Life is full of contrasts: night and day, male and female, heads and tails. But contrasts aren’t necessarily opposed. Night and day are parts of the same natural cycle. Male and female are equally created in the image of God. Every coin has two sides.
Wisdom literature commonly points out such paradoxes. Should a fool be answered according to his own folly (Prov 26:4–5)? The answer is not a simple yes or no, but something more complex. Wisdom consists, in part, of knowing how to sort out the truth.
Philippians isn’t Wisdom literature by any stretch, but it bears the stamp of a wise author. Throughout the letter, Paul teaches that what appear to be conflicting opposites can hold together—if only we can reorient our point of view:
Joy and Suffering (Phil 1:12–14) Philippians is sometimes called the “Epistle of Joy,” despite Paul being on death row, awaiting his final appeal. By the usual standards, Paul’s joy would seem illogical—delusional, even. But from the perspective of advancing the gospel, his imprisonment is not an impediment, but a great opportunity that affords him access to parts of the Roman Empire that he could never reach otherwise. Spreading the gospel in this way gives Paul deep satisfaction, even if it ends with his own death (2:17).
Good Motives and Bad (1:15–18) Some people preach Christ from good motives, and some preach from “envy and rivalry” and “selfish ambition.” In Philippians 1:18, Paul says the Greek equivalent of “so what?” The preachers’ motives hardly matter, because the gospel can advance through any intentions, good or bad.
Life and Death (1:21–26) Even the ultimate distinction of life and death is irrelevant from Paul’s Jesus-centered perspective. Dead or alive, he will be with Christ. His true concern is how much he can directly benefit the Philippians.
Deity and Humanity of Christ (2:5–11) God and people are categorically different, but in Christ these two natures are united. In this theologically dense passage, Paul demonstrates that the opposition he observes in his own life and in the lives of the Philippians are reflections of Jesus’ nature. Jesus is both king and servant, exalted and humiliated, God and man. These opposites are not in conflict but are fully integrated within the person of Jesus.
Paul’s Presence and Absence (2:12) It doesn’t matter whether Paul is with the Philippians or in prison—his instructions endure and should continue to be obeyed.
God’s Work and Your Work (2:12–13) When it comes to living out your faith, who puts in the effort, God or you? Paul doesn’t choose a side here but essentially says, “You work it out because God is working it in.” This same idea appears in 1:6: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.”
Gain and Loss (3:7–12) Paul doesn’t have much in the way of worldly goods. It’s interesting that what Paul counts as “loss” in this passage isn’t just his possessions or status, but also his prior acts of religious piety. Whether his past is spiritually rich or poor, Paul isn’t keeping track. Instead, he keeps running forward “to make [the resurrection from the dead] my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (3:12). His ambition—as expressed in his prayer for his audience—is that “love may abound more and more” (1:9).
Euodia and Syntyche (4:2–3) We don’t know what conflict separated Euodia and Syntyche, but Paul didn’t think it necessary to declare a winner. Instead, he reminds these two women that it’s not about taking sides. The important thing is that they have been working “side by side” for the gospel. With their perspective properly reoriented around advancing the gospel (and not their own interests, see 2:4), the disagreement, whatever it is, should dwindle to nothing.
Ease and Hardship (4:11–13) The verse “I can do all things” emblazons coffee mugs and T-shirts. Yet it isn’t about achieving personal ambitions. Paul sees no difference in his ability to spread the gospel whether he is being abused or blessed. His ability depends not on his own strength but on God’s.
In light of the cross, the gospel, and the person of Christ, what do these distinctions matter? There is only one that does: whether a person is in Christ (1:27–30). Paul warns his audience to be on guard against all who “walk as enemies of the cross of Christ” (3:18). Such people err by seeing unity where it does not exist, or by failing to properly distinguish glory from shame or earthly things from heavenly things (3:18–20). Paul has given up everything to proclaim that Christ’s atonement can erase even the terrible difference between “those evildoers” and “God’s holy people” (3:2; 1:1). As the gospel advances, the enemies of Christ are converted into family, one by precious one—and that is cause for great rejoicing, no matter what.
Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
When you think of your local church, you probably conjure up a picture of a group of people that has little variation to it.
But the truth is, when describing any group of people, including a local church, you’re actually dealing with a conglomerate of individuals, complete with their own temperaments, their own personalities, their own characters, and lots (and lots!) of individual opinions.
You might say shepherding a local church is kind of like herding cats … just harder!
To help you better understand one of the many challenges church leaders face in shepherding the flock of God put into their care, it’s important to understand that in each congregation you’ll likely find a mix of these six types of people attending that local church:
Godly – Mature. These are those Christians who have been well-discipled and have spent a long time growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. These Christians are able to serve in leading ways in the church, such as in key teaching positions, as disciplers of new converts and other Christians “young” in the faith. These Christians are the ones usually tapped to serve as elders, deacons, and ministry leaders. They are not perfect, but they have matured well in the faith and continue to grow while also being leading servants in the church. There aren’t a lot of these types of people in most churches, but there could be.
Godly – Developing disciples. These are Christians who aren’t as mature as the “Godly – Mature” leaders noted above, but they are devoted to being discipled and are in earlier stages of developing well as faithful and obedient followers of Jesus. It’s exciting to watch these people continue in their spiritual formation over the years, and it is just that — a process that takes time. But they are in this for life! This type of person should be commonplace in most any church, but they aren’t because we so often fail to disciple people properly so that they’re actually “developing disciples.”
Undiscipled – The majority of people in any American church will tell you they have never been in a discipling relationship. The may attend church, and perhaps attend a Sunday School class or home group, but that’s all the “discipling” they’ve experienced in their local church. These people are undiscipled. They are biblically illiterate and do not have a biblical worldview. According to recent research, these types of people make up the majority of churchgoers in American churches.
Functional atheist – These people are not “classic” atheists because they actually profess faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, they may serve in leading positions in the church, they may even be in teaching positions, and they can quote some scripture. These people are good at “talking the talk,” but what makes them “functional atheists” is that they don’t “walk the walk”; they profess a faith in Christ, but how they live their lives each day is opposite of a life of faithful obedience to, and followership of, Jesus Christ (living as a disciple). The reason this group of people aren’t “lumped in” with the “Undiscipled” noted above is that some of these people have been discipled, yet they do not live out what they have been taught or what they profess to believe. Along with the Undiscipled, this type makes up a majority of the people in the church today.
Lukewarm – Why have I listed the Lukewarm churchgoer under functional atheists? Because these are the type of people whose lukewarm devotion to Christ is so distasteful to Jesus it makes Him want to spit, kind of like the Christians in the church at Laodicea:
To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:14-16)
These people may show up, but that’s it. They are not hot for Christ — and His church — or cold, they just sit there. They aren’t interested in being discipled, but they aren’t leaving. You can’t recruit them to serve, and they don’t give. They are utterly lukewarm.
Lost – In most churches, there are people who have not made any profession of faith in Christ. They may be reading and studying the Bible to learn more, or they may just be coming to see and hear. They may simply be curious; others are searching for truth or “answers to life.” They are not followers of Christ but they are willing to hear the Gospel, to learn more about Jesus and His church, because they’re showing up to at least go that far.
So the next time you wonder why your church leaders lead they way they do, especially when your local church is gathered, remember they have the challenge of trying to shepherd different types of people, and there’s nothing simple or easy about that.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has complained that conspiracy theorists have hindered his ability to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, but a former CDC director says it’s his old friend Tony and other federal health officials who are part of a “conspiracy.”
Robert Redfield said in an interview he told Fauci at the beginning of the pandemic he was “very concerned” when the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director ignored evidence the pandemic originated in a lab in Wuhan, China.
“I told Tony that I’m very concerned that he was championing this theory that it came from animals, but there is another theory: that it came from a laboratory,” Redfield told Substack writer Paul D. Thacker, the Daily Caller reported.
Fauci repeatedly has claimed under oath before Congress that he never funded gain-of-function research. But the documented evidence indicates otherwise, and NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak has acknowledged that NIH funded gain-of-function research in China.
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaking at an event at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle on Aug. 10, 2022 (Video screenshot)
“Yes, he clearly misled Congress,” Redfield said. “And then he went over the top taking on Rand Paul and others in an offensive way for a public servant. Tony and I are friends, but we don’t agree on this at all.”
Redfield said the “potential for conspiracy is really on the other side.”
“The conspiracy is Collins, Fauci, and the established scientific community that has acted in an antithetical way to science,” he said, referring to former NIH Director Francis Collins.
Redfield said Fauci “may have overplayed his hand when he was so aggressive with Congress, saying that he was never involved in funding gain-of-function research.”
“There’s too much evidence that’s just not true,” he said.
‘Distortion of reality’ In August, after announcing he will retire at the end of the year, Fauci complained of pandemic “conspiracy theories.”
“What we’re dealing with now is just a distortion of reality, conspiracy theories which don’’t make any sense at all pushing back on sound public health measures, making it look like trying to save lives is encroaching on people’s freedom,” he said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
Fauci said claims and conspiracies regarding the origin of the pandemic “impeded a proper response to a public health challenge” and continue to interfere with the government’s ability to address public health issues.
“It’s a complete distortion of reality, I mean, a world where untruths have almost become normalized, how we can see something in front of our very eyes and deny it’s happening,” Fauci said.
“I mean, that’s the environment we’re living in. You could look at Jan. 6 on TV, and you have some people who actually don’t believe it happened. How could that possibly be? And it’s now spilling over in denial about public health principles.”
Fauci’s biggest foe in the Senate, Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, said after Fauci’s announcement that the NIAID director’s resignation “will not prevent a full-throated investigation into the origins of the pandemic.”
“He will be asked to testify under oath regarding any discussions he participated in concerning the lab leak,” Paul said.
FDA Preparing To Publish Study on 4 Potential Adverse Events Following Pfizer Vaccination
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a July alert that older patients receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine experienced adverse effects. No update has yet been provided by the agency, but a September 30 statement from an agency spokesperson noted its study would soon be released.
Four adverse events of interest (AEI) were detected by studying Medicare’s database of patients at least 65 years old who received the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The agency said its scientists did not believe there is a cause for concern but shared the initial findings of the safety study “in the spirit of transparency.”
The agency has given zero updates on the matter since then, until Sept. 30, when a spokesperson said that a study on the surveillance is expected to be published soon.
“The medical record review and statistical analyses have recently been completed, and the overall study results are currently under internal review at FDA,” the spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email. “Release of the study findings is expected later this fall.”
The spokesperson did not respond to a request for more details.
Pfizer did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2021, the FDA said the four potential adverse events of interest were detected by analyzing the health care claims database for Medicare, the government insurance plan that covers people aged 65 and older.
The events were blood clotting in the lungs, a dearth of oxygen to the heart, low blood platelet levels, and disseminated intravascular coagulation.
“These four events may not be true safety concerns, and the screening method cannot establish that the vaccine caused these AEI. FDA is sharing the initial findings of this safety study in the spirit of transparency but does not believe there is a cause for concern. There are alternative explanations for the findings, including the fact that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was given to many high-risk individuals who were older and had significant co-morbidities,” the FDA said at the time.
“FDA continues to closely monitor the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines and will further investigate these findings by conducting more rigorous epidemiological studies. FDA will share further updates and information with the public as they become available.”
Adverse events are negative health issues that aren’t necessarily linked to a vaccine. The vaccinated groups in the clinical trials for the vaccines had higher numbers of certain adverse events, including Bell’s palsy in Pfizer’s trial, but the FDA said the trials did not reveal safety concerns, citing the background rate of Bell’s palsy in the general population and other factors. Researchers have since identified a higher rate of serious adverse events in the vaccinated arms than the unvaccinated arms.
The FDA did say that post-trial administration of the vaccines in large numbers of people “may reveal additional, potentially less frequent and/or more serious adverse events not detected in the” trials, and in the months following authorization, the FDA added warnings for adverse events to all of the available vaccines.
I had an encounter with witchcraft and with GOD recently that I must tell you about!
I met this guy in prison where I work, when I first saw him, he was bruised all over, he was so damaged that he could hardly speak, let alone look any of us in the eye, and he was giving accounts of what had been done to him to the doctor, whom I saw him with.
He had bruises and scars from physical abuse all over his body and he said one arm is numb from hanging over a bridge for 2 hours… and the bridge was over a motorway… the doctor wasn’t even truly paying attention to what he was saying – which is partly understandable, as we hear some “crazy” stories from people coming into prison every day, however, I knew in my spirit that what this man was saying was true and I was moved by his story…. and I knew what was even more damaged than his body was his soul and his spirit.
He said he had had a lot of savings before he had met this girl about a year ago… since then, he had been arrested 10 times, had lost all his belongings, his place and his grandma’s place had been “smashed-up”, he had been using more drugs and alcohol than ever before and this girl had beaten him (and other people in his presence) up, had bitten him and when he hung from the bridge, he had been running from the police….
Now, this guy hadn’t been an angel all his life, but his life had been more or less under control during the recent years… he had had a decent job, he had thousands of pounds in the bank as savings, he had a nice place with all the newest technical equipment, he had a good relationship with the mother of his children and with his kids, whom he saw regularly, he had some good friends, whom he had had for many years, and he regularly saw his 96 year old grandmother, who is a Christian (this will come into play later).
As I said, I felt for the guy and I wanted to help him, so I asked if I could be his drug worker and his case was allocated to me last week.
I knew that GOD was working on his case and that HE wanted to help him. When I saw him for his assessment, it didn’t take long until we were talking about GOD and about what had been happening in his life starting from when he had met this girl.
GOD had shown me many things about this man’s situation and I shared with him what I had seen and without knowing much of his story, I was “spot on” with everything I had seen, he was gobsmacked and he couldn’t believe that I knew what I knew without ever having heard his story (what he shared with the doctor was only a fraction of what he had been going through)…..he was crying and he was deeply moved by what I revealed to him by GOD’s grace, that he had become involved with a witch, in fact with an entire coven, and that he needed to get out of this mess and that only JESUS is able to help him.
I explained a little about how they operate and he confirmed everything I said and he realized that this is exactly what’s happening and has been happening and he understood that he needs to get away from this girl and that this is probably the hardest thing he has ever had to do in his life, but he also understood that GOD and his grandmother are able to help him and he also agreed that the reason why his grandmother is still alive is probably because he isn’t safe yet and that GOD wants to help him and to use him and that she will usher him into the life he is supposed to live for GOD.
When I had spoken a little about what I know and that I am sure that he is dealing with a coven of witches, he confirmed that his grandmother had told him she had found some “things” in her house which she thought have to do with witchcraft – she didn’t want to tell him what they were, but she said she had gotten rid of them….
I knew instantly that his grandmother will help him once he will be released and that she will know what to do and that she will also know where to take him for prayers and for people to help him get free and complete his deliverance, which had started with our conversation.
This was a classic deliverance session.
In front of my very eyes, this man changed from a victim in agony to a man who will be able to take charge of his life and of his destiny again by the saving POWER OF THE LIVING GOD, who had allowed me to be used by HIM.
I saw him a few days later on the wings, he was smiling, looking bright and he thanked me and told me that he had told his grandmother about me and she had asked if she can meet me – obviously, that’s not allowed and we both know that…. however, he thanked me 10000000 times and I can only say and did say to him was: “To GOD be the glory.”
This is not the only time when GOD was moving in one of my cases, however, it was one of the times when HE decided to come in more obviously and more powerfully, but it was once again proof for what I have known and experienced and if it hadn’t been for THE LORD, I would be dead (or in prison myself) by now!
The agents of the enemy are here and come in our lives to fulfill the devil’s mission:
To steal, to kill and to destroy.
John 10:10 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
What you need to know if you are under the influence or in the claws of a witch, a satanist or a psychic or a medium, a guru, an energy healer, a shaman or whatever they call themselves is this:
They will drain you, defile you, deplete you of all your resources, all your energy, all your life force and they will do all they can to steal all you have which is of value, to destroy your entire life, all your relationships, all your resources and their ultimate goal is to kill you.
It sounds drastic, but that’s the entire truth.
In the case of my client, this girl had alienated him from ALL his friends by claiming that they had all tried to get into bed with her, she had deleted his children’s numbers from his phone, she had stolen and sold all his tools for his profession, tools it had taken him years and loads of money to buy, she had given him so much “hot and cold”-treatment that he had lost his entire self-esteem was completely gone and she had made him use so many drugs that he didn’t even know anything anymore other than to stay with her and in her evil circle (where other witches are and even a “chief witch”).
This is what they do.
It’s their job.
It works a little like an addiction: in the beginning, they will offer something that looks like something their victim craves, some fake love, fake true devotion, great sex (sex magic is very powerful and extremely addictive!!!) and they will seemingly “give” in the beginning to get their victim hooked, but they will always take a lot more than they give!
And another sign to recognize them by is that they are extremely cruel and have absolutely no compassion for their victims – psychology would call them “narcissists” as all they ever do is bring their victims down and if their behavior is challenged, they always respond with denial and gaslighting and they are never interested in apologizing or changing.
I like what I read and heard in Derek Prince’s teachings about witchcraft, and he said that there are in a nutshell 3 signs to know that you are dealing with witchcraft:
Manipulation Intimidation Domination
I found that to be very true in my life and in the lives of others I observe – mainly in my job as a drug worker in prison, because many, if not most of my clients have become victims of evil spirits and witchcraft is extremely common in the life of addicts – from what I know – but not only addicts or prisoners are being attacked – in fact, I believe EVERYONE is being attacked and when an addiction or crime manifests, we only know that the attacks have been successful, but mental health issues or even illness can also be a sign that the enemy has been successful at worsening, if not destroying this person’s life.
And what I also know – and I hope you do too, my friend!!! – is that there is ONE and only one cure, ONE remedy and ONE weapon to defeat witchcraft and other satanic attacks on your life, and the name of this weapon is JESUS CHRIST.
Because only JESUS CHRIST is the true savior, who can save your soul. JESUS is the way, the truth and the life. HE died on the cross for your sins, yes, that’s right, for yours and mine… it is all such a fascinating and yet true story. JESUS CHRIST came to earth as the SON OF GOD to save us all from the devil. And HIS works are still relevant today, HE is as alive today as he was more than 2000 years ago. And if you are not saved, HE wants to save you today, right here and right now: please don’t stay under the power of the king of darkness, please join us and give your life to THE LORD.
Here is an example of what you can pray in your heart right now, if you want to make JESUS LORD over your life:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I acknowledge and confess that I have not lived my life for YOU to this day, but have been living for myself and in sin and that is wrong. Please forgive me of all of my sins just as I forgive others. I need YOU in my life; I want YOU in my life.
I recognize the completed work of YOUR only begotten Son JESUS CHRIST in giving HIS life for me on the cross, I believe in my heart JESUS is LORD and that HE was raised from the dead and ask for YOUR forgiveness, which YOU have made freely available to me through this sacrifice.
Come into my life now, LORD!
Take up residence in my heart and be my KING, my LORD, and my SAVIOUR!
From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow YOU all the days of my life.
Those days are in YOUR hands.
I ask this Jesus name.
If you have just prayed this prayer, you are now part of GOD’s kingdom and family and I heartily welcome you, my dear brother or sister!
The next thing to do is get a bible and find a church where you can receive further instructions, so that your new life in THE LORD may prosper and that you will become who HE made you to be.
GOD bless you and if you have any questions or need any assistance, please get in touch.
I hope and pray that this will encourage, heal, inspire and bless you. And that THE LORD will bless you abundantly in all areas of your life, that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you and bring you PEACE. In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.
Each of us has inherited the sinful nature of our first ancestor, Adam. We’re prone to make bad choices, just like he did. Can we overcome this natural tendency to sin? Only through the power of the Holy Spirit!
In moments of solitude, it’s not what we find but Who that matters most.
Joseph Miller July 24, 2022
[God] knows that you and I will go through those times of separation and abandonment or rejection. We will feel loneliness. And what is it that loneliness cries out for above everything else but presence? Loneliness wants presence. What is it that fear cries out for above everything else? Help—present help now. If you think about it, all through the Scriptures, God’s servants are crying out to God, requesting His help for some reason or other. And God makes His presence known over and over again.
The corrugated metal ceiling was 40 feet up, yet it looked so much farther. I lay on my top bunk, just high enough to see across the tops of dividing walls that separated living areas into a vast human maze within a warehouse the size of several football fields. As far as I knew, here in the middle of a day where hundreds of volunteers prepared for the world’s largest evangelism conference in history, I was completely alone.
I had come to this conference in the Netherlands, ready to join the media staff as a journalist-in-training. But when I arrived, they had no record of my acceptance; it felt as if the official letter in my hand had been a prank. During meal times and breaks I made friends from throughout the world. Yet when it came to work, they scurried off to important duties and I floated around, asking how to help. This carried on for three days, and it was one of the most acute moments of loneliness I’ve ever experienced—adrift in a sea of people, without purpose and far from home.
Dr. Stanley reminds us loneliness is inevitable, a human condition that none of us can escape. But when he says that “loneliness wants presence,” it strikes a chord in me.
Dr. Stanley reminds us loneliness is inevitable, a human condition that none of us can escape. But when he says that “loneliness wants presence,” it strikes a chord in me. In my experience, I desired the presence that would come with working closely on a team, gearing up to serve more than 10,000 people. I prayed a lot those three days, asking God if this had all been a mistake—if I had traveled this far for nothing. I cried out for some kind of an answer, not this roiling uncertainty.
Right at my breaking point, when I felt trapped and unmoored and ready to fly home, I received the invitation to join the catering team, which was something I knew nothing about. The duties did not include reporting on the event with fellow young journalists; instead, I helped serve meals to thousands of evangelists each day. It’s not something I would have originally signed on for, and yet I learned some invaluable lessons about serving others, all the while bonding with new friends from across the globe. What amounted to a few days of loneliness became for me a lifetime of memories and new understanding. Chiefly, that in all that empty space surrounding me in a Dutch warehouse, Someone sat on the bunk below me the whole time.
On Thursday (Sept. 29), Grace Community Church Senior Pastor John MacArthur shared an open letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom pleading with him to repent and make Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior in light of Newsom’s billboards supporting abortion.
MacArthur’s letter, which was addressed to Newsom’s office in Sacramento, California, tells the governor that he has failed in his responsibility as a civic leader.
“Almighty God says in His Word, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people’ (Proverbs 14:3). Scripture also teaches that it is the chief duty of any civic leader to reward those who do well and to punish evildoers (Romans 13:1–7),” The 83-year-old pastor wrote. “You have not only failed in that responsibility; you routinely turn it on its head, rewarding evildoers and punishing the righteous.”
“The Word of God pronounces judgment on those who call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20), and yet many of your policies reflect this unholy, upside-down view of honor and morality,” MacArthur continued. “The diabolical effects of your worldview are evident in the statistics of California’s epidemics of crime, homelessness, sexual perversions (like homosexuality and transgenderism), and other malignant expressions of human misery that stem directly from corrupt public policy.”
“I don’t need to itemize or elaborate on the many immoral decisions you have perpetrated against God and the people of our state, which have only exacerbated these problems. Nevertheless, my goal in writing is not to contend with your politics, but rather to plead with you to hear and heed what the Word of God says to men in your position,” the pastor pleaded, writing out Psalm 72:11, 2 Samuel 23:3–4, and Proverbs 16:12.
MacArthur told Newsom that he should take what God told Cyrus in Isaiah 45 to heart, a passage in which God proclaims there is no other God but Himself.
MacArthur called Newsom’s recent pro-abortion billboards, which Newsom launched in seven pro-life states across the nation earlier this month, a rebellion against God, saying, “You revealed to the entire nation how thoroughly rebellious against God you are when you sponsored billboards across America promoting the slaughter of children, whom He creates in the womb.”
“You further compounded the wickedness of that murderous campaign with a reprehensible act of gross blasphemy, quoting the very words of Jesus from Mark 12:31 as if you could somehow twist His meaning and arrogate His name in favor of butchering unborn infants,” MacArthur said. “You used the name and the words of Christ to promote the credo of Molech (Leviticus 20:1–5). It would be hard to imagine a greater sacrilege.”
Newsom chose to use Jesus’ words while deliberately omitting the first part of the commandment, which Mark 12:30 records: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” MacArthur explained.
MacArthur told Newsom, “You cannot love God as He commands while aiding in the murder of His image-bearers,” following up the statement with a stark warning from Psalm 50:16-19 for those who pervert God’s Word for their own gain.
Believing that Newsom’s soul is in “grave, eternal peril,” MacArthur asked Newsom, “When you look ahead of you and see that nothing awaits you but eternal misery—the just punishment for your sins—what will all the clever rationalizations and political talking points avail for you then?”
MacArthur pleaded with the governor to not enter into the day of judgement as an unrepentant sinner but receive “forgiveness and righteousness through faith in Christ alone.”
“There is salvation for those who repent. Christ purchased full redemption for all who will turn from wickedness, forsake their evil thoughts and actions, and trust fully in Him as Lord and Savior,” MacArthur shared.
The pastor told Newsom that many are praying for his salvation and continued his plea, “Please respond to the gospel, forsake the path of wickedness you have pursued all your life, turn to Christ, ask for forgiveness, and use your office to advance the cause of righteousness (as is your duty) instead of undermining it (as has been your pattern).”
MacArthur concluded his letter by telling his governor, “now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)”
God wants us to be both dead and alive! How? We are called to be dead to the old sinful life and alive to the new work of the Holy Spirit. How can we live a life that is dead to the past and alive in Christ? Let Jack Hibbs tell you today.
This series was first published in April 2016. -ed.
For a Christian to be willfully unforgiving is unthinkable. We who have been forgiven by God Himself have no right to withhold forgiveness from our fellow sinners. In fact, Scripture plainly commands us to forgive in the same manner as we have received forgiveness: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
God commands us to forgive others—it reflects His character. Unforgivingness is therefore ungodly. That means unforgivingness is no less an offense to God than fornication or drunkenness, even though we don’t often think of those sins as equally onerous. Certainly unforgivingness is more frequently found in the open among the people of God than the sins we typically regard as heinous. But Scripture is clear that God despises an unforgiving spirit (Matthew 18:21–35).
As God’s children, we are to mirror His character. At salvation we are given a new nature that bears God’s spiritual likeness (Ephesians 4:24). So forgiveness is an integral part of the Christian’s new nature. An unforgiving Christian is a contradiction in terms. When you see a professing Christian who stubbornly refuses to relinquish a grudge, there’s good reason to question the genuineness of that person’s faith.
Yet to face the issue squarely, we must all admit that forgiveness does not come easily, even as Christians. Often we do not forgive as speedily or as graciously as we should. We’re all too prone to nurse offenses and withhold forgiveness.
Forgiveness is costly. It requires us to set aside our selfishness, accept with grace the wrongs others have committed against us, and not demand what we think is our due. All of that runs counter to our natural, sinful inclinations. Even as new creatures, we retain a remainder of sin in our flesh. Sinful habits and desires continue to plague us. That is why Scripture commands us to put off the old man and clothe ourselves with the new (Ephesians 4:22–24; Colossians 3:9–10). And the new man is characterized by forgiveness—it is an essential garment for “the new self” (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13).
Forgiveness is so important to the Christian’s walk that it was never far from the focus of what Christ taught. At the heart of the Lord’s Prayer is this petition: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Both the context and the cross-reference in Luke 11:4 indicate that the “debts” referred to here are spiritual debts; “debtors” are those who have committed transgressions against us.
It is significant that of all the phrases in the Lord’s Prayer, it was this phrase that Christ saw fit to explain in the most detail. Immediately after the prayer’s amen, He turned to the disciples and said,
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions (Matthew 6:14–15).
That has always been a difficult passage for expositors. At first glance it seems to make God’s forgiveness revocable. Some have cited this verse to argue that if we refuse forgiveness to those who offend us, God will withdraw His forgiveness from us, implying that a Christian who does not forgive can lose his or her salvation.
But the forgiveness spoken of here is not the judicial forgiveness of justification. It is the daily, parental forgiveness we are to seek when our sin has grieved our heavenly Father. One interpretive key is the prayer’s address: “Our Father.” This is a prayer for parental, not judicial, forgiveness. What Jesus is actually saying here is tantamount to: “If you refuse to forgive, your heavenly Father will discipline you severely for your sin of unforgivingness.”
But that divine priority concerning forgiveness wasn’t shared by the Pharisees. Most of the influential religious teachers of Jesus’ day portrayed forgiveness as optional. The rabbis did acknowledge that the Old Testament permitted and even encouraged forgiveness in some cases. However, they strictly limited to three the number of times any person could be forgiven for the same offense.
They believed they had biblical authority for that view. They drew support for it from the book of Amos, where God pronounced doom on the enemies of Israel with these words: “For three transgressions of Damascus and for four I will not revoke its punishment” (Amos 1:3). In that same chapter God pronounced similar judgments against Gaza, Tyre, Edom, and Ammon, always with the words, “For three transgressions . . . and for four” (cf. Amos 1:6, 9, 11, 13). In other words, each of those hostile nations was permitted three offenses that God overlooked, and He judged them for the fourth offense.
The rabbinical scholars reasoned that if God forgives men only three times, it would be presumptuous and even wrong for mere creatures to forgive their fellow creatures any more than that. So they set a limit on the number of times forgiveness could be extended.
No doubt because of the stress on grace and forgiveness throughout Christ’s teachings, the apostles knew that He was calling them to a higher standard. Since Christ Himself had never quantified the number of times forgiveness is to be granted, Peter wanted to get some clarification. Matthew 18:21 says, “Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ ”
Peter no doubt thought he was being magnanimous. He doubled the rabbinical prescription, then rounded the number up to a perfect 7, possibly thinking the Lord might commend him for his generosity. Jesus’ reply undoubtedly stunned Peter and all the other disciples.
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). The fleshly mind immediately protests what seems an unreasonable standard. Doesn’t forgiveness have a limit? Common sense would seem to suggest that repeat offenders should not be granted pardon indefinitely. At what point does grace become gullibility? Seventy times seven is 490! No one can possibly even keep count of such a high number of offenses!
But that is precisely the point! Keeping count has nothing to do with true forgiveness. If an offense is sincerely forgiven, it cannot be held against the offender. The rabbinical system in effect required the offended party to remember and record supposedly forgiven offenses and stop forgiving after the third time. Jesus’ teaching eliminated any limit on forgiveness whatsoever. “Seventy times seven” set the standard so high that it would be pointless to keep an account of the injuries we have borne. But that is fitting, because the sort of love Christians are called to exemplify “does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Since God’s forgiveness sets the criterion by which we are to forgive, the standard is set blessedly high. What may seem at first like an impossibly unfair and unattainable standard is in fact wonderful news for anyone who has ever needed to seek the forgiveness of God for repeat offenses. Jesus is teaching here that the forgiveness we extend to others should be as boundless as the mercy of God we desire for ourselves. That shatters all the limits anyone would try to place on human forgiveness.
Genuine forgiveness is not feigned or grudging, but is given as freely as we ourselves desire to be forgiven. It involves a deliberate refusal to hold the guilt over the head of the offender. It means ending the bitterness, laying aside anger, and refusing to dwell on the offense that has been forgiven. It is a complete letting go of any thought of retaliation or reprisal. It is, as nearly as possible, the human equivalent of what God promises—to remember the sin no more (cf. Jeremiah 31:34).
Such forgiveness does not come easy, particularly when it deals with the kinds of sins that destroy lives and relationships. When we’re talking about a personal slight or an unkind word, it’s relatively easy to forgive. But what if the offense is more serious? Where do people find the strength to forgive when they discover a spouse has cheated, or when a drunk driver causes the death of a loved one? Is it humanly possible to forgive such offenses?
It may not seem humanly possible, and it certainly does not lie within the power of fallen human nature alone to forgive such things from the heart. But it certainly is possible for redeemed people, under the influence of the Holy Spirit’s power, to forgive even the most serious offenses.
(Adapted from The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness.)
Exclusive: Matt Keener on how Big Tech, Big Media and Democrats successfully silence the right
September 29, 2022
A cultural bomb has imploded in America, something palpable, where people wonder aloud if this is what falling empires look like, or where your parents and friends that are older than you say things like, “I feel bad for the younger generations” and “I am just glad I am older, so I don’t have to see how bad it gets.”
The racial and cultural chaos is the culmination of years of often politically motivated efforts by educators, the media and Democrats incessantly beating the drums that America is irredeemably racist, male and – above all, white.
It is almost as if labeling everyone that disagrees with you a bigot, a racist, a fascist or, after January 6th, a terrorist and an extremist is problematic to the long-term health of public discourse in a country.
Andrew Breitbart tried to warn of the goal of political correctness: “What the left has stood for with political correctness is to try to get those with whom they disagree to shut up,” he said before his death in 2012.
Regrettably, the silencing works. The left teaches conservative America to shut up, and we largely oblige.
Shut up! Do not speak at your kid’s school board meeting, lest you wind up on an FBI watchlist.
Shut up! At work, climbing the corporate ladder of your woke/ESG-following job, do not risk getting fired.
Shut up online! You will get censored, shadow-banned or flagged.
Conservatives hand the left the political discourse in classrooms, workplaces and online – then expect logic to prevail in the voting booth.
The result is steadily moving the needle in the culture war in one direction.
The result is Noella – the world’s youngest trans model.
The media are currently writing glowing articles on “her” like she is some reincarnation of Jackie Robinson, breaking the color barrier, just because people did not want to be mean or labeled a bigot.
Noella is 10.
The left’s strategy has remained the same: label, blacklist, make those that dissent untouchable.
President Joe Biden took it a step further when speaking in Maryland in late August. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the – I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism,” he said.
In early September, his account tweeted “MAGA proposals are a threat to the very soul of this country. The agenda represents an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
Big Tech, Big Media and Democrats now work in concert to silence conservatives – for sharing a true Hunter Biden story, for implying we should not vaccinate the youth, for saying outlandish things like we should not transition teenagers, or for bitterly speaking out in anguish after your son was killed in Afghanistan.
They ban you for having a different opinion. They ban you for telling the truth.
They imply that fascism – authoritarian rule and the merger of state and private sector – is manifesting in the form of MAGA.
The irony is lost on them.
The media shamelessly cosigning Biden’s hateful claims unchecked, celebrating Noella or constantly searching for the next white “hate crime” – regardless if it’s true or not – has resulted in a scenario where we’ve devolved as a society along racial or cultural lines.
When a political game changer and “habitual line stepper” emerged in the form of Donald Trump – a man who would point directly at the media “elite” and call them fake news – journalists and Democrats did not change strategy when it came to coverage; they simply doubled down.
The identifying of white boogeymen wearing MAGA hats – on a field trip for a Right to Life March in Washington, D.C., yelling “this is MAGA country” outside of a Subway franchise at 2 a.m. during a Polar Vortex in Chicago, or most recently at a Duke vs. BYU volleyball game – consistently outpaces the availability of real ones.
Across this once-great melting pot– in semi-fascist Columbus, Ohio – it is Saturday night for the opening weekend of the college football season where the Buckeyes are about to take on Notre Dame in the Horse Shoe in early September.
On the sidelines, LeBron James, who has been worshiped for his basketball prowess for 20 years – walks with his son, Bronny.
James’ presence at the game is local and national news, and after the game he teases NCAA fans about the possibility of his son attending OSU.
When he’s not peddling shoes made in China, leaving Cleveland again for his next best title shot or working on his media empire – LeBron is quick to evoke racial imagery or animosity.
In April 2021, Columbus police arrived at a home to find 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant attempting to stab Shai-onta Craig.
Officer Nicholas Reardon essentially saved another woman’s life when he shot Bryant.
In the immediate aftermath, James tweeted out a picture of Reardon from the scene with the caption “You’re next #accountability” to his 52 million followers.
After January 6th, James referenced the Ku Klux Klan –and used the moment to present one of his common themes, or lies – that blacks are being systemically hunted in America, tweeting:
“DO YOU UNDERSTAND NOW?… you still won’t be judge, looked at crazy, chained, beaten, hung, shot to death cause of the color of your skin!!!!” The man who christened the cover of Sports Illustrated as “The Chosen One” at 17 years old. “2 AMERIKKKAS we live in and it was at FULL CAPACITY LIVE IN DIRECT yesterday in our Nations CAPITAL AT THE CAPITOL!!”
Between his ongoing NBA career, his two decades with Nike and his media/movie empire, James is the first actively playing billionaire, with a “B.”
LeBron James of the NBA, where the average player will earn $7.5 million – more than four times in one season of playing basketball what an average wage earner in this country might earn in a lifetime.
He is the closest thing America has to royalty and he has been since before he famously scored his first Hummer in high school. His nickname and his twitter handle are @KingJames.
He often describes an America or Jim Crow Era neither he nor I have ever seen.
When white high school senior 17-year-old Ethan Liming was beaten to death in June near the basketball courts outside of James’ I Promise School, allegedly by three African American males, James does not inject race or inflammatory rhetoric to the conversation, nor does he post pictures of the subjects.
Shortly after the Buckeyes beat the fighting Irish, Netflix announces on Twitter that former President Barack Obama – whom the company has partnered with in a multimillion dollar deal – has just won an Emmy for Outstanding Narrator for the company’s “Our Great National Parks.”
Obama adds it to a list of awards that includes two Grammys, a Nobel Peace Prize and two terms as president of what used to be the most powerful country in the world.
Obama, like James, wants you to know of the oppressive nature of whiteness.
Obama, like James, is an icon.
He is celebrated.
And LeBron James could not be more right – and more wrong – about the “two Amerikkkas.”
‘Democracy is in danger’ translates to: Americans are awakening
Pat Buchanan asserts, our rulers are ‘failing in the most fundamental of duties’
September 29, 2022
Asked, “What is an American?” many would answer, “An American is a citizen of the United States.”
Yet, at the First Continental Congress in 1774, 15 years before the U.S. became a nation of 13 states, Patrick Henry rose to proclaim that, “British oppression has effaced the boundaries of the several colonies; the distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I am not a Virginian, but an American.”
Henry was saying – more than a dozen years before our constitutional republic was established – that America already existed as a nation, and he was her loyal son.
In an 1815 letter to Thomas Jefferson, long after both men had served as president, John Adams wrote:
“As to the history of the Revolution, my Ideas may be peculiar, perhaps Singular. What do We mean by the Revolution? The War? That was no part of the Revolution. It was only an Effect and Consequence of it. The Revolution was in the Minds of the People, and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen Years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington.”
Adams was saying that America was conceived and, as an embryonic nation, grew within the hearts of the peoples of the 13 colonies, two to three decades before the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
In short, our country came to be before our republic came to be, and long before what we today call “our democracy” came to be. A country is different from, and more than, the political system that it adopts.
France was France all through the Bourbon dynasty, the Revolution of 1789, the creation of the First Republic, the Reign of Terror, Napoleon’s First Empire and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy – all the way to the creation of the Fifth Republic by President Charles de Gaulle.
And beneath the carapace of the USSR, the heart of Mother Russia continued to beat. Rightly, during the Cold War, we regarded Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria as “captive nations” and captive peoples.
The point: Neither the regime nor the political system imposed, nor some abstract idea, is the country that predates them and has first claim upon the loyalty of its sons and daughters.
In his famous toast, American naval hero Stephen Decatur declared: “Our country! … May she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong!”
The crisis today for those who incessantly proclaim, “Our democracy is in danger,” is that millions of patriots are coming to see our incumbent regime, “our democracy,” as faithless and failing in its foremost duty – to protect and defend our country and countrymen from enemies foreign and domestic.
Forced constantly by the establishment to choose between them, patriotic Americans may one day come to choose, as did their fathers, the country they love over the crown that rules them.
The Biden regime that currently rules us has allowed 3 million migrants to invade our country in two years. These illegals continue to break our laws and cross our border at a rate of 250,000 a month.
Among them are terrorists, robbers, rapists, murderers, cartelists and child molesters. The Biden regime has abdicated its duty to halt the invasion that is changing the ethnic, racial, religious, social and political character and composition of our American family without the consent of the American people, into whose national home these intruders are breaking with impunity.
President Joe Biden is assuring that the future of the nation will be determined by millions of people who have in common only that they broke our laws to get into our country. Vice President Kamala Harris smugly dismisses demands to address the crisis by saying America’s southern border is “secure.”
With this invasion has come a flood of the narcotic fentanyl, which last year took the lives of 100,000 Americans, a number equal to all the U.S. war dead in years of fighting in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Under the Biden party’s policy of softness on crime and indulgence of the criminal class, assaults, robberies, carjackings and “mass shootings,” where four victims are killed or wounded in each episode, have surged in U.S. cities.
With America’s currency and economy in his custody, Biden has, in 18 months, run up inflation, that cancer of America’s currency, to 8%, run up the national debt to where it far exceeds the gross national product, and crashed the stock market, wiping out trillions in wealth.
“The pandemic is over,” Biden told “60 Minutes” in September, a month when more than 400 Americans were dying of COVID-19 every day, a death rate higher than World War II and equal to the bloodiest war in U.S. history, the Civil War of 1861-1865.
The custodians of “our democracy” are failing in the most fundamental of duties of any political system – to protect and defend the people. No failed regime can justify its permanence by claiming some inherent superiority.
5 minutes of ‘election denialism’ now under fire from social media industry
Focuses on what Democrats, liberals said about President Trump’s victory
A new video has been released that shows five minutes of “election denialists,” those personalities and politicians claiming that an election was fraudulent, that the election winner is “illegitimate,” and that Americans’ REAL choice for the presidency was illegally cast aside.
Headlines in the last two years have been replete with reports of such claims by President Trump, and his supporters.
That charge, coming from the Center for Renewing America, cited Mark Zuckerberg’s actions to influence the election, and said he should be investigated by the IRS for alleged violations of existing tax laws for “intentionally pouring financial resources into the 2020 election to benefit then-candidate Joe Biden.”
It already was well-known that Zuckerberg had an inordinate influence over the 2020 presidential election when he ordered accurate but very damaging information about the Biden family’s international business operations suppressed in the days before the 2020 vote.
In fact, GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy has accused him of colluding with the FBI to change the victor from President Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden. Zuckerberg also, through foundations, handed out hundreds of millions of dollars, outside the regulate election finance system, to influence the 2020 presidential vote.
But the new video doesn’t show Trump or his supporters. It’s all leftists, whether in show business, the media or in politics.
After all, Hillary Clinton, who was a two-time loser in the presidential race after falling to Trump in 2016, repeatedly has propositioned that Trump was an “illegitimate” president.
See the video:
The video was posted by Substack journalist Matt Taibbi, but demonetized almost immediately by YouTube, and that gave rise to accusations from constitutional expert Jonathan turley that it was the huge corporation’s “latest attack on free speech.”
“YouTube has previously shown open political bias in its censorship and demonetization policies. However, this is remarkably blatant in demonetizing a video that showed how Democrats previously claimed elections of Republicans were stolen — contradicting the narrative maintained in the media and on social media,” he explained.
Tabbi and said the Matt Orfalea video showed “years of audio and video clips, tweets, and headlines in which Democratic Party politicians and media figures describe Donald Trump’s presidency as illegitimate.”
The comments about Trump come from the likes of : “Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Karine Jean-Pierre, Adam Schiff, Rob Reiner, Tom Arnold, and Chris Hayes, among many others,” and none of the statements was censored when originally made.
But now they are.
Taibbi said, to YouTube, “However, the decision to assemble these materials in one place, inviting audiences to consider their meaning, apparently crosses a line. Now we know: you can deny election results on a platform like YouTube as much as you want, you can even promise disruption, but drawing attention to such behavior angers the algorithm. It’s hard to imagine a better demonstration of the double-standard in content moderation.”
Turley said, “Demonetizing a video of what Democrats have previously declared is reminiscent of Twitter blocking of the site LiberalsofTicTok to stop the site from replaying the postings of liberals.
“YouTube and other companies are now openly advancing a political agenda in blocking or demonetizing such postings. This is only likely to get worse as we approach the midterm and 2024 elections. The effort is to actively block resources or access to conservative, libertarian, or contrarians viewpoints.”
At PJMedia, a commentary said, “Democrats are getting nervous about the January 6 Committee and the curious lack of indictments. In short, there haven’t been any and while there have been referrals to the Justice Department, DOJ has other fish to fry when it comes to Trump and his associates.
“The Democrats were hoping that the January 6 Committee would blow the roof off the midterm elections with shocking headlines and famous Republicans doing a perp walk to jail. So far, it hasn’t even been established that anyone broke the law in seeking to ‘overturn’ the election.”
It continued, “As with Ukrainegate and impeachment, and Russiagate before that, polls show January 6th remains low on the list of voter concerns (the cratering economy is first). However, the reason it ‘may be hard for people to understand,’… is that congress has spent too much time blurring lines between election denial and conspiracy to overturn the result. If they just focused on the latter — and they have produced evidence, like Trump asking Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to seize voting machines — the hearings might be more effective, even with Republicans.
“But they haven’t been, for a reason made obvious by Matt Orfalea’s damning video — which YouTube incredibly has already demonetized … Amid sweeping efforts to punish election denial in the Trump context, both criminally and with censorship, an almost exactly similar denial campaign that inspired four-plus years of blue politics has been dropped down a memory hole.”
It said, “The kicker is that the difference between Democratic denial and Republican denial is that Democrats aren’t being flayed alive for their election denial like the GOP.”
In fact, Democrats have been in denial about every Republican victory since the turn of the century in one way or another.