Beware Of Yeast — Not Really All That Cryptic

Worldly WiseIn my devotional reading today, I came across a familiar passage that made me think about my pride.

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. ~~Matthew 16:5-12 (ESV)

I realize that most of the disciples were tradesmen, and therefore lacking in formal education. Perhaps that fact accounts Continue reading

It Doesn’t Matter Whether Or Not They Accept God’s Word

Untitled-1This past weekend, John and I listened to the debate between Jeff Durbin and Andy Stanley on the necessity of embracing the Old Testament. In reality, the true question revolved around the authority of Scripture. Stanley believes that we cannot effectively evangelize millennials by appealing to the Bible as the standard for truth. Rather, he grounds our authority in Christ’s resurrection, believing that Scripture derives its authority from that singular event.

Honestly, some of his attempts at logic made John want to scream and made me want to bang my head against the refrigerator.

But l don’t want to spend this blog post analyzing the debate. I don’t even want to write about the various Continue reading

Rejoice For Much More Than Temporal Blessings

The Lord has been exceedingly wonderful to me in this life. Most notably, of course, He abundantly answered my prayers to be married. While most people can pretty much assume that they will marry, you see, severely disabled people like me and John grow up assuming that we will live our entire lives as singles.

Not only did the Lord permit me to marry, but He permitted me to marry a godly man! How many women can say that? Believe me, I well understand how profoundly God has blessed me through my marriage.

He has given me other temporal blessings — too innumerable to recount in this little blog post. I’d be foolish to ignore His goodness throughout my life.

But I’d be even more foolish to suppose that His goodness stops with these temporal blessings.  As wonderful as these blessings are, they’re mere trinkets compared to the spiritual blessings He gives me through Christ. And I believe He calls His people to celebrate those spiritual blessings, remembering that only spiritual blessings will extend into eternity.

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Saturday Sampler: May 26 — June 1

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Apparently the Lord has been gracious in helping Elizabeth Prata through her battle with pneumonia, because she’s able to write fresh essays for The End Time again! Keep praying for her to have a full recovery. In the meantime, Finding sound doctrine in the days of tickling ears might be just what the doctor ordered…for you!

Okay, so as a Baby Boomer I appreciate Tom’s Bob Dylan’s “Christian” phase in excatholic4christ. But he makes a point that people of any generation need to consider.

Hallelujah! Michelle Lesley has A New Addition: Biblical Counseling Resources on her website. Biblical Counseling, as opposed to so-called Christian counseling, doesn’t integrate psychology into its practice. Instead, it applies principles straight from the Word of God. Praise God that Michelle provides this invaluable resource to help hurting women.

In a heartwarming post about her dog, Leslie A of Growing 4 Life challenges our devotion to the Lord. Are we willing to follow Him At All Costs?

Even if your church doesn’t belong to the Southern Baptist Convention, Why the SBC Should Say “No More” to Beth Moore by Josh Buice of Delivered By Grace will help you understand the severe problems this woman creates.

Examining the benefits and dangers of blogging, Tim Challies answers the question, What Does It Mean To Be A Christian Blogger? With so much animosity flying around the Internet these days, Tim’s reminder of our responsibility to conduct ourselves in ways that honor Christ is sorely needed.

Can We Redeem Queer Culture? asks Fred Butler on his Hip And Thigh blog.

On Possessing the Treasure, Mike Ratliff discusses The tragic results of denying the resurrection. The resurrection is really the cornerstone of the Christian faith, and yet many of us neglect it.

In a disturbing, but necessary, guest post for Theology Gals, Stephanie Schumacher details Why Your Church (and You, Believer) Should Stop Associating with MOPS International. It’s a sad article,  and I feel no joy in bringing it to you. Yet we need to know when historically reliable ministries begin promoting things that undermine the Gospel.

Let’s have a second dose of Michelle Lesley this week. Mythbusting Complentarianism: 4 Truths Egalitarians Need to Know About Complimentarian Women challenges assumptions that egalitarians commonly make about those of us who embrace the roles that Scripture assigns to women. You’ll  come away from this post with a fresh perspective on sexism.

Although I took a class on the Early Church Fathers in college, I remember nothing. Shame on me! Leonardo De Chirico’s latest installment in The Vatican Files offers both encouragement and guidance for reading them. Take a look at Five Principles for Interpreting the Church Fathers and see if it doesn’t inspire you.

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Flashback Friday: End Times Or Not — It’s Time

Originally posted February 26, 2016:

The world spirals more and more into chaos. Although Christians in every generation have believed Jesus would return in their lifetimes, current events suggest to me that He may come within the next few decades. Don’t interpret that statement as a prophecy, however. I claim neither prophetic powers nor a clear understanding of eschatology.

Having made my disclaimer, permit me to make my main point. Regardless of whether the Lord returns before I publish this post or comes 2000 years from now, I see an urgency for Christians to proclaim the Gospel! Yes, I believe the Bible teaches the doctrine of election, but I also believe Continue reading

When We’re Too Discerning To Love Christ

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We seldom recognize our own idols. This spiritual blindness engulfs all Christians, it seems to me, but I think people involved in discernment ministry ought to be particularly mindful that our zeal to expose false teachers can actually distract us from loving the Lord.

A couple of years ago, I read a passage in Revelation 2 that really compelled me to ask myself some uncomfortable questions. Sure, I could make the case that loving Christ leads to a desire for doctrinal purity in His church. In many instances, that’s  entirely true. But look at what the Lord commands the apostle John to write to the church at Ephesus:

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’ ~~Revelation 2:2-7 (ESV)

In this letter, the Lord begins by commending the Ephesians for standing against false teachers. This point shows that discernment ministry definitely has its place. Indeed, several of the other churches in Revelation 2 and 3 receive harsh chastisement precisely because of their tolerance of false teaching. The Lord demands purity in His Church.

Yet the Ephesians focused so much on discernment that they abandoned their devotion to Christ Himself. They no longer had a zeal to serve Him in other ways. So, despite their stellar record in standing against false teachers, they had allowed their discernment abilities to eclipse their devotion to the Lord. In no uncertain terms, these discernment giants were ordered to repent.

Although this letter affirms discernment ministry, it also indicates that discernment can become an idol. How ironic is that? We can become so enamored with our skill in distinguishing truth from error that we read the Bible looking for ammunition that will help us expose whatever false teacher we happen to have in our cross-hairs at the moment. We forget Christ’s answer when asked about the greatest commandment:

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. ~~Matthew 22:37-38 (ESV)

Let’s cultivate discernment, by all means! But let’s not limit discernment merely to calling out false teachers. Let’s also seek to discern from Scripture how we can best love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind. The Ephesians forgot to maintain that type of discernment. We dare not.

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Maybe My Target Readership Can Handle Complex Sentences And Big Words

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Don’t worry — I have no intention of writing a third post comparing current blogging advice to seeker-sensitive churches. I’ve already done so here and here. Of course the parallel begs for attention, but I don’t want to be redundant.

This past weekend, the blog I read on blogging once again featured a post railing against long paragraphs, complex sentences and big words. The author insisted (as he has so many times in his posts) that 21st Century readers no longer tolerate writing unless it can be easily digested. Therefore bloggers should avoid writing in ways that contemporary readers generally find inaccessible. Such writing, he argued, discourages readers, resulting in fewer clicks and even fewer likes.

His post made me so angry that I wrote about it on my personal Facebook page. That post generated an interesting discussion, forcing me to think Continue reading