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Showing posts from December, 2019

New Year's Message: How the Gospel Resizes Our New Year's Hopes and Fears

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https://www.opc.org/sc.html By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Core Christianity: A new year is at our doors, waking up a mixture of hopes and fears. For many, it’s a chance to turn a new leaf and explore a new territory that, from this side of the fence, looks promising and green. For others – especially those who have been suffering or have received unsettling news – it may look like an ominous void. One thing I learned in the course of my long life is that hopes and fears are in constant need of bridling and resizing, to bring them in accord with reality and with the ultimate goal of our lives – a goal that the Shorter Westminster Catechism, a 17th-century summary of the Christian faith, defines as “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Resizing Our Resolutions School children of my generation used dip-pens and ink. Spills had to be blotted, and mistakes removed with strong erasers that gnawed through the paper. I remember my frequent trips to the teacher’s desk to ask for

Voice of the Persecuted Prayer Director Blaine Scogin dies of cancer

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BLAINE SCOGIN - VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED Posted at Voice of the Persecuted: Published 12.29.2019 To all who have been praying for Blaine Scogin, we sincerely thank you. In October, test results revealed that he had stage 4 Melanoma cancer. Blaine passed into glory shortly after midnight following Christmas Day. Brother Blaine was a generous, humble man who loved the Lord and God’s Word with all his heart. He strove to pick up his cross daily and live a life devoted to Christ. He was a role model to all who knew him. Blaine began the Persecution Watch ministry, a U.S. national prayer conference call, that prays specifically for the Persecuted Church and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. For over a decade, with perseverance and a contagious passion, he faithfully hosted the prayer conference call three times a week and encouraged all to join him. As the Holy Spirit led, Blaine occasionally opened the call for nightly prayer and these devoted prayer warriors were known t

The Desire for More and More

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By Bill Serjeant - Posted at The Biblical Way: ‘Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).”’ At this time of year we find ourselves discarding rubbish that accumulated on Christmas day. I’m not talking about unwanted and useless presents, but about all that comes as a result of the usual worldly celebrations: torn wrapping paper, fragments of pulled crackers and their contents, food packagings, cartons, cans, bottles, etc., not to mention uneaten food. We sort it into recyclable and non-recyclable bins for our local council to take away. If we are concerned about *global warming, pollution of the air and of our oceans, and the rapid demise of animal species, all on account of our over consumption, we might find ourselves with a tinge of guilt. But taking action on that count is a hard proposition. The practical enormity of the problem is overwhelming, be

St. Paul’s Church, New York: A Revolutionary War Site

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By Edna Gabler - Posted at the Journal of the American Revolution: Nestled amid factories, automotive shops and diners in an industrial section of southern New York, just a short walk from the Bronx boundary, sits a little-known gem of the American Revolution, St. Paul’s Church. Partially completed at the time of the Revolution, the church served as a hospital first for American soldiers and, after the American loss at Pell’s Point, for British and Hessian troops.[1] Today the site is in the city of Mount Vernon, but this historic structure appears to the passerby much as it did over 240 years ago when Mount Vernon was part of Eastchester, New York. St. Paul’s Church, originally called the Church at Eastchester, was a central focus of eighteenth-century life in Eastchester. Countywide elections, such as the 1733 contest between Lewis Morris, the favorite of the people, and the royal governor’s preferred candidate William Forster for a seat in the New York provincial assembly, wer

He Came; He Is Coming

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By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Devotional/Sermon Audio: "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" — Acts 1:11 Many are celebrating our LORD's first coming this day; let us turn our thoughts to the promise of His second coming. This is as sure as the first advent and derives a great measure of its certainty from it. He who came as a lowly man to serve will assuredly come to take the reward of His service. He who came to suffer will not be slow in coming to reign. This is our glorious hope, for we shall share His joy. Today we are in our concealment and humiliation, even as He was while here below; but when He cometh it will be our manifestation, even as it will be His revelation. Dead saints shall live at His appearing. The slandered and despised shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Then shall the saints appear as kings and priests, and the days of their mou

Man Sentenced to 16 Years For Burning Gay Flag While Burning American Flag Remains Legal

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Posted at Reformation Charlotte: NATIONAL FILE — A man who removed and burned an LGBTQ Pride Banner flying from the Ames, Iowa United Church of Christ in June was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years in prison, 15 for a hate crime of arson and given a year for reckless use of explosives or fire and 30 days for harassment. Adolfo Martinez admitted to burning the flag and told local news media that he had “no regrets” about the event. The convicted arsonist said, “I burned down their pride, plain and simple. It was my honor to burn it and stand for the Lord.” The Rev. Eileen Gebbie, the church’s senior minister, herself a homosexual, said, “The banner featured a rainbow flag with the message, “God is still speaking, it’s a message of inclusion.” Continue reading...

Former president of the Lutheran Church of Venezuela murdered

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By Mathew Block - Posted at International Lutheran Council: VENEZUELA – The Lutheran Church of Venezuela (Iglesia Luterana de Venezuela – ILV) has announced that their former president, Rev. Luis Gregorio Coronado, has been murdered. Rev. Coronado was reported missing on December 12. He was found deceased, with his hands and feet bound, on December 16 in a vacant missionary residence building owned by the church. “The blood of a saint cries out,” the Venezuelan church wrote, announcing his death. “His work for both the local and national church was faithful and constant…. As a national church, we thank God for his service, his friendship, and his love.” Continue reading...  HT: Christian News Network See also: Missing Venezuelan pastor found murdered  (Reporter - LCMS) Missing Pastor Found Murdered on Church Property  (Charisma News)

Bill Johnson explains why Bethel is praying for 2-year-old’s resurrection

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By Jeannie Law - Posted at The Christian Post: Bill Johnson, senior pastor of Bethel Church, addressed critics who said he and his church are interfering with the sovereignty of God by praying for the resurrection of his worship leader’s daughter who was pronounced dead on Saturday. Johnson explained that he and his church family believe God has called them to follow the precedent that Jesus set forth by commanding His followers to raise the dead. "Saturday, just a few days ago, we had a great tragedy, one of the key individuals in our world, their 2-year-old little girl died, quite unexpectedly, just out of nowhere. So we've been praying for the miracle of God. Mom and dad, Andrew and Kelly, have asked us to pray for resurrection. We've joined with them," Johnson said in a video clip posted on Wednesday. Continue reading... See also: Bethel Church leaders, members trying to resurrect worship leader's deceased 2-year-old daughter (Disrn) Bo

Russian security agencies targeting Christians for punitive restrictions under new “anti-extremism” law

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Posted at the Barnabas Fund: Russian security agencies are using sweeping surveillance powers of the “Yarovaya Law”, introduced in 2016, to impose harsh restrictions on evangelical Christian groups in the name of tackling vaguely defined “extremist” activities. The punitive law, which imposes tough fines and even potential expulsion from Russia, places heightened restrictions on religious groups including requiring an official permit to meet outside officially registered religious buildings. This, in effect, outlaws prayer and other meetings held in Christians’ homes as well as criminalising house churches. The controversial provisions of the law give security agencies access to private communications held by telecom companies including ‘phone conversations and text messages. Concerns have been raised that email and other electronic communications inviting interested individuals to church services could also be banned. Continue reading...

“Fairness for All” Poses Threat To Christian Doctrine, Christian Ministries

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Posted at MinistryWatch: A Utah congressman, Republican Rep. Chris Stewart, introduced a bill Dec. 6 that says it would ban discrimination against LGBTQ people. The bill, co-sponsored by eight other Republicans, also claims to protect religious institutions that uphold traditional beliefs about marriage and sexuality, Religion News Service reported. But does it? Some conservative groups aren’t buying that the bill is good thing for Christian ministries and their biblical convictions. John Stonestreet, president of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview, described the bill as “the wrong piece of legislation at the wrong time.” “The Act would enshrine into law something that simply is not true, and for Christians that’s got to be a non-starter: that sexual orientation and gender identity are equal to race, that they are somehow immutable, something someone is born with,” said Stonestreet. Stonestreet said “the ‘born with’ idea is a useful fiction created by the early p

Crackdown on Christianity in China Ramps Up

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Early Rain Covenant Church gathering. (China Aid) Posted at Morning Star News : Persecution rising toward levels under Chairman Mao, sources say. (Morning Star News) – As more government officials in China are empowered to close churches and a “social credit” system threatens to block Christians from schools, bank loans and jobs, authorities have taken harsh measures against more churches, sources said. In Beijing, Early Rain Covenant Church elder Qin Defu was sentenced to four years in prison on Nov. 29, according to advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA). Qin was charged with illegal business operations as a result of the church using 20,000 Christian books, according to CAA. Authorities had promised his family that he would be released if he accepted a state-appointed attorney, the group stated. The charge on which Qin was sentenced could signal a stiff sentence for Pastor Wang, who has been charged with both “inciting subversion of the state” and illegal business

Hope in the midst of political turmoil

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By Andrew McDonald - Posted at The Protestant Standard: In the book of Habakkuk the prophet wrestles with the great question of 'Why?' when considering the things are happening, and are to happen in his land. In personal anguish he first cries to the Lord over the idolatry of the people around him, burdened by the wickedness which he sees, and his sense of how the wicked seem to prevail over the righteous. When the Lord reveals to him his intention to use the Chaldeans as the means of judgement Habakkuk is equally perplexed; why does God permit such a wicked people to overcome God's people and to devour 'the man that is more righteous than he' . Habakkuk's concerns at the prophecy of the Chaldeans' advance are not unfounded, for the events which the Lord revealed to him are such as will bring untold political turmoil to the land of Judah, to the extent that the whole country will be annexed by the Babylonians and the great city of Jerusalem razed to t

The Increasing Social Cost of Complementarianism

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By Al Mohler - Posted at 9Marks: We live in an age where steadfast faithfulness to biblical conviction increasingly exacts a social cost. Churches and entire denominations, feeling the mounting pressure of an increasingly secular culture, capitulate on fundamental doctrines and core teachings of the Christian faith—especially doctrines that intersect with the LGBTQ revolution. Church after church continues to sacrifice theological fidelity in the name of cultural relevance. Where you find a church, however, you find unwavering commitment to the Word of God—especially in those moments where the culture demands theological surrender. Complementarianism is one of these doctrinal commitments under severe scrutiny. To be clear, complementarian theology is a secondary issue for Christians—you can reject complementarianism and be a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, committed to the gospel and the expansion of Christ’s kingdom around the world. While it is secondary, second-t

Pastor Seized One Year Ago Still Missing In China’s Detention Archipelago

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Pastor Wang Yi  - Image Source: Barnabas Fund By Helen Raleigh - Posted at The Federalist: Published December 9, 2019 One year after his arrest, Pastor Wang Yi is still in Chinese detention. Let us all pray for him and the thousands of innocent Christians facing persecution under the oppressive Chinese regime. This Dec. 9 marks the one-year anniversary of the Chinese government’s raid on the Early Rain Covenant Church in the city of Chengdu, in Sichuan province, China. Chinese police arrested about 100 church members, including Pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong, and ravaged then sealed church property. One year later, most of the arrested church members including Wang’s wife have been released, although Jiang’s movement is restricted and she is under government surveillance. However, there is still no word about the fate of Wang and several other church elders. Wang founded the Early Rain Church in 2008. Unlike other house churches that have gone to great lengths

Joni Eareckson Tada: Christians Are Giving Up, Enabling Culture to Be Worse (Interview)

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Joni Eareckson Tada is a radio host and the founder of the Joni and Friends International Disability Center.  (Photo: Joni and Friends/A. Larry Ross Communications) By Samuel Smith - Posted at The Christian Post: Popular evangelical author, radio host and disability rights activist Joni Eareckson Tada fears that evangelical Christians are bending to societal pressure and enabling the decline of American moral standards by not being willing to speak up for what is biblically right. In an interview with The Christian Post about her newest 365-day devotional, A Spectacle of Glory: God's Light Shining through Me Every Day , Eareckson Tada touched on a political issue that hits close to her heart — physician-assisted suicide. As Colorado recently became the sixth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide, Eareckson Tada, the founder of Joni and Friends, commented on a recent survey that found that nearly four out of ten evangelicals and two-thirds of Americans believe it

ROBERT ERSKINE, SURVEYOR-GENERAL OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY

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By Bob Rupert - Posted at the Journal of the American Revolution : Robert Erskine was born in Dumfermline, Scotland, to Ralph and Margaret Erskine on September 7, 1735. Ralph Erskine, being a Presbyterian minister, raised Robert to be thrifty, God-loving, determined, and well-educated. In 1748 and then again in 1752 he was enrolled in the University of Edinburgh. There are no records of his performance or if he even completed his studies. Upon leaving the university he moved to London and found employment that allowed him to get by. In 1759, he formed a business partnership with a Mr. Swinton selling hardware and farm tools. In 1760, hoping to do business in the American colonies, Swinton travelled to the Carolinas with a significant consignment of merchandise. Erskine never heard from him again and was forced to file for bankruptcy. Using his mechanical talent, he invented and patented a “Continual Stream Pump.” His plan was to use the profits from the sale of the pumps to payof

The trashing of truth

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Image Source: The Daily Citizen By Sharon James - Posted at the Evangelical Times : ‘If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear’, wrote George Orwell. Nearly 75 years ago Animal Farm was published. Famously, its author, George Orwell, believed that real liberty must involve the freedom to call out lies. We live now in an age of unprecedented gender confusion. Activists for trans rights want to change the way we speak, and change the way we think. We are told to address men as if they are women, women as men, or people (who demand it) as ‘non-binary’. A new faith is being imposed by force. Of course those who are suffering from real gender confusion should be treated with respect and compassion. But all too often Christians stop there. We fail to challenge the false teaching that is causing confusion. Continue reading...

A WHOLE LOTTA ‘CHRISTIAN’ BESTSELLERS ARE UNFIT FOR CHRISTIAN CONSUMPTION

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By Marsha West - Posted at Christian Research Network: Sadly, “Christian” book sellers line their shelves with books that are clearly unbiblical. Books that put a positive spin on New Age spirituality, Eastern mysticism, LGBTQ+ issues and so forth are available through online Christian outlets as well as their brick and mortar stores. I think it’s safe to say that pseudo-Christian publishing houses has to be one of if not the largest suppliers of outright heresy that exists today. Oddly, these organizations and the outlets that distribute for them are responsible (or should I say irresponsible) for much of the apostasy we’re witnessing in the visible Church. This is principally because these money-making enterprises offer false teachers a platform for spreading really really bad theology. As an example, folks shopping for something as important as a Bible will find one in every color, shape and size. That in and of itself is fine. But they’ll also find Bibles offering tr

Christian wins landmark case in Russia over right to worship in private homes

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Posted at the Barnabas Fund : Christian Olga Glamozdinova won a landmark legal case on 14 November when the Russian Constitutional Court ruled that worship services can take place in private houses. The judgment, which will have significant implications for religious freedom in Russia, stated that homes should satisfy not only the material needs of citizens but also their spiritual needs. Olga went to court on 8 October to challenge a fine of 10,000 rubles (£122; $155; €140) imposed by the authorities after she allowed her house in the village of Veselyi, Rostov Oblast, to be used twice a week by her Protestant church for four-hour worship services. She also registered the church at the address of the house, which is built on land designated for “private farming”. She argued the authorities’ decision to fine her for “use of the land for unintended purposes” violated her “right to freedom of conscience and religious confession”, as well as her right to freely own and dispose of h

The Problem With “Spiritual but Not Religious”

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By David Qaoud - Posted at Gospel Relevance: “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Have you heard that expression before? I recently had a conversation with someone about faith. After a delay to articulate his beliefs, someone nearby helped by saying, “spiritual but not religious.” “Yeah,” he said, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” This is a common phrase, but it abounds with many faults. Honesty is attractive. When talking with someone else about faith who doesn’t hold my views, I would much rather hear someone say, “Look, man. I don’t believe in God at all,” than for them to come up with a religious-sounding statement in order to appease my question. But an honest statement is not always an accurate one. What does someone mean when they use this oft-familiar phrase? Usually, what they mean is that they have a personal one-on-one relationship with God, but they don’t want anything to do with organized religion. They hold to a form of spirituality, but their spirituality is subje

A Pastoral Response to the Saugus High School Shooting

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Saugus Campus - Wikipedia By Jordan Standridge - Posted at The Cripplegate: On November 14th a terrible tragedy struck the city of Santa Clarita as a student at Saugus High School shot and killed classmates before turning a gun on himself. Two students were killed a few more injured and the shooter himself was killed by suicide. Events like these are beyond tragic. Yet God in His Sovereignty uses even events like these for His glory. I am always thankful when God rises us the church to respond biblically to these situations. An email written by Josh Petras to his staff (he is the High School Pastor at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles) was forwarded to me and I thought it would encourage you as it did me (with Josh’s permission). Grace Church has several students who attend Saugus High School and I’m thankful God has put Josh there to help them think biblically in such a difficult time as this. Good morning staff,  I will not try to wax eloquently as I reflect ab

Sinful Silence

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By W.J. Seaton - Posted at Herald of Grace: “There is a time to speak, and a time to be silent; and if we must give an account for every idle word spoken, take care lest you have to answer for idle silence.” So spoke an old father of the Church many years ago, and his words still have a ring of exhortation about them for any age of the Church – our own age included. As Mr Spurgeon had it, “Treatises in abundance have been produced upon the sins of speech; but are there not also sins of silence?” And in so many ways, the professing church of our day has become a silent church with regards to the faith once delivered to the saints. Perhaps we have now fully fallen victim to that brand of evangelicalism that places more emphasis on what a Christian doesn’t do, than on what a Christian does. You know the early catechising of many a new convert: “Now that you are a Christian, you must not – – – – .” And the negative begins to dominate the positive instead of being a hand-maid to it, a