Both world powers have subverted democracy!

 

Augusto Pinochet assumed power in Chile following a United States-backed coup d’état on 11 September 1973 that overthrew the democratically elected socialist Unidad Popular government of President Salvador Allende and ended civilian rule.The military junta that took over dissolved the Congress of Chile, suspended the Constitution, and began a persecution of alleged dissidents, in which thousands of Allende’s supporters were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered. Following his rise to power, Pinochet persecuted leftists and political critics, resulting in the executions of over 3,000 people, the internment of as many as 80,000 people and the torture of tens of thousands.

   

Margaret Thatcher’s support for Chile’s former torturer-in-chief General Pinochet is no secret; it was something she was proud of. Despite her assertion that “The United States and Britain have together been the greatest alliance in defence of liberty and justice,” Thatcher refused to back down in her support of a man who overthrew a democratically elected government. This was a man who initiated the notorious Caravan of Death, the army unit that travelled the country by helicopter, murdering and torturing the General’s opponents.

Pinochet’s rule was inhumane and brutal, but was it terrorism? In the words of a soldier in Chile’s Talca Regiment at the time of the abuses: “It seems to me that one of the reasons for the [Caravan of Death] mission was to set a drastic precedent in order to terrorise the presumed willingness of the Chilean people to fight back. But without any doubt, it was also intended to instill fear and terror among the commanders. To prevent any military personnel, down to lowest ranking officers, from taking a false step: this could happen to you!”

Wikipedia.

“For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.”
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So much for common grace!

PROVIDENCE AND “COMMON GRACE”

In his providence God provides for all his creatures (Acts 17:25). This means that God gives many good gifts to the wicked, including not only rain and sunshine, food and shelter, life and breath, but also a rational mind, a will, and a spirit.

Many conclude from this that God loves the wicked and is gracious to them. These things, they say, are God’s “common grace,” his grace for all, a grace that does not lead them to salvation but is nevertheless a testimony to them of God’s favor and love to them. A common providence, however, is not the same thing as a common grace, and the two should not be confused. Nor does the Bible ever use the word grace to describe these common operations of God’s providence.

This is not to deny that the gifts God gives the wicked are good gifts (James 1:17). But because God may give them good gifts does not mean that he loves them or is gracious to them. To say that God gives good gifts to the wicked still says nothing about why God gives those good gifts. The Bible teaches that he has other reasons than love or mercy for giving good gifts to the wicked. He gives them these good gifts in his wrath, as a snare to them (Ps. 11:5; Prov. 14:35; Rom. 11:9), for a curse (Prov. 3:33), and for their destruction (Ps. 92:7). By these gifts he sets them in slippery places and casts them down to destruction (Ps. 73:18 in the context of verses 3–7). This is clearly seen in the way the wicked use these gifts to sin against God and to make themselves worthy of condemnation.

This is so true that we are even commanded in Scripture to imitate God in our dealings toward our enemies—to do good to them, and to do it in the understanding that if they do not repent and believe, our good deeds will be for their destruction and condemnation (Rom. 12:20, 21). It should not surprise us that a gift that is in itself good can be given for such reasons. For a father to give to his infant son a razor-sharp butcher knife—something that is indispensable in the kitchen—would certainly lead us to question whether he was giving such a “good gift” in love and pity. The child will as certainly misuse it for his own destruction as the wicked do with every good gift God gives them.

Perhaps the greatest danger, though, in the teaching of common grace is that it destroys our comfort in God. If rain and sunshine, health and life, are in themselves grace, what are we to conclude when God sends us the opposite: sickness, poverty, drought, or death? Are these things his curse? Does he send them because he hates us? If grace is in “good things,” have we no grace when God does not gives us those good things? Are we not rather to conclude this: that all he sends us, his people, whether health or sickness, poverty or prosperity, life or death, he sends in his love and grace and for our good (Rom. 8:28), but that everything he sends the wicked, even though it be in itself “good,” is nevertheless for their condemnation. How else shall we be comforted in all our sorrows and afflictions?

Rev. Ronald Hanko

This article extract from “Doctrine according to Godliness” is posted with permission from its publisher, Reformed Free Publishing Association, Grandville, Michigan.

 

Image may contain: fire

LESSONS FROM THE FIERY FURNACE

 

Daniel 3:23-30 has to be one of the most exciting accounts in all the Bible. The three young Hebrew men refuse to be idolaters of Nebuchadnezzar’s image and are thrown bound into a fiery furnace but exit unscathed.

Points:

1.       Christ was the fourth person with them in the flaming heat (Isaiah 43:2-4).

2.       They were not consumed because of their faith and God’s power over all of nature (Hebrews 11:34).

3.       God preserves us so we are not hurt in any wicked persecution (even though we may die we are alive with him forever). (John 10:28,29, Rom.8:28-30)

Furthermore Scripture teaches that:

4.       Fire may also be the means of our purification by God (I Peter 1:7)

5.       We will never be consumed by God’s wrath. He is a consuming fire (Heb.12;29, II Peter 3:7-12) but we are saved from it by our substitutionary Saviour.

Good luck??

If you are accustomed to saying this to friends before a race or trip, think again!

 

Pic by Rod Bongat.

GOVERNMENT AND PROVIDENCE

Another aspect of God’s providence is his government and rule over all things. That God does rule is clear from Scripture (Ps. 2:2–4). As the Ruler of all things and as the God of providence, he is the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). That providential rule of God is:

All-encompassing. There is nothing, not even Satan or sin, that God does not sovereignly rule (Job 1:12; Job 2:6).

Sovereign. God not only rules all things, but he rules them in such a way that they must do his will and serve his purpose. In the case of men, angels, and devils, his rule is not compromised by, or dependent on, the will of his creatures (Job 9:12).

Righteous. God rules all things in such a way that the responsibility for the actions of men, angels, and devils remains their own. He cannot be charged with the evil they do, though he is completely in control of it and even brings it to pass (Rom. 9:17–20).

Purposeful. God not only rules, but does so according to a perfect plan to which everything must and does conform. Nothing happens by chance. Nothing surprises God or causes him to change his mind or will (Ps. 115:3; Ps. 135:6; Rom. 9:21, 22).

Incomprehensible. So great is God as the Ruler over all that his ways are beyond our understanding (Job 9:10; Isa. 55:8). Though all things work together for the good of his people and for the damnation of the rest, it is not always possible for us to see that. We live by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).

Gracious. God rules for the benefit of his people (Rom.8:28). All things do not happen to work together for good to those who love God, but they do so because he controls and directs them through Jesus our Savior. God’s rule is not, however, gracious to all. His rule over the ungodly is the opposite of his rule over his people. It is a damning rule, not only because they reject his rule and despise his gifts, but also because he actively rules them for their own destruction and damnation. This is not to deny that he gives them good things—life and breath, food and shelter, fruitful years, and all the rest—but never out of love or in grace. This providential rule by God must be believed, for what we see does not always appear to be under God’s wise rule. Instead of order we see disorder in creation and society; instead of justice we see injustice, chaos, and apparent disarray in history and creation. Faith nevertheless believes and confesses that God is in control, that nothing happens by chance, and that by God’s grace all is for good. Faith holds that all things must work for the good of God’s people, and that they must work together for that good, to those who love God.

Rev. Ronald Hanko

This article extract from “Doctrine according to Godliness” is posted with permission from its publisher, Reformed Free Publishing Association, Grandville, Michigan.

Did Christ die of a broken heart?

Some amateur well-meaning but fanciful armchair theologians have posited that the Lord Jesus Christ died of a broken heart because this would fit with him being our sin-bearer and the fact water and blood came from the heart (they assume pericardial sac) from the piercing soldier’s spear. This is confusing the emotional with the physical. A broken heart is what you get when you break up a relationship and this broken heart is a ruptured ventricle. Both are erroneous because Christ was not only in charge of his emotions but also the time of his death.  Scripture teaches  that he chose the time to die, he did not die of the physical punishment inflicted upon him, at least that was not the primary cause. The idea he died of a ruptured heart is supposedly the fact that blood and water (serum) issued from the spear wound in the text (John 19:34). But after death, the separation of the component parts of blood in the heart would give you blood (red cells and water (serum) in each chamber (biggest being left ventricle which most likely was chamber pierced). Scripture tells us Christ dismissed his spirit i.e he was the only human ever, to decide the exact time of his death, and was fully conscious when he did it-he could not have done that if he died of pericardial rupture so I would abandon that theory! He “gave up the ghost” is repeatedly said in the gospels e.g. Luke 23:46. He was sovereign in the voluntary laying down of his life for us- Hallelujah, glory to God!

Disobedience

 

Jerusalem sacked and genocide of Jews 70 AD.

Disobedience among God’s people, to the revealed word of God, will inevitably bring judgment. The Bible is proof. Time and again they were warned but they refused to listen. They were repeatedly overrun by their enemies in the time of the Judges, Jerusalem was sacked and they went into captivity in Babylon in 590 BC and after they rejected the Messiah their holy city was again destroyed and millions slain by the Roman Emperor Titus in 70 AD.

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” I Peter 4:17.

God chastises his disobedient children and will utterly destroy those who profess his name but are reprobate.

Our High Priest of Good Things to come

The ark-Old Testament symbol of God’s presence.

Are you a pessimistic, anxious, fearful Christian? Take heart because our Lord Jesus Christ is called  “an high priest of good things to come” (Hebrews 9:11). He is committed to doing all his people NOTHING BUT GOOD throughout their lives and into eternity… our COVENANT HEAD promises..” they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. For thus saith the Lord; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.”  Jeremiah 32:39-42.

Sure and steadfast

Many of us men were at one time in the Boys’ Brigade but it’s fair to say we knew little of what their motto really meant! It is taken from Hebrews 6.

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 6:17-20.

An anchor  that is properly stuck fast, is something fixed and immovable guaranteeing that the ship will remain where it is. Our hope in Christ, who is already in heaven, indeed Christ himself, is our hope, our certainty that one day we will be with him. He is fixed there, reigning in glory and all the blessedness in him is promised, indeed sworn to be given us, as it was to Abraham thousands of years ago (v18).

Three Cups

THESE ARE WONDERFUL POWERFUL MESSAGES.

THREE CUPS

By Rev Carl Haak (Reformed Witness Hour)

“Of all the truths of the sufferings of Jesus Christ there are none so dear as the truth that He suffered voluntarily. He was not dragged to the cross against His will. He did not endure His suffering as a passive victim, reluctantly, with cold resignation. But He went to the cross and endured His suffering willingly, zealously, and voluntarily…

Scripture presents this truth to us in a figure of speech, in the figure of a cup which He willingly drank. All the sufferings necessary to make full payment for our sins were poured into a cup which the Father presented to His Son, the Son of God, who knew what was in that cup and who loved us, drank the cup, and then dashed the empty cup on the ground before the cross.”

Read to find out more of our Lord’s willing suffering for His people.