As Persecution Draws Closer, We’ll Need Church Family

Persecuted ChurchDon’t kid yourselves. Even if Donald Trump wins a second term in 2020, he can’t stop (or even delay) the growing persecution against Christians in the United States. He may  be the most powerful man in the world, but he’s only a man. From what I’ve observed, his position on LBGTQ issues appear somewhat ambiguous, leading me to doubt his ability to preserve religious liberties. And, as you’ll see in tomorrow’s edition of Saturday Sampler, California lies under the control of Planned Parenthood in regard to its court system.

But I don’t want to debate politics right now. Rather, I want to emphasize that not even a conservative president possesses the power to Continue reading

The Church Will Hurt You: A Biblical Response

 

Faded Church

If you join a local church,  you can pretty much expect that, at some point,  you’ll experience some level of hurt. The offense may be as mild as a friend neglecting to say hello on a Sunday morning or as devastating as leadership taking you out of a ministry you enjoy.  A few of these hurts are intentional and malicious; most result from plain old thoughtlessness or misunderstandings. Occasionally you will experience hurt because a brother or sister has called out your sin.

I write from 48 years of Continue reading

Can A Born Again Christian Do Without Church? (I Think You Know My Answer, But Read This Post Anyway)

Come To ChurchThe short answer is no.

Blogging isn’t conducive to short answers, however, and perhaps a longer answer would be more helpful than simply quoting Hebrews 10:25 as a definitive proof text. While that verse certainly carries all the authority necessary to teach that Christians need to meet regularly with their brothers and sisters in the Lord, looking at other passages can help us develop a fuller understanding of why we need to devote ourselves to a local body of believers.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me admit that John and I can’t attend our church during the winter months due to health concerns. And this past Sunday, the RIDE got us there late and picked us up early, completely depriving us of fellowship opportunities. But (and mark this point) we maintain contact with various people in the congregation, keeping accountable to the pastors and elders. We continue serving the church as best we  can while we’re providentially hindered (to borrow a phrase from Michelle Lesley) from making personal appearances and/or encouraging our church family.

Resisting the temptation to get on my soapbox about Continue reading

Praying About Twitter?

Head Stick Pics 005Arguably the biggest problem with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is the insulation from face-to-face communication. It always has been easier to say things in writing rather than speaking to someone in person; I get that. Twice, I received romantic rejections from men who wrote letters because they lacked the courage to face me. Writing puts us in control by shielding us from the reactions of others.

As a complication, social media provides a layer of anonymity. We may not have ever met that person we fight with on Twitter, and we may never meet her. So we don’t feel all that bothered if we end up Continue reading

Many Loves, But Only One Excels

Mom once told me that I was the apple of Daddy’s eye. Because he died as I was turning ten, I have very few memories of him. But most of those memories showcase his love for me. After he died, I always had the security of knowing that he didn’t leave me willingly.

My mother loved me passionately, even during times when I rebelled against her and/or doubted her love. (I wasn’t the most lovable daughter to ever live.) A thousand blog posts could never enumerate all the ways she expressed her love for me. What a powerful example of selflessness and dedication!

Throughout my life I’ve had a variety of friends who loved me deeply. How often they gave me rides, fed me meals and/or filled in when my Personal Care Attendants couldn’t come. And how they encouraged my spiritual growth through long conversations and times of prayer together.

Of course, marriage to John has blessed me with a love that has satisfied a deep longing in me. He fills my hunger for romance, but his love doesn’t limit itself to just that. I don’t believe I could possibly find the words to describe either his inexplicable love for me or my joy in having such a godly husband!

I treasure all these earthly loves, knowing that each one reflects the Lord’s infinite love. Yet these reflections look dim in comparison to the love that sent Him to the cross as my Savior. For all eternity, He will envelope me in a love that I will never understand and will never exhaust. But what a joy to spend that eternity worshiping Him for His love!

 

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Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones, But What You And I Type On Twitter Can Be Devastating

Psalm 19V14_02

Someone on Twitter made unkind comments about my physical appearance this past weekend. Of course his remarks hurt a bit. I’ve felt more self-conscious when I’m around people, wondering if how I look offends them as much as it evidently offended the author of those unpleasant tweets.

But for the most part, I understood that the person just wanted to get a rise out of me. He had insulted a number of other Christians on Twitter that day, apparently threatening violence against a few of them. Obviously,  he was merely a stupid kid desperately trying to get attention. Several people reported him. I believe Twitter suspended his account.

His cracks about my appearance didn’t trouble me nearly as much as the juvenile way that people  (including Christians) interact online lately. They troubled me because I’ve been tempted to make personal remarks about certain false teachers that I’ve blogged about or have challenged on Twitter. You’d think that of all people, I’d be the last one to make fun of how someone looks, but the taunts I received Saturday forced me to Continue reading

Modeling Christ In Conflict (And Other Neglected Essentials)

IMG_4883Everyone has an opinion. All you have to do is log on to Twitter and you’ll see vicious arguments on everything from Critical Race Theory to pineapple on pizza. (Okay, the pineapple on pizza debate is all in good fun, but it does get somewhat passionate at times.) It’s remarkably easy to get stuck in the quagmire of bickering and nastiness.

Those who stand against doctrinal error and/or ungodly practices become lightning rods on Twitter. As an original signer of the infamous letter to Beth Moore, I can testify that people don’t like it when you tip their sacred cows. Sometimes, of course, the arguments merely expose the irrationality of the critics — after a while you have to walk away because they’re screaming too loudly to listen to your perspective. In such circumstances, the advice of Jesus must prevail:

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. ~~Matthew 7:6 (ESV)

But I believe this course of action should be a last resort. As we see in the four gospels, Jesus patiently argued with the Pharisees and Sadducees for quite some time. He knew He wouldn’t persuade them of their rebellion against God, but He demonstrated that they rightly deserved judgment.

The Holy Spirit, through the words of the apostle Paul, gives us insight into how to engage our opponents in a Christlike manner:

22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. ~~2 Timothy 3:22-26 (ESV)

Our opponents may be ugly towards us (especially on social media where there’s a certain degree of anonymity), but the Lord commands us to respond kindly. Kindness doesn’t require us to compromise the truth,  but it indeed demands that we argue fairly and with respect. These people are just that — real human beings whose feelings get hurt just as easily as ours do.

Often,  we can’t discern whether or not their questions are sincere. At least not immediately. Therefore, it’s imperative that we answer straightforwardly and respectfully, giving them the benefit of the doubt in hopes that the Lord will lead them to repent of error so that they will come to truth.

Twitter fights indeed can resemble 7th grade food fights. As Christians, however, we must rise above such childish behavior, treating people with dignity. Yes, we still must stand firmly on the Word of God, but we must also obey His commands to love and respect those who oppose us.

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