Daily Archives: January 19, 2022

The Bible and its Story: Jephthah Consoled

Conceive the horror of Jephthah when his rash and impious vow was thus turned against him. He had sworn blindly to sacrifice something, he knew not what; now by his own arrangement the lot had fallen upon a human being, and the one he loved most upon earth. What to him now was the rulership to which he had returned? All the joy of his triumph fell from him, and he tasted the bitterness of his folly.

‎“And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas; my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.”

‎Then Jephthah’s daughter consoled her father. So deeply did she love him that she gave no thought to herself, made no effort to escape the consequence of his heedlessness. She sought only to solace him in his despair. In her ignorance she even urged the keeping of his vow; for he must preserve that friendship of the Lord which had been shown in giving him the victory over the Ammonites. This high favour must not be lost by disobedience.

by Julius A. Bewer; Charles F. Horne

January 19 Evening Verse of The Day

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26:17, 18 Paul understood Christ’s commissioning to mean that the Gentiles’ salvation depended on his presenting the gospel to them. No wonder he felt as though he was charged with a debt to the Gentiles (Rom. 1:14). These people were not saved prior to the hearing of the gospel; they needed to hear the message of salvation from one like Paul (Rom. 10:14, 15).[1]

26:17 Gentiles, to whom I am sending you. Paul’s commissioning as the apostle to the Gentiles (Ro 11:13; 1Ti 2:7).

26:18 to open their eyes. Unbelievers are blinded to spiritual truth by Satan (2Co 4:4; 6:14; cf. Mt 15:14). from darkness to light. Since unbelievers are in the darkness of their spiritual blindness, the Bible often uses light to picture salvation (v. 23; 13:47; Mt 4:16; Jn 1:4, 5, 7–9; 3:19–21; 8:12; 9:5; 12:36; 2Co 4:4; 6:14; Eph 5:8, 14; Col 1:12, 13; 1Th 5:5; 1Pe 2:9; 1Jn 1:7; 2:8–10). forgiveness of sins. This is the most significant result of salvation (see note on 2:38; cf. 3:19; 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; Mt 1:21; 26:28; Lk 1:77; 24:47; 1Co 15:3; Gal 1:4; Col 1:14; Heb 8:12; 9:28; 10:12; 1Pe 2:24; 3:18; 1Jn 2:1, 2; 3:5; 4:10; Rev 1:5). an inheritance. The blessings believers will enjoy throughout eternity in heaven (cf. 20:32; Eph 1:11, 14, 18; Col 1:12; 3:24; Heb 9:15). sanctified by faith. The Bible plainly and repeatedly teaches that salvation comes solely through faith apart from human works (13:39; 15:9; 16:31; Jn 3:14–17; 6:69; Ro 3:21–28; 4:5; 5:1; 9:30; 10:9–11; Gal 2:16; 3:11, 24; Eph 2:8, 9; Php 3:9).[2]

26:17. The Lord also promised Paul protection—“ ‘I will deliver you (also at 7:10, 34; 12:11; 23:27; Gal 1:4) from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you.’ ”

26:18. God also offered him purpose as He delineated Paul’s future mission toward unbelieving Gentiles. Paul would work with God “ ‘to open their eyes’ ”—the task of illumination, which would lead to their conversion and all the spiritual benefits that accompany belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul would not achieve this on his own. Ultimately God would grant the spiritual insight (see 2 Cor 4:1–6). The apostle, for his part, would endeavor to persuade people to believe. The believer would receive “ ‘forgiveness of sins’ ” and a guaranteed future possession, which includes a resurrection body and eternal fellowship with God. Sanctified here refers to the positional setting apart toward God which every believer enjoys the very instant he believes in Christ (see Heb 10:14) rather than to the process of sanctification—the progressive conformity of the believer to the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.[3]

26:17 The promise that Paul would be delivered from the Jewish people and the Gentiles must be understood as meaning deliverance in general until his work was done.

26:18 Paul would be sent especially to the Gentiles to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Through faith in the Lord Jesus, they would receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified. H. K. Downie shows how verse 18 is an excellent summary of what the gospel does:

1.    It relieves from darkness.

2.    It releases from the power of Satan.

3.    It remits sins.

4.    It restores a lost inheritance.[4]

26:17 “rescuing you” This is a PRESENT MIDDLE PARTICIPLE. In the MIDDLE VOICE this word usually means to select or choose. Normally it is translated “rescue or deliver” (cf. 7:10, 34; 12:11; 23:27). God’s providential care is evident here. Paul received several of these visions during his ministry in order to encourage him. This possibly alludes to the Septuagint’s reading of Isa. 48:10 or possibly Jer. 1:7–8, 19.

 “from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles” Paul will suffer opposition from both groups (cf. 2 Cor. 11:23–27).

 “to whom I am sending you” The “I” is emphatic (egō) here as in v. 15. The VERB is apostello (PRESENT ACTIVE INDICATIVE), from which we get the term “Apostle.” As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus sends His witnesses, apostles (cf. John 20:21).

26:18 “to open … turn” These are both AORIST INFINITIVES. This may be an allusion to Isa. 42:7. The Messiah will open blind eyes as a metaphor for opening spiritual eyes (cf. John 9). Gospel knowledge and understanding must precede the call to a volitional response (repentance and faith). Satan tries to close our minds and hearts (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4) and the Spirit tries to open them (cf. John 6:44, 65; 16:8–11).

 “from darkness … from the dominion of Satan” Notice the parallelism. Dominion is the Greek term exousia, usually translated authority or power (cf. NKJV, NRSV, TEV). The world is under the influence of personal evil (cf. Eph. 2:2; 4:14; 6:10–18; 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:12–13).

In the OT, particularly the prophecies of Isaiah, the Messiah was to bring sight to the blind. It was both a physical prediction and also metaphorical for truth (cf. Isa. 29:18; 32:3; 35:5; 42:7, 16).

 “to light … to God” Notice the parallelism. Ancient humans feared darkness. It became a metaphor for evil. Light, on the other hand, became a metaphor for truth, healing, and purity. A good parallel passage on the light of the gospel is John 3:17–21.

 “that they may receive” The VERBAL in this phrase is another AORIST INFINITIVE. There is no “may” in the Greek text (cf. TEV, NJB). The only condition in this context is “by faith in Me” clause, which is put last in the Greek sentence for emphasis. All of God’s blessings are contingent on a faith response to His grace (cf. Eph. 2:8–9). This is the NT counterpoint of conditional covenants in the OT.

 “forgiveness of sins” Luke uses this term (aphesis) often.

1.    In Luke 4:18 it is used in an OT quote from Isa. 61:1, where it means release, which reflects the LXX usage of Exod. 18:2 and Lev. 16:26.

2.    In Luke 1:77; 3:3; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18, it means “the removal of the guilt of sin,” which reflects the LXX usage of Deut. 15:3, where it is used of the cancellation of a debt.

Luke’s usage may reflect the New Covenant promise of Jer. 31:34.

 “and an inheritance” This is the Greek term klēros, which denotes the casting of lots (cf. Lev. 16:8; Jonah 1:7; Acts 1:26) to determine an inheritance, as in Gen. 48:6; Exod. 6:8; and Josh. 13:7–8. In the OT the Levites did not have a land inheritance, only the 48 Levitical cities (cf. Deut. 10:9; 12:12), but the Lord Himself was their inheritance (cf. Num. 18:20). Now in the NT all believers are priests (cf. 1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). The Lord (YHWH) is our inheritance; we are His children (cf. Rom. 8:15–17).

 “those who have been sanctified” This is a PERFECT PASSIVE PARTICIPLE. Believers (faithers) have been and continue to be sanctified by faith in Christ (cf. 20:21). See Special Topic at 9:32. Neither Satan nor the demonic can take this away (cf. Rom. 8:31–39).[5]

17. “ ‘I am rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18. to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. I do so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in me.’ ”

We make these observations:

a. Rescue. The words of Jesus that Paul conveys to King Agrippa are based on Old Testament passages from the prophets and the psalms. God tells Jeremiah not to be afraid of the people because he himself will rescue the prophet (Jer. 1:8, 19). And in his psalm of thanks, David cries out to God for deliverance from the nations (1 Chron. 16:35; Ps. 106:47).

Paul’s life testifies to the fact that he needed deliverance from both the Jewish people and the Gentiles. On numerous occasions the Jews wanted to kill him, as did the Gentiles (see 2 Cor. 11:24–27). The irony is that Paul, the former persecutor of Christ’s disciples, was persecuted by Jew and Gentile alike. Yet the Lord repeatedly rescued him.

b. Apostle. When Jesus said to Paul, “I am sending you to them,” he indirectly used the words God spoke to Jeremiah and Ezekiel when he commissioned them as prophets (see Jer. 1:7; Ezek. 2:3). Believing the prophets, Agrippa would have to admit that Paul stood in the line of the Old Testament prophets. To be precise, Jesus commissioned Paul as a witness to both the Jews and the Gentiles (20:21) but especially as an apostle to the Gentiles (9:15; Rom. 15:15–16; Gal. 2:8).

Note that the words Jesus spoke to Paul near Damascus and which Paul now recalls in the presence of King Agrippa are all allusions to the writings of the prophets. When Paul says, “to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light,” Agrippa should know that Jesus is referring especially to Isaiah 42:7. This part of Isaiah’s prophecy is known as one of the servant songs depicting the coming of the Messiah. The work of opening the spiritual eyes of the people belongs to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit empowers God’s servants to preach the gospel and grants them the joy of seeing the effect of their preaching.33 Paul points out that he works among Jews and Gentiles on behalf of the Messiah. As an apostle of Christ he preaches the gospel. The Good News opens the eyes of those who are spiritually blind and turns the people from darkness to the light of God’s Word (1 Peter 2:9).

c. Purpose. In respect to the people, Jesus specifies three spiritual objectives for Paul: first, to open their eyes; next, to turn them from darkness to light; and last, to turn them from the power of Satan to God. When a person opens his spiritual eyes and comes to conversion, he leaves his world of darkness and enters the light of the gospel. He is no longer Satan’s slave but serves the living God.

To the Jews, the imagery of stumbling like blind men in darkness appropriately depicted the condition of the Gentiles. But God had entrusted his holy oracles to the Jews (Rom. 3:2), so that they might live in his light. The Jews, however, had refused to accept God’s Word and thus were spiritually blind (John 9:39–41). Both the Jews and the Gentiles had to turn from darkness into light. In his epistles to the Gentile churches, Paul frequently uses the metaphor of darkness and light. Darkness characterizes the realm of Satan, which Jesus here describes as the power of Satan. (In Acts, the name Satan appears twice, here and in a question Peter asked: “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart?” [5:3].) Paul meets the power of Satan wherever he proclaims the gospel (see, e.g., 13:10; 16:16; 19:15).

d. Salvation. The words Paul speaks are not his own but those of Jesus. This becomes clear from the first person pronouns that predominate in Jesus’ words, especially in the last sentence: “I do so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in me.” The Greek places emphasis on the last word in the sentence, which in this case is “me.” Salvation comes to expression when the sinner repents, is cleansed from sin, and takes his place among those who obtain their spiritual inheritance through faith in Christ. The believer receives his inheritance when Jesus, having declared him holy, embraces him and welcomes him into the fellowship of the saints.[6]

17. The account of Paul’s call is similar to that of the prophets of Israel (cf. Ezek. 2:1), and God’s promise of protection to him also has Old Testament echoes (Jer. 1:8; 1 Chr. 16:35). He would be safe from the people, i.e. the Jews, and the Gentiles; there may possibly be an allusion for Luke’s readers to the safe outcome of Paul’s present trial, but it should be remembered that, since God’s servants are mortal, his promise applies to the safe fulfilment of their part of his work and not necessarily any further; the Lord’s servant may have Paul’s later experience: ‘I am suffering for the gospel and wearing fetters like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered’ (2 Tim. 2:9). The work is that of an apostle: Paul is sent (Jer. 1:7; Ezek. 2:3) to both Jews and Gentiles, but primarily to the latter.

18. His task is defined more closely in language based on the description of the Servant’s commission in Isaiah 42:6f. He is to open eyes that are blinded by sin, to convert people and bring them out of the realm of darkness into that of light, i.e. from the power of Satan into the area where God reigns (cf. Isa. 42:16 and especially Col. 1:13f. which gives a remarkably close parallel to the wording here). Those who respond to this call will obtain forgiveness of their sins and their appointed place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus (cf. 20:32). The theological language used here would probably be too deep for Agrippa to comprehend. It reflects a traditional Christian understanding of the nature of conversion, and is perhaps a summary for the reader of what Paul could have said more simply to Agrippa.[7]

17. Delivering thee. He is armed in this place against all fear, which was prepared for him; and also he is prepared to bear the cross; notwithstanding, seeing he addeth immediately that Paul should come to lighten the blind, to reconcile those to God which were estranged from him, and to restore salvation to those which were lost; it is a marvel why he doth not also promise that they shall on the other side receive him joyfully, who shall by means of him receive such and so great benefits. But the unthankfulness of the world is noted out unto us in this place, because the ministers of eternal salvation are far otherwise rewarded, as frantic men do rail upon their physicians. And Paul is admonished, that whithersoever he shall come, a great part of those to whom he shall study to do good shall hate him, and seek his overthrow. And he saith plainly, that he is appointed to be a witness both to Jews and Gentiles, lest that turn to his reproach, because he made the gospel common to both alike. For the Jews had conceived such deadly hatred against him for this cause, because it grieved them that the Gentiles should be made their fellows. And though they made a show that this did proceed of zeal, because they would not have the covenant which God made with the posterity of Abraham profaned, by being translated unto strangers, yet mere ambition did prick them forward, because they alone would be excellent, all other being underlings. But in the person of one man, all godly teachers are encouraged to do their duty, that they be not hindered or kept back with the malice of men from offering the grace of God unto miserable men, though they be unworthy.

18. That thou mayest open their eyes. Paul, in taking to himself that which is proper to God, doth seem to exalt himself too high. For we know that it is the Holy Ghost alone which doth lighten the eyes. We know that Christ is the only Redeemer which doth deliver us from the tyranny of Satan. We know that it is God alone who, having put away our sins, doth adopt us unto the inheritance of the saints. But this is a common thing, that God doth translate unto his ministers that honour which is due to himself alone, not that he may take any thing from himself, but that he may commend that mighty working of his Spirit which he doth show forth in them. For he doth not send them to work, that they may be dead instruments, or, as it were, stage-players; but that he may work mightily by their hand. But it dependeth upon the secret power of his Spirit that their preaching is effectual, who worketh all things in all men, and which only giveth the increase.

Therefore, teachers are sent, not to utter their words in vain in the air, or to beat the ears only with a vain sound, but to bring lively light to the blind, to fashion again men’s hearts unto the righteousness of God, and to ratify the grace of salvation which is gotten by the death of Christ. But they do none of all these, save only inasmuch as God worketh by them, that their labour may not be in vain, that all the praise may be his, as the effect cometh from him.

And, therefore, we must note, that so often as the Scripture doth extol the external ministry so honourably, we must not separate it from the Spirit, which quickeneth the same even as the soul doth the body. For it teacheth in other places how little man’s industry can do of itself. For they must plant and water, but it is God alone which giveth the increase, (1 Cor. 11:6.) But because many are hindered by their own ignorance and malice, that they cannot reap such fruit of the gospel as they ought, we must note this description, which setteth before our eyes briefly and plentifully that incomparable treasure. Therefore, this is the drift of the gospel, that being delivered from blindness of mind, we may be made partakers of the heavenly light; that being delivered from the thraldom of Satan, we may be turned to God; that having free forgiveness of sins, we may be made partakers of the inheritance among the saints. Those which will rightly profit in the gospel must direct all their senses to this end; for what good shall the continual preaching thereof do us, if we know not the true use thereof? Also, the way and means to attain to salvation is described to us, all men boast that they be desirous of salvation, but few consider how God will save them.

Therefore, this place, wherein the means is prettily comprehended, is, as it were, a key to open the gate of heaven. Furthermore, we must know that all mankind is naturally deprived of those good things which Christ saith we have by believing the gospel; so that it followeth that all are blind, because they be lightened by faith; that all are the bond-slaves of Satan, because they are set free by faith from his tyranny; that all men are the enemies of God, and subject to eternal death, because they receive remission of sins by faith. So that nothing is more miserable than we, if we be without Christ, and without his faith, whereby it appeareth how little, yea, that nothing is left for the free will of men’s merits. As touching every part, this lightening is referred unto the knowledge of God, because all our quickness of sight is mere vanity and thick darkness, until he appear unto us by his truth. That reacheth farther which followeth afterward: To be turned from darkness to light; for that is when we are renewed in the spirit of our mind.

Therefore, in my judgment, this member, and that which followeth, express both one thing, to be turned from the power of Satan unto God. For that renewing which Paul declareth more largely in the second chapter to the Ephesians, (Ephes. 2:10, and 4:23,) is expressed in divers forms of speech. Remission of sins followeth next, whereby God doth freely reconcile us to himself, so that we need not doubt but that God will be favourable and merciful to us. At length, the furnishing and filling of all things is put in the last place; to wit, the inheritance of eternal life. Some do read it falsely in one text, among those who are sanctified by faith, because this word is extended unto the whole period. Therefore, the meaning thereof is, that by faith we come unto the possession of all those good things which are offered by the gospel. And faith is properly directed unto Christ, because all the parts of our salvation are included in him. Neither doth the gospel command us to seek the same any where else save only in him.[8]

26:17–18 / These verses detail Paul’s calling and at the same time provide an outline of his life from his conversion to the establishing of churches among the Gentiles. He was promised protection from your own people and from the Gentiles (v. 17), but only in the sense that he would be enabled to fulfill his calling, not that he would be spared any suffering in the process (cf. 2 Tim. 2:9). He was given a commission to open the people’s eyes (v. 18). There may have been some play intended on the idea of his spiritual blindness before and his physical blindness after his conversion. But more significantly, the language is that in which Isaiah had prophesied future salvation (Isa. 35:5; 42:6f.; cf. Matt. 9:30). That salvation was now a present reality, and Paul was to take news of it to Jews and to Gentiles. The to them of verse 17 includes both (cf. 9:15). His commission was to preach for conversion, to turn them from darkness to light (a frequent metaphor in the Pauline epistles, e.g., Rom. 2:19; 13:12; 2 Cor. 4:6; 6:14; Eph. 5:8; Col. 1:12; 1 Thess. 5:5), that is, from the power of Satan to God, that their sins might be forgiven and they might have a place among the people of God (lit., “an inheritance in those who have been sanctified,” v. 18; see disc. on 9:13; 20:32). This statement bears a remarkable likeness to Colossians 1:12–14 and assures us that this résumé of Paul’s speech is based on reliable information. (Note: Luke does not appear to have had access to Paul’s letters.) But not any preaching will lead to conversion. Effective preaching to that end must center on Christ, for only in him is this salvation found (Jesus is the me of verse 18, for he is the speaker; cf. 4:12). Here the operative phrase is faith in me, placed for emphasis in the Greek text at the end of the sentence. The thought is of entrusting oneself entirely to Christ (it is the faith that is “into him”; see disc. on 10:43). Verse 18 is the epitome of the (Pauline) gospel.[9]


[1] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J., eds. (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ac 26:17). Thomas Nelson.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ac 26:17–18). Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Valdés, A. S. (2010). The Acts of the Apostles. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (pp. 606–607). Grace Evangelical Society.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments (A. Farstad, Ed.; p. 1660). Thomas Nelson.

[5] Utley, R. J. (2003). Luke the Historian: The Book of Acts: Vol. Volume 3B (pp. 273–274). Bible Lessons International.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 17, pp. 897–899). Baker Book House.

[7] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, pp. 416–417). InterVarsity Press.

[8] Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (2010). Commentary upon the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 2, pp. 379–382). Logos Bible Software.

[9] Williams, D. J. (2011). Acts (pp. 419–420). Baker Books.

What’s the Best Explanation for DNA? (Video / Podcast) — Cold Case Christianity

Is there any evidence for God? Is it reasonable to believe in Him? Does the evidence of DNA point to God? Is there any reasonable explanation for DNA other than God? J. Warner answers these questions in this video from a stage presentation from his book, God’s Crime Scene.

https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/21538016/height/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/no/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/174dbd/

To see more training videos with J. Warner and Jimmy Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.

For more information about the scientific and philosophical evidence pointing to a Divine Creator, please read God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. This book employs a simple crime scene strategy to investigate eight pieces of evidence in the universe to determine the most reasonable explanation. The book is accompanied by an eight-session God’s Crime Scene DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.

What’s the Best Explanation for DNA? (Video / Podcast) — Cold Case Christianity

Take Out Your Thought Trash — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

I struggle with intrusive thoughts on a daily basis. I could be walking outside of my home enjoying the fresh air when suddenly, BAM! An intrusive thought flies into my brain. Instantly, my mind is shaken from the peaceful state it was in and thrown into a full blown panic. I question if this thought is really true about me or if this thought means something about who I am as a person. For a while I would try to ignore the thoughts that flooded my brain and let the questions I had about them float around in my brain. I thought that the more I ignored and avoided the questions, they would naturally go away.

This, however, was not the case. The more I tried not to think about them, the more I thought about them. The more I tried to push the questions away, the more I kept pondering about them. Then, God laid this thought upon my heart:I need to stop putting these intrusive thoughts into the garbage can of my brain and take the trash completely out. Let me explain.

When you have some garbage in your house that stinks, you can’t expect to throw it in your kitchen trash can and never expect to smell it again. This may temporarily take care of the problem, but over time the smell will return and be even worse than what it was originally. The only way to completely get rid of that trash is to bag it up, take it outside, and toss it in the dumpster outside of your home.

The same rule applies to our thought life. The devil will always seek to pull us away from God by putting thoughts in our mind that are contrary to who we are. When we begin to think that we are unworthy and when our thoughts contradict our beliefs, it is only until we take time to deal with them that we find freedom. So, how do we remove these thoughts?

First, we need to stop and examine the thought. If that thought does not align with what God’s Word says is true, we need to ask him to help us bag it up. If the thought contradicts God’s Word, we have to assure ourselves that it is not an indicator of who we are or what we do We are defined by who God says we are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and God sees your heart (Psalm 139:13). He knows who you truly are despite what the devil tries to tell you. No matter what flows into your brain, your thoughts do not have power over you; the one who is in your heart does. Second, we need to spray some “air freshener” in our minds to rid it of any lingering smells by spending time in prayer and in God’s Word. We need to invite God to restore our confidence in who he is, what he says about who we are in Christ, to help us move forward and continue to experience his joy. When we spend time in God’s Word each day soaking up the truths about who we are in Christ, we are able to focus on the truth.

Lastly, to rid our minds of any lingering smells from those thoughts is to talk to someone else about them. Share your struggles with a trusted Christian friend, pastor, therapist, or mentor. When you have others who can listen, pour truth into you, and pray for you, that gives you the motivation and encouragement to move on from those thoughts and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, live the life God has for you.

Heavenly Father, you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Everything you do is marvellously breathtaking. My soul knows it very well. How thoroughly you know me, Lord! My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, carefully, skilfully you shaped me from nothing to something. You saw who you created me to be before I became me. Before I’d ever seen the light of day, the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. When I awake each morning, you’re still with me. Guard my mind and heart today, Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen. (Based off of Psalm 139:13-18)

By Bradley Stubbs
Used by Permission


Further Reading

• Fully Surrender to the Lord

• Lies – Speaking the Truth or Speaking Lies

•  Salvation Explained

Take Out Your Thought Trash — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

The Bible and its Story: The Meeting

The knowledge of God’s teachings had grown dim in Jephthah’s day and he sought, so far as he himself knew, to revive it. Before attacking the Ammonites he sent them messages rehearsing all God had done for Israel in the old days, and warning the Ammonites not to make war upon a people so protected. The men of Ammon, however, gave him no heed, declaring that they meant to recover from Israel all the land that their fathers had lost to Moses.

‎Then Jephthah vowed a vow to God that, if God gave him victory over these enemies, he would sacrifice to the Lord “whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace.”

‎Not because of the vow, but because God so willed it for Israel’s good, Jephthah won a great victory over the Ammonites, crushing them completely. Then he returned in thoughtless triumph to his house, his vow apparently forgotten. As he approached the door, his daughter, having prepared a joyous welcome for him, issued with her attendants singing and dancing; and she herself came first to meet him.

by Julius A. Bewer; Charles F. Horne

‘You are fighting God’: YouTube pounces on Bible as ‘hate speech’ | WND

Actor Jim Caviezel portraying Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ.”

YouTube this week determined a sermon from popular Christian leader Pastor John MacArthur is “hate speech” for stating both biblical precept and scientific fact.

According to columnist Todd Starnes, YouTube “removed the clip and sent me a message saying the pastor’s sermon was hate speech.”

The Big Tech player said, “Our team has reviewed your content, and, unfortunately, we think it violates our hate speech policy. We’ve removed the following content from YouTube: ‘There is no such thing as transgender. You are either XX or XY. That’s it. – Pastor John MacArthur.'”

See his comments:

Starnes explained MacArthur is pastor of Grace Community Church and his messages are broadcast on hundreds of radio stations, he’s a best-selling author and a “beloved member” of the evangelical community.

His message on Sunday was part of a nationwide campaign to draw attention to Canadian legislation that would silence pastors on LGBT issues. That law, actually, threatens pastors who speak biblical, or even scientific, messages about the LGBT agenda with five years in prison.

In fact, science confirms that people are either male or female, and that is embedded in the body down to the DNA level. No amount of body mutilations can change that.

With its action, YouTube “affirmed the Canadian law by banning any opposition to transgenderism on their platform,” Starnes explained.

MacArthur explained, “There is no such thing as transgender. You are either XX or XY, that’s it. God made men male and female. That is determined genetically, that is physiology, that is science, that is reality.

“This notion that you are something other than your biology is a cultural construct intended as an assault on God. The only way you can address it, honestly, is to say, ‘God made you and God made you exactly the way He wanted you to be.’ You are not only fighting God in His physical creation, you are fighting God in His sovereignty. You are fighting God in His spiritual relationship to you,” he explained. “This is a war on God.”

He cautioned, “On the one hand, the reality of that lie and deception is so damaging, so destructive, so isolating, so corrupting that it needs to be confronted, but on the other hand, that confrontation can’t exaggerate what already exists, which is a sense of feeling isolated in relationships.”

Starnes warned, “And it won’t be very long before the sex and gender revolutionaries target the source of our beliefs – the Holy Bible. I foresee a day in American history where Bibles could be confiscated or rewritten to affirm the LGBTQIA lifestyle.”

He quoted Jenna Ellis, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, who successfully fought on behalf of Pastor MacArthur when Los Angeles ordered his church to shut down during the pandemic.

“The Big Tech oligarchy in the United States is implementing the equivalent of Canada’s insane law by censoring truth and the right of pastors to teach the Bible,” she told Starnes. “If Americans don’t stop Big Tech, this new regime will circumvent the Constitution to foreclose our fundamental rights to speak and exercise religion and the impact will be devastating.”

(Photo by Joe Kovacs)

(Photo by Joe Kovacs)

WND reported earlier this week that thousands of Christian pastors across North America on Sunday warned their congregations about a new movement that includes a law that blatantly describes biblical morality as a “myth.”

The fight is over Bill C-4, adopted by Canadian lawmakers with little discussion recently. It establishes a legal ban on “conversation therapy.”

That has been made a derogatory term by LGBT activists, but it actually encompasses a wide range of counseling options that people used to have to deal with unwanted same-sex feelings.

Therapists sometimes are able to uncover childhood or other trauma that has triggered a path into alternative sexual lifestyle choices.

The law, which took effect only days ago, prompted an initiative by Liberty Coalition Canada that was promoted by MacArthur – and more than 4,000 Christian pastors publicly protested the law, according to Fox News.

The fast-tracked Canadian law openly defies biblical history and teaching, as well as science, denouncing those teachings as a “myth,” and imposing a potential five-year jail sentence for failing to align counseling events with the politically correct LGBT agenda.

“MacArthur told Fox News that he believes widespread sexual immorality is evidence of divine judgment on a culture and predicted increased efforts to silence those who speak out against it,” the report explained.

“Ultimately, the dissenters, the ones who will not cave in, are going to be those who are faithful to the Bible,” he said. “And that’s what’s already leading to laws made against doing what we are commanded to do in Scripture, which is to confront that sin. And that’s just going to escalate.”

He added, “The fact that they identified it as a criminal conduct that could give you as much as five years in prison takes it to a completely different level, because Canadian pastors have been put in jail for just having church services.”

Similar legislation already has been adopted in several leftist U.S. states, such as California and New York.

Fox explained MacArthur was involved because of an email he got from Pastor James Coates, who was forced by Canadian authorities to spend a month in a maximum-security prison for refusing to shut down his church services last year.

Coates told Fox News C-4 is “anything but loving” because it appears to “shut the LGBT community off from the saving and transforming message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“I believe our government is capitalizing on a politically expedient segment of its constituency in an effort to further dismantle Western civilization as we know it. To do this, it must outlaw its very foundation, which is rooted in a Judeo-Christian worldview. Bill C-4 is another brick laid in this effort and is evidence that our government is under the judgment of God,” he warned in an interview with Fox.

He said the government simply is setting itself up to impose “persecution” on Christians.

WND also recently reported on a statement from Albert Mohler.

Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention, said, “Right now in this turning point between 2021 and 2022, we see the shape of the challenge coming to the Christian church even more clearly, or even more ominously. We are about to find out where the biblical Christians are on both sides of the Atlantic, and as you and I know, on both sides of the American/Canadian border.”

He said the LGBT movement, if it is successful in its campaign to persuade governments to restrict what is said about the same-sex agenda, eventually will target even the gospel of Jesus Christ as told in the Bible.

“Let’s just state the obvious. If the government can tell you it is illegal to teach biblical truth on the issue of human sexuality, the array of LGBT issues, understand two things. Number one, it won’t stop with LGBT and understand, eventually it means the criminalization of whatever Christian speech is no longer politically attractive. And that eventually will mean everything that is revealed in scripture, most essentially, the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Source: ‘You are fighting God’: YouTube pounces on Bible as ‘hate speech’

Here’s What Your Fellow Americans Think Should Happen To The Unvaccinated | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Jeff Thompson via The Organic Prepper blog,

What happens next?

This is the question you need to be asking yourself as you monitor the world around you, taking stock of what it is that you are seeing, and making logical deductions with the data you have coming in.

What happens when the world around you is stating that it is alright to take away your children? What happens when it decides it is morally permissible to drag you from your home and take you away to a “designated facilit[y] or locations if they refuse to get” the jab? What happens when people believe you should be forcibly imprisoned in your own home?

While this may sound crazy, this is where we are at.

A recent study from the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports has found just that, as on January 5, 2022, they conducted a telephone and online survey of 1016 US “Likely Voters” to determine if they could get a sampling of where Americans stood on these issues.

This is what they found:

Jab Mandates

  • 48% of voters want a jab mandate on both employees of large companies and government agencies
  • 78% of the Left support Biden’s jab mandate
  • 22% of alleged Republicans support it as well.

 Fines

  • 55% of the Left endorse the notion of fines on unjabbed Americans
  • 19% of alleged Republicans support this position as well
  • 25% of unaffiliated voters stand behind this

Forced House Arrest

  • 59% of Democrats favor house arrest for the unjabbed
  • 21% of Republicans favor this policy
  • 39% of unaffiliated voters favor this policy

Forced Resettlement

  • 45% of the Left favor forced resettlement of the unjabbed to government-operated facilities

Forced Silence

  • 48% of the Left favor either/or fines or imprisonment for those who question the efficacy of the jab on social media, TV, radio, online, or in digital pubs
  • 14% of Republicans favor this policy as well
  • 18% of unaffiliated voters favor this policy

Kidnapping Children

  • 29% of Democrats want kids taken away from parents who are unjabbed
  • 7% of Republicans are ok with this
  • 11% of unaffiliated voters want the same

Big Brother Tracking Efforts

  • 47% of the Left favor Big Brother tracking program for those who are unjabbed

Thoughts on these numbers by the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen…

Consider the mandates.

We’re now witnessing the beginnings of a supply chain disruption that is (a large part of that which is) absolutely wrecking American economy. It’s not the only factor, but it is most certainly undeniable. When workers go the way of John Galt, what else can we expect?

And people are ok with this! People are ok with the notion of forcibly pushing their will onto somebody else in order for them to earn a living. Imagine the idea of telling somebody you had the right to name their firstborn son if they wanted to keep working at your store.

(Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide on how to prepare your food stores, so you can still eat.)

“You want to work here? That means your spouse must report to the Government Love Facility at least once a month, to improve the fertility of our nation. She will be assigned a partner when there.”

This is absolutely insane!

And yet, that is where we are at.

What about the fines?

Is it not odd that “conspiracy theorists” predicted the criminalization of the unjabbed over a year ago, and now that is not only what we are seeing around the world, but we’re now seeing it advocated for within the “Land of the Free” as well? If people are falsely led into believing that such an idea can mesh with the US Constitution or human rights, what will not be?

And do not forget we have people who are more than happy for us to push further than unjust fines as well. We have people who are actually willing to imprison you over this. Perhaps it is through house arrest (as mentioned in the study). Perhaps it is through your typical jail. Or perhaps it’s landing armed men at your front door who will take you to “temporarily live in designated facilities?”

Nazi propaganda poster claiming Jews are carriers of typhus.

Once more, it appears the “conspiracy theorists” were right. We now have people who are openly advocating for the forced resettlement of others. We now have people advocating the ghettoization of America in a manner that is eerily similar to the Jewish ghettos of World War 2.

And it’s not just you they’re after.

They’re scoping out your children.

In what is perhaps the most alarming aspect of this study is that there is a sizeable chunk of society that is seemingly ok with kidnapping your children if you don’t participate in the jab. Where will they take them? Do you think they have plans for letting you see them again?

Do you think your child would be the exemption to the rule? That they would be placed in a “family” that loves and cares for them anywhere close to the extent that you do? What values would they teach your children? Would they be your values? Or would they be evil?

This is where America is.

The seeds of communism – planted long ago – have been permitted to flourish into a repugnant field of briars, and it has every intention of tearing you (and your family) apart.

You may say, “that will never happen here,” but it already is happening here. Consider Washington DC or Washington state. Consider that we’ve already seen children being denied cancer treatments over this situation.

You may say, “I work for the police/National Guard. Our men would never do that!”

For starters, who’s to say it will be your men?

One of the things the Nazis in World War 2 was that it was easier for atrocities to be committed when the men didn’t know the victims. Men trucked in from elsewhere are able to detach themselves from the humanity of those around them.

The other thing learned in World War 2 was that the men were isolated from The Final Solution by specialization so that they could do The Final Solution.

“All I do is drive the truck. That’s not that bad.”

“All I do is go through the house. That’s not that bad.”

“All I do is get them checked in with the paperwork. That’s not that bad.”

To detach one’s self from an evil end result by specialization is already happening. Consider the dispatch centers which take the calls and send police to arrest those who are at a wedding. Consider the men who don’t actually enter the building to arrest anybody, but who are more than happy to drive their victims to the station for processing.

This is where America is at.

Secondly, don’t fall into the trap of believing that your men are the exception to the rule. If you are the leader of your men, and you are one of the good and brave, the system can easily replace you. Perhaps this will be done by a nationwide push to de-fund police which causes good and brave men throughout the nation to realize it’s just not worth the cost. Maybe this replacement can be made possible by making it illegal for you to stay unless you take a jab.

Men who are evil, cowardly, or without moral backbone are easy to find. And they can easily fill your slot.

While I wholeheartedly believe in American exceptionalism, and that it is our bravery in standing against evil which maintains our freedom, I also understand this:

Human behavior is fairly constant.

How is it that the average men of Police Battalion 101 (analyzed in Christopher Browning’s Ordinary Men) were able to go from vomiting and suffering nightmares after their first Jewish action to becoming efficient killers by war’s end?

Police Battalion 101 at work.

How do average men, with families of their own, and a great sense of humor end up to a point where they can say, “I made the effort, and it was possible for me, to shoot only children. It so happened that the mothers led the children by the hand. My neighbor then shot the mother and I shot the child that belonged to her, because I reasoned with myself that after all without its mother the child could not live any longer.” – Police Battalion 101 officer.

Propaganda matters. It has influenced your friends, family, and neighbors into thinking that their fellow Americans are the enemy.

And this is where America is.

Are you surprised?

Source: Here’s What Your Fellow Americans Think Should Happen To The Unvaccinated

CrossTalk | Biden Underwater

The Biden administration is underwater in just about every way. Is this due to bad policies or bad messaging? Maybe it is both. This also begs a question. Yes, presidents come and go, but elite and special interests remain very powerful, so is this a threat to democracy?

Source: CrossTalk | Biden Underwater

The Media’s Five Biggest Lies of 2021 | @LevinTV

It’s not news to say that the Media are biased and engage in groupthink. But what happens when the media intentionally lie to the public to push their Marxist ideologies? Well, it leads to Mark and the Media Research Council introducing you to their biggest whoppers of 2021.

Source: The Media’s Five Biggest Lies of 2021 | @LevinTV

REPORT: Biden admin diverted $2B of COVID testing funds to house illegal migrants | National Report

Rep. Ben Cline reacted to House Republicans demanding answers about reports the Biden administration diverted $2 billion in funding for COVID tests to provide shelter for illegal immigrants, on Wednesday’s “National Report.”

Source: REPORT: Biden admin diverted $2B of COVID testing funds to house illegal migrants | National Report

Oops! Schumer Gives Passionate Speech Defending Filibuster After Accidentally Printing His Speech From Two Years Ago — The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a passionate speech on the Senate floor today, Democrat Chuck Schumer eloquently defended the filibuster before suddenly realizing he was reading one of his old speeches from two years ago.

“The filibuster is a sacred element of our most holy democracy and I believe that with every fiber of my very being,” Schumer began. “All who attempt to do away with it—or even question it in any way—are attacking the very foundations of our most hallowed rule of law. They are also racists who want to bring back segregation. WE MUST STO–“

Schumer suddenly stopped pounding angrily on his lectern as he realized he was reading the wrong speech.

According to sources, his aide had accidentally printed out “passionate filibuster speech 2020.docx” instead of “passionate filibuster speech 2022.docx”, putting the Senator in a very awkward situation. 

The politician then skillfully changed the message of the speech hoping no one would notice. “The filibuster! IT’S RACIST! IT MUST BE STOPPED! JIM CROW 2.0! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

All the Democrats in the Senate then stood to their feet and cheered Senator Schumer for “totally nailing” his speech. 

The Republicans later borrowed Schumer’s old speech and read it themselves to passionately defend the filibuster. 

Oops! Schumer Gives Passionate Speech Defending Filibuster After Accidentally Printing His Speech From Two Years Ago — The Babylon Bee

Watch: UN Debit Cards Being Given to US-Bound Migrants

Article Image
 • https://www.newswars.com, By Dan Lyman

The United Nations is giving money to migrants bound for the United States in the form of electronic cash cards, according to reports.

Migrants at a U.N. office in Tapachula, Mexico, say payments are being loaded onto debit cards for them.

The stunning revelations were captured on camera by Todd Bensman, Senior National Security Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.

A man identified as a migrant from Haiti told Bensman he was expecting a disbursement of 3,600 Mexican pesos (~$175) for the month of January but it had not arrived.

“They haven’t deposited to my account,” the Haitian said before flashing a debit card branded with the logo of the UNHCR — the U.N. Refugee Agency.

A “significant line” of migrants was waiting outside the U.N. office, according to Bensman, including additional Haitians who claimed migrants from other countries were receiving more money than them.

In November, Bensman reported from a large camp in Reynosa, Mexico, where staffers were handing out debit cards to migrants on their way to the U.S.

“The IOM workers said a migrant family of four gets about $800 a month. I watched long lines of migrants get their UN debit cards,” Bensman reported at the time.

The 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Follow Jesus in 2022 | Christianity Today Magazine

 

Latest report on Christian persecution finds Nigeria has 4 in 5 martyrs, China has 3 in 5 church attacks, and Afghanistan is now worse than North Korea.

A thousand more Christians were killed for their faith last year than the year before.

A thousand more Christians were detained.

Six hundred more churches were attacked or closed.

And Afghanistan is the new No. 1, according to the 2022 World Watch List (WWL), the latest annual accounting from Open Doors of the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous and difficult to be a Christian.

“This year’s findings indicate seismic changes in the persecution landscape,” said David Curry, president of Open Doors USA.

Since Open Doors began its tally in 1992, North Korea has led the ranking. But since Afghanistan’s takeover by the Taliban last August, Afghan believers have had to leave their country or relocate internally. Many lost everything they had, notes the report, while house churches were closed in their wake.

“Before the Taliban, it was not great, but it was good,” said one evacuated Afghan, requesting anonymity in hopes that he may one day return. “[Now] Christians are living in fear, in secret, totally underground.”

Open Doors is quick to note the displacement of North Korea to No. 2 does not reflect an improvement in religious freedom there. On the contrary, a new anti–reactionary thought law has resulted in an increase of Christian arrests and house church closures.

Overall, 360 million Christians live in nations with high levels of persecution or discrimination. That’s 1 in 7 Christians worldwide, including 1 in 5 believers in Africa, 2 in 5 in Asia, and 1 in 15 in Latin America.

Last year, for the first time in 29 years of tracking, all 50 nations scored high enough to register “very high” persecution levels on Open Doors’ 84-question matrix. This …

Continue reading

Source: The 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Follow Jesus in 2022

Totalitarian Paranoia Run Amok: Pandemics, Lockdowns & Martial Law

Article Image
 • John & Nisha Whitehead – The Rutherford Institute

Totalitarian paranoia runs deep in American society, and it now inhabits the highest levels of government.“—Professor Henry Giroux

Once upon a time, there was a government so paranoid about its hold on power that it treated everyone and everything as a threat and a reason to expand its powers. Unfortunately, the citizens of this nation believed everything they were told by their government, and they suffered for it.

When terrorists attacked the country, and the government passed massive laws aimed at paving the way for a surveillance state, the people believed it was done merely to keep them safe. The few who disagreed were labeled traitors.

When the government waged costly preemptive wars on foreign countries, insisting it was necessary to protect the nation, the citizens believed it. And when the government brought the weapons and tactics of war home to use against the populace, claiming it was just a way to recycle old equipment, the people believed that too. The few who disagreed were labeled unpatriotic.

When the government spied on its own citizens, claiming they were looking for terrorists hiding among them, the people believed it. And when the government began tracking the citizenry’s movements, monitoring their spending, snooping on their social media, and surveying them about their habits—supposedly in an effort to make their lives more efficient—the people believed that, too. The few who disagreed were labeled paranoid.

When the government allowed private companies to take over the prison industry and agreed to keep the jails full, justifying it as a cost-saving measure, the people believed them. And when the government started arresting and jailing people for minor infractions, claiming the only way to keep communities safe was to be tough on crime, the people believed that too. The few who disagreed were labeled soft on crime.

Conservative SCOTUS justices blast decision to uphold vaccine mandate for gov’t healthcare providers

Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito each wrote a dissent, in which the minority’s three other justices joined.

Source: Conservative SCOTUS justices blast decision to uphold vaccine mandate for gov’t healthcare providers

England Ends All COVID Passports, Mask Mandates, Work Restrictions | ZeroHedge News

By Lily Zhou of the Epoch Times

Restrictions including COVID-19 passes, mask mandates, and work-from-home requirements will be removed in England, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday. Johnson also suggested that self-isolation rules may also be thrown out at the end of March as the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic becomes endemic.

Effective immediately, the UK government is no longer asking people to work from home.  The COVID pass mandate for nightclubs and large events won’t be renewed when it expires on Jan. 26. And from Thursday, indoor mask-wearing will no longer be compulsory anywhere in England.

The requirement for secondary school pupils to wear masks during class and in communal areas will also be removed from the Department for Education’s national guidance.

Roaring cheers from lawmakers could be heard in the House of Commons following Johnson’s announcements on masks.

People who test positive for COVID-19 and their unvaccinated contacts are still required to self-isolate, but Johnson said he “very much expect[s] not to renew” the rule when the relevant regulations expire on March 24.

“As COVID becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance, urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others,” the prime minister said.

Asked to remove testing rules for vaccinated UK-bound travellers, Johnson said the government is reviewing the testing arrangements on travel and that an announcement can be expected in the coming days.

But he refused to reconsider the vaccination mandate for frontline health care workers, insisting “the evidence is clear that health care professionals should get vaccinated.”

Johnson told MPs that the Cabinet decided to remove its so-called “Plan B” measures on Wednesday morning as data suggest the Omicron wave has peaked nationally, and he attributed stabilising hospital admission numbers to “the extraordinary booster campaign” and the public’s compliance to the restriction measures.

The removal of the “Plan B” measures against the CCP virus came as the prime minister battles increasing pressure calling for him to resign over alleged lockdown-breaching parties in Number 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence, during the pandemic.

It also came after Number 10 received a petition on Monday signed by more than 200,000 people, calling for an end to vaccine passports and similar COVID certifications.

A separate petition calling on the reversal of vaccine mandates for health care workers, which was also delivered to Number 10 on Monday, received about 160,000 signatures.

Governments in Scotland and Wales have also announced the removal of Omicron curbs, but mandatory indoor mask-wearing and COVID passes will remain in place.

Source: England Ends All COVID Passports, Mask Mandates, Work Restrictions

England Ends All COVID Passports, Mask Mandates, Work Restrictions

Restrictions including COVID-19 passes, mask mandates, and work-from-home requirements will be removed in England, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday. Johnson also suggested that self-isolation rules may also be thrown out at the end of March as the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic becomes endemic.

Source: England Ends All COVID Passports, Mask Mandates, Work Restrictions