Saturday Sampler: January 12 — January 18

For  a variety of interesting topics, see  The Mailbag: Potpourri (Home churches, Non-Calvinist authors, Memes from false teachers, Contrarian commenter?)by Michelle Lesley. I don’t know if I entirely agree with her view on home churches, but I don’t entirely disagree either. Her answer about contrarian commenters indirectly helps me with a situation on Facebook, though. In total, this post is well worth reading.

In an article for Caffeinated Theology, we learn How to Read Authors and Theologians with Whom You Disagree from David Norman. Don’t ignore his postscript — it’s particularly convicting and therefore helpful.

Reading Leslie A’s Growing 4 Life blog frequently forces me to ask myself hard questions, which makes me appreciate her. There Are Only Two Roads asks another hard question that those of us who claim to know Christ must answer. Praise the Lord for Leslie’s courage to help us examine ourselves!

Don’t make 2020  the year of Me, Myself and My Selfie, advises SharaC of Into the Foolishness of God. I’m so delighted to see her speak out against the popular idea that we ought to love ourselves first. Her post brings back some basic Christian concepts that have fallen out of fashion in recent decades.

Elizabeth Prata observes that Many mercies go unnoticed in the course of providence in an essay for The End Time. During my years as a Charismatic, I scoffed at the idea of providence, preferring to focus on miracles, but now I appreciate the way God providentially works in His creation. Elizabeth’s post explains the wonder of providence in ordering everything according to His purposes.

Teaching God’s Word is a tremendous responsibility, as Melissa Edginton of Your Mom Has a Blog testifies. She writes James 3:1 and the Trembling Teacher with wonderful balance to encourage us to look to the Lord rather than to ourselves.

The Reformation gave us men who returned us to truth, but it also gave us women who applied that truth in their personal lives. Writing for A Place For Truth, Simonetta Carr presents Mary Honywood and Her Flickering, Unquenchable Faith as an encouragement to those of us who struggle with doubt. Don’t overlook this piece.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Saturday Sampler: December 29 — January 4

Reprising  an article written by the late R.C. Sproul, the Ligonier blog publishes A Practical Help for Bible Study to help us start the New Year. I love his connection between studying God’s Word and letting it transform our lives.

Denny Burk writes A postscript on a Twitter thread about choosing a college that challenges some of my ideas on the matter. I’m not sure I agree with every single point he makes, but his overall message is on target! Parents, please be alert as you guide your children in selecting the college they will attend.

I appreciate Erin Benziger for many reasons. Her post, Devotionals for the New Year, enhances that appreciation because she reminds us not to let devotionals substitute for the Bible itself. Erin blogs at Do Not Be Surprised as well as hosting the Equipping Eve podcast.

Please heed Jordan Standridge’s admonition to Trust the Bible Above Your Experience in The Cripplegate this week. If you don’t read anything else in this edition of Saturday Sampler, I beg you to read this one!

Have I managed to turn any of you on to Growing 4 Life, the blog that Leslie A writes? If you’ve never read this it, Twelve Things I’d Change if I Could Live my Life Over would be a splendid introduction to her writing! Leslie has a dedication to God’s Word that serves as a marvelous example to Christian women, and therefore her blog is essential in showing us how to grow in Christ.

For a practical lesson on What to listen for in a  (false) teacher, go to The End Time to glean some wisdom from Elizabeth Prata. You’ll find several helpful tips in her essay.

I’d never heard of having a word for the year, but I’m not very surprised at this evangelical fad. Michelle Lesley addresses the practice in The Mailbag: My word for the year is… with her usual dependence on Scripture and her ability to reason from it. If you’ve had any interest in having a word for the year, I dearly hope you’ll seriously consider what Michelle has to say.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Not Every Blog Post Can Be Profound

Nonsense

My morning started early enough, actually. So I wrote some emails, thinking I could polish them off quickly. Still adjusting to my new wheelchair, I had decided to try typing without my back supports. Not the brightest decision when I knew full well that those emails were a day late already and I have an unforgiving deadline.

Halfway through the first email, I noticed that typing required a lot more effort than usual, and that the back pain was intense. But John was in bed recuperating from his own health issues this week. Getting up just to put cushions around me would have taken a toll on him.

Once I finished the necessary emails, I opened my personal email to find a letter from a church friend who is going through a severe trial. I guess I could have Continue reading

Saturday Sampler: December 22 — December 28

Snowmen Sampler

Like all legitimate discernment bloggers, Elizabeth Prata takes no pleasure in identifying problems with popular evangelical teachers. Yet she understands the necessity of doing so. She introduces her three-part series, Boundary Stones and Slippery Slopes: A discerning look at Jen Wilkin (links to the parts are included), by explaining how she researches for essays in The End Time. Please make this series a priority, and please pray for Jen Wilkin.

HT to Tim Challies for British Reasoning Takes Us Through the Looking Glass by Colin Smothers. Appearing in The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, this article gives yet another warning that Western culture has grown intolerant of  anyone who refuses to applauded the LGBT agenda. If you think America will escape this lunacy, you might want to think again.

Perhaps at this time of year it seems out of place, but Stephen Melniszyn did it anyway! What did he do, you ask? Go over to Vox Scriptura Vox Dei and read The End  of the Matter to find out.

Leslie A of Growing 4 Life concludes her serial Christmas story with The Christmas Ornaments (Part 5). What a satisfying ending!  If you’ve enjoyed the story — and I sure did! — please let her know. I hope she’ll be encouraged to continue her tradition of writing Christmas stories.

What do Ruth 1:16, Winston Churchill and the Incarnation have in common? SlimJim of The Domain for Truth answers this burning question. If you think history is boring, piece just might change your mind.

In celebration of her upcoming wedding anniversary, Michelle Lesley shares 27 Things I’ve Learned in 27 Years of Marriage as an encouragement to Christian wives. Happy Anniversary, Michelle! May your 28th year of marriage fill you with joy and bring honor to the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’ll admit it! I’ve been tempted — many times — to turn my back on Christianity. But Leslie Schmucker reflects all the reasons (from an earthly perspective) that I haven’t left the Lord. Why “Deconversion” is Not an Option reminds us of four compelling reasons for remaining faithful to Him, forgetting only that He keeps all whom the Father has given to Him.

As we move into the new year, let me recommend Worry less about which Bible Reading Plan to use and more about which Bible by Sharon Lareau of Chapter 3 Ministries. You’ll appreciate her guidance on how and why to choose a reliable Bible translation. She includes a link to information on which Bible versions are the most dependable. Have a Happy New Year of reading and studying God’s Word well!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Saturday Sampler: December 15 — December 21

Christmas Ornament

I’ve had the privilege of interacting with Stephen J. Melniszyn on Twitter and Facebook for two or three years, so I’m delighted that he recently started blogging at Vox Scriptura Vox Dei. His review of American Gospel: Christ Crucified deserves your attention. It definitely makes me eager to watch the documentary!

As usual, Michelle Lesley uses Scripture and wisdom in The Mailbag: “X-mas”? If you’re prepared to judge Christians who write X-mas on boxes that store their Christmas decorations, her article might give you a perspective to ponder.

Take a break and enjoy The Christmas Ornaments (Part 4) by Leslie A of Growing 4 Life. If you haven’t been following this short story, Leslie provides a link to the other installments in her introductory paragraph.

When we returned to Verizion last year, they included a year of Netflix streaming at no extra charge. I was disappointed. Although I still have no desire to renew our subscription in February, Hey Christian: Don’t Be Tempted to Cancel Your Netflix Account gives me something to think about. I don’t entirely agree with McAlpine, and I believe Christians should seriously question whether or not subscribing to Netflix really honors the Lord, but this post certainly offers a perspective worthy of consideration. It doesn’t change my mind, but it makes me think through my position.

Coming against the post-modern idea that we should never feel shame, Denny Burk exhorts us to Remember Your Chains as forgiven Christians. If you’ve never looked at your past sins from this angle, you might be surprised by how encouraging shame can actually be!

Writing in For The Church, Andreas Köstenberger answers the question What is Biblical Theology? This article offers three practical guidelines for interpreting Scripture. HT to Tim Challies for this one.

I certainly relate to Lori Antoinette’s conviction in Every Word I Speak, posted in Theology is Living. Having recently sinned with my words, I well understand her sleepless night as the Holy Spirit worked in her spirit. I also love her ability to find comfort in the situation. I won’t tell you how He comforted her, though — you’ll need to read it for yourself.

Because I belong to a Southern Baptist Church, A Review of By What Standard by Allen Nelson IV caught my attention when the Things Above Us notification hit my inbox. As he says, even people outside of our denomination can benefit from viewing this cinedoc. The trends it warns against threaten all evangelical churches.

Just for fun, laugh with Michelle Lesley as she reprises (and updates) Oh Christmas Tree!!! to narrate her 2013 battle to decorate for the holiday. I promise that you’ll laugh out loud at least once!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Saturday Sampler: December 8 — December 14

Bell Sampler

When I see Ryan Higginbottom’s by-line on a Knowable Word post, I usually know that I’ll read quality material. Context Matters: Peace on Earth does not disappoint! Check out Ryan’s study on this familiar Christmas sentiment.

In When the “brand” becomes the THING, Tom at excatholic4christ superbly illustrates the difficulties in witnessing to people who are entrenched in false teaching. Tom doesn’t mean that we should be dissuaded from proclaiming the Gospel. Rather, he wants us to understand one of the reasons people resist our message.

The Last Day of an Unconverted Man by Elizabeth Prata isn’t Christmasy or lighthearted, but it brings some needed sobriety to us. I appreciate Elizabeth’s blog, The End Time, for courageously reporting on the topics that aren’t easy to hear. This piece exemplifies that courage.

I love the way Michelle Lesley takes everything back to God’s Word, as she does in Nativity Scenes and the Second Commandment this week. If you’ve ever struggled with depictions of Christ, the Scriptures she uses might offer clarity and encouragement. Be sure to read the closing paragraph, though.

It’s here! It’s here! The Christmas Ornaments (Part 3) by Leslie A is on Growing 4 Life to continue the story of Julie and her mysterious benefactor.

On the Ligonier blog, Nathan W. Bingham introduces a brief video exploring why The True God Became True Man by Robert Godfrey.  Dr. Godfrey makes some really interesting points. While I’m not sure I agree with one of those points, I’m glad it will encourage me to study the Incarnation more deeply.

Jesse Johnson, writing for The Cripplegate, adds fascinating insight into Christ’s Incarnation with Lessons from genealogy: expect the unexpected! I’ve never given thought to the perspective he brings out, but I praise God for demonstrating the Gospel through Messiah’s lineage. Things like this convince me of Sovereignty and predestination.

Anyone with a public platform (even if it’s nothing more than a Facebook account) could benefit from Rut Ethridge III’s post, (Anti)Virtue-Signaling, which appears in Gentle Reformation. It’s convicting — so much so that I toyed with the idea of not including it in this curation. I didn’t want to remind people of my sins in this regard. But it’s important to face our motives when we speak or write.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Saturday Sampler: December 1 — December 7

penguin-sampler

Protestant thought owes a lot to Augustine. But Augustine didn’t have perfect theology, as Leonardo De Chirico of The Vatican Files demonstrates in this month’s blog post.  170. Totus Christus (The Whole Christ) or Solus Christus (Christ Alone)?  reveals yet another error in Roman Catholicism. It’s a shame that Augustine played such a prominent part in the error this article exposes.

It gets discouraging when we witness to people without seeing anyone come to faith. So Andrew Kerr’s article, It’s all been a waste?, in Gentle Reformation offers wonderful perspective from Isaiah on dealing with a lack of response.

SlimJim writes Bible Contradiction? Should we follow our own hearts? in The Domain for Truth both to teach us proper ways of interpreting God’s Word and to remind us that following our hearts isn’t the wisest course of action. I highly recommend this piece!

Don’t miss The Christmas Ornaments (Part 2)  by Leslie A of Growing 4 Life. A little bit of Christian fiction can be fun, especially after this difficult year of internet squabbling and culture’s increasing rebellion against the Lord. Treat yourself to this gentle story that exalts Jesus Christ and gives some harmless pleasure.

If you want to read a truly excellent examination of how occult practices are seeping into even conservative churches, visit Tulips & Honey Hub to read Through The Narrow — The False & The Deceived: By Tami & Gina. Not many people have noticed this dangerous trend, so I praise God for giving these ladies the courage to write about it. This may be my pick of the week.

Eww! A fairly graphic experience of repairing his toilet gave Eric Davis insight into how we should regard ourselves. Thus Plumbing, Self-Esteem, & the Great Love of God in The Cripplegate. The conclusion reminds us of God’s beauty.

Writing for Gentle Reformation, Jared Olivetti gives some pointers on Guarding Our Words by highlighting a few pertinent Scriptures. I definitely need instruction in this matter. Perhaps everyone does.

So many people have been blogging about the vitriolic arguing on the Internet lately. It’s definitely a problem, I agree. But Tim Bates adds an interesting dimension to the conversation by writing Rebuke, Reprove, Recycle  for Things Above Us this week. He raises points that have pretty much gone unnoticed amid all the pleas for civil discourse.

I don’t share Melissa’s opinion that Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, is a “valuable tool.” It’s based largely on psychology, which almost always encourages self-focus. Interestingly, she writes How We Got the Love Languages Wrong in Your Mom Has A Blog and pretty much proves my point.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin