Stand!

By Pastor Jack Hibbs

Ephesians 6:13

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Wherever you’re at right now, the sun may be shining and life is good, making the reality of withstanding anything evil seem remote. Yet from the moment Eve plucked the fruit in the Garden, sin entered, and each day came under the sway of the evil one. It’s for this reason that Paul exhorts Christians to be geared up and battle ready.

Our adversary, Satan, will do his best to disarm you because he knows that a wobbly, defenseless Christian cannot stand. If we are to stand in opposition to his schemes, it’s essential that we make daily use of the most sophisticated armament available – the armor of God. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)

It is incumbent upon each of us to be intimately acquainted with each piece of armor and keep it securely fastened. Puritan saint William Gurnall put it this way, “The armor… is to be worn night and day; we must walk, work, and sleep in them, or else we are not true soldiers of Christ.” With your armor firmly in place, you will be able to stand in obedience. Truth will triumph. You will not wobble or waver.

Today, if you are in the midst of personal trials, stand. In grief and sorrow, stand. In temptation, stand. In the chaos of our times, stand. Believer, in the evil day, stand!

– Pastor Jack


The 1 precious secret to eternal life

Exclusive: Joseph Farah decries Christians’ ‘biblical illiteracy on the things that matter most’

Do you know one of the things that defines a person as a follower of Jesus?

It’s required – no ifs, ands or buts.

And, in fact, Jesus found so many ways to say this ONE THING, it cannot be ignored.

He is the one and only judge of humanity. He decides who dies and who lives forever.

I was shocked to find out that a survey of Christians, including U.S. evangelicals, reveals they believe the stunningly unbiblical and heretical notion that God accepts the worship of other gods. And it’s getting worse.

It’s not true. In fact, He refutes that notion in one of His Ten Commandments – No. 1, to be exact: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Yes, it’s true that Jesus wrote the Ten Commandments. Ask me sometime.)

If you want to experience everlasting life, you’ve got to sell out to Jesus – 100%. There are no substitutes, no other deities, no also-rans. Only He paid the price for your sins with His death on the cross and resurrection.

Here’s how his cousin John the Baptist put it before he was killed by Herod. John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

And here’s how Jesus Himself said it as He communed as the only Intercessor and Mediator between man and God. John 17:1-3: “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

How well-known should this be to believers? Pretty well-known. There really aren’t any good excuses. For instance, everyone has heard of John 3:16, right? Most believers have that one memorized.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” it says. That’s Jesus speaking to Nicodemus.

But it doesn’t end there. Follow along with John 3:17-20: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”

How bad is the biblical illiteracy on the things that matter most? Over-the-top bad. Most of those polled agreed with the idea that God accepts the worship of other gods – 51% to 42%.

The worst part about this “error,” if you want to call it that, is that in making it, people who think they are following Jesus are actually repudiating Him. There is no other way.

John 17:3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

John 5:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

John 6:40: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

But, perhaps it gets worse. How is that possible?

In this survey, 78% of self-professing believers say Jesus is the first and greatest created being. Yet, Jesus is the Creator-God Himself:

John 1:3: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

John 1:10: “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”

John 8:58: “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

Hebrews 18:8: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

There are some stars of the church growth movement who tell us the antidote to this profound apostasy is actually less Bible. Just keep it simple, they say. Stay away from the details. But is that not leading the multitudes astray?

I think I have a better idea. It’s not a new idea. It’s not original. How about we teach kids, our loved ones, our friends and our enemies about God – the One True God? How about we learn the Bible and follow Jesus’ last commandment to us before His ascension and before He will return: “And ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Ask yourself this: Is there something better and more important you should be doing?

If we want to spend eternal life with Him, it’s probably a very good idea – the best idea.

But you can’t teach or be an obedient witness without knowledge.

“The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament” by Joseph Farah is available in both hardcover and e-book versions.

AUDIO The Mysterious Stranger

By Rev Bill Woods

Luke 24:13-35

This is a really nice story!

    – It’s a picture of life.

2 people are trudging along the road, trying to make sense of all that’s happened that week.

    – They’ve been in Jerusalem for the Passover — now they’re heading home.

      – When they’d gone to Jerusalem, they had no inkling of what would happen.

        – They’d been followers of Jesus Christ and had witnessed His Triumphal  

          entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and seen His arrest, torture, and

          crucifixion by the weekend.

          – What an ordeal they’ve been through!

It’s like a picture of life because we’re all heading toward home and we all experience horrific ordeals from time to time.

We don’t know who these 2 were.  One was named Cleopas — we’re not told the other name.

    – One source thought they might be husband and wife — the 2nd person was Mrs. Cleopas.

I like the idea of God walking with couples as they travel hand-in-hand along the Road of Life.

– We all travel the Road of Life — Watergate Senator Sam Ervin: “My Fellow travelers to the tomb.”

Let’s see how this story resembles life.

    – It’s a road on which for one reason or another, we all tend at times to feel  sad.

Luke 24:17– And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”  

What a waste Christ’s death seemed to be!

     – He was young, energetic, popular, exciting — NOW HE WAS DEAD!

Often things happen that we can’t make sense out of because we can’t see them from God’s perspective.

    – Going up in the Space Needle…………

If we saw the whole picture like God does, we’d realize the beauty of what’s happening to us.

    – We’ve a tendency to stop and feel sorry for ourselves and complain about our  lot in life.

      – How things just never go right!

May 11, 1996, Demingo Pacheco was on a tight schedule to catch a plane out of Miami.

    – The left rear tire of his Cadillac blew on the Palmetto Expressway.

      – For an hour he sweated under the broiling sun changing that tire.

     – As he finished, his mother called on his cell phone and said, “Where are you?”

     – He said, “I’m stuck on the freeway changing a flat tire — I’ve missed my flight!”

She shouted, “Turn your radio on and thank God.  The plane you were going to be on crashed in the Everglades!”

    – Demingo Pacheco would’ve been aboard Value Jet Flight 592 except for that flat tire.

Normally, thanking God for a flat tire seems crazy, but we’re to give thanks “in all things.”

    – Good doesn’t necessarily mean health — not all Christians are healthy.

      – It doesn’t necessarily mean wealth — not all Christians are wealthy.

        – God’s purpose for you isn’t to be healthy, happy, rich or famous.

His purpose is found in Romans 8:29 — For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Paul said, we’ve been “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.”

    – God’s purpose for you is that you be like Jesus.

  We need to learn to trust God for what He’s accomplishing — for His Blessings…

After two failed attempts at landing, a balloonist panicked. Frantically, he searched for a third spot to attempt a touchdown, but all he could see for miles was thick woods. He had only half of one tank of propane left.  Nevertheless, he felt his only option was to hit the burners and try to find a clearing.

Nearly paralyzed with fear, he cried out to God, “Help me. Take control of this situation. Lord, find me a safe place to land!”

With that prayer, a feeling of calm came over him. His fingers unclenched and he felt a wave of peace.

Even so, the landscape below sped by and he had no idea where his ground crew might be.

Then he spotted a small clearing directly ahead – and in it, two of the biggest bulls he’d ever seen.  

– “Lord, I trusted You to find me a safe place to land, and I trust You completely with those bulls!”

He held on tightly as the basket hit the ground roughly, tipped over, and was dragged along the ground for about fifty yards.

To his amazement, the bulls seemed oblivious to all the commotion.

Almost instantly, his ground crew came racing toward him.

 – One of them said, “You got caught in some nasty wind shear. It’s a miracles you kept control.”

The balloonist knew the true miracle. The true miracle was that he had given up control.

God may not always answer our prayers the way we think they ought to be answered.

    – When we give up all control, and simply trust Him, He will handle any obstacle that gets in our way.

Once we quit worrying and complaining and start praising — it’ll change our perspective.

    – Moth on rag rug

We must learn to trust God in any and all circumstances.

It’s a road on which all of us may meet a “Mysterious Stranger,” who knows the answers to all our problems and offers us His tender friendship.

Luke 24:18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”

These 2 people on the road to Emmaus felt like total losers.

Luke 24:19-21 — And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
20  and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.
21  But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.

They’d invested their hopes, dreams, trust, plans in Christ — NOW HE WAS GONE!

      – Had they been scammed — duped?

How could the bottom have fallen out so completely and quickly?

    – Where could they go from here?

      – NOTICE:  Christ wasn’t very far away!…………

We’re all a bunch of losers!

    – Me and my plans and ambitions.

“Most of us feel like losers!” That’s true!  Sometimes that’s good!

    – We have to come to that place in our lives before we surrender to God and let

      Him make us winners — Apostle Paul.

Thank God for failure because it’ll drive us right to Him.

    – Sometimes we don’t realize this fact.

Luke 24:25-31 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26  Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
27  And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
28  Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther.
29  But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.
30  Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
31  Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.

Christ puts things in proper perspective when we let Him into our lives and homes.

    – He can meet our needs and give us the strength we need for today.

They came to a fork in the road and Christ indicated that He would go on.  They asked Him to spend the night at their place.

They served Him supper, He took over the duties of a Host and broke and distributed the bread.

  • As He did this, they suddenly recognized Him.

That’s what He promises He will do in Revelation 3:20 — Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

What an experience these 2 had when they finally figured out they’d been with Christ!

    – Suddenly, their lives took on new purpose and meaning.

      – What they’d done before wasn’t wasted!

        – Jesus would help them piece together the pieces of their lives.

Suddenly He disappeared, but listen to their conversation after this wonderful experience.

Didn’t our hearts feel strangely warm as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” — Luke 24:32

    – Every need they had was now satisfied.

      – We worry, fret, borrow trouble — but Christ satisfies!

    – He can and will satisfy your needs today too!

Often what we think is difficult almost impossible to cope with just might be the exact thing we need to strengthen us and give us victory.

This couple had been through some very harrowing and turbulent times, but what a difference now that Christ had calmed the turbulence.

  • Turbulent times can help us be overcomers if we will let them.

TURBULENT WINDS CAUSE THE EAGLE TO FLY HIGHER.

Life’s troubles should cause the Christian to seek closer fellowship with the Lord. Troubles should cause us to fly higher.

TURBULENT WINDS GIVE THE EAGLE A LARGER VIEW.

When our lives are touched by troubles and we flee to God we begin to see the reason and result of lower living.

TURBULENT WINDS LIFT THE EAGLE ABOVE HARRASSMENT FROM OTHER BIRD OF PREY.

As we walk with the Lord it is difficult, if not impossible, for us to be harassed by the troubles or troubler of life.

TURBULENT WINDS ALLOW THE EAGLE TO USE LESS EFFORT.

We struggle the most when we live in lower spiritual altitudes. If we draw nigh to God, we will find how really simple life is meant to be.

TURBULENT WINDS ALLOW THE EAGLE TO STAY UP LONGER.

When we experience fellowship with God; His peace, comfort and love, there will be a desire to remain close to Him. When troubles come we learn immediately to stretch forth our wings and fly high into the presence of the Lord.

TURBULENT WINDS HELP THE EAGLE TO FLY FASTER.

The more we soar above the cares and troubles of life, the more effective we will be in accomplishing the work God has called every Christian to – Glorifying Him and evangelizing the world in which we live.

He goes before us — don’t worry about tomorrow — Live today!

Then, this is the picture of the road that leads home at last.

I’m intrigued that when they reached their destination, Jesus was able to answer all their questions as to,“Why?”

One day He’ll answer your questions too.

    – It’ll make sense — it’ll be beautiful!

    –  IT WILL BE WORTH IT ALL WHEN WE SEE CHRIST!


PODCAST THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER

https://www.buzzsprout.com/824359/8309728


God Can Function in Dysfunction

by Skip Heitzig | January 19, 2021

The term “dysfunctional family” came into vogue in the ’70s and ’80s to describe families that struggle to deal with one another and that produce problems that follow children into adulthood. However, dysfunction may be more pervasive than you think. It’s said George Bernard Shaw once quipped, “I don’t know if there are men on the moon, but if there are they must be using the earth as their lunatic asylum.” Maybe you read that and think, He must’ve known my family.

Genesis features a prominent tale of family dysfunction among Jacob, his two wives Rachel and Leah, his father-in-law Laban, and Laban’s sons (see Genesis 29-31). There may have been a little bit of fudge in this family, but there were many more nuts. Jacob had deceived his own father and brother and faced a comeuppance from Laban, who tricked Jacob into marrying both of his daughters and kept him on the payroll for fourteen years to do it.

This particular dysfunctional family points to a greater truth: every family is dysfunctional. Does that sound harsh? Let me explain. Because of sin, we all operate at a certain level of dysfunction, especially compared to how God means for us to live. In some families, of course, it’s worse. Dysfunctional people attract other dysfunctional people, which compounds any issue. Jacob and Laban were two peas in a defective pod, but the reason we have their story is so that we can see how God worked despite their issues.

Jacob, who swindled his brother Esau’s birthright and tricked his aged father into giving him Esau’s blessing, left home, thinking he could escape his family’s issues. He wasn’t the first to do this, nor the last to learn that running away doesn’t work, because wherever you go, there you are. You bring yourself, problems and all. Yet Jacob, we read in the New Testament, ended up being described as a faithful standard bearer for God (see Hebrews 11:20-21). In spite of his messed-up behavior, God still had plans for him.

Every family is affected by sin. That’s because we are all broken, flawed individuals who need a Savior. Jesus spoke of the people He came to save as poor, brokenhearted, captive, blind, and oppressed (see Luke 4:16-19). We are inherently dysfunctional. But here’s the good news: God can function in our dysfunction.

In the midst of family squabbles, God came to Jacob and said, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you” (Genesis 31:3). God blessed Jacob while he worked for Laban, and when Jacob was mature enough to see God’s hand at work, God brought him into a new season. That’s because the perfect God works through imperfect people. Admittedly, there’s no other kind of people for Him to use, but use us He does.

You’ve heard it said that you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. However, you can choose to adjust to your family. And you can choose to add positively to your family. In fact, the only way to fail when it comes to dysfunction is to take failure as the final word. Let God have the final say, and watch Him work even in the midst of family issues.

http://www.connectwithskip.com/devomail

Behold Two Paintings That Show A Miraculous Christmas Meeting

Two historic women, one old and one young, were the first to welcome and praise the Savior of the world. And two glorious paintings communicate the beauty of these wondrous events.

Behold Two Paintings That Show A Miraculous Christmas Meeting

Dec 23, 2019

If quizzed “Who was the first person to welcome Jesus and announce his lordship?” how would you answer? It’s an important question when we consider that this man from the nowhere town of Nazareth is the most consequential individual ever.

His teaching and followers across the globe radically transformed world culture, toppled great powers without ever firing a shot, established the world of humanitarianism and accessible medical care for commoners, inspired the scientific method, and enlivened the world movements for justice, human dignity, and individual freedom. He literally divides history and is responsible for the founding of the largest, most diverse collection of people around some basic ideals.

This all started with two women no one had ever heard of, whose life-altering experiences are now illustrated in two exquisite works of art. Mary, a humble, young virgin, by tradition about 14 years old at the time, is told by an angel she will give birth to the very Son of God. At this striking news, she “arose and went with haste” to see her cherished relative, Elizabeth, some 90 miles away.

Elizabeth was in the sixth month of her own miraculous pregnancy, for she was well past child-bearing years. Of course, her baby was Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist.

The beauty of this part of the Christmas story is the miracle that happens the moment Mary enters Elizabeth’s home. Christ is recognized, received, proclaimed, and worshiped, and Mary and Elizabeth are not the only two involved in the divine drama here. We read in Luke 1:41-44:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

This is a major event in Jesus’ story and thus the Christian church, but we seldom appreciate it as such. It is the first time Jesus is both proclaimed and worshiped as God! This was done, we are told, “in a loud voice.” And Christ the Lord is worshiped by two people at the same time — one very old, one super young.

The First to Proclaim Jesus’ Lordship

Elizabeth proclaims the blessedness of Jesus and his mother. The simple but world-changing confession, “Jesus is Lord,” was the first and most basic way Christians began to proclaim their faith and greet one another in the church’s early years. It was the first Christian creed, and Elizabeth was the first to proclaim it, long before Christmas morning. Think on that for a moment.

The second greeting is even more incredible and speaks to an intimate relationship in the Savior’s life. Baby John leaps for joy, literally, at the coming of the Savior. He does so as a child in the darkness of his mother’s womb. (Yes, Christianity has profoundly strong words for the humanity and dignity of the unborn child in John and Jesus’ remarkable in utero contribution to the good news.)

John did not start serving as the forerunner of Christ when preaching about his coming in the desert. It was here, in the womb. And it was two very common mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, who experienced this remarkable, history-changing event. It happened in distinctly womanly interiors of their hearts and wombs, and in the humbleness of Elizabeth’s home. Humble motherhood and the intimate bond only mothers can share is the human font of the Christian story.

To be sure, the Christian church, which is often incorrectly charged with being sexist by people who know little of its actual story, is founded upon two women being the first to welcome and praise the Savior. (Remember as well, it was a small group of women who announced the “second birth” of the Savior, if you will, at his resurrection.) What other major faith or philosophy has women playing such a significant role in its founding? I cannot think of one.

Two famous paintings communicate the beauty of these wondrous events, “The Annunciation” and “The Visitation.” The first African-American painter to achieve significant critical acclaim, Henry Ossawa Tanner, created both. He is a remarkable man and one of my favorite artists.

Christmas paintings by Henry O. Tanner

‘The Annunciation’

One of the things I like best in Tanner’s two works here is that he shows us the simple humanness of Mary and Elizabeth. They are not supernatural, other-worldly, saintly subjects in the typical sense. Tanner’s images show us the regular, everyday women they were.

Christmas Painting The Annunciation

He will not allow us to miss the youth, innocence, and commonness of our Mary. Tanner doesn’t give her a facial expression communicating anything obvious. Is she scared? Stunned? Joyful? Solemn? His Mary is more complex than many artists’ as is undoubtably true of the actual event. Tanner has her communicating all these feelings and struggles at once.

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with this most startling news, he found a teenage girl living a typical teenage girl’s life. The greatest royal announcement in the history of the universe takes place in this teen girl’s humble bedroom, illuminated by the majesty of God’s oracle. That is precisely what Tanner gives us, and it’s just stunning. Also, his technique in presenting the folds and flow of her gown and bed coverings is nothing short of magnificent.

‘The Visitation’

As wonderful as Tanner’s “Annunciation” is, his “Visitation” is even more striking.

Just look at it and consider what’s happening here.

When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Christmas painting The Visitation

Tanner allows us personally to witness this event. Elizabeth most likely did not have any notice that Mary was coming or the grand news that prompted the visit. She sits at the table on an ordinary day, when she hears Mary possibly utter what any of us likely would as she comes to the door, “Liz, you home?”

Elizabeth’s divine surprise and wonder is dramatically communicated simply in her uplifted hands. It’s a glorious device. Are they hands of praise or surprise? Certainly both at the same time.

This simple scene of a surprise family visitation and domesticity is the first scene of Jesus being worshiped. Reflect on this a moment. The event we are witnessing right here in this kitchen is the initiation of what the rest of history and eternity will be about, the worship of the second person of the divine Trinity: Jesus, the Father’s beloved Son.

The interchange between these two women in this domestic setting is unspeakably profound. We typically move over it far too easily, wanting to get onto what we see as the center of the Christmas story, the manger.

This exchange is also vitally important because it is the first revelation of Christ beyond Mary’s heart and womb. It is the precise second and scene that commenced the worship of the Son of the God that will continue without end into eternity, the story that encapsulates a Christian’s whole reality.

P.S. Tanner Lived in Philadelphia

I knew Tanner lived in Philadelphia for some time, so on a business trip there some years ago, I wanted to see if his house was discoverable. It was, and I found it, right around the corner from John Coltrane’s home. How cool is that?

Henry O. Tanner house

Glenn T. Stanton is a Federalist senior contributor who writes and speaks about family, gender, and art, is the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and is the author of the brand new “The Myth of the Dying Church” (Worthy, 2019). He blogs at glenntstanton.com.

https://thefederalist.com/2019/12/23/behold-two-paintings-that-show-a-miraculous-christmas-meeting/

117k people express need for Jesus after hearing Gospel through ministry’s virtual Easter events

By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter

Despite a global lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, some 117,000 people from around the world expressed an interest in committing their faith in Jesus after hearing the Gospel through virtual events hosted by evangelist Nick Hall and his young-adult ministry Pulse during the week of Easter.

Pulse led two major events during the week, namely, Leader Check-In and a Good Friday service that featured several high-profile Christian speakers, including Francis Chan, founder of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, who now lives in Hong Kong.

“I’m guessing this is the strangest Good Friday you’ve ever had,” Chan told viewers during his quarantined Good Friday presentation broadcast in nearly 100 countries, including Japan, China, Nepal, Thailand, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Ukraine, and Russia, and was translated into 40 different languages.

“You’re used to being in a church building with a crowd of people celebrating the cross of Jesus, but I actually think that there’s something fitting about you being alone because most of you are watching this by yourself or maybe with your family in just a small group,” he said, noting that being alone can be a golden opportunity to connect with God.

“That’s why there’s something good about you being alone right now. It’s one thing to yearn for Him and scream for Him when everyone else is there because the crowd may move you to that. But this Good Friday [it’s good] for you to have some quiet and some isolation so that the core of your being, not just your lips, the core of your being will connect with Him,” Chan said.

Other speakers featured during the Good Friday service were: renowned apologist Ravi Zacharias, bestselling author Max Lucado, NFL Super Bowl Champion and Hall of Fame Coach Tony Dungy, and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez. Worship was courtesy of Christian singers Lauren Daigle, Michael W. Smith, Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes.

“We were literally getting smartphone photos from all over the world — from Nigeria to India and China — of families gathering in their living rooms, around 18-inch cathode-ray TVs, laptops and HD screens watching our services,” Hall said in a release shared with The Christian Post about the collective reaction to the event. “The doors to our church buildings may have been closed, but the church has not closed. We are living through a Great Quarantine Revival, and I think God is just getting started.”

At the Leader Check-In event hosted on April 8, ministry leaders and pastors were encouraged ahead of the Easter weekend. Bible teachers and bestselling authors such as Ann Voskamp, Beth Moore, Chan, David Platt, Rodriguez, Priscilla Shirer and Lecrae offered practical advice anchored in the Word of God.

“This Easter may have been the most significant in a century,” Hall said. “The fields have never been more ripe for harvest as people search for hope and meaning during this global pandemic. It may very well be the greatest opportunity we’ve had to share the Gospel — but we will miss it if we don’t care for our pastors and ministers now.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/117k-people-express-need-for-jesus-after-hearing-gospel-through-ministrys-virtual-easter-events.html

VIDEO Canadian Police Try To Shut Down Church – U.S. senator claims ‘we are able to save ourselves’

‘More transcendent than the resurrection of Jesus Christ’

By Bob Unruh

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., a former pastor, said in a now-deleted tweet that “the meaning of Easter is more transcendent” than the resurrection of Jesus.

“Whether you are Christian or not, through a commitment to helping others we are able to save ourselves,” he wrote.

Constitutional lawyer Jenna Ellis pointed out the deletion and wrote on Twitter, “He should delete Reverend in front of his name, too.”

The Washington Examiner reported the senator’s office claimed the tweet was posted by staff and “not approved before it was published.”

Christianity is distinguished from other religions in its belief that salvation is a gift of God, through Jesus’ payment of the penalty for sin. And it’s the resurrection of Jesus from the dead that verifies that claim.

Retired Desert Storm veteran Samuel Williams reacted to Warnock’s tweet: “What kind of Reverend would say something like this. Jesus Christ died and then rose again to take the sins of the world away. You are poisoning the minds of Christians for political purposes.”

Television producer Jason Romano pointed out Warnock’s message “is literally the opposite of what the Gospel says.”

Warnock got the support of MSNBC host Joy Reid, who criticized Ellis’ response.

“This lady is literally calling the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church – the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s church – a heretic … Madame, I’m gonna take @ReverendWarnock’s take, as a pastor and a scholar on the Word over yours, if you don’t mind.”

Warnock’s support for abortion previously was criticized by Hall of Fame football coach and Christian leader Tony Dungy.

In December, Warnock called himself a “pro-choice pastor.”

“Rev Warner may be a pastor. My question would be ‘Is he a Christian?’ That is, does he follow the teachings of Jesus and does he believe that the Bible is the absolute word of God?” Dungy wrote.

“I would think it would be difficult for someone who believes that God sees us when we are in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16) to think that it is OK to choose not to bring that life to fruition,” he said.

On Twitter, Dungy pointed critics of his response to Warnock to the Bible.

“Please read Psalm 139:13-16. Then tell me if you think God puts babies in the womb or man does? If you believe they randomly get there, then I have no argument. But if you believe God puts them there, then how does anyone have a right to ‘choose’ which ones survive?”

Warnock, Breitbart reported, mocked Christians several years ago for advocating carrying guns for self-defense.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported he also charged that it is the “moral bankruptcy of the American church” that put President Trump in office.

“Perhaps more than anything else we have seen in modern times, a rise of Trump and Trumpism on the shoulders of Christians brings into sharp focus the moral bankruptcy of the American church,” Warnock said after Trump was elected.

He also declared America needed to “repent” for supporting Trump’s political rise.


Canadian Police Try To Shut Down Church – Pastor Yells “GET OUT!

This is what happens when God’s people refuse to give up their right to assemble…


SHARE THIS FAR AND WIDE THIS GUY HAS A SPINE WELL DONE SIR


Komodo Dragon Genome Bites Evolution

BY JEFFREY P. TOMKINS, PH.D. * | SEPTEMBER 10, 2019

Komodo dragons are the largest lizards in the world and a top predator on the remote Indonesian islands they inhabit. Their sensory system allows them to detect large prey, such as deer, over seven miles away. Although Komodo dragons are cold-blooded reptiles, they can rapidly increase their metabolism to near-mammalian levels for amazing bursts of speed and even long strenuous runs. Because of their highly venomous bites, all they need is one good chomp on their victim’s leg or foot and the poisoned prey will soon be the lizard’s lunch.

The Komodo dragon’s unusual traits have made scientists eager to sequence its DNA to see what sorts of genes it contains and how it compares to other creatures. This sequencing was discussed in a recent scientific publication.1

When the researchers compared the newly sequenced Komodo dragon genes that were common among reptiles, they found many startling traits specific to the Komodo dragon and many of these genetic novelties were associated with its remarkable mammal-like ability to exhibit high levels of sustained physical activity. Because the gene variations are unique to the Komodo dragon and very different from other reptiles, the genes were deemed to be the result of “positive selection”—a magic evolutionary phrase.2

A creature’s environment has no God-like ability to create new useful genetic information for complex multi-genic traits like those associated with complex metabolic functions. Evolutionists basically substitute the magic words “positive selection” or “natural selection” for something only an omnipotent God can do.

The researchers also used other magic words to explain their non-evolutionary findings as noted in this comment from a press interview in which they stated, “Our analysis showed that in Komodo dragons, many of the genes involved in how cells make and use energy had changed rapidly in ways that increase the lizard’s aerobic capacity.”2 In this case, the term “changed rapidly” means the genes were so different and unique that the idea of random mutational processes combined with the mystical paradigm of nature supposedly “selecting” for them could not account for the great differences observed.

It’s also highly noteworthy that the researchers reported actually throwing out data in their selection analysis where the variation was deemed “unreasonably high.”The data was actually manipulated to show less variability and, therefore, more in line with the evolutionary model. The stark reality is that these genes—specific to the Komodo dragon—were engineered to produce their unique God-given traits. No sign of evolution existed in the data even though the researchers cherry-picked it to favor evolution.

The bigger evolutionary (phylogenetic) analysis the researchers did comparing the Komodo dragon DNA to other reptiles, birds, and mammals also made no evolutionary sense—the patterns and groupings were totally different than predicted by standard evolutionary models. By all accounts, the data showed that Komodo dragons were created uniquely with their own specific God-given engineering.

References
1. Lind, A. L. et al. 2019. Genome of the Komodo dragon reveals adaptations in the cardiovascular and chemosensory systems of monitor lizards. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 3: 1241-1252. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-019-0945-8.
2. Guliuzza, R. 2010. Unmasking Evolution’s Magic Words. Acts & Facts. 39 (3): 10-11.
3. Gladstone Institutes. 2019. Komodo dragon genome reveals clues about its evolution. Phys.org Posted July 29, 2019. Accessed August 15, 2019.

https://www.icr.org/article/komodo-dragon-genome-bites-evolution/

How wonderful is heaven really going to be?

September 14, 2020 by Dr. Jack Graham

Think about the most beautiful places you’ve seen on earth. Maybe you’ve had the opportunity to visit a palm-fringed island in the South Pacific, or ski the Alps of Switzerland, or wander through the stark beauty of the Grand Canyon. 

But even the most beautiful things on earth pale to what we’ll experience when we first see Jesus and the beauty of heaven. He’s been preparing heaven for you and me, for all who believe.

Can you imagine how wonderful, how beautiful it’s going to be?

The apostle John described the beauty of heaven in the Book of Revelation, and chapters 21 and 22 provide a virtual tour of the new heaven and the new earth. You might ask whether these scriptures describing streets of gold, gates of pearl, and a crystal sea are literal or figurative. 

The answer is yes—they are both.

Every image in Revelation illustrates something even more real than we can know or understand. Heaven is beyond our comprehension and imagining, but it should not be beyond our contemplation.

And that is what John shows us in Revelation 21:1: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away, and the sea was no more.”

Of course, some will say, “Well, I like the ocean.” But this description is actually about separation.

John was in exile. He was a prisoner placed among the insane and the criminals on an island separated from the world by the Aegean Sea. He was alone. And when he saw heaven, he saw a place where he’d never be separated again.

In heaven, we will be with other believers and our loved ones in Christ forever and ever. No more sea… no more separation!

Heaven is going to be more wonderful than anything you can imagine on earth. May the expectation of eternity there give you hope and peace in Jesus Christ today!

https://resources.jackgraham.org/resource-library/articles/how-wonderful-is-heaven-really-going-to-be/

Your Calling: Truth

by Skip Heitzig | December 8, 2020

Toward the end of his life, the apostle Paul foresaw the abandonment of truth, even in the church, and gave his young protégé Timothy this antidote: “Preach the word!” (2 Timothy 4:2). Paul then offered three directives to help us sharpen our spiritual vision and anchor ourselves in God’s Word:

1. Be concerned about knowing the truth. Spiritual blindness is a metaphor for the unwillingness or inability to see spiritual truth. Over time, things we once saw clearly can become hazy, whether that’s because of life experiences or our own sin. This happens easily in a culture in crisis, where the cynical regularly question truth, as Pilate did (see John 18:38). Lines can become blurred in the church, too. That’s not a new development; Satan has always used non-truth as a tactic (see Genesis 3:1).

But we sharpen our spiritual vision when we concern ourselves with knowing spiritual truth. Paul mentioned truth eleven times throughout 1 and 2 Timothy. In 2 Timothy 4 alone, he talked about “the word” (v. 2), “teaching” (v. 2), “sound doctrine” (v. 3), and “the truth” (v. 4). Truth is tied to doctrine, which in its simplest form means strong biblical teaching. Christians are to be people of the truth, because Jesus is “the truth” (John 14:6). That means we are accountable for our knowledge of biblical truth (see Hosea 4:6; Acts 2:42; 1 Timothy 4:13; Titus 2:1).

2. Be cautious about neglecting the truth. Our culture has largely rejected truth, mainly because sensationalism has become more important than facts and truth is considered personal, which means it can shift depending on the situation. But think about it: if someone says, “There is no absolute truth,” they are making an absolute statement, which is a self-contradictory and self-defeating declaration.

Now, we might expect that sort of thinking from our culture, but keep in mind that Paul wrote 2 Timothy as a warning not for unbelievers but for believers who were turning from the truth. Christianity is always one generation from extinction. It starts in the pulpit when pastors who don’t believe the Bible is the literal Word of God don’t preach the full truth of it. This problem leads to “itching ears” (v. 3), as preachers feed the desire for novelty over a need for truth. God’s people starve when pastors pander to what people want to hear rather than what they need to hear.

3. Be careful about nurturing the truth. Paul warned Timothy, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (v. 5). Paul was calling Timothy to hold to truth and sound doctrine, feeding on it for himself and then sharing it. The Greek word for sound is related to our word hygienic; in other words, preaching good, true doctrine promotes healing and health.

And preaching carries the idea of an imperial messenger making a proclamation with authority. Timothy’s mission was to preach the truth of the true King—Jesus. As Christians, this is our calling, too: to believe the truth, love the truth, speak the truth, teach the truth, and live the truth, always pointing others to the one true King.

http://www.connectwithskip.com/devomail/read/daily-devotional/2020/12/08/your-calling-truth