When Faith Seems to Fail You

Hebrews 11:32-35

August 21, 2022

You cannot live the Christian life apart from faith. The Bible says this clearly.

“The just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38a).

“But without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Hebrews 11:6a; word in brackets added).

But sometimes we pray for something and get the opposite. Sometimes temptations, heartaches, and fears come, and faith doesn’t remove them. Have you ever been there? You may be there soon. This is why Hebrews 11 was written.

Look at some victories of faith:

“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again” (Hebrews 11:32-35a).

If it ended there, we’d say, “Sign me up!” But there is another word coming: “Others…”

“Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth” (Hebrews 11:35b-38).

Yet verse 39 says these others “obtained a good testimony through faith.” Some escape by faith, and some endure by faith. (See Hebrews 10:36.)

Some people are fine…until the crisis comes. Then they do not endure; they quit. They have an immature, superficial, sometimes superstitious faith. But here are three principles that will help you have mature faith.

1. BELIEVE IN GOD’S SUPERNATURAL POWER

If God doesn’t do it, it is not because He cannot. All of the deliverances in Hebrews 11:32-35 are supernatural. We all love those stories from childhood! Daniel in the lions’ den. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire. David slaying Goliath.

If you have walked with Jesus for long, you have a story like that—where God inexplicably worked in your heart and life. God can do anything—except fail! That is mature faith.

2. BOW TO GOD’S SOVEREIGN PURPOSES

We love exciting victories, but sometimes they don’t seem to come.

Hebrews 11:37 says that some were stoned—like Zechariah the prophet. Stephen was stoned, too—and He was full of the Holy Spirit! (See Acts 6:5.) Some were “sawn in two.” Likely, that refers to Isaiah the prophet. He was put in a hollow tree, according to the decree of the king, and then the hollow tree was sawn down.

Early Christians were sometimes dressed in animal skins and turned loose in the woods so the dogs could bay after them in the hunt. They were fed to lions, sewn up in bags with poisonous serpents, or tied to beaches at low tide to drown slowly when the tide came in.

God has not promised that we will never know difficulty; He has promised that we will know ultimate victory.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:35-37).

These are things that happen to the victorious! But God has promised never to leave us, never to forsake us. (See Hebrews 13:5.) If you pray for God to do a miracle, and He does not, it is not because He cannot. It is not because He is limited. It is not because He does not love you. Don’t you pout at God. “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Matthew 11:6).

The king of Babylon said to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, “Bow down to this image, or be cast into the fiery furnace.”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18; emphasis added).

They had settled faith. Their minds were already made up. They had sure faith: “Our God is able.” But they also had steadfast faith—“Even if He does not save us, we’re still not going to worship your idol.”

Are you ready to quit just because God hasn’t done what you asked of Him? You had better have an “if not” clause in your faith. “God, I know you are able. But I will serve You anyway. I won’t make bargains with You.” This does not mean your faith is weak. It means it is stronger than ever.

Are you willing to let God be God? Are you willing to dwell among the “others” of Hebrews 11, if necessary? You want faith to escape, but do you have faith to endure?

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

3. BASE YOUR FAITH ON GOD’S PROMISES

“For all the promises of God in [Christ] are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20; word in brackets added).

“And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Hebrews 11:39-40).

In plain English, God has a wonderful plan, and it includes not only the Old Testament saints and early Christians but all of us. One of these days, God will fulfill His promises to them and to us. These people had faith, even if they did not have the answer in hand. They had it in their hearts—based on the steadfast promises of God. They had their eyes on the future.

Sometimes we expect too much of life and not enough of God. You must rest on the eternal promises of God. He has not forgotten His promises. When faith seems to fail, it may be that you are asking of your faith something God never intended for it.

Mature faith believes in God’s power, bows to God’s sovereign purposes, and is based on God’s promises. And one of the greatest promises is this: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31).

https://www.lwf.org/articles/when-faith-seems-to-fail-you

VIDEO How to Start Moving Forward While Waiting for Clear Vision – Wins Show It Can Be Done

By  Dan Reiland August 5, 2022

clear vision

Pastor, if you do not have clear vision or direction right now, don’t panic. God is still with you. This experience of being temporarily “in the wilderness” where you can’t see what’s next is more common than you might imagine. The important thing is not to allow yourself or your team to settle in and accept it as “the way things are.”

The first thing to do is figure out the reason why. There are many possibilities, each one is personal and nuanced, but they often land in one of these five categories.

  • The church just experienced an unexpected transition.
  • The church underwent a traumatic issue.
  • The leadership is tired.
  • The church is in a rapidly changing community.
  • The leaders need a personal leadership breakthrough.

It should not take long to figure out that you do not have clear vision. Recognizing this shapes your discernment process, and in some cases, it brings clear vision. Right now, COVID fits within the second category. That is definitely traumatic, but it’s time to start rising above it.

It’s been nearly impossible to see more than 30-90 days out in front, but life is starting to become clearer, and that allows you, and all of us, to see farther out. Even if it’s just 6-9 months, that is progress! While you are waiting on God for clear vision, focus on increasing the spiritual health of your church.

How to Start Moving Forward While Waiting for Clear Vision

1) Focus on the Great Commission.

Every evangelical church in the world shares the same mission, to lift up the name of Jesus and develop disciples who follow Him fully.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20. The Great Commission, or often referred to as the mission, is the universal purpose of the Church.

Your clear vision represents the unique focus of your church. It is the expression or the fire, fuel, and flavor that demonstrates how you go about the mission in your community. While you are asking God for clear vision, focus on the Great Commission!

This is not a place to remain indefinitely, but there is no problem at all with focusing on the Great Commission while you work on adding your unique vision to it.

2) Get good at the basics.

You know the basics. The big picture basics of the church are:

  • Lift up the name of Jesus and redemption in His name.
  • Love people well who are both inside and outside the church.
  • Communicate biblical grace and truth.
  • Help people mature in their faith.

The organizational basics of the church are:

  • Invite people to church.
  • Greet people with a generous spirit of hospitality.
  • Provide an uplifting worship experience.
  • Follow up with guests well and consistently.
  • Create a simple and attractive process for people to grow in their faith.

While you are looking for clear vision take time to improve any or all of the above points. Make your church better while you ask God to help you make your church bigger. You could invest several months here, making your church stronger and increasing spiritual health.

3) Develop the culture to focus outward rather than inward.

Over time every church will drift inward if not purposefully and intentionally leading in an outward direction. That’s not an indictment; that’s just human nature.

Further, it’s an unintended by-product of really good relationships. People who grow to love and care for each other begin to focus on each other.

Don’t lose the long-term and caring relationships in your church, but redirect them outward to invite others in. It’s like the all-to-familiar story of small groups. They do their job so well they become ingrown. The leader is so good and the people are so caring that almost unperceptively, it becomes all about just those in the group.

The source of that problem is something good, so tap into the good and turn the force outward before it’s stuck focused on self.  At that point, it is difficult to change.

*What is your church doing in the community that reaches people, touches hearts, and changes lives – including people who may never attend your church?

4) Build teamwork and community over silos and division.

As a leadership coach, all too often, even in good churches, I see teamwork and community begin to erode, usually due to sustained pressure and problems. Leaders can and do get tired when buried under the weight of unending problems.

When teamwork and community begin to erode, that results first in silos (teams doing their own thing,) then eventually it degrades further into division.

Take practical steps to build teamwork.

  1. Cultivate an open and honest culture.
  2. Focus on the same goals together.
  3. Help each other solve problems.
  4. Share resources, not equally, but in the best way for the church to make progress.
  5. If there is gossip, end it.
  6. Establish accountability according to responsibilities.
  7. Take time to laugh and play together.

5) Form a team to help solidify a fresh new vision.

God may speak directly to you and give you clear vision. But God is not limited in how He communicates. Sometimes He works through you and your key team together.

If you are the senior pastor and have a lead team, be open and honest about the lack of direction and much-needed clarity of vision. After all, they already know.

Remember, this is only temporary, and you have plenty to work on while you establish a fresh vision.

NOTE: If you are a campus pastor, department head, or a volunteer, for example, leading a small group, make sure your vision fits under, supports, and is fully aligned with the overall vision of the church.

In fact, your specific vision starts with the overall vision; your role is to add only enough uniqueness to make sure that it’s clear and relevant to the group you lead.

This article about clear vision and how to proceed originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

Conservative Wins in Massachusetts Show It CAN Be Done

by Alex Newman August 8, 2022

A growing number of conservative victories in deep blue Massachusetts show that there is hope even in radically liberal jurisdictions, explained Massachusetts Family Institute Director of Community Alliances Michael King. Speaking to The New American magazine’s Alex Newman at Camp Constitution, King said that churches and pastors were helping lead the way toward rescuing children from government sexualization and indoctrination. Many churches are creating Christian schools and learning “pods” to help families desperate to get out. And thanks to recent U.S. Supreme Court wins, King said, the courts are also quickly becoming a useful tool for protecting religious freedom and other liberties in the state and beyond.

https://thenewamerican.com/conservative-wins-in-mass-show-it-can-be-done/

Youth Ministry Malpractice: Don’t Act Like a Hired Hand

By Youth Ministrycom -August 4, 2022

What is youth ministry malpractice? I’ve written about several examples in previous posts. They include Why Lectures Are a Waste of WordsWhy Fun & Games Aren’t to Blame, and Treating Relevance As If It Outranks Intimacy.

That’s not a comprehensive list but glaring examples of youth ministry malpractice. My purpose is to stir us to think more deeply about what we’re doing and why. So here’s another installment, from my seasoned perspective.

Youth Ministry Malpractice: Not Being Good Shepherds

In John 10, Jesus declares: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep” (vs. 11-13).

Here, Jesus is setting the bar for those of us called as ministry leaders. We have a “belonging” relationship with the teenagers and adults we lead, not a “hired-hand” relationship. Hired hands run away when a wolf stalks the sheep. But a good shepherd fights back against every enemy.

Obviously, we translate “run away” as a fear response. We’re scared of the threat, so we protect ourselves instead of protecting our sheep. But running away is also a passive response: We stand by as the sheep are assaulted.

So we face threats to our sheep with a good grip on our rod and staff. This means we:

1. Push back against accepted “norms” in the culture and teach kids to do the same.

I wrote about a critical-thinking habit I call The Jesus Pushback. It simply references Jesus’ protect-the-sheep determination on display in Matthew 5. There he repeatedly uses this pushback rhythm: “You have heard it said… but I say….”

We learn to assess cultural norms—all of them—using Jesus’ permanent filter. It names the world’s truth for what it is and then compares it to the kingdom-of-God values he stands for. It’s called “holy skepticism.” When we’re operating in it, we accept no conventional truths that contradict the truths Jesus reveals. We learn to think like him in every circumstance because we’re discovering how countercultural his thinking is. For example, here are some cultural norms we can name and then compare to kingdom-of-God truths:

  • People who are “good enough” end up in heaven when they die. (But Jesus says he’s the only way to eternal life.)
  • The best way to please God is to keep all his rules. (But in John 6, Jesus tells us to “eat his body and drink his blood” if we want to make him happy.)
  • People who say they have conversations with God are more or less insane. (But Jesus says the Spirit’s job description is to fuel an ongoing, conversational relationship with us.)
  • Jesus came to judge the righteous from the unrighteous. (But Jesus actually says, “I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it.”)
  • If you’re a churchgoing person, you’re probably a “holier than thou” hypocrite. (But Jesus says, “I have come to call not those who think they’re righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”)

2. Go into the cave on behalf of others. 

I love the scene in the last Lord of the Rings film (The Return of the King). The hero-king Aragorn must enter a dark cave where the wraiths of disgraced warriors live. Over the mouth of the cave is an inscription: The way is shut. It was made by those who are dead, and the dead keep it. The way is shut.” Aragorn’s response to his friends, who are frightened by the prospect of entering the cave, is simple: “I am not afraid of death.” He enters the cave of death on behalf of his calling as a rescuer—as a good shepherd.

Jesus knows every dark cave embedded in the lives of the teenagers and adults we serve. Each represents a hard reality or painful struggle in the life of one of his beloved sheep. So many are living in the private terror of their own dark cave, and Jesus needs people—us, actually—who will go into those dark caves on his behalf. Put another way, he needs the right tool for the job.

And maybe you’re exactly the right tool for exactly the dark caves Jesus has brought into your life. Our mission for people stuck in their own dark cave is to prove that we’re with them, to remind them of who Jesus is, and to remind them of who they really are. This is “going into the cave” on behalf of others. It’s a key way to avoid youth ministry malpractice.

3. Refuse to accept cultural norms that are directly contrary to the gospel. For example, treating gun violence as entertainment.

The action films and first-person shooter video games that reign over teenagers’ cultural world often get a wink-wink response from those of us trying to build relationships with kids in the real world. We accept many of their cultural crushes simply because rejecting them would be tantamount to rejecting the person. But can we really afford to turn a blind eye to another film trailer or video-game trailer that treats gun violence as entertainment?

America has a gun-violence problem, with about 34,000 gun-related deaths per year. What if we communicate the heartbreaking human cost of gun violence and explore how to respond by paying attention to Jesus’ mission as a shepherd? Sheep will die unless they have a shepherd willing to defend, rescue, and guide them. 

And when 34,000 sheep die every year, maybe it’s time for the collective “Good Shepherd”—because our true identity is found in the body of Christ, we’re also the body of the Good Shepherd on earth—to band together to take a stand against gun violence as entertainment. Let kids sign a pledge that they’ll no longer watch gun violence as entertainment in any form and endeavor to influence others to do the same. Start a movement in your community.

This article about youth ministry malpractice originally appeared here.

What to do when you are stuck in an incomplete miracle?

I like to get opinions and reactions during my Bible teaching.

7/8/2022 Sophia

It is always interesting to listen to everyone’s perspective.

I was sharing from the Gospel of Mark Chapter 8 and reflected on the healing of the blind man. I think this must be the only instance when there was what seemed like an incomplete miracle, and it took Jesus two attempts to heal the blind man.

The man after the first touch by Jesus should have been seeing everything clearly, instead he was seeing blurred images, people looked like trees. And it seemed to come across like Jesus didn’t do a good job.

‘Do you think Jesus messed up?’, I asked those present in our meeting and encouraged them to share their thoughts on why the miracle was incomplete initially.

Here are some of the answers I got.

1. The blind man didn’t come to Jesus by himself, so he didn’t have enough faith.

2. Jesus was testing the blind man’s faith.

3. Jesus was upset and frustrated.

What about you? What do you think happened?

As for me, this is what I noted from reading Mark Chapter 8:

Jesus multiplies the bread because He wants to provide for the people who come to Him. Soon after the miracle the Pharisees annoy Jesus with their religious, faithless mindsets. Jesus then gets into a boat with the disciples.

The disciples forgot to carry bread on that journey.

While speaking to them as they travel, Jesus uses the metaphor of the leaven and tries to warn His disciple not to get influenced by the world and the stiff, religious mindset like that of the Pharisees which can take away real faith.

The disciples don’t seem to get His point and think Jesus is talking about leaven because they don’t have bread.

Their limiting mindset frustrated Jesus.

He is annoyed that they are still bothered about not having enough despite seeing the miracle of multiplication just a while back.

He reminds them of not one but two instances where they had little, and Jesus multiplied it into much.

What is the point Jesus is trying to drive home?

Beware of negative and evil influence. And, don’t bother about the lack of physical food but rather be mindful of lacking spiritual food. And remember the previous miracles and know that God is able to do anything.

Moving on let us read Mark 8: 24-25

“Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”  He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around. Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly

When we read the above passage, we see Jesus takes the blind man away from the village and the crowd.

Does it help to bring a man in need of a miracle away from the people and place him in a quiet place?

The man has not come on his own so obviously there is not much faith or knowledge he has of who exactly Jesus is.

Under such circumstance there is not enough ground for a miracle.

Here are a few hypothetical outcomes in case Jesus hadn’t led the man away from the crowd.

a.     The man could have relied more on the people who brought him than on Jesus.

b.     With no understanding of who Jesus is the man could get healed and take the healing as well as Jesus for granted and go away without having a change in mindset

c.      The man might mingle back with the crowd and get influenced by them

Maybe here in India, some would recommend rose water for cleansing the eyes. Some might also suggest a decoction of coriander seeds soaked overnight or a drink made with amla, the Indian gooseberry. 

Other cultures might have even different kinds of local remedies available for the eyes but Jesus bypassed all the different methods and styles and remedies in addressing this man’s eye problem.

He came up with an even more unusual method – spitting on the eyes. 

‘Oh Jesus, that’s a bit too much’, isn’t that what we are tempted to say when things don’t go our way?

But, here, the blind man is humble and submissive despite the spitting.

And who knows, maybe it is within his silent submission that Jesus found ground to work a miracle for the man.

Did Jesus keep the miracle incomplete intentionally?

I definitely think so.

Just imagine what the blind man must have gone through.

Away from the crowd, alone with Jesus and just half a miracle, the man hangs on with Jesus, unlike many others who without experiencing 100% result might get frustrated and turn away from Jesus.

In this case, getting stuck with an incomplete miracle has made a way for the man to enjoy the luxury of spending time alone with Jesus.

And by spending time alone with Jesus, the man gets to receive a complete breakthrough!

So here’s the question, What do you do when you are stuck in the middle of an incomplete miracle?

The Bible says that at the Name of Jesus every knee must bow. I like to take that literally and believe that it does not matter what kind of knee that is, it  must bow. Whether it’s a knee of sickness or sadness, poverty or pain, defeat or death…that knee has to bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus and you and I will see victory.

What can we summarize from the story of the blind man in Mark 8?

No matter what. Hold on to Jesus. He is able!

Take time to enjoy the luxury of being alone with the King of Kings, it’s a lovely opportunity.

Submit to Jesus in silence and you will enjoy a supernatural answer to your problem.

Wishing you a great weekend.

With lots of Love!

Sophia

VIDEO Totally Transformed

Mar 13, 2022 By John MacArthur

We come now to Ephesians chapter 4. We are going through the book of Ephesians, and we are in chapter 4 again. It’s the same text that we looked at last week, but we were unable to finish it, so we’ll do that this morning: Ephesians 4, verses 17 to 24. And I’m going to read it, and then we’re going to look again at these wonderful words of divine revelation.

“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Now we here have a comparison between the people before salvation and the same people afterward. Before salvation—and this is true of all unconverted people—they walk “in the futility of their mind . . . darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God,” ignorant, hard-hearted, callous, “given . . . over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.” Verse 22 says this “former manner of life” is one that is “being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.” That is the diagnosis of everyone prior to salvation. When salvation comes, as noted in verses 20 and 21, everything changes. Verse 23 says, “That you be renewed in the spirit of your mind . . . put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” The difference is the salvation that is the theme of verses 20 and 21.

And we saw last time that when Paul says, “Learned Christ,” he’s talking about salvation. You learned because the gospel is truth that you have to hear and learn. Faith comes by hearing the word concerning Christ, Romans 10:17. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, as we pointed out last week, that you have to “learn of Me.” John 6:45 talks about [how] the Father has taught us. So coming to eternal salvation is a matter of learning the truth; and when that truth is learned, there is a transformation that is monumental, and that is the transformation that is described here.

It’s important for us to understand this because there are so many people apparently confused about who is a Christian and who is not. And some people would assume that if you go to a Christian church, or something that proports to be a Christian church, that is enough. If you have good feelings about Christ, if you’ve prayed a prayer to Him, if you’ve “made a decision,” you are automatically a Christian.

But the definition here of salvation is far more careful than just those musings about Jesus that may have engaged a person for a moment or at some point in their life to cause them to pray a prayer, because what you have here is spiritual transformation. Salvation is a transformation. It is the divine miracle that transforms the sinner into the saint. It is what Jesus was talking about when He said you can’t enter the kingdom of God unless you have been born again. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he’s a new creation; old things have passed away, and new things have come.” It’s essential for us, because this is such a constant question that people ask, to understand how we know when someone is a Christian. It’s essential for us for the sake of others and for our own sake as well.

So Paul is showing us a dramatic transformation here. This isn’t the first time he did that in Ephesians. Go back to chapter 2. Very much in a parallel fashion, Paul begins chapter 2 by saying, “And you were”—and again, this is prior to salvation—“dead in your trespasses and sins.” And when Paul talks about the condition of the unregenerate, he talks about them as “dead” in the sense that they cannot respond to God or divine truth. They’re “dead in . . . trespasses and sins.” And then he goes further to describe them as—saying they “walked according to the course of this world”—and that refers to the evil system that dominates human life—“according to the prince of the power of the air” who operates that system, namely Satan, who is also “the spirit . . . now working in the sons of disobedience.” So here is the description of the unconverted person: dead in trespasses and sins, walking according to the course of this satanic system that occupies the world under the sovereign power of Satan, who works not only over them but in them as sons of disobedience.

And then in verse 3 he says, “We too all formerly lived in” that same condition—“in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” So there you have that very detailed description of every human being who is unconverted. And then you have the salvation note in verse 4, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” This is the transformation of salvation.

As a result of it, go down to verse 10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Dramatic change from all those connotations and directly identified categories of sinfulness in verses 1 to 3. We pass into the section on salvation, and out of it we arrive at verse 10, and we have a new creation. This is God’s masterpiece—that’s what the word “workmanship” indicates—“created in Christ Jesus,” and the result is “good works.” This is a dramatic change; this is a miraculous change.

And I told you last week, and I’ll point at least to one text from the Old Testament, that this is the way salvation has always been described. Go back to Ezekiel 36. You can turn to it, or you can just listen. Ezekiel 36, verses 25 to 27, is a statement about what happens to someone when God saves them, because salvation was the same throughout all of human history and is described in terminology very much like Paul uses in Ephesians.

Ezekiel 36:25, talking about the time that God saves His people, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.” This is not just a forensic declaration of justification, this is a transformation. This is such a change that it is described as using clean water to clean “all your filthiness,” and additionally to free you from your idols so that you have singular devotion and worship to the Lord.

“Moreover,” verse 26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” It isn’t that something is added; something is removed, and something replaces it. And what replaces the heart of stone is a new heart and a new spirit.

And then in verse 27, “I will put My Spirit, [My Holy Spirit,] within you,” and the result: “cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” That is salvation. Salvation is a washing from filthiness and from all other gods. It is the giving of a new heart, the removal of the old heart. It is planting the Holy Spirit. It is causing us to walk in God’s statutes and to observe His ordinances. This is transformation. We looked at many other Scriptures last time to demonstrate that from the Old Testament.

So as we come back to Ephesians chapter 4—let’s go look at it again—we are seeing something that is consistent with the way salvation is described in Scripture, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Now Paul begins in verse 17 by saying that we no longer walk “as the Gentiles . . . walk.” We can’t live the way we used to live; we can’t. It’s not right, and it’s not even possible. Did you get that? It’s not right, and it’s not even possible. We don’t walk as the ethne, as all human ethnicities walk. We don’t live the way they live; we aren’t characterized by the things that characterize them.

Now let me just say as a footnote, the descriptions of people before they’re converted in Ephesians 2 and 4 sound extreme, and they are extreme. And it doesn’t mean that everybody lives those out to the maximum extreme possibility of evil. Not everyone is a mass murderer; not everyone is a serial rapist. Not everyone is like that. But everyone falls into those categories to one degree or another; it’s only a question of degree, not nature.

And why is that? Why is it that everybody isn’t as extremely evil as is possible? The answer is because God has put restraints in life. The restraints in life: one, the law of God written in the heart, which informs man even though he doesn’t know the Bible, about what is right and wrong; and a conscience that wounds him if he violates that law in the heart. That’s a restraint. Family is a restraint. Government is a restraint. The threat of punishment is a restraint. The threat of death is a restraint.

So not everybody is as bad as they could be, but everybody falls under the same definition. And the main issue is indicated in verse 18—all of this is true because they are “excluded from the life of God.” They do not possess divine life; they do not possess “the life of God.” Mark that because that is very, very, very important. That’s part of them being dead in trespasses and sins: the absence of the life of God.

But again, back to verses 20 and 21, you see the picture of salvation: learning Christ, being taught about Him, the truth in Jesus which is the gospel—direct reference to salvation. And in that saving work, I want you to see what happens. In that saving work Paul uses three infinitives to reveal the nature of the transformation, three infinitives. One is in verse 22: “Lay aside”; the next is in verse 23: “Be renewed”; and the next in verse 24: “Put on.” Three infinitives to reveal the essential nature of this transformation. It is a laying aside, it is a putting on, and of being renewed. This is not exhortation, by the way; these three infinitives describe the transformation by God, the Holy Spirit, through the saving gospel of Jesus Christ in the life of a sinner. This is the work of God.

Now look at verse 22, “In reference to your former manner of life, you [laid] aside the old self.” This is a reality: “You [laid] aside the old self.” What is “the old self”? What you were, the composite of your invisible nature. Why did you lay it aside under the power of God? Because you heard the gospel, and you were taught the gospel, and you saw it as the truth, and you believed it. God opened your mind, opened your heart, gave you life, gave you understanding; a divine miracle took place. You heard the gospel, you learned the gospel, and you laid aside the old self.

That’s a powerful statement, very powerful statement: You laid aside the old self. Then in verse 24, you “put on the new self.” This is transformation, and this is what salvation is. It isn’t that when you were saved you were repaired. It isn’t that when you were saved you were realigned. It isn’t that when you were saved that you have an old self, and added to the old self is now a new self, and so you have the old self and the new self competing. No. You put off the old self; you put on the new self. The old self is not repaired; it’s not realigned—it’s removed; it’s removed, and it’s replaced. This is very, very important for you to understand. If you are a true believer, this is what has happened to you.

Now let me take you to Colossians 3, which I read earlier, to give you some further insight into this. Colossians chapter 3, Paul is essentially saying the same thing. But let’s just capture a few of his phrases. He describes this transformation in this way, verse 2—1, 2, and 3—let’s just go to verse 3: “You have died.” You have died. You have died. Now, you can’t get a more extreme reality than death; and that’s the metaphor he uses to describe what happened to your old life. Your old self died.

And then verse 1, “You have been raised.” You have died, and you have been raised. The old died, and there was a new creation resurrected. Another way to say it is down in verses 9 and 10: “You laid aside the old self with its evil practices”—you laid aside the old self, and when it went, all its evil practices went as well. And verse 10, you “put on the new self, which is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.” In other words, the new self is godlike.

So “you have died”; parallel to that, Paul says that would be, you laid aside the old self. “You have been raised”; parallel to that, you have “put on the new self.” “Have died” corresponds to “laid aside”; “been raised” corresponds to “put on.” Those four verbs basically tell us what salvation does: It is a death and a resurrection. It is the removal of an old self, which is replaced by a new self. This is powerful language. This gets to the core of the identity of a Christian.

Let me show you Paul’s language with regard to this in the sixth chapter of Romans, Romans chapter 6. And the language is consistent and particularly definitive here in Romans 6. The transformation—look at the beginning of the chapter, verse 2: “We . . . died to sin.” We died to sin. Look at verse 4, “We have been buried with [Christ].” And then verse 5, “If we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.” Again, the language is the language of death and resurrection. It’s the language of going out of existence and a new reality coming into existence.

If you look at verse 6, in our death, what happened? The old self died, “was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with.” It’s gone. The old self is gone, completely gone—strong verb there. It’s done away with so much so, “that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” What happened at salvation is a real death in which the body of sin was removed, and a real resurrection in which we were raised from the dead to a new self that possesses—listen carefully to this—eternal life, eternal life. Verse 8 sums it up: “If we have died with Christ, we believe that we also shall live with Him.” “So,” verse 11, “consider yourselves to be dead to sin . . . alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

This is the language of transformation, and this is what you have to understand because there seems to be so much confusion about who’s a Christian and who’s not. This is not only confusion in the minds of people who are trying to evaluate others, but confusion in the minds of people who aren’t sure what their condition is. Where you have salvation you have, at the end of verse 4, “newness of life,” Romans 6:4.

You literally have to see it this way, all right? When Jesus said He’s coming to the world to die, “God [sends] His Son to die, and whoever believes in Him shall have”—what?—“everlasting life.” So that’s not something in the future; you have that now. You possess everlasting life. That is not a duration; that is not a quantity of life, that is a quality of life, that is a kind of life. That is the life of God in the soul of man.

Can I say this to you and have you understand it? Your conversion was a far greater transformation than your death will be because you’ve already received a new nature; you’ve already received a new self that will live forever, a new self that has been created in righteousness, holiness, and truth. I think we have to understand that. It’s not that when you were saved, the Lord helped you live a better life; you went through a death and resurrection. It’s not just a better life, it’s a transformed life.

Go down to verse 16, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart.” And that obedience is expressed by Paul as putting off and putting on. “You became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness,” “slaves of righteousness.” Look down in verse 22, “[Being] freed from sin and [a slave] to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.” If you have been saved, you possess now eternal life, you possess now eternal life.

This is an amazing thing for us to understand. In the language of Ephesians 4, you have put off the old self, put on the new self, and are renewed in the spirit of your mind. You don’t think the way you used to think. You could parallel that with having a new heart and a new spirit. It’s not just that God treats you differently, you are different; you’re a new creature.

Colossians 3:10 says you have been literally created in a true fashion to be like the image of the One who created you. This is not a psychological change; this is not just the fact that you think a little bit differently about theology and life. This is a change, Ephesians 4, that literally alters your mind—“renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Not just your mind; you might think that’s just kind of how you think on the surface. So the Holy Spirit goes deeper than that—“the spirit of your mind,” all the way down to the fountains of your comprehension and your reason.

I read an article this week that said, after a survey of 600 pairs of Christian parents, that 4 percent of Christian parents have a Christian worldview; 4 percent of parents who say they are Christians have a Christian worldview. You know how I feel about surveys to start with. But you’re trying to tell me that 96 percent of people who have been created anew, who have been given new life, who are the possessors of eternal life, who, in the words of 2 Peter 1:4, are “partakers of the divine nature,” those who possess everlasting life, those who have been renewed in their minds—you’re telling me that 96 percent of them see the world the way they saw it before? Not possible.

Now they may not know all the elements of Scripture that help them understand and discern everything in the world, but to say 4 percent of Christian parents have a biblical worldview—you’d better check your definition of “Christian” because when you were saved, you put off the old self, you put on the new self by the power of God, and deep down in your mind you were transformed; and you don’t think the way you used to think about anything. “The new self,” Ephesians 4 says, “in the likeness of God,” “in the likeness of God.” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:16, “[You] have the mind of Christ.” I think Christ has a biblical worldview—just saying.

So there, in that fourth chapter of Ephesians, we are told that we have been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth and in the very likeness of God. This is the total transformation. Again, it’s not addition. You aren’t what you used to be, and something was added to it, and now you’ve got a war between what you were and what you are. No, your inner person, your inner man, your new self replaces the old self.

Look at 1 John chapter 3 because I think John helps us to see the distinctiveness that transformation brings. First John 3:7, “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous.” Not hard, is it? “The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.” His righteousness is like God’s righteousness because he’s been created in Christ Jesus; he’s been created in the likeness of God; he’s been created in the image of the One who created everything.

On the other hand, verse 8 says, “The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him”—God’s seed—“and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” The old is dead; the new has come. “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” It’s not that hard to distinguish, people.

“What do you mean? You mean they never sin?” No. They don’t practice unrighteousness. If you practice unrighteousness, you give evidence of being “of the devil.” If that’s the pattern of your life, then you’re not converted, whatever you think you may have prayed or whatever emotional connection you thought you had with Jesus. The children of the devil and the children of the Lord are easy to distinguish: One practices sin; the other practices righteousness. In other words, the dominating pattern of the life is sin, or the dominating pattern of the life is righteousness. And it’s not just that Christians are, for some external reason, better or able to stay away from sin because they work harder at it. It is that they stay away from sin because they have been recreated in righteousness, holiness, and truth.

Now I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking, “But wait a minute, I’m doing a little inventory, and I have to confess that I sin.” And I’m glad you did. “But how do I understand that? How am I to understand that? This seems really black and white.” So let’s go back to Romans 6, and I want to help you with that.

Romans 6. Paul will not—listen carefully—will not locate sin in the new self. He will not locate sin in the new self, and his language is explicit about that. He knows the new self is created in righteousness and holiness and truth. The new self is the creation of the Holy Spirit—it’s regeneration; it’s a new birth; it’s created to be in the image of God. The new self partakes of the divine nature. The new self possesses eternal life. You’re not going to get eternal life in the future; you have it, you live it. It is your life; it is the invisible part of you that is the recreated miracle of divine, sovereign grace that has made you in righteousness, holiness, and truth.

We say, “Well, I’m glad to hear that. But what about sin?” Paul will not locate sin in that new self. In chapter 6 of Romans, Paul says this, verse 11, “Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, alive to God.” That’s the creation. “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you may obey its lusts.” Paul locates sin not in the new self, but in the mortal body—the part of you that is not eternal, the part of you that is material and mortal. And he always is careful to do that, so that the reality is this: You are a new creation, partaker of the divine nature, possessing eternal life; you just happen to also be connected to mortality, and that’s where sin lies—in your mortality, the part of you that can die. The inner part of you can never die; that’s why it’s called eternal life.

Now I want you to notice the careful language of Paul. Go to chapter 7 of Romans. We’re not surprised at all. If we come down to verse 14, and we read this from Paul, personal testimony: “We know that the Law is spiritual.” In fact, he says back in verse 12, “The Law is holy, the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.” He knows that. “We know the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.” He locates the sin issue in the flesh, which is like the mortal body of chapter 6.

And this is how it reveals itself: “What I’m doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I’m doing the very thing I hate. If I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing the Law is good.” “Something’s wrong; I don’t like it. I am a new person; I am a new creation. My physical death will be less of a change than my conversion was, because I’ve already been fit for eternal heaven because I’ve been given eternal life, which is the life of God. So why is there all this struggle?”

So in verse 17, notice how Paul distances his new self from it: “So now, no longer am I the one doing it”—no. The new I says the law is spiritual; the new I says the law is holy, the commandment holy, righteous, and good. And maybe says with David, “Oh, how I love Your law.” So it’s not I doing it, verse 17, “Sin which dwells in me.”

Sin’s still around. Verse 18, “I know nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” There we go. It’s in the mortal body; it’s in the flesh. Your mortal body and your flesh is dying. Amen? Correct? This is the part of you that still bears the Curse, and it shows up because “the willing is present in me”—that’s the new self—“but the doing of [it] is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. . . . I’m doing the very thing I do not want, I’m no longer the one doing it.”

Isn’t that interesting? He says, “It’s not the real me.” He’s not being irresponsible; he’s just parsing out spiritual reality and saying, “Sin is so alien to me, I hate it. It’s not what I love, it’s not what I want, it’s not what I desire. But it’s still there in my mortal body, in my flesh; that’s where it resides. So I find”—in verse 21—“the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man”—there it is, there’s that new self—“but I see a different law”—where is it? It’s “in the members of my body”; it’s in my flesh, it’s in my mortal body, and it wages “war against the law of my mind” and makes me “a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.” Again, he keeps saying, “It’s not me. It’s not the new self; it’s not my heart, it’s not my new heart; it’s not my new spirit. It is in my flesh; it is in the members of my body; it is in my mortality; it is in my members, my fleshly, mortal faculties.”

Verse 24, he shows his frustration by saying, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” And again he says it’s the body. You know in ancient times, very often when somebody killed someone, as a punishment they would take the murdered corpse and strap it to the murderer, and it wouldn’t take long before the body decayed and brought about a horrendous death to the killer. Paul feels that way. He is full of divine life, but there’s a corpse strapped to him. Now, he knows he’ll triumph, so he says it in verse 25: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” “He will free me from this corpse. He’ll free me from this corpse.”

But notice how verse 25 continues: Not yet. “So on the one hand I myself with my mind,” my renewed mind, “am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” Hasn’t happened yet, right? “I know it’ll happen, I know Christ will deliver me, I know someday it’s going to happen. Someday I’m going to get rid of this wretched sin that attaches itself to me.”

And oh, by the way, in chapter 8, verse 1, I know it’s not going to condemn me, for “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Why will we never be condemned if we’re in Christ? Because Christ was condemned in our place. And so we struggle, and we will struggle all our life long.

Sometimes young people say to me, “Do you ever get victory over besetting sins?” Sure. As you grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ, you’ll sin less. But I warn you: Though you sin less, you feel worse. Paul has this horror of sin because his inner man is righteous, and he sees sin against that backdrop. I think Paul, and any believer, is far more sensitive to sin than an unbeliever because an unbeliever has nothing to compare it to. Unbelievers don’t fight the battle with the flesh; they’re all flesh. And the old self and the flesh are very compatible partners.

So the good news is you will sin less as you grow, but you’ll feel worse because the less you sin, the more you become like God: The more you hate sin. And in your maturity you will hate your own sin a lot more than somebody else’s. So Paul recognizes the reality of sin, and he knows there’s going to be a triumph. When is that triumph going to come?

Go to chapter 8, verse 23. Verse 22 he says all of creation is groaning under the Curse. Verse 23, “We ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit”—because the Spirit is in us, and the Spirit has dispensed into that new inner self love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control—fruit of the Spirit. We have those. We have the divine nature. We have eternal life, the life of God in our souls. We are the temple of the Trinity. Because of all of this is in the new self, “We groan within ourselves”—there’s an agony in living—“waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons”—what do you mean, Paul?—“I mean”—“the redemption of”—what?—“our body.”

And again, that’s all that we need. We’ve already been transformed. When you die, it’s not a transformation of your inner person; it’s the subtraction of your sinful flesh. When you see a coffin, I know they always dress people up. But what you’re really seeing is nothing but flesh, nothing but mortality, nothing but the occupying part of humanity that holds sin and fights against the new self.

So we rejoice when someone goes to glory, not only because they’re in heaven but because they’ve left the body behind. And there will be in the future a new body, a resurrection body—right? 1 Corinthians 15—that’ll be like His glorious body. There’ll be no battle in heaven between the glorified body and the glorified soul. So we are “waiting,” he says in verse 23, “eagerly for . . . the redemption of our body.”

When you think about heaven—and we’ve sung about heaven this morning. When you think about heaven, it’s not so much about seeing Aunt Alice, although you might be able to find her up there if she’s there, and it’s not so much about the beauty and the splendor of it, as it is that the struggle with sin is over. It’s over. It’s over—the redemption of the body.

In the meantime, this is how we need to think about ourselves. We need to think about ourselves as new creations created in the likeness of God, in the image of the one who created us. We have, in our salvation, been enabled by the Holy Spirit to put off the old and put on the new. We have a renewed mind. We now love righteousness, holiness, and truth.

But how do we gain victory? How do we get the upside of the struggle between the new self and the flesh? Well I think, first of all, you have the power to do it in the resident Holy Spirit—right?—and in the power of that new life, which is created in righteousness, holiness, and truth. The power is in the very essence of that life and in the Spirit who dwells within you. You also have the additional power that comes from the Scripture: “Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not”—what?—“sin against you.” You have that new nature, you have the Holy Spirit, and you have the Word of God. But I’ll tell you what it comes down to: It comes down to obedience.

Just as a fact: Over 400 commands are found in the epistles of Paul, over 400 commands. There are 50 commands to the believer in the book of James alone. It’s not difficult to figure out that the Lord has given you the steps to spiritual victory in the commands. Obey the commands. You have the nature to do it, you have a renewed mind, you have the Spirit to enable you, and you have the Word to strengthen you. Keep the commandments. Keep the commandments. That’s what it is to live on the victorious side.

And just to seal that as we close, when Jesus stood on the mount and was departing and gave what is the Great Commission, His last words—most people’s last words are usually significant; His the most significant of all. And what did He say? What did He say? “Go into all the world, make disciples, baptizing them”—and then He said this—“and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have”—what?—“commanded you.” That is the path of sanctification: It’s about obedience. It’s about obedience.

So you shouldn’t be looking for some mystical sort of personal, spiritual elevation that might come to you in some moment; it’s just about obedience. Jesus said, “Here’s My orders: Teach them to obey everything I’ve commanded you, everything. And I promise you this: Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. I’ll be there.”

Sanctification is in the power of the Spirit, by the power of the new creation, by the power of the Word of God, a believer obeying the commands of Scripture. That’s why Jesus said what He said in His final words. That is the path of sanctification.

Father, we thank You that You have given us such a clear word. Thank You for the beauty of salvation, its extent, its character, its nature. Thank You for transforming us. And we know that the life we have is eternal; it can never end. The Holy Spirit in us is the seal, the guarantee, the down payment on eternal glory. We know that there is a reward waiting for us in Your presence, which will never fade away and never be removed and never be given to someone else because You have already made us for heaven. We are new creatures.

I pray, Lord, for the application of those commandments that face us all through Scripture, that we would be diligent to obey them, knowing this is the way of sanctification, this is the way to please You, and this is the way to bring joy, satisfaction, and usefulness into our own lives. Accomplish Your will in us, we pray in the Savior’s name. Amen.

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/49-22/totally-transformed

An Enduring Truth About Children Is Being Swept Away

We need a Respect for Children Act.

We do not need a fake Respect for Marriage Act. This disgraceful act schemes to replace our Constitution’s “ordered liberty” with disordered license. It ignores and disrespects the natural law rights of children to know and be raised, as far as possible, by their own mothers and fathers.

We need to return to respecting marriage first and foremost as a time-honored legal institution for protecting children through limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. This respect is consistent with our Constitution, for it is “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition” and is an “essential component” of ordered liberty (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 2022).

The Constitution is not a selfish document. It is based on the longstanding recognition of the common law obligation that calls for ordered liberty, which sets limits and defines the boundary between competing interests.

Deconstructing marriage: the de-mothering and de-fathering of children

Way back in 1890, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field explained, “The possession and enjoyment of all rights are subject to such reasonable conditions as may be deemed by the governing authority of the country essential to the safety, health, peace, good order and morals of the community. Even liberty itself, the greatest of all rights, is not unrestricted license to act according to one’s own will.”

The move to destabilize marriage by extending it to same-sex partners threatens to undermine the natural integrity of our families and the natural responsibilities we all owe to our children. The new act is dedicated to legitimizing and legalizing a new kind of marriage that endorses ultimately the de-mothering or de-fathering of many children.

Tragically, too many of our youngest human beings are being deliberately separated from their natural family, from their own mothers and fathers.

The fact that a same-sex couple may love and want children does not erase the inhumanity of depriving a child of either a father or a mother and often, in the case of surrogacy or sperm donor arrangements, deliberately separating them from a natural parent without due cause.

Marriage — an egotism à deux?

The Senate must not be taken in by this rogue movement set on changing the very meaning of marriage. The so-called Respect for Marriage Act, so hastily passed by the House of Representatives, trashes one of the original purposes and responsibilities of marriage.

Seven years ago, the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges eroded marriage to expand to the state an improper interest in supporting any intimate relationship between any two persons as the primary purpose of marriage.

Seven years of same-sex “marriage” propaganda has worked a treat in getting so many of our politicians to get used to the new arrangements. Just so throughout history have morally slack politicians caved into new evils as careless acceptance proliferated.

This act has been rushed through the House as a block to the possible overturning of Obergefell by the Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade. Unfortunately, the act’s euphemisms have cunningly fooled a majority in the House. Their embrace of new ideological marriage dogma intent on rearranging the human race is rationalized.

The act confuses “securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity” (one of the stated purposes of the Constitution) with an all-purpose, wide-ranging, atomistic “liberty” lacking sensible qualifications concerning our duties to protect our children’s natural family heritage.

If passed in the Senate, the act will require every state to promote marriage as an egotism à deux relegating the best interests of children to an optional attachment.

Uncritical embrace of new ideology

Endorsement of such an exclusive, immoderate and selfish liberty, however, is not found anywhere in the Constitution. Such radical novelty is not “consonant with the common sense of mankind and the maxims of eternal justice,” a principle affirmed by Justice Joseph Story (Terrett v. Taylor, 1815).

The impulse to revolutionize the natural institution of marriage is mere ideological nonsense; it fails both the common sense test and the eternal justice maxims at the heart of the Constitution.

The legal endorsement of same-sex “marriage” is an ill-considered aberration that has emerged from the excesses of the recent sexual revolution. It exhibits the hallmarks of all extreme ideologies — a noisy excitability that flouts rationality and an arrogance that overrides the common sense of mankind.

The enduring truth that children need both a mother and a father has been swept away. The spurious dogma that two mothers or two fathers are just as good or even better for children has swept the world with its novelty and has been peddled with an excessive, quasi-religious zeal.

As with previous extreme ideologies, there is no shortage of academics willing to compromise their intellectual integrity for the cause. They produce pseudo-scientific research papers that endorse favored new dogma, relying on anecdotes and rhetoric rather than random sample selection and credible long-term statistical rigor and analysis.

Constitutional protections for our posterity

The state’s proper interest in marriage has always been to ensure a stable, ordered society looking out for the well-being of innately vulnerable children. Sadly, this legitimate interest is being diverted away from children.

The states (and the courts) are increasingly being importuned by irresponsible adults who are primarily focused on themselves and have grown careless of our posterity and the general welfare recognized and protected by the Constitution.

The drastic disrespect concealed in the Respect for Marriage Act consists in revoking the age-old principle of putting the best interests of children first.

Our constitutional commitments to our posterity and the general welfare are being undermined as the adult individual’s liberty is grossly inflated and endorsed by flawed Supreme Court decisions like Obergefell. To our shame, public and private duties towards our posterity have been permitted to shrivel.

We really do need a Respect for Children Act!

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Miracle of Dunkirk, Sir Winston Churchill’s views on preserving Christian Civilization and fighting Socialism and Sharia

July 24, 2022 Bill Federer

Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Britain on May 10, 1940.

World War II would rage another year and a half before the entrance of United States.

Download as PDF …

SOCIALISM – The Real History from Plato to the Present: How the Deep State Capitalizes on Crises to Consolidate Control

The situation in Europe was desperate, as two massive Nazi armies were driving back British, French, Dutch, Polish and Belgian troops to the English Channel, bottling them up in the port of Dunkirk.

The Belgian army surrendered.

If the British forces were destroyed, Britain would be forced to negotiate a surrender.

For reasons still debated, Hitler approved an order on May 24 to halt for three days the advance of 800,000 Nazi troop, possibly to consolidate his forces or to let the Nazi Luftwaffe air force complete the annihilation.

In the meantime, King George VI, Winston Churchill, and all the people of Britain prayed.

Then, beginning on May 27, they courageously rallied a nine day evacuation.

In what was called “the spirit of Dunkirk,” British citizens sailed their fishing boats, commercial vessels, private crafts, pleasure cruisers, and transport ferries across the English Channel.

Miraculously, the sea was still as glass, and clouds hid them from the Nazi Luftwaffe air force.

Nazi office Halder wrote in his diary, May 30, 1940:

“Brauchitsch is angry … The bad weather has grounded the Luftwaffe and we must now stand and watch countless thousands of the enemy get away to England right under our noses.”

The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Rev. Walter Matthews, called it the “Miracle of Dunkirk,” in his address, June 2, 1940:

“It was remembered that the Archbishop of Canterbury had announced that the Day of National Prayer might well be a turning point, and it was obvious to many that God had answered the nation’s collective prayer with the ‘miracle of Dunkirk’ …

… The evidence of God’s intervention was clear for those who wished to see it; papers had written of calm seas and the high mist which interfered with the accuracy of German bombers.”

Suddenly, five days into the evacuations, on June 1, the sky cleared for two days, allowing Nazi artillery and planes to attack, sinking 243 boats.

British planes boldly responded, together with guns from the British Royal Navy and the French Navy. They shot down an estimated 240 Nazi aircraft, though loosing an estimated 177 British planes.

On June 3, 1940, the British army was safely back in England, though they had to leave behind tens of thousands of vehicles, truck, tanks, machine guns and military equipment.

Miracles in American History-32 Amazing Stories of Answered Prayers

Winston Churchill insisted the citizens of Britain sail their vessels back one more day to rescue as many as possible of the trapped French, Polish, Belgian and Dutch troops.

In all, 861 vessels evacuated 338,226 troops.

Unfortunately, 35,000 French troops who had courageously held back the Nazi forces during the evacuation, were overwhelmed and captured.

On June 14, Nazi forces captured Paris and forced the nation of France to negotiate a surrender.

Individual French citizens, though, carried on a clandestine effort to fight back.

Before the House of Commons, June 18, 1940, Churchill warned:

“The Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.

Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization …

The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war.”

This same sentiment was expressed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, September 1, 1941:

“Preservation of these rights is vitally important now, not only to us who enjoy them — but to the whole future of Christian civilization.”

Churchill continued:

“If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”

Churchill concluded:

“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.'”

He stated July 14, 1940:

“We are not fighting for ourselves alone.

Here in this strong City of Refuge which enshrines the title-deeds of human progress and is of deep consequence to Christian Civilization;

here, girt about by the seas and oceans where the Navy reigns, shielded from above by the prowess and devotion of our airmen, we await undismayed the impending assault.”

Churchill repeated this warning in Fulton, Missouri, March 5, 1946:

“Except in the British Commonwealth and in the United States where communism is in its infancy, the communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization.”

On July 19, 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill held up two fingers as a sign of victory.

This became a symbol for all Western European resistance during WWII, with V’s painted on walls and over Nazi posters.

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“Nazi” was an abbreviation of the “National Socialist Workers Party,” which was motivated by the racist, anti-Semitic, supremacist ideology expressed in Adolf Hitler’s work Mein Kampf, 1925.

Mein Kampf, in recent times, has become a best-seller in some Muslim countries.

Winston Churchill described Hitler’s Mein Kampf in his work, In From War to War (Second World War, 1958, Vol. 1, ch. 4, p. 50):

“… the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message.”

Churchill’s equating of Mein Kampf with the Koran finds its roots earlier in Churchill’s career, 1897-1898, when he fought in northwest India, Egypt and Sudan, serving under the command of General Herbert Kitchener.

Churchill wrote of Muslims in The Story of the Malakand Field Force (Dover Publications, 1898):

“Their system of ethics, which regards treachery and violence as virtues rather than vices, has produced a code of honor so strange and inconsistent, that it is incomprehensible to a logical mind.”

This view is similar to the Scottish philosopher David Hume, who described the Prophet of Islam in Of the Standard of Taste, 1760:

“Let us attend to his narration; and we shall soon find, that the prophet bestows praise on such instances of treachery, inhumanity, cruelty, revenge, bigotry, as are utterly incompatible with civilized society.”

The annotated John Quincy Adams-A Bibliography, compiled by Lynn H. Parsons (Westport, CT, 1993, p. 41, entry#194), contained “Unsigned essays dealing with the Russo-Turkish War and on Greece” (The American Annual Register for 1827-28-29, NY: 1830):

“The natural hatred of the Mussulmen towards the infidels is in just accordance with the precepts of the Koran …

The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force …

Such is the spirit, which governs the hearts of men, to whom treachery and violence are taught as principles of religion.”

Justice Robert Jackson, nominated to the Supreme Court by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, wrote in the foreword of the book Law in the Middle East (1955):

“The law of the Middle East is the antithesis of Western law.”

Ataturk, the first President of the Republic of Turkey, 1924 to 1938.

He allowed women to vote in 1930, stating:

“If henceforward the women do not share in the social life of the nation, we shall never attain to our full development. We shall remain irremediably backward, incapable of treating on equal terms with the civilizations of the West.”

He added:

“Even before accepting the religion of the Arabs, the Turks were a great nation …

He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government … 

Ataturk explained:

“Mohammedanism was based on Arab nationalism above all nationalities …

… The purpose of the religion founded by Muhammad, over all nations, was to drag (them into) Arab national politics …

(It) might have suited tribes in the desert. It is no good for a modern, progressive state.”

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An incident of “Mohammedanism” was in the early conflict with the Quraishite tribe, c.624 A.D.

He asked for volunteers to eliminate their leader, Kaab Ibn al-Ashraf, saying Kaab had “harmed Allah and His Apostle.”

A soldier volunteered, offering to lie to infiltrate Kaab’s camp and murder him.

In Hadith Sahih al-Bukhari, Mohammed said:

“Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?”

Thereupon Mohammed bin Maslama got up saying, “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?” The Prophet said, “Yes.”

Mohammed bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab).”

The Prophet said, “You may say it.” (al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, No. 369, cf. Ka’b bin al-Ashraf)

Ibn Muslima then went to Kaab saying he was no longer loyal to Mohammed, thus gaining Kaab’s trust.

Indicating he wanted to talk to Kaab privately, Ibn Muslima lured Kaab away from his soldiers, then murdered him.

A similar story occurred when Shaaban Ibn Khalid al-Hazly was gathering an army to stop Mohammed.

Mohammed’s warrior Abdullah Ibn Anis gained access to Shaaban by claiming to be a member of the Khazaa clan.

When Shaaban saw Abdullah coming, he asked him, “From what tribe are you?” Abdullah answered, “From Khazaa … I have heard that you are gathering an army to fight Mohammed and I came to join you.”

Abdullah started walking with Shaaban telling him how Mohammed was a heretic and complained how Mohammed badmouthed the Arab patriarchs. They continued talking until they reached Shaaban’s tent.

Letting his defenses down, Shaaban invited Abdullah into the safety of his tent to rest. Abdullah waited until everyone was asleep, then he crept over and severed Shaaban’s head.

Abdullah ran with Shaaban’s head to Mohammed, who jubilantly and shouted, “Your face has been triumphant (Aflaha al-wajho).”

Abdullah responded, “It is your face, Apostle of Allah, who has been triumphant. (Aflaha wajhoka, ye rasoul Allah).”

These incidents reflect the sayings: “when weak, seek a truce; when strong, fight without mercy” and “when your enemy shows weakness that is Allah giving them to you.”

Winston Churchill wrote of this attitude in The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War (Dover Publications, 1898):

“This state of continual tumult has produced a habit of mind which … holds life cheap and embarks on war …

The tribesmen of the Afghan border … kill one another without loss of temper … A trifle rouses their animosity. They make a sudden attack … Truth is unknown among them …

… All are held in the grip of miserable superstition … Their superstition exposes them to the rapacity and tyranny …

Mullahs … live free at the expense of the people … no man’s wife or daughter is safe from them. Of some of their manners and morals it is impossible to write.

As Macaulay has said of Wycherley’s plays, ‘they are protected against the critics as a skunk is protected against the hunters’ …

… The Mullah drones the evening prayer …

Then the Mullah will raise his voice and remind them of other days when the sons of the prophet drove the infidel from the plains of India, and ruled at Delhi, as wide an Empire as the Kafir holds to-day:

when the true religion strode proudly through the earth and scorned to lie hidden and neglected among the hills: when mighty princes ruled in Bagdad, and all men knew that there was one God, and Mahomet was His prophet.

And the young men hearing these things … pray to Allah, that one day He will bring some … prize … across their line of sight … so that … they may strike a blow for insulted and threatened Islam …”

Churchill continued:

“Every ridge sparkles with bright sword blades, the spectator may observe … the wild fanaticism of the Ghazi …

The victory of the Turks over the Greeks; the circulation of the Amir’s book on ‘Jehad’; his assumption of the position of a Caliph of Islam, and much indiscreet writing in the Anglo-Indian press … united to produce a ‘boom’ in Mahommedanism …

The Mad Mullah was … a wild enthusiast, convinced … of his divine mission … preached a crusade, or Jehad, against the infidel. The mine was fired. The flame ran along the ground. The explosions burst forth in all directions. The reverberations have not yet died away …

It is … impossible for the modern European to fully appreciate the force which fanaticism exercises among an ignorant, warlike and Oriental population.

Several generations have elapsed since the nations of the West have drawn the sword in religious controversy, and the evil memories of the gloomy past have soon faded in the strong, clear light of Rationalism and human sympathy.

Indeed it is evident that Christianity … must always exert a modifying influence on men’s passions, and protect them from the more violent forms of fanatical fever, as we are protected from smallpox by vaccination …”

Churchill added:

“… But the Mahommedan religion increases, instead of lessening, the fury of intolerance. It was originally propagated by the sword, and ever since, its votaries have been subject, above the people of all other creeds, to this form of madness.

In a moment … material prosperity, the fear of death itself, are flung aside. The more emotional … are powerless to resist …

Seizing their weapons, they become Ghazis — as dangerous and as sensible as mad dogs: fit only to be treated as such … Tribesmen become convulsed in an ecstasy of religious bloodthirstiness …

Poorer and more material souls derive additional impulses from … hopes of plunder and the joy of fighting. Thus whole nations are roused to arms …”

Churchill continued:

“Thus the Turks repel their enemies, the Arabs of the Soudan break the British squares, and the rising on the Indian frontier spreads far and wide.

In each case civilization is confronted with militant Mahommedanism.

The forces of progress clash with those of reaction. The religion of blood and war is face to face with that of peace. Luckily the religion of peace is usually the better armed …

The Mad Mullah … declared he would destroy the infidel … I was shown a captured scroll, upon which the tomb of the Ghazi — he who has killed an infidel — is depicted in heaven, no fewer than seven degrees above the Kaaba itself.

Even after the fighting — when the tribesmen reeled back from the terrible army they had assailed, leaving a quarter of their number on the field — the faith of the survivors was unshaken.

Only those who had doubted had perished, said the Mullah, and displayed a bruise which was, he informed them, the sole effect of a twelve-pound shrapnel shell on his sacred person …”

Winston Churchill wrote further in The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War (1898):

“It was Jumarat, on which day the prophet watches with especial care over the interests of those who die for the faith …

The Mullah exhorted them all to the greatest efforts, and declared that he would himself lead the assault. To-night the infidels would be utterly destroyed … The attack came …

They … assailed both flanks … firing everywhere became heavy … Along the whole front and from every side enormous numbers swarmed to the assault.

… On the right and left, hand-to-hand fighting took place … Colonel McRae again held his position …

The 24th Punjaub Infantry on the left were the most severely engaged. The enemy succeeded in breaking into the breastworks, and close fighting ensued, in which Lieutenant Costello was again severely wounded …

… But the fire of the troops was too hot for anything to live in their front …

The Mad Mullah being wounded, another Mullah killed and several hundreds of tribesmen slain … they suffered heavy losses from the musketry of the defense, and their dead lay scattered thickly on the approaches …

Many Ghazis, mad with fanaticism, pressed on carrying standards, heedless of the fire, until they fell riddled with bullets under the very walls …

The tidal wave of fanaticism .. influenced the Mohmands.”

What Every American Needs to Know About the Qu’ran-A History of Islam and the United States

Churchill wrote in The (Nile) River War (first edition, Vol. II, 1899, pp. 248-50), wrote:

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!

Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries.

Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live …

degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity …”

He continued:

“In Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities … but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.

No stronger retrograde force exists in the world …”

Churchill concluded:

“… Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.

It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step;

and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”

On August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon encouraged support of moderate allies in the Middle East:

“… that the cradle of civilization will not become its grave.”

Democrat President Jimmy Carter abandoned the moderate Shah, allowing the radical fundamentalist Ayatollah to seize power in Iran.

Ronald Reagan warned in his autobiography, An American Life (Simon & Schuster, 1990, p. 409):

“Radical fundamentalist sects … have institutionalized murder and terrorism in the name of (Allah), promising followers instant entry into paradise if they die for their faith or kill an enemy who challenges it.

Twice in recent years, America has lost loyal allies in the Middle East, the Shah of Iran and Anwar Sadat, at the hands of these fanatics …

I don’t think you can overstate the importance that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism will have to the rest of the world in the century ahead — especially if, as seems possible, its most fanatical elements get their hands on nuclear and chemical weapons and the means to deliver them against their enemies.”

President Biden abandoned billions of dollars of U.S. weapons to the radical fundamentalist Taliban in his hasty decision to pull out of Afghanistan.

President Obama moved into the White House in 2009, and, in what some considered a diplomatic affront, removed the bust of Sir Winston Churchill.

President Trump, on his first day in office, January 20, 2017, restored the bust of Winston Churchill to its prominent place, honoring him as a defender of Western Civilization.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:

“Winston Churchill … was a great traditionalist.

I remember the last time he left the House of Commons. We were rising to go to the election, and knew he would not come back to the House.

He couldn’t walk unaided. He got up from his seat and two members supported him. He turned around and bowed for the last time to the speaker …

The significance of that is that he was not only bowing to the speaker.

When we bow, we are bowing because the first Parliament sat in the Palace of Westminster in a student’s chapel. The speaker’s chair and the table in front were where the altar was.

And so when it became the House of Commons, you would bow also toward the altar. And of course, we have prayers every day.

So he was bowing for the last time. He was a man of great faith.”

Download as PDF … Miracle of Dunkirk & Sir Winston Churchill’s views on preserving Christian Civilization and fighting Socialism & Sharia

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Cultivating Contentment

by John MacArthur 

Friday, April 1, 2022

This post was originally published in July 2015. –ed.

The whole advertising industry thrives by tapping into the pervasive discontentment—a discontentment they also helped create—of western culture. It’s almost impossible to go for a drive without having our senses assaulted by billboards reminding us of the material things we lack. Even those who are content with their lot in life struggle to emerge unscathed from the barrage.

For the Christian, personal contentment—being satisfied with what God has given us—is a vital aspect of personal holiness and integrity. In that vein, the author of Hebrews gives us this simple exhortation: “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5). Contentment is fundamental to integrity because a man who is content is far less vulnerable to the worldly enticements and distractions that Satan throws at him.

But our contentment can be undermined and assaulted by the sin of covetousness. It is one of the chief ways discontentment manifests itself. Covetousness is an attitude, a longing to acquire things. It means we set nearly all our attention and thought on gaining more money or having new possessions, whether we ever obtain them or not.

An encounter early in the career of wealthy oil executive John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937) illustrates this attitude. A friend reportedly asked the young Rockefeller how much money he wanted. “A million dollars,” he answered. After Rockefeller earned his first million dollars, his friend asked him how much more money he wanted. “Another million dollars,” Rockefeller replied.

Rockefeller’s desires further illustrate a law of diminishing returns with regard to covetousness: The more we get the more we want, and the more we want the less satisfied we are. The Preacher (probably Solomon, one who would understand this principle very well) wrote, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

According to Scripture, loving money is one of the most common ways we display covetousness. Money can be used to purchase almost anything we desire, and thus it is synonymous with lusting after material riches. Obviously, we should seek to be free from any craving for material wealth. Such a desire indicates we are trusting in riches rather than in the living God.

Paul told Timothy how he was to deal with this matter, and his command is especially applicable to Christians living in affluent Western cultures: “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).

The Lord Jesus, in perhaps His most sobering parable, gives us a strong warning about the serious pitfalls related to covetousness and materialism:

“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15–21)

The love of money and material possessions is evidenced in a variety of ways. For some people, it remains just an attitude—they never actually acquire anything. But others do acquire wealth, and for them the thrill is in adding to what they have. They love to increase their bank accounts, build up their stock and investment portfolios, or become involved in new business ventures.

Some people love money just for its own sake and find satisfaction simply in hoarding what they have. Still others are conspicuous consumers who love to buy newer, more expensive things—nicer clothes, fancier gadgets, more luxurious cars, bigger vacation homes—so they can flaunt their wealth. No matter how the love of materialism shows itself, it displeases God. We are all tempted—some of us more times than others—to compromise our testimonies and forget our integrity for the sake of material gain. But God wants us to be content.

Keys to Contentment

Scripture contains a number of practical guidelines by which we can enjoy the attitude of contentment. First, we must realize God’s goodness and believe that as our Father, He will take care of us. The apostle Paul reminds us that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Second, we must grasp and treasure the truth that God is omniscient. He knows our needs long before we ask Him to supply them. Jesus told the disciples, “Your Father knows that you need these things” (Luke 12:30).

The third vital ingredient for genuine contentment is that we consider what we deserve. We often have an inflated, self-important view of what we desire, and even more of what we need. But in reality, by the Lord’s sovereign design, the smallest good thing we have is far more than we deserve. Like Jacob, we are “unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown” (Genesis 32:10).

Fourth, God’s Word exhorts us to recognize His sovereign supremacy. We will not be completely content until we see that His plan is not the same for all His children. What the Father lovingly gives to one believer, He just as lovingly withholds from another (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:4–11). Hannah, Samuel’s mother, spoke wisely and to the point concerning material blessings: “The Lord makes poor and rich” (1 Samuel 2:7). We might not be comfortable with the first part of that statement, but God knows that being rich is not necessarily the best plan for us. It could even be spiritually harmful for us (as it was for the rich man in Luke 12). The Lord provides us with just what we need and nothing less.

Finally, we must keep on reminding ourselves that worldly wealth and possessions are not the true riches. Our real treasure is in heaven. So Paul calls on us to set our minds “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). Ultimately, therefore, genuine contentment results from our communion with God the Father and with His Son. Material riches fade into insignificance when we draw near to Christ and are overwhelmed by the spiritual riches we have in Him.

(Adapted from The Power of Integrity.)

https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B150731

How is Noah’s Ark Related to Jesus?

Genesis 6:5-14

July 10, 2022

Is the story of Noah’s flood folklore? No. Archaeologists tell us that every great civilization in history had a story of a cataclysmic flood. But depend on Christ, who confirmed the story by saying, “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37).

What characterized the days of Noah? Apostasy. Anarchy. Ungodly philosophy. “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

The days of Noah have returned to us.

The wickedness reached such a level that “the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:6-8; emphasis added).

In these dangerous days, we have the grace of God.

GRACE PROVIDES A SAVIOR

Noah needed to be saved, so God told him, “Make yourself an ark” (Genesis 6:14a). That ark pictures Jesus Christ. (Read 1 Peter 3:18-20.)

The Ark’s Security

“Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch” (Genesis 6:14). Gopherwood is cypress, which will not rot, and “pitch” is tar. Interestingly, this is not the usual word for pitch—this word is translated in the rest of the Bible as atonement. The water was God’s judgment, and not one drop could come through. Christ is the atonement for our sin, and in Him, no judgment can get to you.

The Ark’s Sufficiency

“And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits” (Genesis 6:15). The ark was 3 million cubic feet. There was room on that ark, and there is room at the cross.

The Ark’s Shape

Notice that God does not say the ark has a prow or stern. Archaeologists tell us these are the dimensions of a coffin. The ancients built their coffins out of cypress because it would not decay. Why is the ark a giant coffin? Because when Noah came into that ark, it pictured the way we are buried with Christ in baptism. (See Romans 6:4.)

“You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side” (Genesis 6:16a). This is the door that God sealed, and nobody could open it. (See Genesis 7:16.) But Noah could open the window and look up. God was saying, “From now on, you are to be Heavenly minded.” We are sealed into Christ by the Holy Spirit. We look into Heaven through Jesus Christ.

The Ark’s Sustenance

“And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them” (Genesis 6:21). God took care of all of their needs. When you come to Jesus, you have shelter and substance. Jesus not only saves but also satisfies.

The Ark’s Schedule

“Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4). You might blow past this. But when the ark arrived, having been steered by God (because it also had no helm!), it was the seventh month in the Jewish calendar—April. This is the time of Passover, when Jesus came out of the grave, having taken the floodwaters of God’s wrath upon the cross!

GRACE PROVIDES SALVATION

Why do we have a Savior? So we can be saved!

How? “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10; emphasis added).

If you keep three prepositions in mind, you will never get confused about the relationship of faith and good works. You are saved…

  1. by grace,
  2. through faith,
  3. for good works.

The ark shows that salvation is by grace. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD…. ‘I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you’” (Genesis 6:8,18). God only has one plan of salvation, and that is by grace.

Grace means that God saves us apart from any effort of our own.

“Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Come into the ark, you and all your household’” (Genesis 7:1a). Noah had to take that step through faith. (See Hebrews 11:7.)

Noah was saved for good works. “So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth’” (Genesis 9:1). We do not do good works in order to be saved; we do them because we have been saved.

GRACE PROVIDES SECURITY

God did not say, “Noah, go into the ark.” He said, “Come”—meaning God was in the ark. In Christ, you are as safe as you can possibly be. About those who believe in Christ, the Bible says, “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13b). Not only did God shut the water out; God shut Noah in. Could Noah have lost his salvation? God shut the door! Noah may have fallen down inside that ark, but he couldn’t fall out of it.

Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). If you are saved by works, you will have to be kept by works. But we are saved by grace, and kept by grace.

The first time, God destroyed the world by water. The second time, it will be by fire.

“…The world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:6b-7,9).

Now here is the question: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:11-12)?

Judgment is coming. You had better be in the ark of safety, whose name is the Lord Jesus Christ, and know the grace of Almighty God.

https://www.lwf.org/articles/how-is-noahs-ark-related-to-jesus

VIDEO Dr. Birx Book: Pharma Companies Responsible for ‘Thousands’ of Deaths During COVID Peak –  Mega donor dumped Dems because of lies about vaccine

NO ONE IN THE BIG PHARMA-SPONSORED MEDIA SEEMS TO HAVE PICKED UP ON THIS. STRANGE, HUH?

BY RAHEEM J. KASSAM AUGUST 14, 2022

Former White House coronavirus task force spokesman Ambassador Deborah Birx has effectively laid blame for thousands of deaths at the door of big pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna, claiming their refusal to pursue a “compassionate use authorization” for the COVID-19 vaccines led to a delay which directly impacted nursing home residents, The National Pulse can reveal.

The details come in the final parts of Birx’s little read book – Silent Invasion – wherein she details how she used “subterfuge” to get around the will of the Trump administration, as well as naming Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and Vice President Mike Pence as her “go to” people in the government.

In Chapter 19, entitled “Winter Is Here,” Birx turns her guns on the same pharmaceutical companies she and her colleague Anthony Fauci promoted and protected during the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, she points out the corporates who were shielded by government from liability failed to get vital doses of their vaccines into the arms of those who needed it earliest: the elderly:

“Getting as many people inoculated as quickly and equitably as possible remained one of my priorities. In addition to “emergency use authorization,” or EUA, the FDA also has the authority to allow the use of therapeutics and vaccines (and the use of experimental drugs to people outside clinical trials) under what’s called “compassionate use authorization,” or CUA. Lacking the holy grail of emergency use authorization (which was pending), I continued to try to find a way to get the highest-risk group immunized as quickly as possible. In early November, I asked Tony and Steve to approach Moderna and Pfizer and urge them to apply for CUA while their vaccines’ efficacy was still being determined but safety was fairly clear. With a CUA in hand, we could inoculate any nursing home residents who wished to be. Whether they volunteered for the jabs or not, at least they’d have the option.”

MUST READ: Dr. Birx – Who Admitted COVID ‘Subterfuge’ In Trump’s White House – Says Her ‘Go To’ People Were Jared Kushner and Mike Pence.

But as many continued to die, her wishes were not carried through, she explains:

“We had a narrow window, and it was closing. Fifteen hundred nursing home residents died in the first week of October. The vaccine manufacturers, I learned, had already stockpiled three million doses. If we could draw from that supply through CUA, thousands of lives could be saved.

“This didn’t happen. Pfizer and Moderna declined to pursue compassionate use authorization. They believed the process would be a distraction. Their eyes were fixed on the EUA, another complicated process; taking on both simply wasn’t possible.

“I believed it was—it just wasn’t part of the plan these manufacturers had envisioned.”

Birx then goes on to detail the number of people that were affected by the major corporations’ refusal to pursue a faster route to market. At the time, many suspected they were refusing to do so because such speed would give President Trump an ostensible boost right before the U.S. presidential election.

“Take a moment to imagine that they did apply for compassionate use. And imagine that 1.5 million of the 3 million stockpiled doses went to nursing homes in November, and another 1.5 million at the end of November, for a second dose. If this had happened, the nursing home residents would have been fully protected in December, at the start of the surge, and not, as it turned out, as late as February, after the surge. An additional six-thousand-plus nursing home residents died in mid-December. They all could have been fully immunized and protected before this happened and we could have saved thousands of lives. If this had been done, literally thousands of lives could have been saved. Great good could have been done, and at low risk to these vulnerable people. In a pandemic, you need to innovate on the fly in response to the reality of the moment and not be locked into a rigid plan.”

MUST READ: STUDY: Closing Bars, Restaurants Did NOT Suppress COVID-19.

Birx’s theory rests on the efficacy of the vaccines, however. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines were altered this past week to remove the distinctions between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Regardless of the “science” today, the United States continues to restrict foreign travelers into the country who are not vaccinated, unless they come in illegally through America’s porous southern border.

Not one major corporate news outlet has covered this story, while most take significant advertising money from big pharmaceutical companies. The chairman and chief executive officer of the Thomson Reuters Foundation is also a top investor and board member for Pfizer, as revealed by The National Pulse in December 2021. Support our investigative work here.

VIDEO Mega donor dumped Dems because of lies about vaccine

OFFERS FACT-CHECKERS $1 MILLION IF THEY CAN REFUTE HIS CLAIMS

By Art Moore August 11, 2022

Guest hosting “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade added a caveat to a former Democratic Party mega-donor’s recitation of statistics backing his claim that COVID-19 vaccines are “the most dangerous ever created.”

“We can’t verify those numbers,” Kilmeade said in response to Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Kirsch, who says he has given a total of more than $20 million to Democratic candidates and causes.

Kilmeade was reacting specifically to an unscientific sampling of people who attended conservative-libertarian businessman and talk-radio host Wayne Root’s wedding that nevertheless is consistent with other data, Kirsch contends.

Kirsch said in a Substack post after the interview that he has offered Fox News the opportunity to verify his numbers.

TRENDING: Why are so many young Americans irreligious?

What’s more, Kirsch has had a standing offer of $1 million to the left-leaning watchdog Media Matters or anyone who is able to refute his claims.

“Note that nobody wants to bet me on any of the bets I have outstanding,” he wrote. “But if I took the opposite position on each of these topics, I would be inundated with people accepting my bet.”

Kirsch said his abandonment of the Democratic Party began when he started seeing friends die and be injured by the vaccines while authorities were assuring the public the shots were safe and effective.

“I started looking at the data, there was no question this vaccine is the most dangerous vaccine ever created by man,” he said.

Kirsch said he could not get a “single minute” in front of any Democratic Congress member.

See the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” interview with Steve Kirsch:


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