Saturday Sampler: June 4 — June 10

Bertucci Sampler
Sampler plate at Bertucci’s

Clint Archer posts Running for the  Reward: Comrades Marathon and the Bema Seat in The Cripplegate. Sometimes we Christians forget that rewards await us when we finish this life.

Reprising a column that she originally wrote in 2011, Marsha West of Berean Research chronicles the Purpose Driven dismantling of Christianity as  a testament to the many corrosive influences on the 21st Century church. Her comments on psychology particularly interested me.  In addition, she unmasks the resurgence of Gnosticism among evangelicals and explores Rick Warren’s affiliation with Robert Schuller.

Sometimes we ignore seemingly inconsequential sins, assuming the Lord also overlooks them. Tim Challies directs our attention to one such sin (grumbling about fellow Christians) in The King Is Within Earshot.

People commonly object to the doctrine of election because they infer that, if God elects some to heaven, He conversely elects others to hell. In The Cripplegate, Jesse Johnson writes Reprobation: Does God elect people to hell? as a way to demonstrate the logical fallacies of this argument. After you’ve read this piece, however, I strongly suggest that you read Reprobation Rejoinder by Mike Riccardi, also in The Cripplegate.

I’ve been disturbed, for the past few years, about the common perceptions professing Christians have regarding heaven. So it encourages me to read Heaven: The Biblical Version by Jennifer at One Hired Late In The Day. I feel less alone in my understanding of what the Bible teaches on the subject.

Denny Burk provides a sobering reminder that American Christians have already begun to face persecution. His article, Watch Bernie Sanders tell  a Christian that his faith disqualifies him from office, reminds me that we can no longer expect to be embraced by our culture. But Jesus repeatedly warned us that the world would reject us, so we really shouldn’t be surprised.

If you want to read something both fun and educational, look at The Mischievous Protestant’s Guide to Catholic Rome by Tim Challies. Now, why do you suppose my art history professor at Dominican University of California  (a school started by Catholic nuns) never mentioned the items in this piece.

In her essay for The Gospel Coalition Blog, Kendra Dahl shares The Lesson That Saved My Marriage to help us adjust our expectations of our husbands. I definitely needed to read her wisdom this week!

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

He Said, “Look Mommy — I’m Wearing A Dress!”

glory-cloudA few days ago, someone told  me that her three-year-old godson met his mother when she came to pick him up from preschool, greeting her with the words, “Look Mommy — I’m wearing a dress!” Horrified, his mother asked him why he was in a dress. He pointed to his teachers and claimed, “Them gave it to me!”

“Oh no,” the teachers argued, “we gave him a choice. We want our children to use costumes to express themselves.”

My friend said that her godson, if he’s not telling the truth about something, normally changes stories when he’s later asked again. But this time, he firmly stuck to his narrative that the teachers made him wear a dress. Therefore, his parents believe that the school pressured him into wearing the dress, perhaps letting him “choose” between two or three dresses.

It turns out, as I suspected it would, that this little boy attends a preschool that accepts state monies. I pretty much believe that the purpose of giving him a dress was to desensitize him, as well as the rest of the children, to transgender issues.

I do believe public schools have a mandate to normalize LBGTQ orientations. Since Obergefell legalized same sex marriage just over two years ago (it seems like it’s been so much longer!) and Bruce Jenner declared himself to be a woman named Caitlyn, I’ve noticed a greater push to force Americans to embrace these sexual deviations wholeheartedly. And the best way to reach this goal, obviously, is to indoctrinate young children.

And people wonder why I so strongly advocate homeschooling?

As troubling as the attack on Biblical views of gender and sexuality is, however, I have confidence that the Lord has complete control. While He hates the sin engulfing our world today (and please, I mean much more than simply sexual sin), He’s allowing a rise in lawlessness to demonstrate our need for Him.

Is His Second Corning imminent? I hope so. Actually, I really believe it’s probable. But I also believe I would be presumptuous to make a dogmatic prediction. I can, however, assert that the Lord is using our collective sin as a judgment on our culture. Please see Romans 1:18-32 as substantiation for my position.

Certainly I reject the idea of coercing a three-year-old to cross-dress. If I was his mommy, he’d never set foot in that school again! But as reprehensible as the school’s actions were, I don’t wring my hands in helpless dismay. The Lord, even though He hates such perversion, remains completely sovereign. In His perfect time, He will bring His righteousness to us so that all creation will bow before Him, confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

David, Saul’s Robe And President Trump

Pray For AmericaReading through 1 Samuel today, I noticed something in a familiar story that made me think about attitudes that people have toward President Trump. Let me begin by quoting the passage, which narrates part of David’s flight from Saul.

When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord‘s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord‘s anointed.” So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way. ~~1 Samuel 24:1-7 (ESV)

From there the narrative goes on by saying that David was conscience stricken, and confessed to Saul (from a safe distance, mind you) that he’d cut a piece from Saul’s robe. His confession, however, wasn’t 100% humble, as he used it pretty much to say, “You owe me.” In response, Saul acknowledged that God would indeed give David the kingdom.

This story has several components, and in emphasizing one aspect I certainly don’t mean to neglect the greater context of God’s sovereignty in humbling Saul. But as I read it this morning, David’s insistence on regarding Saul as the Lord’s anointed fascinated me.

Saul had rebelled against the Lord on several occasions, causing God to take the kingdom from him and transfer the kingly anointing to David. David had yet to ascend the throne, and Saul had tried relentlessly to keep that from happening. In short, Saul was determined to kill David in order to remain Israel’s king. He had absolutely no regard for God’s decision to give David the kingdom.

David knew that Saul was a corrupt man. Completely aware that God had judged Saul by rejecting him as king, David still remembered that Saul remained on the throne at that moment. For that reason, David respected Saul’s office as being given by the Lord. He refused to assassinate the king, even though he had first hand experience of Saul’s wickedness.

As I read 1 Samuel 24:1-7 today, I couldn’t help thinking about attitudes that even Christians have been exhibiting toward President Trump. I understand the frustration of having a president who, in your estimation, will severely harm the country. I felt the same frustration eight years ago, and dreaded a Hillary Clinton presidency. I nevertheless prepared myself to trust that, if Clinton won, the Lord would have sovereignly given her that position (Romans 13:1).

I don’t pretend to approve wholeheartedly of Trump either, so please don’t misconstrue this blog post as a ringing endorsement of him. Some of his policies have pleasantly surprised me; others have disappointed me. Certainly, I believe he has low moral character, and therefore don’t see him as a champion of Christian values.

Furthermore, I honestly don’t know whether God placed Trump in the White House to restrain evil or as an instrument of judgment. Neither do you, incidentally. But I know from the Word of God that, precisely because God did put him there, I must respect him as David respected Saul.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I Won’t Conform To The Gay Agenda

be-the-gospelIn some ways, debating the morality of homosexuality seems ridiculous in 2017. Same sex marriage is legal in many countries, and I seriously doubt that will change. Gay activists are well on their way to force society to embrace the LBGTQ community, even when doing so violates a person’s religious convictions. Those of us who take what the Bible says, especially about homosexuality, know that most people (at least publicly) consider us bigots and haters.

Sometimes I think it world be easier to just pretend that I approve of homosexuality, divorce, sex outside of marriage and all the other sins that our postmodern world insists I condone. Facebook world certainly be more pleasant! Frankly, going against the tide of liberal groupthink can weary a person. I don’t enjoy having minority opinions. You probably don’t either.

But when I feel tempted to compromise with the world, the Lord brings Scriptures to mind that stop me. Right now, several come to mind, making me sorry I don’t have more time for blogging today. Let’s look at just one of them, though, to see how the Lord uses it to confront my temptation to acquiesce to popular sentiment.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~~Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

The world pressures me to condone homosexuality (as well as divorce and sex outside of marriage) as being right and good. One unsaved relative even tried to shame me for letting my faith inform my politics!  But the Lord tells me that His Word transforms me from the thinking of this world (which opposes Him) into a woman who bows to His will. He has renewed my mind so that I embrace what He calls good, acceptable and perfect regardless of what my culture screams.

Homosexuality represents only part of the issue, really. Currently it’s the spearhead of the world’s rebellion against the Lord, so I find myself coming back to it time and again. Consequently, people will label me as a bigot solely on my conviction that the Lord declares it sinful.

Friday, I plan to explain why love demands that Christians face the sinful nature of homosexuality and offer people freedom from its tyranny. That perspective, of course, flies in the face of 21st Century wisdom. Believe me, I fully realize that most people believe that love constrains Christians to champion same sex marriage as something the Lord blesses. But I stand with the Lord, Who liberates all sinners to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Saturday Sampler: January 29– February 4

cross-sampler-01

As an introduction to a new series in his blog, Tim Challies writes False Teachers and Deadly Doctrine to demonstrate the necessity for distinguishing between good and bad teaching.  We live in a time of Biblical illiteracy, and it’s imperative that we inoculate ourselves against deception.

Elizabeth Prata’s essay, Discernment lesson: how secular writers of Biblical material manipulate your emotions in The End Time, sharpens our reasoning skills a little more. She encourages us to compare everything we read,  hear or watch to Scripture.

Going on Facebook and Twitter hasn’t been fun lately, especially for people who support some of President Trump’s Executive Orders. I know I’ve struggled with self-control as I’ve wanted to weigh in on various news stories. So I greatly appreciate Pastor Scott Slayton, who writes at One Degree to Another, for his counsel in 7 Questions to Ask Before Posting about Politics on Social Media.

In her post, Meme Theology Discernment Lesson: How Does God Choose Us?, Jennifer of One Hired Late In The Day analyzes a popular meme that isn’t quite as Biblical as it appears.

Women in Scripture: Lydia, which Persis writes in Out of the Ordinary, takes us through Acts 16:11-15 to affirm God’s sovereignty in bringing people to salvation. Persis brings out details to this account that I’d never been taught before, adding to my awe of how the Lord orchestrates circumstances to accomplish His purposes.

It’s right and proper to encourage women to read and study the Bible daily. But sometimes we simply can’t. Rachel of danielthree18, as a homeschooling mom of a six-year-old with a sleep disorder, understands the dilemma. Her article, How I’m Studying the Bible in 2017, offers helpful suggestions and a healthy dose of grace to those of us who occasionally get interrupted by the demands of life.

Catholics typically defend doctrines like Purgatory and praying for the dead by appealing to the Apocrypha, accusing Protestants of “throwing out” those books. Glen Chatfield of The Watchman’s Bagpipes helps us counter Catholic claims on this matter in his blog post, What About the Apocrypha? Some of his points may surprise you!

Can we apologize to LBGT people for our actual sins against them (and yes, Christians have committed sins against them that require us to repent) without going to the other extreme of condoning their sin? The Apology to the LBGT Community That Needs An Apology by Tim Barnett of Stand To Reason makes an excellent case for showing love by telling the truth about homosexual sin.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

When I’m Not So Outspoken

Pray For AmericaBeing a Republican in 2017, particularly if you engage in social media, can be intimidating. I often approach Facebook cringing, keenly aware that most posts I read will be vitriolic diatribes enumerating all the ways President Trump is “ruining” America.

In the months leading up to the election, I dodged posts from fellow Republicans shaming those of us who voted for neither Trump nor Hillary. Didn’t we understand that the Supreme Court was at stake? That Hillary would appoint judges that supported abortion rights, therefore eliminating all possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade? The blood of dead babies would be on my hands because I allowed Hillary to win by my failure to vote for a sexually immoral egomaniac that was actually (from what I could see) a closet liberal.

And anyway, I live in Massachusetts. There was absolutely no way my puny little vote would influence the Electoral College! But my friends insisted that I’d betray the unborn by failing to put a mark after Trump’s name.

I’ll leave you to speculate on how I marked my ballot.

To my surprise, our new President has made conservative decisions since taking office less than two weeks ago. Who would have thought Donald J. Trump (of all people) would keep his  campaign promises? Amazing!

Strangely, the Republican voices on Facebook and Twitter that so firmly reprimanded my reticence about voting for Trump have,  by and large, fallen silent on political matters. I don’t really blame them. Expressing any positive sentiment about Trump, Melania or his children on social media pretty much invites verbal bullying from the Left. (Apparently, free speech belongs exclusively to liberals.)

I’ll admit it: I’m scared! The mere thought of stating my opinion of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Facebook terrifies me! And isn’t that sad? It tells me that the progressives, for all their talk about tolerance and diversity, refuse to let anyone who disagrees with their agenda speak. So I cower, venturing onto Facebook with fear and trembling, lest I draw accusations of homophobic racism.

But, while the thought of being outspoken in regard to my political views fills me with terror, I have no fear of proclaiming Jesus Christ online. I will, I realize, suffer persecution for daring to declare that Jesus is the only Savior from God’s wrath. As Christians lose rights to free speech and free exercise of religion (think Christian bakers and florists being forced to participate in same sex weddings against their consciences), I feel an urgency to write about the Lord Jesus Christ as boldly as I can across as many social media platforms as possible for as long as I can.

When you think about it, declaring the Gospel is much more important than expressing political opinions.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Saturday Sampler: January 22 — January 28

Bezier Flower SamplerReflecting on the violent protests surrounding Trump’s Inauguration on January 20, Mark McIntyre of Attempts at Honesty writes On the peaceful transfer of power, an article that really needs to be widely read. Alas, the people who most need to read it probably won’t.

Like Ryan Higginbottom,  I love e-Sword Bible software. (Scroll down for a link to download it on my right sidebar.) So I appreciate his review of it, e-Sword: Bible Study Software for Everyone, in Knowable Word. He highlights all my favorite features of e-Sword, as well as others. His closing word of caution also deserves attention.

Featuring a brief but informative video by Todd Friel of  Wretched Radio, Michelle Lesley responds to a question from one of her readers in The Mailbag: What is the New Apostolic Reformation? As a former Charismatic who has seen the dangerous ideas of the NAR seep in to my former Baptist church, I can attest that Michelle’s answer hits the nail on the head.

For another Biblical perspective on the protests over President Trump last weekend, you might want to visit Growing 4 Life to read Leslie A.’s insightful blog post, Love Trumps Hate?

Battling sins of the tongue keeps me humble. I don’t think I’m alone in this struggle. So Jon D. Payne’s article in Reformation 21 serves as a reminder that Christians have a responsibility to speak in ways that honor the Lord. Check out Words Matter: Recovering Godly Speech in a Culture of Profanity.

Rebekah Womble, in her Wise In His Eyes blog, warns us to be discerning about those popular women’s books in the Christian bookstore. The Pretty, the Sweet, and the Deceptive:  On Book Covers and “Girl Talk” encourages us to compare everything we read to Scripture. And while you’re on her website, take a look at Mysticism, We Don’t Need You.

When They Walk Away by Nicholas Batzig on Feeding On Christ offers advice and comfort to those of us who go through the anguish of watching people reject our efforts at discipleship or evangelism. He reminds us that Jesus also watched people walk away from Him.

Here’s one that I’d like Charismatics to read! Jennifer at One Hired Late In The Day writes How are we led by the Spirit? How do we know God’s will? Jennifer’s message isn’t really new, but it desperately bears repeating as often as possible!

Traditionally, Christians dread reading Leviticus. I don’t. And Elizabeth Prata of The End Time joyfully confesses that she’s been Surprised by Leviticus. You might change your mind about this book of the bible after reading Elizabeth’s essay.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin