Saturday Sampler: February 23 — February 29

Fish SamplerAlthough written specifically to church leaders, Mark McIntyre’s On Selective Denouncement in Attempts at Honesty applies to any Christian who openly stands against sin in others. I’ve been thinking along similar lines recently, though Mark has a take on the matter that hadn’t quite occurred to me (probably because I’ve been too lazy to remove this log from my own eye).

We can all feel intimidated when it comes to evangelism. Jordan Standridge’s article for The Cripplegate, Don’t Mess with the Message, helps brace us against that intimidation.  I greatly appreciate his Scriptural and practical encouragement.

Is it Time for a Change regarding your relationship with God’s Word?  Leslie A of Growing 4 Life issues a few challenges, including an unexpected one to those of us who really do spend time digging in to our Bibles. I always appreciate Leslie’s boldness to write things that make us examine ourselves.

John and I have been going through a few struggles. Actually, we’ve been having struggles for a couple years with relatively few breaks. So I appreciate Michelle Lesley for running Throwback Thursday ~ God’s Good Purposes in Suffering this week. As usual, she derives her principles from Scripture and helps us look to the Lord.

HT to Erin Benziger for sharing A Bad Kind of Discernment by Lara d’Endtremont on Twitter. Lara balances the abuses in sometimes self-proclaimed discernment ministries with the importance of exercising discernment out of genuine compassion for false teachers and the people they deceive. I can’t overemphasize the importance of this blog post!

I apologize for the brevity of today’s Sampler. I went to the emergency  room yesterday with the severe back pain, and found that I have injured a muscle in my back. I am not ready to do extensive typing, so there will be no Sunday hymn tomorrow and no Bible study on Monday. Hopefully by Tuesday I can post something. Thank you for understanding.


Saturday Sampler: February 16 — February 22

Untitled-1Amy Spreeman posted The State of the Conservative Christian Union from on Facebook this week,  and I appreciate the way Mr. Howard explains the various parties under the Reformed umbrella. I bookmarked this article to my browser, and I recommend that you do the same.

Please read the Testimony from an ex-Beth Moore follower: Lessons about Jesus, But not Jesus Himself that Elizabeth Prata shares on The End Time. If any of you still don’t understand why we warn against Beth Moore so often, this testimony and Elizabeth’s subsequent comments should supply insight into our serious concerns about this popular false teacher.  This testimony demonstrates why she is so harmful.

Like Michelle Lesley, I’m tremendously troubled and concerned about the Southern Baptist Convention. If I wasn’t physically disabled, I’d be begging my pastors and elders to send me as a Messenger to Orlando this June. If you belong to an SBC church, read Arrive Prepared: Resources for Messengers to the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. Pray about attending as a Messenger. If, like me, you can’t attend, please pray for our denomination.

Over on The Tulips & Honey Hub, Gina Cook writes Through the Narrow: Accountability to encourage us about receiving correction. She makes important observations that challenge our pride — always a good thing.

If you really want to read something scandalous, go to Parking Space 23 and see what John Chester preached to elicit The Great Gasp from his congregation. This scandal is every bit as serious as calling out false teachers, and may actually explain why evangelicals embrace false teachers in the first place.

L. Dorman, contributing to Conservative Resurgence: Voices, writes Women Preachers in the Southern Baptist Convention: But Wait, There’s Moore (Part 2) as a clear example of the eroding fidelity to Scripture threatening the SBC. And those of you who aren’t in SBC churches should pay attention. This sort of compromise could easily infiltrate your churches too.

As someone who struggles with the sin of anger, I appreciate Melissa of Your Mom Has a Blog for encouraging her readers to Surrender Your Right to be Angry with Your Spouse. I would add, however, that her counsel applies to other relationships as well. Singles, God also holds you accountable for your anger towards those who wrong you.

Writing for Reformation 21, William Boekestein authors Join or Die? to emphasis the necessity of belonging to a local church body.

HT to Erin Benziger for leading me to Learning to Be Careful with the Name “False Teacher”by Lara d’Endtremont. Writing for Women Encouraged, this blog post brings needed balance to the world of discernment ministry — a world that can ironically lack a lot of discernment.

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Saturday Sampler: February 9 — February 15

Heart Sampler 01

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Mike Ratliff encourages us to maintain Sanctified Minds and Bodies in his blog, Possessing the Treasure.  It saddens me that some professing Christians buy into the lie that God doesn’t enforce His prohibition against sexual license.

According to Leslie A of Growing 4 Life, the tsunami of apostasy has hit. Her View from a Palm Tree is discouraging on the one hand. On the other hand, it gives wonderful encouragement to weary Christians. Please make her blog post a high priority on your reading list.

In a post for 9 Marks, Ed Moore lists 10 Flavors of Works-Based Salvation for us to ponder.  Some of these pitfalls ensnare evangelicals (who really ought to know better). Are you trusting in any of these subtle ways of ensuring that God will accept you? HT to Tim Challies for highlighting this piece.

I’m including a second item by Mike Ratliff because it reinforces some of the thoughts I’ve been having this week. The Throne in Heaven, the Scroll, and the Lamb accentuates God’s holiness in light of eschatology. You might want to take a look at this one.

You’ll enjoy Elizabeth Prata’s thoughts in The End Time on The Amazing Natural World that God created. Since giraffes are my favorite animals, I particularly love her section on how the construction of their necks defies evolution. The entire piece is absolutely magnificent — well worth your attention.

Bucking the pressure to  bad-mouth social media, Throwback Thursday ~ 9 Ways Social Media is a Blessing to Believers by Michelle Lesley discusses the upside of online activity. Having met my husband online, I firmly agree with Michelle that social media is merely a tool. Read her blog post to discover how we can use this tool to glorify God.

Writing for Knowable Word, Peter Krol always helps us understand how Scripture fits together. His article, Context Matters: Always Prepared to Make a Defense, examines a verse that discernment and apologetics bloggers often cite as a mission statement. Is that a legitimate application? You’ll only find out by reading Krol’s post.

Justin Bullington writes The Ugly Business Of Politics And The Trinitarian Hope of Romans 1:1-6 for Things Above Us as a reminder of where our focus needs to stay during this election season. His refreshing perspective shouldn’t escape your notice.

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Saturday Sampler: February 2 — February 8

Mushroom Sampler

For A few thoughts on discernment, you might head over to The End Time to see insights by Elizabeth Prata. Drawing from her experience as an investigative journalist, Elizabeth helps us understand the ferocious pushback she receives from the followers of false teachers.

What does an episode of The Crown have to do with the death of Kobe Bryant? SharaC of Into the Foolishness of God writes Moondust as a thoughtful meditation on the disappointing consequences of hero worship.

I’m with Michelle Lesley. Should we presume that our worship services are about Attracting God? Read her Scriptural response to this popular approach to church services.

Leslie A asks a provocative question: Did You Know Jesus Was Intolerant? Most people would sputter at the very thought! But Leslie A’s Growing 4 Life blog cares more about truth than about catering to popular opinion. Take a look at the Lord’s intolerance and see whether or not you tolerate too much.

Go over to Delivered by Grace, where Josh Buice explains Why Asking Women to Preach is Spiritual Abuse. I don’t recall seeing this particular aspect of the discussion before, but it’s worth considering.

The trouble with Elizabeth Prata is that she writes so much good stuff that it’s often impossible to have only one essay a week in Saturday Sampler. Is Christianity a relationship or a religion? demands a place in this week’s Sampler. Yeah, it’s really that good!

Sadly, the political climate in Australia isn’t very different than the political climate in the United States of America when it comes to LBGTQ issues. Stephen MacAlpine posts Christians: Do your beliefs make you unsafe to be foster parents? in order to alert us to the sticky implications of society’s push to have universal approval of sexual sin. MacAlpine raises some uncomfortable points — points that Christians can’t afford to ignore.

In his weekly contribution to The Cripplegate, Jesse Johnson writes Why Study Esther as a testimony to God’s sovereignty. See how this real life Cinderella story teaches us to trust the Lord’s involvement in our lives.

Melissa makes some intriguing observations about The Death of Decency in the American Mind that you might want to consider. No, I won’t give you any hints as to what her observations are — I want you to read it for yourselves. You’ll find her writing at Your Mom Has A Blog.

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Saturday Sampler: January 26 — February 1


Tom shares important thoughts on The “untimely” death of Kobe Bryant in excatholic4christ. I’m not a basketball fan, and Bryant means little to me, but I believe Tom’s commentary warrants careful attention.

Discernment IS Love Michelle Lesley explains to a reader who recently objected to one of her articles. Certainly, some online “discernment” ministries are unloving, casting a bad reflection on legitimate discernment ministries. But their sin shouldn’t cause anyone to judge bloggers like Michelle as being unloving. Consider the points she makes as she shows her reader the ways that discernment demonstrates godly love.

Christians all seek revival. Trouble is, we have different definitions of revival. Allen S. Nelson IV writes Evidences of True Revival for Things Above Us to help us understand the marks of revival that comes from the Holy Spirit.

As a senior saint, I praise God to be in a church that allows me to actively serve. Not all churches show their elderly members such respect, as Josh Buice demonstrates in Dear Church — Don’t Overlook and Undervalue the Elderly for his Delivered By Grace blog. I have been in a church that openly admitted that they want more young people with larger disposable incomes. Josh addresses such pragmatic attitudes.

HT to Elizabeth Prata for recommending Little Things Matter Too by Peter Bogart of For Younger Pastors. It’s an amusing little piece that’s extremely well-written. It also has an unexpected ending. You might want to read it before your next shopping trip.

As long as I’m tipping my hat, I’ll give a HT to Tim Challies for What Apostates Don’t Say by Eric Raymond. Appearing in For The Church, this post offers an intriguing insight into people who have walked away from Christianity. It also offers wonderful advice on how to keep ourselves from falling into apostasy. Truly a beautiful article!

Appearing in The Cripplegate, Jesse Johnson’s Virginia and the lie at the heart of the pro-choice movement unveils a chilling truth. Though you won’t find any pleasure in reading this post, you need this information.

You will,  however, be reminded of the joy in the Gospel as you read God, Guilt and Then What? J.K. Wall writes this blog post for Gentle Reformation after reading a Danish novel entitled Lucky Pers. Wall doesn’t tell us anything new, but he does turn us back in to the glorious Good News that we so easily forget.

SlimJim of The Domain for Truth challenges us with Quick Thoughts: End Times and the Christian Life Now. Eschatology  definitely demands the hard work of prayer and study, but we need to keep looking forward to the Lord’s return.

In Ladies, here is how to be precious in His sight, The End Time author Elizabeth Prata chronicles the development of so-called Christian feminism and explains why it contradicts Biblical womanhood.  With increasing pressure to embrace the idea of women in the pulpit,  it’s refreshing to see women like Elizabeth holding fast to God’s Word.

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Saturday Sampler: January 19 — January 25

Bows Sampler

Again we start this week’s Sampler with Biblical counsel from Michelle Lesley. In The Mailbag: Husbands, pastors, and mentors — Which roles do they play in a Christian woman’s life?, she walks us through Scripture in its context to show us proper application.

Did you prepare yourself for the upcoming sermon at your church? Writing for Gentle Reformation, Barry York asks How Do You Listen to a Sermon? He then teaches us how to prepare ourselves for the preaching of God’s Word each Sunday. Challenging stuff, admittedly, but well worth our attention.

Leslie A of Growing 4 Life wonders Should I Expect to Understand Everything?  See what her three-year-old grandson taught her about humility towards God.

You may face the dilemma that Elizabeth Prata describes in The End Time this week. My friend listens to false teachers and goes to events where there are false teachers explains how we can express our concerns, but also why people might not receive our warnings. If you have a friend who has opened herself up to deception, this essay may encourage you.

Who doesn’t need a second dose of Michelle Lesley? Throwback Thursday ~ Women Preaching: It’s Not a Secondary Doctrinal Issue carefully explains why we mustn’t compromise on Scripture’s prohibition against letting women take the pulpit. This post is essential reading!

For a fascinating perspective on so-called gay Christianity, see On favorite sounds, poisoned Kool-Aid, and comments from pew 11 by Pastor Tedd Mathis of teddmathisdotcom. I’d never made the connection he makes, but he’s absolutely right.

Job is challenging to read. Peter Krol, who maintains the Knowable Word blog, discusses The Complexity of Applying the Speeches of Job’s Friends to ourselves. I’ve struggled with those speeches for years, never quite sure what to do with them. So this article offers helpful guidance. Maybe you’ll also benefit from it.

R. Scott Clark writes Should Christians Expect to Hear a “Still Small Voice” from God? in a devotional for Beautiful Christian Life. He answers this question by walking us through the passage of Scripture that gives us that infamous phrase.

Responding to the escalating vitriol that has encompassed social media lately, Jason Carter issues A Plea for Meekness in his article for Reformation 21. Even if we weren’t in an election year, his words would be woefully necessary.

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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.

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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.

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Not Every Blog Post Can Be Profound


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 Read More »

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!

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