Saturday Sampler: September 18- September 24

raggedy-ann-samplerWriting for The Federalist, Hans Fiene tells us (tongue in cheek, of course) How To Make The Bible Support Any Sexual Practice In 3 Easy Steps. Dear sisters in Christ, we desperately need to understand Scripture properly exactly because people really do twist verses in the ways Hans describes in order to justify sin.

Along those lines, Rachel of danielthree18 shows us several Consequences of Mishandling Scripture in our conversations, or even on our social media posts. Ladies, we really must be careful to quote God’s Word correctly and with reverence.

In her article, Pastoral Propriety with Church Ladies and 7 Ways Women Can Help, Michelle Lesley offers practical tips for maintaining purity in interactions with your pastors. Most of her points reflect sheer commonsense, which really isn’t as common as it should be.

You might want to read Misconceptions of Grace by Sarah Bubar on the Biblical Woman blog, especially if you view grace as  something that God gives us freely. Sarah takes us back to God’s Word to remind us what Jesus paid in order that we might benefit from His grace. She also encourages us that grace empowers us to respond to the Lord’s generosity.

Glen Chatfield of The Watchman’s Bagpipes shares an interesting quotation from Lloyd-Jones on How to Preach the Gospel that is decidedly more relevant today than it was  when Lloyd-Jones first wrote it. How thankful John and I are to belong to a church that relies on the simple proclamation of God’s Word rather than than pragmatic gimmicks and worldly entertainment!

Superstitions permeate our culture, and even Bible-believing Christians struggle with them. Jessica Pickowicz of Beautiful Thing kicks off a new series on this seldom discussed topic with Portraits of Superstition: The Obnoxious Knocker. I like her gentle way of bringing us back to trusting the Lord.

Kim Shay has a wonderful article in Out of the Ordinary entitled Theological Objections that challenges the aversion to theology that floods evangelical circles today. She reminds us what theology is and why we need it.

I’m strongly recommending that you read Glen Chatfield’s Open Letter to “Worship” Leaders and share it on social media.  Yeah — it’s that important!

I absolutely love Does God speak in unidentified promptings? by Elizabeth Prata of The End Time. She approaches the matter differently than people usually do, which makes her point all the more effective. Please read this exceptional essay and consider its Biblical perspective.




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Hey Jude — Who Do You Think You Are?

Shadow BibleWe’re going to open our study of Jude’s epistle today by digging in to verse 1 pretty much immediately. But first, since the entire book consists of only 25 verses, I want you to click this link to begin to familiarize yourselves with its message. After all, in any Bible Study we must constantly keep the context front and center.

As we look at verse 1, we notice that Jude immediately introduces himself and identifies his readers:

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,

To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: (ESV)

Most people (myself included) tend to skim over such verses, eager to get to the  “good stuff.” This dismissive attitude, however, causes us to miss so much of what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Jude’s opening words, far from being a necessary convention in First Century letter writing, reveal much about Christian humility as well as about God’s grace in calling us to Himself.

Today, we’ll only have time to talk about how Jude introduces himself. I had fully intended to work through the entire verse, but it contains just too much rush through it. And I want you to really grasp just how humbly Jude presents himself to his readers.

Jude starts out by referring to himself as a “servant of Jesus Christ,” which indicates his submission to the Lord. So right away he sets the example of putting himself at God’s disposal. He doesn’t expect Christ to cater to his petty demands. On the contrary, Jude expects to follow the Lord’s commands.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the implications of servanthood. Jude identifies himself as Christ’s slave. As such, he obeys the Lord by living for the sole purpose of pleasing Him. The Lord Jesus Christ owns Jude, having purchased him with His blood (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

The implications of Jude’s declaration of servanthood extend well beyond merely obeying the Lord’s commands, however. In the latter part of the First Century, service to Christ carried consequences that 21st Century Christians in America haven’t yet faced. Jude probably wrote his epistle between 60 and 70 A.D., after most of the apostles had been killed because of their service to Christ. Other Christians endured varying levels of persecution. Clearly, identifying oneself as a servant of Jesus Christ amounted to putting a target on one’s back and inviting people  to shoot. So Jude introduces himself as a servant of Jesus Christ, fully aware that doing so may sign his death warrant.

Next, Jude tells us that he’s the brother of James. Most of the commentaries I read tend toward the theory that he means James, the half-brother of Jesus. Scripture makes a pretty good case for this possibility by informing us that two of the Lord’s half-brothers were, in fact, named James and Judas (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3).

If Jude actually is one of the Lord’s brothers, he shows remarkable humility in attaching himself to James rather than Jesus. One commentary suggested that, after the resurrection, both brothers saw the Lord as distinct from them, and yet James allowed the apostle Paul to identify him as the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:19). I believe that Jude, in calling himself James’ brother, models a servant’s humble attitude.

Next Monday, if the Lord wills, we’ll meet Jude’s intended audience to learn a little about the doctrine of Irresistible Grace.
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Men, Summer And The Prayers Wives Offer

Praying WifeWe got on the bus Tuesday morning, and suddenly I remembered that hot summer weather means scantily clad young women.  As godly as my husband is, and even though he consistently disciplines himself to avert his eyes, he’s still only a man. He has  normal visual responses. God created him that way, and I love the fact that my body can get him excited. I also understand that he, like all heterosexual men, struggles at this time of year. Public transportation makes it very difficult for a man.

I find myself wanting to pull my shawl out of my backpack to cover these girls up. I want to demand that women respect my husband (and respect me) by dressing modestly. But I realize that women on public buses most likely aren’t Christians and probably believe men should be able to look at their revealed bodies without experiencing lustful feelings. To women who reject God’s moral standards, my pleas would be an utter waste of time.

Sadly, I’ve learned that even Christian women resist my suggestions that they cover themselves. It’s hot, they explain, and they’ve “waited all week to wear this adorable backless sundress.” And for some weird reason, I feel guilty for trying to instruct them. They place their own wants above being considerate of their brother in Christ.

It frustrates me. It must frustrate John. Again, John’s not exceptionally horny, and he works very faithfully at  keeping his mind pure. I’m extremely proud of his obedience to the Lord in this area. I just want to help him navigate the onslaught of temptation that summer fashions inevitably cause.

Lately I’ve learned that, although I can’t control how other women dress, I can pray for John when I see them in revealing attire. I pray silently, careful not to call his attention to whatever woman elicits my concern. I’ve learned that talking about it only gives him more occasion to stumble.  I express my appreciation for his  obedience to the Lord in this matter, but I keep my remarks general rather than causing his mind to go back any particular instance.

Ladies, if you’re single, please be aware that how you clothe yourselves affects even the  most godly of men. That tank top with spaghetti straps may well be really cute, but if your bra straps show under those spaghetti straps, you could be triggering thoughts in someone’s husband that he should only have about her. As a wife, I beg you to respect married couples by dressing appropriately.

No, I don’t mean you should wear a burqa, but use common sense. If, when getting dressed, you suspect that your outfit might attract male attention, you probably shouldn’t wear it. If you need advice, ask a few  married women in your church (including the pastor’s wife) for counsel. Your brothers in Christ certainly have the ultimate responsibility to keep their minds pure, but you can help them by dressing modestly and respectfully.

Those of us who are married can help our husbands by praying for them. Our culture crams sexual imagery down their throats constantly as it is,  but summer weather compounds the problem as young women display much more skin than they ought. Our husbands may be extremely godly men, but they need the Holy Spirit to support them through temptation. Our prayers, more than anything else, make an incredible difference as they fight the battle against lust. Let’s be the  helpmeets God created us to be by praying for our husbands.

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Saturday Sampler: July 10 -July 16

Rose SamplerPope Francis recently declared that the Protestant Reformation has ended, defending his pronouncement by explaining that Protestants and Catholics now agree on the doctrine of justification. Not so fast, argues Josh Buice. In a post for the Delivered By Grace website, Buice asks Is the Reformation Over?

Elizabeth  Prata of The End Time reminds us in The Purple of Modesty why godly women can’t use summer weather as an excuse.

I recently discovered a wonderful Bible Study website called Knowable Word. I want to introduce it to you through Ryan Higginbottom’s article, You Are Smart Enough to Study the Bible. While you’re there, please check out their other articles and Bible Study resources. I think you’ll find it helpful.

The Canon & Culture website features an insightful piece by John Partin, John Shelton, and Parker Snider that Christians of  all ages really ought to read. Obergefell One Year Later: The Difficult Path for Millennials outlines the sobering implications of last June’s SCOTUS ruling has for Christians, but it also demonstrates the dangers of subjectively. It’s a must-read on both counts.

In response to the terrible violence that has engulfed our country, Jesse Johnson of Cripplegate gives us 4 authoritative truths based on Scripture. Isn’t it good that God’s Word speaks even to this mess?

If the Church is supposed to be the salt of the earth, shouldn’t we be able to prevent the chaos that is overtaking the world? Shouldn’t we be winning more people to Christ and influencing culture?  Michelle Lesley says yes…and no. Her latest blog post, Is It Really All Our Fault? brings us back to the Word of God to examine our responsibility in society.

Sharon Lareau of Chapter 13 Ministries shares A text to my children about discernment and the church, giving us a good reminder that not everything claiming to be Christian really is. She includes several Scriptures reinforcing the importance of discernment.

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