Saturday Sampler: March 26 — April 1

Wall in Boston’s Barking Crab restaurant

Think you know everything about Israel’s journey through the Red Sea? Test your knowledge against Ryan Higginbottom’s Overlooked Details of the Red Sea Crossing. These details, according to him, can teach us more about the importance and purpose of this famous miracle. Ryan blogs for Knowable Word each Monday.

Even Christians balk at the thought of describing themselves as wretches. I speak from the experience of having a sister in Christ harshly reprimand me years ago for posting an article calling myself a wretch. But The End Time author Elizabeth Prata writes Am I a wretch? to show how liberating it actually is to accept our true condition. How much better to enjoy the wonder of God’s grace!

Better voices than I have commented on the mass shooting in Nashville. One such voice belongs to Slave to the King blogger Chris Honholtz. Audrey Hale and Culturally Acceptable Violence discusses the tragedy from an unexpected but necessary perspective. I appreciate Chris for bringing attention to the complexities of this particular situation. I don’t think those complexities will be unique.

In Growing 4 Life, Leslie A offers Encouragement for the Lonely Believer because she herself has endured the loneliness of standing for truth in a time when even professing Christians want to adjust the Bible to culture. If you’re getting weary of holding to God’s Word when people ridicule you for doing so, let the verses she shares minister to you.

Ligonier offers many wonderful resources to help us think through various aspects of our faith. What Are Atheism and Secularism? provides a comprehensive overview of these two related philosophies and compares them to Biblical Christianity. As a bonus, thus article concludes with tips on how we can enter into evangelistic conversations with people who hold these views.

Looking at the account of the Triumphal Entry in Jesus Wept, Michelle Lesley takes a look at the crowd who so joyously shouted “Hosannah!” Why did they express such adoration for Him? And why, when people finally acknowledge Him as the Messiah, did Jesus weep? Michelle explores these questions and then asks us a very serious question.

Michelle doesn’t have a corner on Palm Sunday posts, however. In his contributing article for The Cripplegate, Robb Brunansky expands on Palm Sunday: Deity on Display by showing us how Mark’s gospel narrates the events of that day.

Let’s have another post from Knowable Word, this time by Peter Krol. Why Strife is so Complex uses selected Proverbs to navigate through the minefield of human interactions, especially when arguments break out. He finds some helpful principles for dealing with conflict, and shows us how to apply them.

Flashback Friday: Proudly Discerning

Originally published January 5. 2017:

Bible context

Have you ever noticed that women in particular like to claim that they possess the gift of discernment? I can remember, during my years in Charismatic circles, various women pronouncing judgments on “spiritual forces,” usually with a knowing nod and a solemn expression. Typically, they insisted that the Holy Spirit had given them a special revelation.

I envied their evident abilities to peer into the spirit world. My unquestioning respect for them influenced me to blindly accept whatever declarations they made. I remember one “discerning” friend warning me to avoid a neighbor of mine because my neighbor had a “demonic look in her eyes.” Of course, in retrospect I realize that my neighbor wore extremely thick glasses that magnified her eyes and gave them a slightly glazed appearance. But at the time, I submitted to my friend’s “discernment,” trusting that God had given her special insight that I needed to heed.

That wasn’t discernment. That was spiritual pride. In essence, Charismatics who profess to have gifts of discernment generally demonstrate a gnostic attitude.

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Blogging Fatigue: Why Christian Bloggers Can’t Give Up

A few of the bloggers I read regularly have been reposting old articles — as have I. Some of us are posting less often. Many have abandoned blogging altogether.

For some of us, health concerns and schedule changes have played a major role in this decreased productivity. That’s largely why I’ve been less active in the last few years. Like it or not (and I definitely don’t like it), we’re getting older and slowing down, therefore we just don’t have the energy we had a few years ago. As a result, we see how much energy maintaining a blog really takes. In our younger days, we may not have realized how hard we worked, but now we understand the toll of cranking out posts five to seven days a week. For several of us, our poor bodies can’t handle the workload anymore.

In my case, however, the fatigue has another layer that I wonder if my fellow bloggers also feel. I began this blog with a zeal for hunting out false teachers and exposing them. That purpose has merit, certainly, and I still see a need for that type of ministry. But that type of ministry takes a lot of time and effort, especially if a blogger wants to report with integrity.

A few days ago, as I scrolled through Facebook, my heart sank as a friend excitedly reported having gone to hear Joyce Meyer preach. It made me start mentally planning a blog post comparing one of Joyce Meyer’s better-known teachings to Scripture in a way that would help readers evaluate teaching for themselves. Sounds good, right?

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Saturday Sampler: March 19 — March 25

If we’re honest, we’ll admit that we don’t always appreciate the plans God has for us. Tim Challies puts a fictional scenario before us in If God Would Outsource His Sovereignty to expose our reluctance to accept the more difficult gifts God dispenses. Do we really mean it when we sing hymns consecrating our lives to Him?

Most Christians probably ask Is it Okay to Doubt? at some point in their lives. Nathan Eshalman, in his Gentle Reformation post, draws on his experience of counseling young people to talk about the various reasons for doubt as well as how to bring those doubts under the control of faith. If you struggle with doubt on any level, his words will give you tremendous encouragement.

With Psalm 37 as her starting place, Cindy Matson writes A Better Way: Responding to the Darkness in Bible Study Nerd. The advent of social media obviously has escalated anger in the public square, she notes, but Scripture still offers direction on managing that anger in a godly manner. Cindy shows us some of those Biblical principles.

Do you subscribe to Growing 4 Life by Leslie A? If not, you’re missing out on some remarkable articles like Can You Argue Against Experience? This topic has been near and dear to my heart for decades. Although I’ve never discussed this subject with her, she organizes my thoughts quite nicely. If you only have time to read one item from this collection this week (I hope you’ll read more), make it Leslie’s.

What Do You mean, Relevant? wonders Kevin Bauder in a post for the G3 Ministries Blog. Taking us through the various applications of the term “relevant,” he explains when relevance furthers the Gospel and when it obscures the Gospel.

Covid-19 restrictions have eased up for quite some time, concedes Robb Brunansky in a post for The Cripplegate. But we must learn from the government attempts to close churches during the early phases of that pandemic. Robb reminds us that governments will grow increasingly hostile to Christian worship as we get nearer to Christ’s return. Therefore we must stand our ground in believing that Church is Essential.

Attempts to discredit John MacArthur get sillier all the time. When Ron Henzel, who ordinarily isn’t a particular fan of MacArthur, writes an article in Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. to refute recent claims that MacArthur adopts the rigid authority structure of Bill Gothard, you know such claims should be disregarded. Everyone I Don’t Like is Literally Gothard gives a solid synopsis of Gothard’s teachings on authority and contrasts them with MacArthur’s sermons.

Contrasting the Prosperity Gospel of Joel and Victoria Osteen with the Biblical principles that sustained the apostle Paul, Elizabeth Prata explains what The “good” in God’s plan for you really is. This essay in The End Time reorients our thinking, bringing it in line with the actual teaching of Scripture. And isn’t that what we want?

Flashback Friday: The Drudgery And Privilege Of Prayer And Bible Reading

I’d very much hoped to write fresh content today instead of yet another Flashback Friday post. I understand that people prefer reading something new — I certainly prefer it! But my last article took longer than anticipated to write, leaving me with too little time to come up with a fresh article. I’m hoping this post from January 14, 2020 will encourage you.


We’ve all had those days. We grudgingly open our Bibles because we know we should, but we’d really rather finish that crafts project or read another chapter in that novel.

If I can publicly admit to having days that I simply don’t want to spend time with the Lord, the least you could do is privately confess it to Him. After all, He already knows your secret thoughts.

Of course we feel guilty about approaching our devotions as if they were a chore like cleaning the oven. And I have no intention of alleviating our guilt. We need to come to terms with the fact that we fail to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds (Matthew 22:37). That guilt needn’t condemn us, mind you, but the Holy Spirit will use it to lovingly lead us to repentance.

Once we repent of regarding our time with the Lord as drudgery, we’re ready to adopt a right perspective on coming into the Lord’s presence. I usually begin with a sense of awe at His holiness. In the back of my mind, I remember Isaiah’s vision of the Lord.

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The White Spaces Of The David And Bathsheba Account

It’s amazing to see people take five verses of a Bible narrative and read into it competing assumptions of motives and actions. Parties on both sides of the argument over whether Bathsheba deliberately seduced David or David raped Bathsheba depend more on what Scripture doesn’t say than on what it actually records, resulting in vicious fighting that rivals a seventh grade food fight.

Before we examine what the story doesn’t say, I think we ought to read the story itself:

Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.

Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, “I am pregnant.” ~~2 Samuel 11:1-5 (NASB95)

Of course the account continues with David’s attempts to cover up the origin of the pregnancy, his murder of Uriah so that he could marry Bathsheba, the prophet Nathan’s confrontation of David and David’s genuine repentance for his sins. And really, the main point of the entire account is that, as heinous as David’s sins were, God forgave him when he repented. David and Bathsheba’s second son carried on the royal line, culminating in the birth of Christ.

For the purposes of this article, however, we must confine ourselves to just the account of David’s sexual encounter with Bathsheba. The debate lies within these five verses, so it’s best to stay inside of those boundaries.

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Saturday Sampler: March 12 — March 18

1757 Sampler — Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The feminists on Twitter are at it again! For some reason, they feel compelled to insist that David raped Bathsheba. Thankfully, Robin Self redirects the conversation by asking What IF David Raped? She takes us back to the true purpose of relaying the episode, Let’s stop obscuring God’s Word with controversial speculations.

Preaching the Gospel is urgent, according to Jacob Crouch. He defends his position with Scripture in his Aliens and Pilgrims article, One Day It Will Be Tomorrow as he reminds us of what needs to be done today.

Has Denny Burk lost his marbles? He says that Rick Warren Has Done the SBC a Great Service in his recent interview with Russell Moore. Because Warren has caused so much damage to the SBC and to the evangelical church at large, Denny’s statement makes you do a double-take at first. But please hear Denny out! He may have hit on something.

I love the way Michelle Lesley writes her Bible Studies. Instead of spoon feeding us, she leads us to dig into God’s Word for ourselves. Choose What Is Right: A Study in Discernment — Lesson 2 takes us into three passages of Scripture that introduce the necessity of discernment, as well as the means of exercising that discernment. This bi-weekly study promises to help us learn how to distinguish truth from error.

SlimJim, being a pastor himself, writes Should I get a Bible Software? primarily to fellow pastors. But as more women understand the importance of personal Bible study, we also wonder if Bible software would benefit us. So I’m including SlimJim’s post from The Domain for Truth to help any of you who may consider using electronic Bibles. As a quadriplegic who can no longer turn pages, I depend on my eSword software, which I use for personal devotions and study, but also for preparing blog posts.

Writing for Tabletalk Magazine, Robert VanDoodewaard reports that the Crisis in Canada: Assisted Suicide goes well beyond the mercy killing of terminally ill patients (which is bad enough). He details the broad scope of this Canadian legislation, and then outlines the Biblical response. It’s not pleasant reading, I grant you, but we need to understand this matter. It won’t stay in Canada.

Growing 4 Life author Leslie A challenges us yet again by asking, God’s Terms or Mine? You may think you’ve settled that question long ago — and maybe you have. Still, a little moral inventory never hurt anybody. Leslie’s article might encourage you to test yourself against Scripture to make the sure that you are fully yielded to the Lord.

Elizabeth Prata, in a sweet but convicting essay for The End Time, shares her thoughts on Contentment. In this era of arguing and grumbling, we definitely can learn from her example.

The Unpopular Thing That Older Women Must Teach Younger Women

We all cringe at the idea of wives submitting to husbands, don’t we? Even those of us who know what the Bible says and wholeheartedly believe that the Holy Spirit inspired it to be written should honestly admit that we wish He had not included that instruction. It doesn’t do any good to pretend that we’re always delighted to let our husbands have the final say in making decisions. God knows our hearts, so He’s well aware that there are times when we’d rather have our husbands submit to us.

Yet Paul told Titus to have the older women encourage younger women to submit to their own husbands.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. ~~Titus 2:3-5 (NASB95)

Rather than write an article detailing the mechanics of wifely submission today, I think I want to circle back to the responsibility older women have to encourage this attitude in younger women. Future articles may address the topic of submission itself. Indeed, as an older woman, I must deal with the matter, and deal with it more than once. But it occurs to me that the mandate to teach and encourage younger women to submit to their husbands poses a threat to older women. Teaching submission goes against so many aspects of our culture that most of us simply don’t want to do it!

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It’s Apparently Disability Awareness Month, And I Really Don’t Care

I’ve been aware of disability all my life. Not only do I live with my own disability and the disability of my husband, but I spent my entire childhood attending school, Saturday recreation programs and summer camps with children who had a variety of physical and intellectual disabilities. In my early 40s, I spent two years in a nursing home for disabled adults. So I’m quite aware of disability, thank you very much.

I guess I could devote this month’s worth of blog posts to writing disability themed articles. Such articles usually attract lots of readers, and my ego would certainly love that boost in numbers. Maybe able bodied people would actually learn a few things.

But I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable about disabled people who form their careers or ministries around disability. God uses them, I admit. Often. they open doors for other disabled people, greatly improving their lives. Yet it bothers me a little to see them focus so narrowly on their disabilities that few of them seem to have an identity that transcends disability. I don’t mean to be judgmental, but I’d rather raise myself above my disability in order to take my place in the able bodied world. Not that I want to pretend that my Cerebral Palsy doesn’t exist — I just don’t want it to define me.

My identity is in Christ.

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Saturday Sampler: March 5 — March 11

Since his stroke last year, Mike Ratliff has mostly used his blog, Possessing the Treasure, to share excerpts from Spurgeon’s writings. I can understand his decision because of my increased limitations. But I enjoyed reading Mike’s own work again. And such were some of you testifies to God’s power to transform lives.

Reprising an essay she published in The End Time back in 2015, Elizabeth Prata declares I was not saved by a loving Jesus wooing me. At first, her remarks seem startling, almost as if she denies Christ’s love. But if you think in terms of standing against the popular notions that Christians should make the Gospel attractive to the world, you’ll understand the theological importance of Elizabeth’s personal testimony.

Evangelicals love the latest fad! Unfortunately, few of us bother to research the trends before jumping on the bandwagons with gleeful abandon. This tendency, in addition to inquiries she’s received, sparked Michelle Lesley to write The Mailbag: Applying Twisted Scripture to Pseudo-“Christian” Events, Ideas, and Fads this week. She applies Biblical principles of discernment to the necessary task of evaluating popular movements.

In Forever Young? Jesus and Eternal Life, Robb Brunanski of The Cripplegate comments on the sometimes extraordinary efforts people take to defy aging. Then he reminds us of how Christians have assurance that we need to not fear aging or death, yet save huge amounts of money and effort in the process.

Drawing from a modern hymn by the Gettys, Jacob Crouch muses on some ways we mistakenly assess our value. His post, My Worth Is Not In What I Own appears in Aliens and Pilgrims, using one of Jesus’ parables to illustrate his point. It’s an interesting and appropriate compliment to the article Robb Brunanski posts. And it causes me to rejoice in my Redeemer!

Peter Krol of Knowable Word takes us through selected Proverbs as he unveils 5 Misconceptions about Wealth that many Christians have. This study leads us to a balanced attitude toward money, protecting us from false guilt while still warning us against selfishness. He tucks in a couple unexpected observations that you might appreciate.

Those of us who speak out against false teaching hear the cry far too often! Just proclaim the Gospel! (aka too many competing messages) by Tom on his excatholic4christ blog examines this tiresome criticism against Scripture to explain why we use our blogs and other social media platforms to call out teachers and trends that lead people into error.

Homosexuality, Robin Self teaches us in her blog post for A Worthy Walk, goes against God’s Created Order for human sexuality. Of course her message contradicts popular opinion! But I stand with her in maintaining that popular opinion on this matter contradicts God’s Word. Robin includes an interesting argument against homosexuality that I’d never considered, despite my years as a correspondence counselor with an ex-gay ministry.