1–2). Paul’s imperative says nothing either for or against self-gratification, but concerns pleasing others (which in the present context means the weak); and under no circumstances should the self be pleased at the expense of others. Agapē seeks to please the neighbor for his good, to build him up (cf. Phil. 2:3–4). Furthermore, this protects the virtue of forbearance from being reduced to “niceness.” We may, for example, be nice when we should be just, or be agreeable when we should be truthful, or be flattering when honesty and integrity are demanded. The good, as any physician will tell you, is not always what the patient wants to hear, and a Christian, as well as a physician, is worthy of the name only where the good of the other prevails over any other interest.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 2, pp. 308–310). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 213–214). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Moo, D. J. (1996). The Epistle to the Romans (pp. 866–867). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Edwards, J. R. (2011). Romans (pp. 336–337). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

February 24 Streams in the Desert

John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.” (John 10:41.)

YOU may be very discontented with yourself. You are no genius, have no brilliant gifts, and are inconspicuous for any special faculty. Mediocrity is the law of your existence. Your days are remarkable for nothing but sameness and insipidity. Yet you may live a great life.

John did no miracle, but Jesus said that among those born of women there had not appeared a greater than he.

John’s main business was to bear witness to the Light, and this may be yours and mine. John was content to be only a voice, if men would think of Christ.

Be willing to be only a voice, heard but not seen; a mirror whose surface is lost to view, because it reflects the dazzling glory of the sun; a breeze that springs up just before daylight, and says, “The dawn! the dawn!” and then dies away.

Do the commonest and smallest things as beneath His eye. If you must live with uncongenial people, set to their conquest by love. If you have made a great mistake in your life, do not let it becloud all of it; but, locking the secret in your breast, compel it to yield strength and sweetness.

We are doing more good than we know, sowing seeds, starting streamlets, giving men true thoughts of Christ, to which they will refer one day as the first things that started them thinking of Him; and, of my part, I shall be satisfied if no great mausoleum is raised over my grave, but that simple souls shall gather there when I am gone, and say,

“He was a good man; he wrought no miracles, but he spake words about Christ, which led me to know Him for myself.”

George Matheson.

THY HIDDEN ONES” (Psa. 83:3.)

“Thick green leaves from the soft brown earth,

Happy springtime hath called them, forth;

First faint promise of summer bloom

Breathes from the fragrant, sweet perfume,

Under the leaves.

“Lift them! what marvelous beauty lies

Hidden beneath, from our thoughtless eyes!

Mayflowers, rosy or purest white,

Lift their cups to the sudden light,

Under the leaves.

“Are there no lives whose holy deeds—

Seen by no eye save His who reads

Motive and action—in silence grow

Into rare beauty, and bud and blow

Under the leaves?

“Fair white flowers of faith and trust,

Springing from spirits bruised and crushed;

Blossoms of love, rose-tinted and bright,

Touched and painted with Heaven’s own light

Under the leaves.

“Full fresh clusters of duty borne,

Fairest of all in that shadow grown;

Wondrous the fragrance that sweet and rare

Comes from the flower-cups hidden there

Under the leaves.

“Though unseen by our vision dim,

Bud and blossom are known to Him;

Wait we content for His heavenly ray—

Wait till our Master Himself one day

Lifteth the leaves.”

“God calls many of His most valued workers from the unknown multitude.” (Luke 14:23.)[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 61–62). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

February 24, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Sunday accused Representative Adam Schiff of leaking classified information on Russian interference in the 2020 U.S. election to hurt Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders.

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser denied that U.S. intelligence officials have warned that Russia has been interfering in the U.S. presidential campaign to boost Trump’s re-election chances.

President Donald Trump said on Sunday he is looking for a new ambassador to Germany after tapping current diplomat Richard Grenell to serve as acting U.S. intelligence chief.

As Bernie Sanders looked to cement his front-runner status in the U.S. Democratic presidential race after his dominant win in Nevada, his rivals sought in rallies on Sunday to blunt his momentum ahead of 15 nominating contests in the next 10 days.

The Dow Jones Industrials fell more than 800 points within minutes of the market open on Monday as investors scurried to safer assets after a surge in coronavirus cases outside China stoked fears of a bigger impact to global growth.

Italy, South Korea and Iran reported sharp rises in coronavirus cases on Monday, but China eased curbs as the rate of infection there slowed and a visiting World Health Organization team said a turning point had been reached in the epicenter, Wuhan.

Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Iraq on Monday recorded their first new coronavirus cases, all people who had been in Iran, which raised its toll from the disease to 12 dead and 61 infected.

A sixth person infected with the coronavirus has died in Italy, officials said on Monday as the government battled to contain Europe’s worst outbreak of the illness and Italian shares tumbled nearly 5% on fears over the economic impact.

AP Top Stories

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday delivered on his promised spectacle to welcome President Donald Trump, who kicked off his 36-hour trip to India with a colorful road tour that culminated in a rally that drew more than 100,000 people at the world’s largest cricket stadium.

Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only spark new crises, in an apparent reference to President Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.

The center-left Social Democrats won the most votes in the Hamburg state election Sunday, according to exit polls, followed by the environmentalist Green party in a vote that was overshadowed by a racist massacre and political turmoil in Germany.

An 11-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by her brother gave birth at home, and now he and their parents are facing criminal charges. The girl gave birth to a boy in a bathtub in St. Charles, Missouri, according to a probable cause statement.

An investigation into inappropriate conduct at America’s oldest school for deaf people corroborated multiple allegations of sexual and physical abuse that stretched decades.

Greyhound, the U.S.’s largest bus company, said on Friday that it will stop allowing Border Patrol agents without a warrant to board its buses to conduct routine immigration checks.

Russia has closed major border crossings with China across the Far East due to the rapid spread of coronavirus. That constitutes a significant blow to a trading relationship that had only just begun to fully blossom. The closures come just as new auto and rail bridges spanning the Amur River are finally reaching completion.

Leaders in Costa Mesa, California, said Saturday they were kept in the dark until the last minute about plans by federal health agencies to transfer dozens of coronavirus patients to an empty building in their city in a move they said could put the entire region at risk.

The Trump administration has backed off plans to quarantine patients from the Diamond Princess cruise ship stricken with coronavirus at a federal facility in Alabama, the state’s governor and a U.S. senator said on Sunday.

Misinformation and exaggeration about the coronavirus have led to a wave of racist attacks on Asian Americans across the US. The attacks are both physical and verbal, and there are also cases of people either from East Asia, or of East Asian descent, being turned away from businesses.

In a feat that took over 8 hours, former Marine George Hood , 62, reclaimed the male Guinness World Record for longest time spent in the plank position. Soon after setting the record, Hood celebrated by doing 75 pushups the organization announced Thursday.

BBC

Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad has resigned in a surprise move that could unravel the ruling coalition. The resignation of Mr. Mahathir, 94, comes amid rumors that he may form a new coalition without his designated successor, Anwar Ibrahim. The world’s oldest elected leader returned to power in 2018.

Two rowers have completed a 3,000-mile ocean Atlantic crossing in a wooden boat. Phil Pugh and Paul Hopkins, of Tyneside, took 70 days to make their way from the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Atlantic Dream Challenge.

Mounting debts have hit Chinese companies struggling to pay workers and suppliers amid the coronavirus outbreak. The government has asked banks to offer more credit for an economy stunned as the virus spreads rapidly. But a survey of small and medium Chinese firms found millions on the verge of collapse.

WND

A Wisconsin school district’s policy of allowing students of any age to transition to a different gender and use a different name while at school without parental notice or consent has drawn a lawsuit from angry parents.

A “transgender woman” sent to Logan Correctional Center from a men’s prison has faced rape accusations and remains at the women’s prison in Lincoln after the governor’s office reportedly overruled a move by corrections officials to return “her” to a men’s facility.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Feb. 24, 2020

The Foundation

“The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.” —Thomas Jefferson (1790)

Leftmedia, Not Russians, Biggest Threat to U.S. Elections

The news media only reinforces Russia’s disinformation efforts by pushing its false narrative.


The Sanders Insurgency Takes Nevada

Bernie busts out as the clear front-runner after dominating the latest caucuses.


Free Markets … Really

A new conservative organization aims to right the wrongs of supposedly unfettered markets.


Britain’s NHS Tribalizes Healthcare

It’s adding protections to make sure the “wrong” ideas aren’t communicated by patients.


Somali Community Leader Confirms Omar Married Brother

A Minneapolis man says Ilhan married her brother Ahmed Elmi for immigration purposes.


Intellectual Elitism: A Threat to Racial Reconciliation

Why is it that so many liberals assume that blacks have to hate President Trump?


Video: Somali Community Leader Exposes Omar’s Sham Marriage

Abdihakim Osman is the first person to go on record regarding the scandal.


Video: Insulting New CA Law Mandates ‘Quotas of Women’

Failing to comply with corporate-board regulations will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Video: Why President Trump Must Be Reelected

Bill Whittle says we need to reelect Trump “to see the Rule of Law restored in the United States.”


Video: Bernie Was the Big Loser at the Democrat Debate

Michael Bloomberg didn’t do well, but Matt Walsh explains why he thinks Sanders actually finished last.



Today’s Opinion

Gary Bauer
‘The Russians Are Coming!’
Todd Starnes
School Defends Lesson That Included Photo of Trump and Swastika
Cornwall Alliance
The Truth Behind Rising Sea Levels and Global Warming
Tony Perkins
CA Schools: Hormones Through Homeroom?
Burt Prelutsky
Our Debt to Mitt Romney
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Monday News Executive Summary

Sanders surges, Russian interference, Trump’s state visit to India, and more.


Monday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Gary Bauer, Hillary Clinton, Erick Erickson, 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 – 2/24/2020

US mapping team for West Bank annexation said en route to Israel

Israel’s construction plans mean Palestinians can’t divide Jerusalem

Pope cautions against ‘unfair’ Israeli-Palestinian peace offers

Islamic Jihad pummels south with rockets after Gaza border clashes; no injuries

IDF strikes Islamic Jihad in Syria and Gaza in response to rocket fire

Syrian capital rocked by explosions as Israel claims responsibility

Netanyahu: Israel has ‘surprises’ ready if Gaza rocket fire continues

Over a dozen Gaza rockets fired at south as violence erupts after morning lull

IDF fires on Gazans it says were planting a bomb along border; 1 reported killed

Terror groups slam Israel after IDF bulldozer collects body from Gaza border

In Bid to Keep Calm, Israel Plans to Ease Economic Sanctions on Gaza

PM orders 12 illegal outposts be hooked up to power grid, 8 days before election

PLO official presents resignation to Abbas after blowback over ‘normalization meetings’

Anti-Jewish Hatred Is Alive and Well

Upstate New York Jewish community center evacuated amid rash of bomb threats

City Flags Jewish Circumcision Ritual Following New Herpes Cases

Anti-Semitic Belgium parade features costumes of Jews with insect bodies

In shakeup, virulently anti-Semitic Malaysian PM submits resignation

Two wounded in Lebanon’s Tripoli after bomb blast in residential building: Sources

Protester shot dead in fresh Iraq violence

Iran sentences three protesters to death: Report

Eastern Libya Forces Say 16 Turkish Soldiers Killed in Fighting

Ethiopia: 29 injured in ‘bomb attack’ at rally in support of PM Abiy

President Trump says he would sign a peace deal with Taliban

Trump fans in India worship president with statues, prayers as government accused of ‘hiding’ slums behind walls

Sotomayor issues blistering dissent, says Republican-appointed justices have bias toward Trump administration

Rep. Ratcliffe on Russia reportedly trying to interfere with 2020 election: Dems ‘leaked information that’s not accurate’

Trump Says Russia Leak Meant to Hurt Sanders, Calls for Probe

Trump accuses Adam Schiff of leaking information that Russia is trying to help Bernie Sanders campaign

Trump suggests ‘calling Bob Mueller’ after Sanders win following Russia report

Biden claims Russian bots were attacking him on Facebook

Buttigieg campaign claims Nevada caucuses were “plagued with errors”

Chris Matthews faces calls for resignation after comparing Sanders victory to Nazi invasion

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews speculates Democrats may be better off with Trump as president than Sanders

Digital Tax Fight Emerges as Global Economic Threat

Don’t worry, Alexa and friends only record you up to 19 times a day

6.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Saray, Turkey

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Kuril’sk, Russia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Chichi-shima, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ocos, Guatemala

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 21,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,500ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 12,000ft

Tropical Cyclone Esther makes landfall in northern Australia as second storm strengthens

Saharan sandstorm engulfs Canary Islands leaving British holidaymakers stranded

World is approaching coronavirus tipping point, experts say

Wuhan scraps easing of quarantine, hours after announcing some could leave

S. Korea Leader: ‘Unprecedented’ Steps Needed to Fight Virus

Coronavirus restrictions hit shipping, spreading global economic strain

Iran neighbours close their borders as coronavirus toll rises

Coronavirus: Iran denies cover-up after reports of 50 deaths

Iranian cleric blames coronavirus Iran outbreak on Donald Trump

Netanyahu says currently no reason to postpone elections over virus fears

Fearing coronavirus, Tel Aviv bans foreigners from competing in city marathon

Italy cancels Venice carnival over coronavirus concerns

France has seen a 30% to 40% fall in tourists following the coronavirus outbreak: Finance minister

‘The City Has Been Annihilated’: South Korea’s Coronavirus Epicenter Is a Virtual Ghost Town

Coronavirus threatens shortages of about 150 drugs

Coronavirus crisis shows pharmaceuticals have offshored supply chain, Navarro says

‘I want to be brave like you’: 9-year-old asks Pete Buttigieg to help him tell the world he’s gay

Richard Grenell now highest-ranking openly gay official in US government history

Brazilian transgender dancer shatters Carnival parade taboo

Boy Scout parents and a former victim still see benefits of organization for children despite sexual abuse allegations


Apostasy Watch

Gary DeMar – If Something Come from Nothing Can Anything be Wrong?

Who was Sir Robert Baden-Powell?

SEC Charges Son of John MacArthur & Grace to You Board Member with Fraud

Convention of ‘Christian Witches’ to Gather in Salem on Easter Sunday

A ‘Prophet’ in Malawi Allegedly Sells Soap That Can Wash Away your Sins

‘Cult’ megachurch suspected of spreading coronavirus in South Korea

US Gov. Bought Murdered Baby Parts From Planned Parenthood Partner ABR to Find Cure for HIV

Teachers Union Demands Kids Share Bathrooms With Transgender Educators

Canaanite Temple Invaded by Biblical Joshua Unearthed

US ‘troubled’ by report Iranians want to raze tomb of Mordechai and Esther


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

Cartoons and Memes · Feb. 24, 2020

Student Loan Forgiveness

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Democrats

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Contest

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Too Rich to Understand

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Michael Bloomberg

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Michael Bloomberg

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The Difference

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‘Farming’

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Charlie Daniels

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Fertilizer

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Gratitude

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Credit

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Spelling

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Burning Down

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The ‘Greatest Generation’

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“The Patriot Post” (https://patriotpost.us)

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February 24th The D. L. Moody Year Book

And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.—Genesis 14:12.

FOR awhile Lot did make money very fast in Sodom, and became a very successful man. If you had gone into Sodom a little while before destruction came, you would have found that Lot owned some of the best corner lots in town, and that Mrs. Lot moved in what they called the bonton society or upper ten; and you would have found that she was at the theatre two or three nights in the week. If they had progressive euchre, she could play as well as anybody; and her daughters could dance as well as any other Sodomites. We find Lot sitting in the gates, he is getting on amazingly well. He may have been one of the principal men in the city; Judge Lot, or the Honorable Mr. Lot of Sodom. They might have elected him Mayor of Sodom. He was getting on amazingly well; wonderfully prosperous.

But by and by there comes a war. If you go into Sodom, you must take Sodom’s judgment when it comes; and it is bound to come. The battle turned against those five cities of the plain, and they took Lot and his wife and all that they had.[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (pp. 43–44). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

February 24, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

11 Note the similarity of David’s declaration to the end of the Lord’s Prayer reflected in some manuscripts: “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (Mt 6:13). Also note the points of similarity between David’s broader prayer (vv. 10–19) and David’s other prayers of thanksgiving in 1 Chronicles (16:7–36; 17:16–27) as well as Psalm 145, which is attributed to David in the superscription of that psalm.[1]


29:11 The purpose of the temple was to exalt the Lord and to acknowledge the universality of His kingdom. David modeled before the people the worship of the living God. It typically starts with praise for God’s eternity, His complete control over the universe, and His great power. He is the glorious Master over all (Ps. 134:3).[2]


[1] Mabie, F. J. (2010). 1 and 2 Chronicles. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Chronicles–Job (Revised Edition) (Vol. 4, p. 154). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 530). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

February 24 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

February 24.—Morning. [Or April 18.]
“He bare the sin of many.”

Leviticus 16:1–10; 15–22

AND the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died; And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.

The death of Nadab and Abihu became the occasion of fresh instruction to Israel. We should always learn from the Lord’s judgments upon others. Aaron was taught that even he could only come to God as the Lord led him into nearness of access.

3, 4 Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on. (He was to wear his plain ordinary garments, and his washing was meant to show his purity: even thus, in making atonement for us, our Lord Jesus laid aside his glory and became like unto his brethren, yet without sin.)

And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.

And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.

See how superior is our Lord, for he had no need to offer for himself.

7, 8, 9, 10 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. (Atonement is by substitutionary death.) But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.

Thus our great substitute bears away the sins of his people into oblivion.

15, 16 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

17, 18, 19 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. (Do we not see here our Great High Priest, alone, without a helper, making atonement for us.)

20, 21, 22 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: (The laying of the hand is very important, it represents faith which accepts the substitute. Have we this faith?) And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. (The first goat showed the Saviour suffering, and the second typified the effect of that suffering in the complete removal of Israel’s sin. Sin is gone, gone for ever, from the man who rests in Jesus.)

I lay my sins on Jesus,

The spotless Lamb of God:

He bears them all and frees us

From the accursed load.

I bring my guilt to Jesus,

To wash my crimson stains

White in his blood most precious,

Till not a spot remains.

February 24.—Evening. [Or April 19.]
“Let us keep the feast.”

Leviticus 23:26–32; 37–43

TO-DAY let us consider two of the sacred seasons appointed by God, namely, the day of atonement and the feast of Tabernacles.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. (Sorrow for sin is a blessed thing. It cannot make an atonement, but it always goes with the reception of the atonement. If sin be sweet to us it will destroy us, but when we are afflicted in soul concerning it, the day of atonement has come.)

28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God.

Sin is not put away by works, for on the day of atonement, the sinner ceases to work with the idea of self-salvation.

29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. (No surer sign of destruction, than to have no soul affliction for sin. True sorrow for sin is deep. The Jews said that “a man had never seen sorrow who had not seen the sorrow of the day of atonement.”)

30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.

31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. (This day of mourning led on to the gladsome feast of tabernacles. Sacred sorrow prepares the heart for holy joy. We must receive the atonement before we can enter into the joy of the Lord.)

37 These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day:

38 Beside the sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the Lord. (The Spirit of God lays great stress upon the joyful things, and recapitulates them carefully; the fruit of the Spirit is joy.)

39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.

This was a very joyful season, so that the Jews said, “he who never saw the rejoicing of the feast of tabernacles, had never seen rejoicing in his life.”

40 And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. (Andrew Bonar says, “Imagine the scene thus presented to the view. It is an image of paradise restored—the New Earth in its luxuriance during the reign of righteousness and peace and joy. ‘Every goodly tree’ furnishes its boughs for the occasion. The palm is first mentioned because it was the tree which had oftenest sheltered them in the wilderness, as at Elim.” Thus reminded of what divine love had done for them, the people spent a happy season beneath the boughs, no doubt feeling and saying, “it is good to be here.”)

41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:

43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Sunny memories were refreshed in men’s hearts by so delightful an observance, and the whole matter illustrated the loving-kindness of the Lord, who when his people have sorrowed for sin would have their sorrow turned into joy.)

The hill of Sion yields

A thousand sacred sweets,

Before we reach the heavenly fields,

Or walk the golden streets.

Then let our songs abound,

And every tear be dry:

We’re marching thro’ Immanuel’s ground

To fairer worlds on high.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 109–110). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

February 24 Talk to the Lord about Troubles

Psalm 34:17

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.

David testified, “This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” C. S. Lewis once wrote, “Down through the ages whenever men had a need of courage they would cry out, ‘Billy Budd, help me’ and nothing happened. But for 1900 years, whenever men have needed courage and have cried out, ‘Lord Jesus, help me’ something always happened.”

I love the Hebrew definition of the word “trouble.” The word literally translates, “hang-ups.” It means to be inhibited, tied up and restricted. When we lay hold of Christ, we are freed from our “hang-ups.”

Sound too simple? It is! Yet when I’ve counseled with so many Christians in deep trouble, I’ve asked them, “Have you talked to the Lord about this?” They looked at me with a blank stare. “You mean tell Him?” Yes. When you acknowledge the reliability of the One who is in charge of your life and then admit your fear, you have to appropriate the power that He has promised to give you. You have to tell it to Jesus.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 57). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

February 24 Thoughts for the quiet hour

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit

John 3:8

We know that the wind listeth to blow where there is a vacuum. If you find a tremendous rush of wind, you know that somewhere there is an empty space. I am perfectly sure about this fact: if we could expel all pride, vanity, self-righteousness, self-seeking, desire for applause, honor, and promotion—if by some divine power we should be utterly emptied of all that, the Spirit would come as a rushing mighty wind to fill us.

A. J. Gordon[1]

 

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

The Problem of Forgiveness — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Forgiveness is a problem for many people due to their misunderstanding of what forgiveness involves and confusion about what forgiveness really is. Part of the issue is that sometimes we are unable to distinguish between forgiveness and feeling forgiven. Sometimes our feelings can get out of sync with the reality of forgiveness.

Once a man came to talk to me about feeling greatly distressed because of his guilt. He said that he had committed a particular sin and had prayed and prayed about it but hadn’t received any relief. He wanted to know what he had to do to experience God’s forgiveness. But since he had confessed his sin and begged God to forgive him, I told him that he needed to ask God to forgive him for a different sin—the sin of arrogance. God says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). When we don’t believe that God has in fact forgiven us when we have confessed our sin, we are calling into question His faithfulness. We are saying that God’s promise cannot be trusted. That is supreme arrogance, so we need to ask God’s forgiveness for our refusing to believe His promise.

There is more to this problem of forgiveness. When we sin, one of the most difficult things for us is accepting free, gracious, merciful forgiveness. We are creatures of pride. We think that God’s forgiveness is fine for other people, but when we do something wrong, we want to make up for it. However, this is absolutely impossible for anyone to do. God requires perfect holiness. Once perfection is lost, we cannot regain it. We are debtors with a debt we cannot pay. This is difficult for us to accept because we want to be able to pay our own way. It’s because of our pride and arrogance, both fruits of our sinfulness, that we refuse to accept the forgiveness of God.

Back to the distinction between forgiveness and feeling forgiven: forgiveness is objective but the feeling of forgiveness is subjective. I can feel forgiven but not be forgiven because I haven’t repented. I can excuse myself when God has not excused me, and that false feeling of forgiveness can lead me astray. But I can also not feel forgiven even when I actually have been forgiven. If God declares that a person is forgiven, that person is in fact forgiven. Our lack of feeling forgiven does not negate the reality of what God has done.

What is the authority in our lives? Our feelings, which are subjective, or the Word of God, which is objective truth? The Christian must live practically each day by the Word of God rather than by his feelings. The issue of forgiveness is not whether we feel forgiven, but whether we have repented. If we confess our sin and ask God for forgiveness through Christ, we can be assured that He forgives us.

Sometimes we don’t forgive ourselves even though God has forgiven us. But who are we to refuse to forgive one whom God has forgiven? What makes us so wicked that God’s forgiveness is not enough to cover our sin? In effect, we’re saying that we’re so evil that even the grace of God can’t help us. No, we’re so proud that we refuse God’s grace.

Now let’s look at what forgiveness is. The Bible teaches that when God forgives us, He forgets our sins. This doesn’t mean He erases them from His memory. It means that He doesn’t hold them against us anymore.

How many times has someone told you that he has forgiven a sin you committed against him, and then, the next time you have a fight, he brings up what you did the last time? That person has, in a sense, rescinded his forgiveness. God doesn’t do that. If I am pardoned by God, it is settled and is never to be brought up again. God puts those sins aside and will never speak of them. However, we often reopen old wounds. We allow them to disturb the relationship. If I have forgiven someone, I should never again mention that sin. Forgiveness means not bringing it up.

There is another issue to look at, and that is our obligation to forgive others who sin against us. If such people confess their sin and repent, it is our moral obligation to forgive. However, if they don’t repent, we are not required to forgive. We may forgive, as Jesus did for those who killed Him (Luke 23:34). But in doing that, Jesus didn’t command that we must always forgive those who don’t repent. You can go to those who have wronged you and tell them they have offended you (see Matt. 18:15). If they repent, you have won them. But you are not called to forgive if they don’t repent. You are not allowed to be bitter or vindictive. You have to be loving, caring, concerned, and compassionate, but you don’t have to forgive. You can still talk about it and seek public vindication.

Here is one last problem related to forgiveness that we deal with often as elders in Christ’s church. A husband or wife commits adultery, repents deeply, and then asks his or her spouse for forgiveness. In such a situation, the offended spouse must forgive the guilty partner. However, that spouse is not obligated to stay married to that partner. The Bible makes a provision for the dissolution of a marriage in the event of adultery. The person is required to treat the repentant person as a brother or sister in Christ but not as a spouse.

Another example is a man stealing from us fifty times in our office and repenting each time. We must forgive him, but we can ask for restitution. We don’t have to keep him in our employ, but we must still treat him as a brother in Christ. This situation is an important practical application of the concept of forgiveness. We can have forgiveness and restored relationships, but that does not necessarily mean there are no lasting consequences for our sin.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

via The Problem of Forgiveness — Ligonier Ministries Blog

The Inescapable Truth About God — Grace to You Blog

Acceptable worship demands that God be known—worship cannot occur where the true God is not believed in, adored, and obeyed. The object of our worship must be right if our worship is to be acceptable. We must consider the God we worship.

READ MORE

via The Inescapable Truth About God — Grace to You Blog

February 24 – Tsadhe (2): Righteous by faith — Reformed Perspective

“My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words…Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.” – Psalm 119:139, 144

Scripture reading: Romans 1:16-25

In this stanza, we see that the psalmist is in agreement with that greatest of scholars, the apostle Paul himself, and with the greatest of his writings, the book of Romans. He is also especially in agreement with the central theme of Scriptures, the gospel of salvation, which is, “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’” (Romans 1:16,17).

Through faith, by God’s grace alone, we can be righteous. Washed through the cleansing of Christ’s blood and filled with Christ’s righteousness, we are blessed with salvation and life forever. Also, filled with the Spirit, we walk in newness of life and begin already in this life to live in the righteous (obedient) deeds of thankfulness. We are conceived and born in sin and thus subject to all sorts of misery in this life, even to condemnation: “I am small and despised” (141), and, “Trouble and anguish have found me out” (143). Nevertheless, we experience the coming to life of the new nature, the rebirth, regeneration and renewal through the Holy Spirit, so that “zeal consumes me” (139) and “your commandments are my delight” (143). Further. “Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it” (140)!

By the grace of God, working faith, we are saved from sin and misery and God’s law is our joy and delight!

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that God fills you continually with His Holy Spirit so that you are assured of your righteousness before God through faith alone and that you are zealous for good deeds in His kingdom.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Slaa is pastor of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church in British Columbia, Canada.

via February 24 – Tsadhe (2): Righteous by faith — Reformed Perspective

Satisfaction — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:1-3

What satisfies? What brings genuine and fulfilling contentment? I would have to say it begins with my relationship with the Lord, and the benefits of that relationship are:

Knowing I am His

Knowing I am loved

Knowing joy

Knowing peace

Why is it that we are privileged with these benefits in our walk with the Lord? The best answer I have is that this is who God is!

He is the lover of our soul.
Jeremiah 31:3Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.

He is our joy.
John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

He is our peace.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

LOVE   JOY   PEACE

Now, if those sound familiar, they are. Love, joy, and peace are the first three in the fruit of the Spirit list in Galatians 5:22. We should be reaping these in great abundance in our lives, and they will bring us a wonderful and satisfying contentment, that we can only know because of Him.

Today, I want to be grateful. I want to thank Him for His goodness to me and for the satisfaction I have in the Lord who is my Shepherd.

Psalm 107:8-9
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission
From: First Breath of Morning: Where God Waits For You Every Day.

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to  https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/kathy-cheek_satisfaction/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/

via Satisfaction — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Follow the Good Shepherd — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.Ezekiel 34:11-12

Years ago, I was in a bad place.

It was dark and cloudy as I pursued my own sinful pleasures. Angels were not dispatched that day, but the Lord himself sought me out. I wasn’t looking for him when he found me.

Sheep are prone to wander and become vulnerable. They have no claws to defend themselves. Sheep can drown if their wool gets too wet as they wade in to get water to drink.

We are like sheep and have gone astray, as Isaiah 53:6 says. We need a shepherd. Thank goodness God is not far away from each of us (Acts 17:27).

The shepherds in Ezekiel’s day led the people with force and cruelty. Jesus is different. He strengthens the weak and binds up the broken. He seeks out what was lost. He called my name that day and led me out of a black dungeon.

Jesus said, I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish” (John 10:11, 27-28).

What about your life? Are you in a bad place?

Quit following strangers who don’t care about you. They run as soon as the wolf appears.

Follow the Good Shepherd.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:4).

Thank you, Lord, for having an interest in me and searching for me when I was lost. I praise you for your goodness and for giving up your life for me so I can live with you forever. Be my shepherd and teach me to follow you. Amen.

By Rich Vega
Used by Permission


Are you at a place in your life where you want to know Jesus – walk and talk with Him?   You can start a life surrendered to Christ today. This is a sample, simple prayer, but the words are powerful and full of meaning.  If  you believe them Christ will make something beautiful out of your life:

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

It starts now!


Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/rich-vega_follow-shepherd/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/

via Follow the Good Shepherd — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

What Does Christianity Say About the Nature of Humans? Five Honest Realities — Cold Case Christianity

After speaking at a church recently, I was approached by a woman who identified herself as a defense attorney and a Christian. She told me she struggled to understand how some of the suspects I’d arrested for cold-case murders had been able to live law-abiding, uneventful lives for thirty years (or more) following their crimes. She seemed to believe these men and women should not have been unable to live amongst the rest of us without giving themselves away. Her surprise is common amongst those who live and work with killers. When I eventually take a murderer to jail years after he or she committed the crime, their friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers typically express disbelief: “There’s no way Jack could have committed that murder, I’ve known him for twenty years. He’s the sweetest man I’ve ever known!” When a suspect is finally convicted of the crime (and eventually confesses to the murder), those who knew him or her are typically shocked. They shouldn’t be. My cold case murderers were not serial killers. They simply committed one horrific crime and then spent the rest of their life living just like you and me. Nothing in their demeanor ever gave away the fact they were capable of such a thing. They looked like the rest of us. Why? Because they are just like the rest of us; capable of greatness, but fallen to their core.

Even before I was a Christian, I recognized the innately fallen nature of humans. If you are a parent, you also have some empirical evidence from which to draw. You know you don’t have to teach your infant to be selfish, impatient, rude and self-serving. Infants must be taught to be just the opposite; goodness is not an innate quality of humans. We don’t come into the world with this type of disposition. We must be taught how to love, how to think beyond our own needs and desires, how to share and appreciate others. Do you remember the experiment you studied in high school in which monkeys were taken from their mothers and raised without any personal contact, comfort or love? How did they turn out? They were sociopaths; angry, evil and dangerous. This was, in fact, their base nature unless they were taught to be something different.

Both atheists and theists have to explain the innately fallen nature of humans, especially given the fact we are simultaneously capable of kindness and nobility. This is often described as “the enigma of man” and the Christian Scriptures capture and describe this reality with surprising clarity and foresight. While we have been created in the image of God (and, as a result, are capable of greatness) we were given the dangerous freedom to love genuinely. We sometimes abuse this freedom as rebellious creatures. The Bible describes human nature as innately fallen from birth, incapable of true goodness (without God’s assistance) and unwilling (on our own) to seek the face of God:

1. Our Beginnings Are Not Innocent Enough
From the very start, (from our birth), we are not innocent and inclined toward goodness. Instead, we are born as the offspring of Adam, inclined toward sin:

Romans 5:12
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned

1 Corinthians 15:20-22
For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

Psalm 51:5
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.

Ephesians 2:1-3
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

2. Our Natural Condition Is Not Capable Enough
Even as we grow and learn to be good from those who teach and love us, we are still filled with the inclination to do what is wrong. All of us struggle with this if we are honest about it. We are slaves to our inclinations. We have a hidden thought life, and this life exposes who and what we really are. And there are many times when we choose to act on these thoughts. You and I both know this is true. We are not consistently capable of true goodness:

Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Romans 3:23
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

John 8:34
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin

Job 15:14-16
“What is man, that he should be pure, or he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold, He puts no trust in His holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in His sight; How much less one who is detestable and corrupt, Man, who drinks iniquity like water!”

3. Our Desire Is Not Strong Enough
We are also typically uninterested in the things of God. In our natural state, we are rebellious and our desire for God is weak and fading. Our fallen nature prevents us from recognizing or understanding spiritual things:

John 5:40-41
…and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life

1 Corinthians 2:14
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Romans 3:10-18
…as it is written,

There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.
Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,
The poison of asps is under their lips;
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;
Their feet are swift to shed blood,
Destruction and misery are in their paths,
And the path of peace have they not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Romans 1:18-19
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

4. Our Lives Are Not Righteous Enough
Even our “good deeds” are not all that good. Sure, we may think we are doing something noble, but there is generally something in it for us; some hidden, self-serving motive. And even our best efforts pale by comparison to the standard of righteousness existing in the God of the Universe.

Isaiah 64:6
For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

James 2:10
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

Galatians 3:10-11
For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.”

Romans 3:27-28
Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

5. Our “Goodness” Is Not Our Own
In case you think those moments of compassion or righteousness you occasionally achieve were the result of your own ability or effort, think again. Even our best moments are simply the work of God. On our own we are completely incapable of choosing God or doing anything righteous in the sight of God. When we do act righteously, it is simply God’s Spirit and Word acting within us:

John 6:44
No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:65
And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

Philippians 2:12-13
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

1 Thessalonians 2:13
And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

Romans 9:16
So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

John 1:12-13
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The Bible paints a pretty ugly picture of our human nature, doesn’t it? It sure sounds like we are lost and wandering, incapable of seeking God and incapable of impressing God with our own “good” efforts. It sounds like bad news, and that is exactly what it is. But there is something very special about the Christian message. There is Good News: the God of the universe is not going to judge us on our fallen nature or our inadequate efforts. Instead, He is going to allow Jesus to pay the price for our sin and save us as an act of grace. We may be fallen, but we do matter to God:

Ephesians 2:4-5
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)

Colossians 2:13-15
And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Titus 2:11-12
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,

Galatians 2:16
…nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.

Titus 3:5-7
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

So why is this “Doctrine of Man” so important? Why do we, as Christians, need to understand the Christian position on this issue? Why is a proper understanding of humanity so important to Christian Orthodoxy? Well, if we don’t first understand our desperate need, we won’t come to understand the power and urgency of the Good News of Jesus. If you don’t understand your true condition, your fallen nature and the inability of your own efforts to save yourself, you won’t move to seek and find the Savior who has come to give us what we simply can’t earn on our own. We need a proper understanding of our human nature so we can have a correct understanding of our spiritual need and a proper appreciation for the power and grace of God. This understanding will eventually shape our love and awe of God, our gratitude for Salvation and our love of the Savior. Without an understanding of who we are, we can never truly appreciate who God is.

via What Does Christianity Say About the Nature of Humans? Five Honest Realities — Cold Case Christianity

Core Christianity | 10 Things You Should Know About the Danger of Media

1. Media feed us an endless stream of spectacles that captures human attention and holds fast a collective gaze.

A spectacle is a moment of time, of varying length, in which collective gaze is fixed on some specific image, event, or moment. A spectacle is something that captures human attention, an instant when our eyes and brains focus and fixate on something projected at us.

In an outrage society like ours, spectacles are often controversies—the latest scandal in sports, entertainment, or politics. A spark bellows, grows into a viral flame on social media, and ignites the visual feeds of millions. That’s a spectacle.

As the speed of media grows faster and faster, the most miniscule public slip of the tongue or passive-aggressive celebrity comment or hypocritical political image can become a spectacle. And often the most viral social media spectacles are spicy tales later exposed as groundless rumors and fake news.[1]

Whether it’s true, false, or fiction, a spectacle is the visible thing that holds together a collective gaze.

2. Media wants something from you.

The real world around us dissolves away, not because our spectacles are false or fake, but because we hold sovereign sway over a menu of endless spectacle options. We control it all. We remote-control it all. And inside the buffet of digital options, we lose sight of the edges that give shape to our embodied existence. We grow blind to what we cannot control.

We no longer seek out new spectacles; new spectacles seek us out, delivered to us with hardly more required than a thumb twitch, or less. Auto-playing video clips animate, expire, and then scroll on to the next one in line. Autostarting next episodes extend our Netflix bingeing. We are asked to do nothing. Simply veg.

Few of us have reckoned with the consequences of this tele-visual culture on our attention, our volition, our empathy, and our self-identity.

3. Media stirs our insatiable appetite for glory.

Why do we seek spectacles? Because we’re human—hardwired with an unquenchable appetite to see glory. Our hearts seek splendor as our eyes scan for greatness. We cannot help it.

“The world aches to be awed. That ache was made for God. The world seeks it mainly through movies”[2]—and in entertainment and politics and true crime and celebrity gossip and warfare and live sports. Unfortunately, we are all very easily conned into wasting our time on what adds no value to our lives. Aldous Huxley called it “man’s almost infinite appetite for distraction.”[3] Worthless or worthwhile, our eyes are insatiable things.

4. Advertising can lead you into dangerous habits.

Advertising spectacles build powerful habits within us and make us endlessly restless buyers who crave the power to change our lives and our surroundings with another trip to the mall.

The blob of the autonomous self is promised a new identity in a shiny new exoskeleton—a new consumable good to complete us and give us form in the world, to shape the identity we want to project to others. So we become self-consumed consumers—autonomous buyers whose lives are given new shape and form by the next thing we add to our Amazon shopping cart.

He must awaken his transforming power deep inside us and open our eyes to behold the splendor of Christ.

5. Media wants to shape our identity.

Image is our identity, and our identity is unavoidably molded by our media. To use the evocative language of Jacques Ellul, speaking about movies, we choose to give ourselves vicariously to the onscreen lives that we could never personally experience. We escape into lives that are not ours and become adapted to the experiences of others. We live inside our projected simulations—inside the promises and the possibilities of our most beloved celebrities.

In the age of the spectacle, we leave the hard edges of our embodied existence—our shells—in order to find our own shape and definition as we live inside a media-driven life of abstraction. And because we can live entirely inside the world of our images (consumed and projected), we lose our identity and our place in the community. We lose a sense of what it means to be inside the body God assigned and shaped for us.

6. Our attention span is being exploited by digital media.

Smartphones make it possible for the attention economy to target our little attention gaps as we transition between tasks and duties. Our attention may be slightly elastic enough to fill up every empty gap of silence in our days, but in the end it’s still a zero-sum game. We have limited amounts of time to focus in a given day, and now every second of our attention can be targeted and commoditized.

Our attention is willingly shattered into a million pieces, guided by our impulsive urges, captured into our digital profiles, and exploited by the spectacle merchants.

7. Our prayer lives are endangered.

Yes, there are apps and alerts to remind us to pray. May we use them. But in the digital age, nine-second intervals of attention calculate into four hundred discrete spectacle modules per Snapchat hour, a spiritual chaos meant not to serve the soul but to serve the attention merchants. Our attention is finite, but our call to persistent prayer is clear. It’s time to be honest. The worst of our compulsive social media habits are filling our days and corroding our prayer lives.

8. Media can blind to the glory of Christ and decrease your zeal for the Lord.

Feeding on sinful media will annul your holy affections. Yes. But pampering yourself with a glut of morally neutral media also pillages your affectional zeal. Each of us must learn to preserve higher pleasures by revolting against lesser indulgences.[4] Our shows and movies and games lure us to give ourselves away to the screen, a video addiction David Foster Wallace called “a distorted religious impulse,” a giving of the self that must be reserved for God alone, an idolatrous giving away of the soul to a media that will never love us back.[5]

We humans don’t merely have habits—we are habits, said Jonathan Edwards.[6] Therefore most of life is not first deliberated at the conscious level and then acted out. That’s true. Rather, the only hope for the sanctification of our habits and loves is the Spirit. He must awaken his transforming power deep inside us and open our eyes to behold the splendor of Christ.

In a world of shiny attractions that grab our attention and demand our affections, Competing Spectacles helps us to thrive spiritually by asking critical questions about where we place our focus.

9. Your problem is internal, not external.

When God “put eternity into man’s heart,” he made the heart a capacious, hungry, and restless thing (Eccles. 3:11). Sinful longings drive the lust in all our faculties, not least in our vision—for “the eye is not satisfied with seeing” (Eccles. 1:8). Just as hell and the grave engulf and never fill up, so too, “never satisfied are the eyes of man” (Prov. 27:20).

The lusting eyes of mankind feed and feed and feed and never get full. Worldly eyes rove, animated by an eternal craving, seeking some new spectacle to bring peace and rest and joy. Satisfaction never arrives, it just keeps fading away.[7] The root danger is not the sparkling world but the sin within us. Unbridled eyes roam restless over the earth, hungry for some new thrill. And until hell and the grave are swollen, man’s eyes will keep looking to the world’s spectacles for what they can never find.

10. You will become what you behold.

Pastor David Platt’s warning is necessary: “You don’t become like Christ by beholding TV all week. And you don’t become like Christ by beholding the Internet all week. You don’t become like Christ when you fill your life with things of this world. You become like Christ when you behold the glory of Christ, and you expose your life, moment by moment, to his glory,” all through God’s revelation in Scripture.[8]

In setting our minds on the Spectacle of Christ, we are called to a personal discipline that is entirely foreign to this world, even foreign to our own natural inclinations. We learn a new divine speech—a foreign language of unseen glory—as Scripture feeds our new appetites for the Savior. Our new appetite directs us toward Christ. No other factor more distinguishes the Christian’s appetite from the world’s appetite for manufactured spectacles.

Content adapted from Competing Spectacles by Tony Reinke. This article first appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission. 

Notes

  1. ^ Robinson Meyer, “The Grim Conclusions of the Largest-Ever Study of Fake News,” theatlantic.com, March 8, 2018.
  2. ^  John Piper, twitter.com, April 12, 2017
  3. ^ Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited (New York: Harper & Row, 1958), 35
  4. ^ 1 John 2:15–17.
  5. ^ See John Piper, A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016).
  6. ^ “Created beings, in other words, do not have habits but are habits and laws. Edwards wrote that a soul’s ‘essence consists in powers and habits.’” Sang Hyun Lee’s summary in Kenneth P. Minkema Harry 7. S. Stout Adriaan C. Neele, The Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2017), 271.
  7. ^ David Lipsky and David Foster Wallace, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace (New York: Broadway Books, 2010), 82.
  8. ^ David Platt, “Unveiling His Glory,” sermon, March 16, 2008, radical.net.

February 24, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

19 In contrast to the overreaction of the people, Mary (hē de Mariam, “Mary on the other hand”) meditates on the meaning of it all (cf. v. 51; cf. also Ge 37:11). Unlike her response in ch. 1 that includes a lengthy prophetic speech (vv. 46–55), the events that are unfolding are moving beyond Mary’s ability to comprehend (cf. Mary F. Foskett, A Virgin Conceived [Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 2002], 135).[1]


2:19 Mary treasured up all these things. Mary will do likewise in 2:51. Unless this is mere speculation on Luke’s part, these comments suggest that he had personal access to Mary, and the fact that his first two chapters focus so consistently on Mary’s experiences (whereas Matt. 1–2 is mainly about Joseph’s) has suggested to many that she was the main source of Luke’s information about the births of John and Jesus.[2]


19. But Mary continued to treasure up all these things, mulling them over in her mind. Cf. verse 51. Mary was treasuring, carefully storing away, all these things; such things as the following: what an angel had told Joseph, what Gabriel had told her, what her experience had been upon arriving in Bethlehem, what the shepherds had reported with respect to voices of angels, etc. “She was putting them all together in her heart” (thus literally), though in such a case as the present (because of “mulling over”) English idiom would probably substitute “mind” for “heart.”

Aside from the nativity narrative Scripture tells us little about Mary’s development in faith. Nevertheless, such passages as John 2:5; Acts 1:14 show that she became a worshiper of the One to whom, with respect to his human nature, she had given birth. Her prayerful “putting together” of the things she had experienced, seen, and heard, was blessed by God and in course of time produced the result he had determined from eternity. To be sure, on Mary’s part there were missteps along the way, but the end was victory.[3]


[1] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 80). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] France, R. T. (2013). Luke. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 35). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, p. 158). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

CrossTalk Bullhorns: Russiagate 3.0 – YouTube

The ‘Russiagate’ hoax lives on! The sequel has just been released. Starring, of course, Donald Trump, but also now Bernie Sanders! Indeed, Russiagate has achieved cult like status. Also, Turkey on the ropes in Syria.

CrossTalking with Dmitry Babich, Marcus Papadopoulos, and Alexander Mercouris.

— Read on www.youtube.com/watch