Saturday Sampler: January 16 – January 22

I start writing my Saturday Samplers early in the week, putting up each article as I read it. So I always feel hesitant to feature one of Elizabeth Prata’s essays in The End Time on a Monday, aware that Elizabeth will most likely produce even better posts later in the week. But Sin on the railroad tracks deserves attention. It wonderfully captures the heart of what’s happening in our world, while reminding us why Christians need not despair.

I didn’t expect Elizabeth to produce something the very next day. Are usurping authority and teaching two different activities or are they the same? therefore caught me by surprise. Elizabeth answers questions that I’ve been grappling with lately (mostly in the context of an online conversation with an extremist), and I greatly appreciate her Scriptural balance on how women can serve the Lord and His church.

Regular readers of The Outspoken TULIP have noticed increasing references to Biblical Counseling in recent weeks. Happily, Michelle Lesley helps explain it with Dale Johnson — An Intro. to Biblical Counseling. Follow her links if your church would be interested in this type of training.

What does it mean to take the name of the Lord in vain? Mark McIntyre, author of Attempts at Honesty, provides his Thoughts on the third commandment that broaden our understanding of the matter. You might want to consider his point of view.

Christians have good reason to be concerned about Canada’s law against “conversion therapy.” But Christians also have good reason to have hope despite this sinful law. Eric Davis of The Cripplegate writes What Canada’s Bill C-4 Can & Can’t Do to help us understand both the seriousness of the situation and the power of our sovereign God. Whether you feel indifference about the law or are fearful of it, you really need to read this one.

I wish a lot of things about me had been more Biblical 23 years ago when I taught the Sunday School class for Middle School kids in my church. Most specifically, I wish I’d read How Delightful to Study the Bible with Middle Schoolers by Peter Krol in Knowable Word. His experience once again assures me that kids best thrive when they have the opportunity to interact on a more mature level. Parents can adapt Peter’s approach to use in family devotions with their older children.

Saturday Sampler: January 9 — January 15

This week, Michelle Lesley answers an intriguing question by writing In The Mailbag: Is it OK for women to teach the children’s sermon? Her response raises fascinating issues that had never occurred to me, but are definitely worthy of consideration. She even suggests that a woman giving a children’s sermon is secondary to another question Christians might want to ask.

Leslie A and her husband own a landscaping company. In Without Excuse, an article she writes in Growing 4 Life, she shares a frustrating situation with some of their customers as an illustration of how dangerous it is to ignore God’s Word.

Writing for Tabletalk Magazine, Jonathan T. Penninton examines The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard by looking at the broader context of the passage. Why did Jesus originally tell this parable? What happened just before He told it? And how does understanding its context (or the context of any portion of Scripture) help us to make a correct application?

Why should Christians oppose Gender Affirmation Surgery? Calvin Goligher explains its shortcomings and destructive effects in an article for Reformation 21. I wish he had supplemented his argument with Scripture, but I appreciate his powerful use of basic human biology to make his case. Moms, this is definitely a post you’ll want to use as you talk about gender identity with your teenagers.

The past week, we’ve witnessed another angry backlash against John MacArthur on social media because of his call for U.S. pastors to preach on Biblical sexuality tomorrow. According to Elizabeth Prata in her essay, Satan roaming, MacArthur standing for The End Time, the outcry and dishonest attack on this pastor demonstrates spiritual warfare. Find out how she comes to that conclusion.

If your child is in his or her final semester of high school, you’re undoubtedly swimming in college brochures right now. Thanks to the G3 Ministries Blog, Becky Aniol offers helpful guidance. How to Choose a College: 5 Biblical Questions gives parents (yes, parents — not kids) a wonderful framework for selecting the right school. I hope you’ll find it useful.

Saturday Sampler: January 2 – January 8

I haven’t been able to curate articles for Saturday Sampler columns in quite some time, so I’m delighted to get back to them. The Lord wasted no time in providing the first one for me to share.

Starting The Cripplegate off for 2022, Dan Crabtree writes Lions Are Lurking Outside My Door! And Other Excuses We Might Make This Year for us to consider. The post is as good as its title!

In a post for Knowable Word, Ryan Higgonbottom encourages us that You Don’t Have to Read the Whole Bible This Year. He helps us reconnect with the reasons God wants us in His Word as opposed to fleshly reasons for reading a quota of chapters each day. If yearly reading plans leave you feeling defeated before you even start, read Ryan’s article and enjoy Scripture on whatever timetable the Lord provides for you.

If you’ve been exposed to all the vitriol against Calvinism lately, read Twin Truths by Lesley A. Leslie authors Growing 4 Life, a blog that consistently pulls readers back to Biblical teaching and practical application. This particular blog post gives much needed encouragement to those of us who endure ridicule for holding to Reformed theology.

Are You A Church Hopper? asks Robin Self of A Worthy Walk. She explores reasons why people move from church to church, and offers suggestions on how to stay committed to a solid church once we find one.

You’ve got to read How Can we deal with knowing someone we love is probably in hell? Elizabeth Prata of The End Time writes a must see essay that points our grieving hearts to Christ. As someone whose close family members died without evidence of saving faith, I found tremendous comfort in Elizabeth’s words, If you only read one blog post in this sampler, please make it this one!

I Have The Best Readers!

Photo courtesy of Keryn Bennett-Hines

A few years ago I put a link to my PayPal account on this blog, wanting to offset WordPress expenses, purchase upgrades to various graphics programs (which I primarily use to illustrate blog posts) and to help John with household expenses. You folks have been abundantly generous!

Recently I accepted the sad reality that my 32-year-old headstick wanted to retire. John had been patching it up with duct tape, gauze pads, headbands and washcloths for several years, but finally we realized that enough was enough. So I scoured the internet and found a guy through Etsy that custom made one for me. He needed to make a major modification in order to accommodate my scoliosis, thereby increasing the cost, and shipping was expensive because he’s in the Netherlands. But almost $300 later, I have a spanking new headstick with which I can serve the Lord through blogging!

So thank you, dear readers, for supporting me financially. This new headstick reminds me of your kindness and generosity. I pray that God will use it for His glory.

For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. ~~2 Corinthians 9:12 (NASB95)

Saturday Sampler: December 6 — December 12

Clint Archer reflects on the importance of Bethlehem by writing O Little Town of Bethlehem in his weekly post for The Cripplegate. Far from a dry study of history, this piece inspires worship as we see God’s careful planning in the birthplace of Messiah.

Leslie A writes The Park is Closing in Growing 4 Life as a sobering, yet exciting reminder of our future as Christians. I love her ability to look beyond immediate circumstances to see the Lord’s sovereign hand in current events!

Addressing the controversy over Nativity Scenes and the Second Commandment that crops up this time of year, Michelle Lesley turns to Scripture. Take a few minutes to consider her perspective, and determine to hold whatever convictions you have on this matter with an attitude of charity towards Christians with different convictions. I appreciate Michelle for helping us think Biblically about the issue.

In a post for Things Above Us, George Alvarado writes An Open Letter to Afflicted Saints. If you’re going through trials right now, his words might encourage you. Then again, they might not. I’ll leave that between you and the Lord. But give it a try — maybe the Lord will minister to you through it.

Although Leslie A says that the park is closing, Elizabeth Prata assures us that It’s All OK in The End Time. Elizabeth isn’t ignoring the increasing turbulence of current events, but she knows Who has everything in His control. Please enjoy her words of comfort.

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Saturday Sampler: November 29 — December 5

Responding to a blog post by Lauran Robinson, Elizabeth Prata wonders Where are all the discerning women? Elizabeth is known as the author of The End Time, a premiere blog for women which frequently features essays on discernment. So of course she offers good insight into the article Lauran Robinson wrote.

Those of you with little ones will appreciate Michelle Lesley for writing The Mailbag: What should we tell our kids about Santa Claus? Michelle bases her answer on Scripture while also showing us how to keep Christmas fun and use the myths about the jolly old elf to teach children spiritual truths. (Grown-ups can benefit from those lessons as well.)

If you’ve never visited Leslie A’s blog, Growing 4 Life, please start now. Her article entitled Fighting Germs demonstrates Leslie’s passion for teaching women to develop discernment. She also writes encouraging pieces challenging us to grow in Christ. Fighting Germs is a splendid introduction to her writing.

Although not the most pleasant read, Al Mohler provides helpful insight into current events with What Explains the Left’s Hostility to Religious Liberty? It’s All About the Sexual Revolution. Sure, his main point is obvious, and has been for decades. But few Christians understand the depth of investment the Left has in protecting and advancing its sexual freedoms. As persecution rises, we need to understand the root of the problem.

Reflecting on the recent death of Alex Trebek, Sharon Sampson contributes What Is…Truth? to the Gentle Reformation blog. She reminds us of basic questions and their Biblical answers as we contemplate life after death.

Sometimes what we know becomes a challenge to our faith, even as we trust the Lord’s sovereignty. Having unexpectedly lost his son Nick only a month ago, Tim Challies shares his struggle in I Fear God, and I’m Afraid of God. If you’re struggling with loss, this blog post might encourage you.

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A Different Saturday Sampler

Various circumstances have ruled out reading many blog posts this week, so I didn’t get to organize my usual curation of links. That being the case, I’ve decided to make a sampler of Scriptures about Who our Lord is. May His Holy Spirit use these passages to prepare us for Sunday morning worship.

All passages come from the New American Standard Bible.

Of course we’ll start with my favorite passage:

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation: 16 for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. ~~Colossians 1:15-20

That wonderful passage always reminds me of how the writer of Hebrews describes Jesus:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, to the extent that He has inherited a more excellent name than they. ~~Hebrews 1:1-4

Come to think of it, the apostle John opens his gospel narrative with a testimony of Christ’s deity and majesty:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it. ~~John 1:1-4

Isaiah certainly gives us a powerful picture of the Lord in His glory:

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim were standing above Him, each having six wings: with two each covered his face, and with two each covered his feet, and with two each flew. And one called out to another and said,

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of armies.
The whole earth is full of His glory.” ~~Isaiah 6:1-3

Let’s close with John’s encounter with the glorified Christ:

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And after turning I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and wrapped around the chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze when it has been heated to a glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. ~~Revelation 1:12-16

What a holy God!

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I spent Wednesday and Thursday in the hospital. I’ll most likely go back in next week for a longer period of time (I left against medical advice so I could vote, which I did this morning). Consequently, there will be no Saturday Sampler tomorrow. I’ll try to post a Sunday Hymn, but I can’t promise. Thank you for understanding.

Saturday Sampler: October 11 — October 17

Alisa Childers explains Biblical Judgment in a “Don’t Judge Me World in her guest post for Well Watered Women. Although some of her points have been stated often, she brings in fresh perspectives that strengthen the argument that judging is a Christian duty.

In The Mailbag: Can I share the gospel with my unsaved husband? Michelle Lesley uses both God’s Word and Biblical reasoning to address a common and heartbreaking problem affecting far too many Christian women. If your husband doesn’t know the Lord, I highly recommend this post.

Just as wives with unsaved husbands grieve, so do mothers whose children walk away from the faith. Leslie A, in this week’s post on Growing 4 Life, offers encouraging suggestions. You’ll find those suggestions in How Do We Keep from Losing Our Kids? I only wish she had included a caveat about God’s sovereignty in election. Nevertheless, her suggestions have tremendous value, and certainly would go a long way in leading a child to Christ.

I consider Elizabeth Prata to be the leading authority on Beth Moore. Her essay in The End Time, My first reaction to Beth Moore. 2011, traces Elizabeth’s concerns about this popular teacher, and touches on the pushback should received for speaking up. This is a valuable read — don’t neglect it!

God bless Melissa of Your Mom Has a Blog for writing For All My Fellow Phonies! I don’t know if she’s bugged my apartment, but her words really comfort me at a time when my sin discourages me. Maybe you’ll also be encouraged by her article.

Not all blog posts are pleasant to read, but sometimes the unpleasant ones help us understand the important issues of our day. For that reason, I recommend Two Dark Sides Of The Sexual Revolution by R. Scott Clark of The Heidelblog. Thankfully, his last paragraph extends hope and encouragement to people broken by sexual sin.

Saturday Sampler: October 4 — October 10

Mark Loughridge’s post for Gentle Reformation on The Myth of Self-Esteem wonderfully demonstrates the serious damage that teachings on self-esteem have inflicted on people. For decades, I’ve tried to warn people against this popular idea; it’s encouraging to see more Christians waking up to its dangers.

What does it mean that we’re made in the image of God? I don’t really know. But I appreciate Allen Nelson IV for writing about the Implications of the Imago Dei for Things Above Us.

Once again, Leslie A writes a convicting post in Growing 4 Life. Who Me? I’d Never Hold a Grudge… confronts the growing tendency — even among Christians — to be easily offended. You may squirm a bit as you read Leslie’s words, but I strongly encourage you to read them anyway. This is an area we all need to ponder.

We’ve all heard and read wonderful teachings on how people abuse Matthew 7:1, as well as how to correctly understand that verse. But in Judge Not? Robin Self of A Worthy Walk looks at various reasons that people misuse that verse. Her insight isn’t to be missed.

For a splendid example of church history deepening our understanding of theology, read Scott Hubbard’s Desiring God article, Calvinism in One Point. It reminds us how — and why — the TULIP anachronism developed. Even better, it cultivates our assurance that God indeed saves His elect.

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