September 28, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

September 28 Quotes

Why We Sprinkle

Use your concordance and you will see over 45 instances in which cleansing is done by sprinkling. This fact is clearly in view in Hebrews 9-10 where the author mentions sprinkling four times (9:13, 9:19, 9:21, and 10:22). So the “various baptisms” under consideration by the author of Hebrews evidently include ceremonial cleansings done by sprinkling. To say that baptism requires immersion is not true in the first place, and it also fails to connect the symbolism of baptism to its rich biblical heritage.

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Why Don’t Protestants Have a Pope?

By definition Protestants do not make very good Catholics. (Or to be more precise, we are not goodRoman Catholics, though I’d like to think a robust Protestant is a small-c catholic in the best sense of the word.) However much Protestants and Catholics can work together on social issues, and however much we may share an early creedal tradition, there are still many significant issues which divide us. One of the most important of those issues is how we understand the government that Christ gave to his church.

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From the Bahá’í Faith to Porn to Alpha to Jesus

So there in the bed that I shared with Aaron, I pleaded with God to save me. I already knew that I had to repent: of trying to be holy through a faith that promised perfection; of helping to sell online pornography; and ultimately, of relying on myself. As I prayed in repentance, the fog I cowered under lifted. There was a sudden clarity: Yes, this is true, this is real—Jesus really is the Son of God.

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Re-ignite Bible Reading That’s Become Boring

That black book without pictures just isn’t quite so exciting as the black device that can show us anything in the world in just a click.  We may pick up our Bibles, open the pages, and scan the lines, but our hearts just aren’t in it. We force ourselves to read our chapter(s) or fill up our allotted time, but we really can’t wait to finish and get on to much more fascinating and enjoyable things.

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5 Biblical Keys for Understanding the Bible

Have you ever wondered how to understand the Bible more clearly? Understanding the Bible is a life-ling endeavor, one that requires the Holy Spirit and disciplined diligence. It’s not something I can clear up with one blog post. But let me briefly give you five Biblical keys to understanding the Bible that I have found to be very useful. I hope they prove to be so for you, too.

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On Headship and Households

Burk is right that there are many questions left about the mystery of manhood and womanhood, and how that all plays out in culture. Neither Carl nor I deny there are many differences between the sexes, some cultural, and some innate. But I do deny that male headship is imperative to living out my womanhood in civil society. I believe headship is a factor when it comes to household order, and I do not believe that headship is a micromanaging role.

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The Vines We Cling To

God has removed good gifts from my life over the past few months. These were gifts that had become disordered affections in my heart, idols that I loved and cherished more than God. Any of God’s good gifts can become idols to us: friendships, ministries, jobs, children, even our hopes and dreams.

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In Search of the Good Ol’ Days

If you go back to the days before those nasty feminists and pot-smoking radicals, what about segregation? What about civil rights for minorities? What about laws that protect women from domestic violence and give them legal rights apart from their husbands? If you step further back, what about child labor? What about slavery? What about the upper class that was terrified of teaching the lower classes to read let alone write for fear they would rise about their restricted sphere in life?

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It's Okay Not to be Okay

It’s Okay Not to be Okay

Posted on September 27, 2015 by Crosswalk

Have you ever been tempted to downplay the things that have hurt you? Here’s why Christians should be the first ones to talk honestly about their suffering.

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Stop Taking Luke 6:38 Out of Context

Stop Taking Luke 6:38 Out of Context

Posted on September 27, 2015 by Crosswalk

Luke 6:38 says, &Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.& Is Jesus is talking about money here, or somet…

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5 Ways the Bible Shows Us How to Live with Love

5 Ways the Bible Shows Us How to Live with Love

Posted on September 27, 2015 by Crosswalk

We worship a Christ who forgives us no matter what, is generous with his blessings, has patience with our shortcomings, and fights for the smallest and weakest among us.

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True biblical holiness: It's not about what you don't do

True biblical holiness: It’s not about what you don’t do

Posted on September 28, 2015 by Christian Today

Holiness runs all the way through scripture. What does it really mean?

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Freebie Friday! Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves

by Erin Davis

Take our body image quiz for your chance to win the true beauty book, “Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves.”

From the Archives: Is It Okay to Date Just for Fun?

by Erin Davis

One of you recently asked, “Is it okay to date just for fun?” In a word—yes. That being said, I think there is a more important question we should be asking. Is it wise to date just for fun? In two words—probably not.

You’re Not the Only One Waiting . . .

by Paula Hendricks

There are so many verses about waiting for God. But have you ever thought about how He waits, too? Here are five things God is waiting for.

You Were Made to Shine!

by Erin Davis

Do you see yourself as a bright city, made to shine like a sparkling diamond, or a run-down neighborhood, not worth fixing?

Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen Express Excitement Over “Pope Francis” Visit

Christian News Network reports:

Photo courtesy Instagram

Photo courtesy Instagram

As the Roman Catholic head Jorge Bergoglio, who is known as “Pope Francis,” traveled to the United States this past week for a six-day visit, megachurch leaders Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes and Joel Osteen expressed their excitement and support for the papal pomp and circumstance.

On Wednesday, T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House posted a photo on social media of himself and his wife at the White House, outlining that he had been invited by Barack Obama to be among the VIP’s welcoming Francis to the nation’s capital.
“A special thanks to President Obama for his VIP invitation to attend such a historical event,” he wrote. “As the world watches this international figure move through our country, let’s pray that the pope’s journey is safe!”

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Franklin Graham Accuses Senate of Hypocrisy

According to Christian Headlines:

Franklin Graham has accused the U.S. Senate of hypocrisy because they welcomed Pope Francis who opposes abortion, but then voted down the bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

Christian Today reports that Graham stated on his Facebook page: “The hypocrisy of our Senate never ceases to amaze me as they welcomed Pope Francis into their chambers with a standing ovation and then within hours they voted down the bill to ‪#‎defundPlannedParenthood, an organisation that not only murders innocent children in their mothers’ wombs but is also guilty of selling body parts from these babies.”

What The Socinians Denied And Taught On Faith And Justification

1. That justifying faith, or that faith whereby we are justified, is our receiving of Christ as our Lord and Saviour, trusting in him and yielding obedience to him. 2. That faith, in justifying, is not to be considered as a hand whereby we lay hold on the righteousness of another, or as an instrument, […]

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Witsius: The Law Of Works And The Law Of Faith Are Antecedent And Consequent Conditions

Disputing in his Panstrat. vol. iii. book xv. chap. iii. against Bellarmine, [Chamier] teaches that the true and determinate difference between the law of works and that of faith, is the condition of works and of faith; that is, that the law of works proposes salvation, upon condition of performing the law. But the law […]

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The Logic Of Fruit As Evidence (2)

In part 1 we saw a brief history of how sanctification came to become more than the fruit of our salvation. In this installment we want to see how the Protestants talked about our obedience as the fruit and evidence of our salvation. Where Rome (e.g., Trent), the Socinians, and Richard Baxter made good works […]

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Is Hell Eternal Separation From God?

Many Christians define Hell as eternal separation from God. However, I wonder if this is born out by Scripture. It seems that a lot of people go to Jesus Christ’s cry on the cross to prove this point: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” If Christ experienced Hell on the cross, as most Reformed believers rightly believe, then Hell seems to be defined here as being forsaken by God.

Another argument that seems to point in this direction is the relationship of Revelation 20 to Revelation 21. In Revelation 21, the dragon and the two beasts are thrown into the lake of fire, along with Death, Hades, and everyone whose name is not written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 20:15). When one reads on into Revelation 21, it says that God will dwell with His people, which seems to suggest that He is not dwelling with those who are in the lake of fire.

To answer the first argument, it is not true that God the Father abandoned God the Son at the cross. The cross did not result in a rift in the Trinity. The abandonment consists of the God-man suffering the full wrath of God the Father. It is a giving up of Jesus to the judicial wrath, not an ontological abandonment. This becomes clear when the judgment context of Psalm 22 is taken into account, from which Jesus’ cry comes.

To answer the second argument, I wonder Who keeps the lake of fire hot? Who throws Satan into it? Who torments Satan day and night forever? Are these not divine passive constructions? Who can administer the justice but God alone? How would we ever trust that the punishment fits the crime perfectly unless it is God who punishes?

A passage that gives a bit more light on this is Revelation 14:6-13. In this passage, those who worship the beast, and receive the mark of the beast will drink the cup of the wrath of God, poured full strength (verse 10). This torment is eternal (verse 11). Therefore, John is talking about eternal punishment in Hell in these verses, not a temporal punishment. The key phrase, then, for our purposes, is the last part of verse 10: “in the presence of the holy angels and the presence of the Lamb.” It is the torment that will happen in the presence of the Lamb and of the angels, a torment that lasts forever. It is, therefore, true that the torment will last eternally in the presence of the angels and of the Lamb.

Another argument can be deduced from the principle of God’s omnipresence. If God is everywhere (see Psalm 139 for an extensive proof of God’s omnipresence), then God is present in Hell as well. Some of us might be uncomfortable saying that, as if God shouldn’t be involved in the punishment of Hell, as if it would dirty His holy hands. I would counter by saying that I wouldn’t want anyone BUT an omniscient God administering punishment for eternity! How else could permanent justice be assured?

I conclude that the formulation of Hell being eternal separation from God needs a bit of tweaking. Hell is eternal separation from the grace and mercy of God. It is not eternal separation from God entirely. I believe that people will fervently wish that they could escape the judging presence of God! Hell is a place where God is present only to judge and punish. Heaven is the place where God is present only to love and cherish.

Strange Times–Blood Moons, Prophecy and Papal Visits

To say we live in strange times is a tremendous understatement indeed.  Between the hype over “blood moons” and the Pope visiting the U.S. and mesmerizing many with his charm–in the midst of quite controversial statements–has a lot of Christians wondering just what is going on.   Well, another “blood moon” has come and gone–no […]

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Equipping Eve: Interview with Phil Johnson (Part 1)

In this episode of Equipping Eve, Erin talks to Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You. It’s a potpourri discussion, covering topics such as women’s ministries, Bible study, and the apparent doctrinal downgrade within the visible church. Click here to listen to this latest episode of Equipping Eve. Click here for a list of articles referenced in this episode of Equipping Eve.

Planned Parenthood and Baby Parts: How Did We Get Here?

In the subject blog series, Brian Fisher of Online for Life writes of how our society has gotten to the point where the trafficking of baby body parts can be discussed so casually.  He also describes the foundations of Planned Parenthood. Below is an excerpt taken from the series:
Evil of this magnitude doesn’t happen overnight. It never has. When slavery was brought to the United States in 1619, it wasn’t delivered to colonists on a 200-foot slave ship outfitted with chains, crowded bunks, and whips to keep its “cargo” in line. No, slavery first came to our country in the form of indentured servitude, with a promise to work for seven years in exchange for a trip to and establishment in the New World. Within a century, that system evolved into the horrific practice of slavery that has left an immutable stain on our society.
Similarly, Germany’s Third Reich didn’t come to power one day and then Hitler began slaughtering Jews the next. No, it happened slowly over time. First, through economic persecution, then through Kristallnacht. Next, the Jews were segregated into ghettos, and slowly, town by town, they were deported on trains that took them to concentration camps… and almost certain death.
The same can be said about legalized abortion in America. Since the early 1900s, there has been a slow uptick in the acceptance of abortion in our culture. It began when radical eugenicists hijacked the women’s rights movement, followed by the strategic establishment of abortion clinics within predominantly African-American communities. And finally, gentle euphemisms were introduced into our society that delineate preborn babies as “tissue” and abortion as “choice.”
This is an eye-opening series.  Fisher is committed to providing this nation with the wake up call that it needs.
You can read part one here. Part two can be found here.

Letter to Editor: Rick Warren Speaks in Philadelphia at Catholics’ World Meeting of Families on Sept.26

  Dear Lighthouse Trails: Rick Warren gave the final keynote address of the World Meeting of Families conference on Sept.25th. Rick Warren told the crowd: “Thank you for caring about the family” and quoted Pope Francis as saying that “the family is under threat.” The World Meeting of Families conference is held every 3 years […]


REJOICING THROUGH IT ALL—What Scripture Tells Us by Warren B. Smith s is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your […]

Social Media Etiquette for Christians

1 Timothy paints a wonderful picture of leadership as it pertains to the life of a Christian. If any of us aspire to lead others (which we all should), we must take the contents of 1 Timothy to heart and evaluate our lives from the inside out. I think we should do the same for our social media posts.

What does your social media say about you?

1) Are your posts above reproach? (1 Timothy 3:2)

2) Are your posts nonviolent and not arrogantly confrontational? (1 Timothy 3:3)

3) Are your posts managed well and full of respect? (1 Timothy 3:4)

4) Are your posts put above time with God, or your family? (1 Timothy 3:5)

5) Are your posts non-arrogant? (1 Timothy 3:6)

6) Are your posts respected, and do they portray a good name? (1 Timothy 3:7)

7) Are your posts sincere? (1 Timothy 3:8)

8) Are your posts reflecting your faith in God’s truth? (1 Timothy 3:9

Evaluate Yourself

Ask yourself these questions and evaluate your social posts. Why? Because out of the abundance of the heart a man posts. (Luke 6:45)  

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Things You Might Not Know About the Single Mamas in Your Church

As I’ve walked through my “new normal”, I have become increasingly burdened by the lack of conversation in children’s ministry world about the situations so many of our families are in.  We don’t talk much about single parents in the church.  That could be a whole new blog post, but the reality is we just don’t.  Over the past year, our church has tried to be more intentional, specifically in the area of ministering to single moms.  I have learned so much from spending time with and sharing stories with other ladies who are walking similar paths as mine.  The greatest thing I have learned is that we as the Church (big, universal church, not just mine) and we as a children’s ministry community must do better to understand and serve these families.

Here are just a few of the insights of what single mamas deal with that I have learned that I think may help you and your church as well…

1.  Shame – Single moms have no reason to be ashamed of where they are in life, but there’s something about church… something about how most of us put on the happy church mask of “we’ve got it altogether” that is intimidating to the single mom.  Single mamas can’t even pretend that we have it altogether.  Even though they should not feel this way and no matter how they got to the situation they are currently in, many single moms carry some level of embarrassment that their family does not look like it is “supposed to”.  Sometimes the church can add to that with inconsiderate or judgmental statements from church members.  But often it is simply a shame that single moms just feel and put on themselves.

2.  They are tired.  Most single moms are working and raising littles.  Many of them have the weight of every decision, every homework assignment, every ball practice, every field trip permission slip, every attempt at healthy meals, every dentist appointment, every discipline issue, etc…. on their shoulders and that doesn’t even include their own career and personal lives.  They do a large majority of this alone and it is exhausting.

3.  They are fighting lonely.  Everyone needs community, but especially single mamas.  Marriage has some level of built-in community.  Someone who you at least share space with and who you can talk to about anything, anytime.  The greatest thing your church can do for single moms is to create a space for them to connect with each other and with others within the church.

4.  Holidays are hard. All of them.  Even the kinda dumb ones.  Because holidays are meant to be shared and as much as we love sharing them with our littles, moms miss having an adult to share them with.  I was very surprised to learn how hard Mother’s Day was.  I expected Father’s Day to be worse,but not so much.  Lots of times single moms just don’t show up to church on holidays because it is just easier that way.

5.  Single moms want to be involved, but need much grace.  They might be late.  Sometimes they may seem inconsistent because they have to stay home with sick kids or have to be mama first.  This does not mean they are less committed.  It just means they are doing everything that they can do.

6.  They want the very, very best for their kids.  I would guess that the number one anxiety for single moms is worrying if their kids will be ok.  Single moms see the gaps in their kids’ lives and stress much about how they can’t fill all of them alone. Single moms need churches to step in and help through mentorships or even just friendships.

7.  Sometimes single parents feel overlooked in the church. We just don’t talk about single parents.  In the church, of course, we want to set the high example of Biblical marriage.  Sometimes I think we are afraid that we will seem to be advocating divorce if we address single parents.  This is so not the case.  We are simply recognizing the reality of many people in our church body.  Look for ways to just acknowledge that the single parents in your church exist, whether through a mention in a sermon or a prayer time or whatever.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive.  What do you see as needs of single moms or dads in your church or children’s ministry?  

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Free Printable: “We’re Praying For You” Cards

Free Printable

Download and print these prayer cards to use in your Sunday School ministry.

From Ministry to Children, “Prayer is powerful! Prayer is an important part of any Christian’s life. I want to show this to my class at church, so I created these “We’re Praying For You” cards. Each week, during our time of prayer requests, I am going to ask each child to choose someone in the church that they want to pray for during the following week. This will get them to think of others and start to pray for others. I will fill out, or if they’re old enough they can fill out, a “We’re Praying For You” card to give to the person and a “I’m Praying For” card to take home as a reminder for themselves to pray each day.”

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Download Instructions: 
Right-click on the link that says “download the printable PDF” and choose “Save As.”

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7 Subtle Symptoms of Pride

Pride will kill you. Forever. Pride is the sin most likely to keep you from crying out for a Savior. Those who think they are well will not look for a doctor.

As seriously dangerous as pride is, it’s equally hard to spot. When it comes to diagnosing our hearts, those of us who have the disease of pride have a challenging time identifying our sickness. Pride infects our eyesight, causing us to view ourselves through a lens that colors and distorts reality. Pride will paint even our ugliness in sin as beautiful and commendable.

We can’t conclude that we don’t struggle with pride because we don’t see pride in our hearts. The comfortable moments when I pat myself on the back for how well I am doing are the moments that should alarm me the most. I need to reach for the glasses of Christ-like humility, remembering that nothing good dwells in my flesh, and search my heart for secret pride and its symptoms.

In his essay on undetected pride, Jonathan Edwards points out seven sneaky symptoms of the infection of pride.

1. Fault-Finding

While pride causes us to filter out the evil we see in ourselves, it also causes us to filter out God’s goodness in others. We sift them, letting only their faults fall into our perception of them.

When I’m sitting in a sermon or studying a passage, it’s pride that prompts the terrible temptation to skip the Spirit’s surgery on my own heart and instead draft a mental blog post or plan a potential conversation for the people who “really need to hear this.”

Edwards writes, “The spiritually proud person shows it in his finding fault with other saints. … The eminently humble Christian has so much to do at home and sees so much evil in his own that he is not apt to be very busy with other hearts.”

2. A Harsh Spirit

Those who have the sickness of pride in their hearts speak of others’ sins with contempt, irritation, frustration or judgment. Pride is crouching inside our belittling of the struggles of others. It’s cowering in our jokes about the ‘craziness’ of our spouse. It may even be lurking in the prayers we throw upward for our friends that are—subtly or not—tainted with exasperated irritation.

Again Edwards writes, “Christians who are but fellow-worms ought at least to treat one another with as much humility and gentleness as Christ treats them.”

3. Superficiality

When pride lives in our hearts, we’re far more concerned with others’ perceptions of us than the reality of our hearts. We fight the sins that have an impact on how others view us, and make peace with the ones that no one sees. We have great success in the areas of holiness that have highly visible accountability, but little concern for the disciplines that happen in secret.

4. Defensiveness

Those who stand in the strength of Christ’s righteousness alone find a confident hiding place from the attacks of men and Satan alike. True humility is not knocked off balance and thrown into a defensive posture by challenge or rebuke, but instead continues in doing good, entrusting the soul to our faithful Creator.

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Abortion Isn’t About Women’s Health

It’s common to talk to women physically or psychologically damaged by abortions, who say, “I had no idea this could happen; no one told me about the risks.” Unfortunately, the large body of evidence indicating significant abortion risks has been suppressed and ignored. This suppression is made possible by prochoice advocates who zealously oppose any requirements for abortion clinics to provide information. The “immunity to stating the facts” enjoyed by abortion clinics increases their profits, but only at the expense of women who are not allowed to make an informed choice.

My thanks to Linda L. Kruschke for writing this powerful article and sharing a personal perspective on this subject:

It’s Not about Women’s Health

I’ve been avoiding writing this blog post for about two weeks now, but I can’t avoid it any more. The thing that finally pushed me to write was this article I read on the Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM) website while I was eating my lunch. It is about the Planned Parenthood (PP) protest in Portland, Oregon on August 22. There were 300 such peaceful protests across the nation, but this one happened to be where I live and less than an hour away from the headquarters of EPM.

I loved one of the pictures in this article because in addition to people holding a sign that says “Planned Parenthood Kills Babies” there were others holding a sign that says “Planned Parenthood Deceives Women.” Although I am saddened by the culture of death and the many murdered children at the hands of PP, my heart is with the many women who have had abortions and lived to regret that decision. Many of those women, like me, were deceived by PP and are also victims.

The pro-choice voice claims that the right of a woman to have an abortion is a women’s health issue and that PP is about women’s health. These claims couldn’t be further from the truth. Pregnancy is not a disease that needs to be treated or cured. It is not healthy for a woman to have an abortion. In fact, having an abortion dramatically increases a woman’s risk of major depression and suicidal tendencies, and it also increases the risk of breast cancer and future miscarriage. (EPM note: see the information following Linda’s article for more on these increased risks.)

But it was my experience that PP didn’t disclose any of those risks. I didn’t find out about them until after I’d suffered with seven years of major clinical depression (following many years of low-grade depression), been suicidal, and had a miscarriage. So far I haven’t also gotten breast cancer, but with my family history of this disease, I certainly did not need to increase my risk.

The “health care providers” at PP were not concerned with my health; they were concerned only with getting my money. They weren’t concerned with who the father was or the fact that he had been an older man who raped a teenage girl; they didn’t even ask. They didn’t provide any pre- or post-abortion counseling, they didn’t advise me of the health risks of having an abortion, and they didn’t even schedule a follow-up visit. What doctor doesn’t schedule a follow-up visit after an invasive medical procedure?

I left the PP clinic that day, headed off to a Future Business Leaders of America camp, and bled so much that I thought I was going to die. (In fact, when I bled that much after my miscarriage years later, the emergency room rushed me back to an exam room without even checking in first—that’s how serious that kind of bleeding can be.) But PP didn’t warn me about this possibility or tell me what to do if it did happen. I was a scared 17-year-old with no one looking out for my health—PP certainly wasn’t.

Tell me you think a woman has a right to choose to kill her own baby—if you think that’s a defensible position—but don’t tell me that right is a women’s health issue. It quite simply is not.

If you want to champion women’s health, then help women find the spiritual and emotional health to deal honestly with a pregnancy they don’t want. Help them understand that whatever the circumstances that led to their pregnancy, God loves them and their child. There are options, including adoption, which are far healthier for them—and definitely healthier for their baby. What finally got me healthy after the trauma of being raped and having an abortion was the love of Jesus. I only wish someone had helped me find that love before it was too late for my child.

Here’s more information from my book Why ProLife? about some of the health risks for women following abortions:

Increased Mental Health Complications

Dr. Patricia Coleman, professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University, analyzed outcomes of twenty-two scholarly research papers on women, mental health, and abortion. The research involved well over 877,000 women. She states, “81 percent of females who had an abortion were found to be at an increased risk for mental health problems, including depression, alcohol abuse, and suicidal behaviors.”[i]

Very similar conclusions to Coleman’s were reached independently in an Australian analysis of abortion and mental health data.[ii]

Increased Risk of Cancer

Women with one abortion double their risk of cervical cancer, compared to non-abortive women, while women with two or more abortions multiply their risk by nearly five times. Similar elevated risks of ovarian and liver cancer have also been linked to single and multiple abortions.[iii]

After extensive investigation, Dr. Joel Brind, a cancer researcher and professor of endocrinology, concluded, “The single most avoidable risk factor for breast cancer is induced abortion.”[iv] A woman who has an abortion increases her risk of breast cancer by a minimum of 50 percent and as much as 300 percent.[v]

Increased Risk of Future Miscarriage

Many studies have demonstrated a statistically significant increase in miscarriage, premature births or low birth weight risk in women with prior induced abortions.[vi] “Low birth weight and premature birth are the most important risk factors for infant mortality or later disabilities as well as for lower cognitive abilities and greater behavioral problems.”[vii]



[i] Priscilla Coleman, “Abortion and Mental Health: Quantitative Synthesis and Analysis of Research Published 1995–2009,” British Journal of Psychiatry 199 (September 2011): 180–86,

[ii] Joseph A. D’Agostino, “Abortion Causes Massive Mental Health Problems for Women,” Human Events, January 30, 2006,

[iii] F. Parazzini et al., “Reproductive Factors and the Risk of Invasive and Intraepithelial Cervical Neoplasia,” British Journal of Cancer 59 (1989):805–9; H. L. Stewart et al., “Epidemiology of Cancers of the Uterine Cervix and Corpus, Breast and Ovary in Israel and New York City,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 37, no. 1:1–96; I. Fujimoto et al., “Epidemiologic Study of Carcinoma in Situ of the Cervix,” Journal of Reproductive Medicine 30, no. 7 ( July 1985): 535; C. LaVecchia et al., “Reproductive Factors and the Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Women,” International Journal of Cancer 52 (1992): 351.

[iv] Joel Brind, “Comprehensive Review and Meta-Analysis of the Abortion/Breast Cancer Link,”

[v] L. A. Brinton et al., “Reproductive Factors in the Aetiology of Breast Cancer,” British Journal of Cancer 47 (1983): 757–62.

[vi] Laura Blue, “Study Links Abortion and Premies,” Time, December 18, 2007, citing the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health,,8599,1695927,00.html

[vii] Brent Rooney and Byron C. Calhoun, MD, “Induced Abortion and Risk of Later Premature Births,” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 8, no. 2 (Summer 2003),

Unwrapping Rapture (again)

With all the talk of blood moons and the putative “probability” of the rapture being today (September 28, 2015), I decided to reprise this…

All Bible-believing Christians are expecting the rapture; we all just define that event differently. My earlier post, Secret Disservice: Problems with the term ‘Secret Rapture,’  generated some questions I’d like to address.

1) What is the rapture?

The word ‘rapture’ comes from the Latin rapturo, meaning, “I seize, I snatch, or I carry away” which is the Vulgate’s translation of the Greek word harpadzo, meaning “I catch up, I carry away.” As a half-Greek etymology geek I can’t resist mentioning that English sailors sourced their word “harpoon” from the Greek for the implement used to snatch a large  fish out the water.

Harpadzo” or “Rapturo” is  rendered  “caught up”  in   1 Thess 4:16-17  where Paul says,

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord, (ESV).”

Also, 1 Cor 15:51-53 refers to the fact that believers will not all die, but will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye.

This is why I could provocatively claim that all Bible believing Christians are expecting a rapture. We all agree that at some point Christians will be snatched up into the clouds to meet Jesus. The vexing question is: “When?!”

Some say, “Any moment now, before God judges the earth for seven years, which precedes the final return of Christ to usher in his 1000 year earthly reign.” (The correct This writer’s view).

Others aver all of the above, except for the “any moment” part. They’d put their money on a rapturing of the church after the seven years of tribulation. Time would fail to mention the variations of this view, like the “midway through” crew and the “before the worst” bevy, and other combos I may be rudely neglecting.

Still others (and to be fair, most others) assume the tribulation is currently occurring and will be ended by a single event which encompasses rapture, judgment, return, and consummation of all things resulting in the eternal state.

2) Why pick on the ‘secret rapture’?

The reason I took issue with the antiquated use of the term ‘secret rapture’ to describe these events is because I keep bumping into those who misunderstand the pre-trib rapture view, and ridicule the notion that rapture will be covert.

Note please, that I don’t have a problem with what premills believe about the so-called secret rapture, just that some call it ‘secret.’ That designation leaves room for people to misunderstand what we mean.

One admittedly hilarious parody of our view that is worth the four minute video is: “Messing With Dispensationalists.

‘Secret’ should refer only to the fact that its timing is unknown. We cannot predict when rapture will occur. But in discussions with opponents of the view, ‘secret rapture’ is caricatured as positing that no one except believers will be aware of the shout, the trumpet, and the appearing of Christ. I dealt with this last week.

3) Why ought Christians to have a view on the rapture?

Because 1 Thess 4:18 (the verse after the description of the rapture) tells us to “encourage one another with these words.” Paul thought he was speaking plainly enough that the description he just supplied would be encouraging to the believers who were longing to be with Jesus. It seems that the encouragement is to expect a sudden catching away to be with our Lord. If one’s view relegates this truth to an unimportant part of theology, you miss out on one of the great blessings the Holy Spirit gives included in the “all things pertaining to life and godliness” package.

These issues are not salvation issues, and great men have differed for centuries. We all agree (well, most of us who can read) that no one can know the day or hour of the event, so in that sense it is a ‘secret.’

Let’s keep the healthy perspective that whoever is mistaken in their view can still have the gospel perfectly clear, and they will have their mind changed in a twinkling of an eye, it’s just a matter of the timing.

Of super blood moons and blaspheming the Lord


So the world didn’t come to an end last night. Jesus didn’t return. Armageddon didn’t begin. (But you already knew that, didn’t you?)

The doomsday prophets were wrong.


Just like they’ve been every single time.

In the last decade alone, we’ve had multiple predictions of the Lord’s return. Jack Van Impe said 2012 would be the year. Harold Camping said 2011 (twice), after his 1994 prediction turned out to be bunk. Ronald Weinstein predicted his return as being in 2011, 2012, and 2013, though I suspect he gave up making predictions after being imprisoned for tax evasion.

Ed Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Timothy Dwight, and Isaac Newton1 were all wrong. Irenaeus got it wrong, too. The Blood Moon crowd—John Hagee and Mark Blitz—are just a couple more names to add to the list. Why?

Because the Bible says so.

If no one knows, no one knows

The Bible is quite explicit about a number of things involving the second coming of Christ. But chief among them is that no one knows when it’s going to happen. Consider what Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, before going on to explain some of what to expect at the end:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way.

Paul was writing to a group of believers who were losing hope because there were false prophets running about not just saying that they knew exactly when Jesus would return, but that they’d already missed it. The Thessalonians had been… Left Behind.™

So Paul wrote to say, ignore the knuckleheads. Ignore these deceivers. Have nothing to do with them. “Let no one deceive you in any way.” The end had not yet come—and there was no way it could be missed.

Similarly, Jesus said that he would not return until the gospel had been proclaimed among all the nations (Matthew 24:14). When that happens—and as a necessary consequence, all who would believe would be saved have been saved—judgment will come. Then there’s wars, and rumors of wars, and natural disasters… All of which are “the beginning of the birth pains” (Matthew 24:5-8).

But the end is not yet, Jesus said.

Instead, the end comes like a thief in the night, at a time when no one expects it. When no one is, apparently, looking for it or predicting it. For, “concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only”(Matthew 24:36).

No one knows, Jesus said. Not the angels, not even Jesus himself. Only the Father knows.

And if no one knows, no one knows. Thus, everyone who says they know is wrong. So have nothing to do with them.

What do we do with doomsday prophets?

While some doomsday prophets, charitably speaking, may be overzealous fellow believers whose fanciful speculations reach beyond the limits of good sense,2 many are something far worse. They are not prophets, but peddlers of God’s Word, twisting the Bible for their own agendas.3 They are ones who are devoted to “irreverent, silly myths” (1 Timothy 4:7). They ignite “foolish, ignorant controversies” about things which they cannot know (2 Timothy 2:23). They are blaspheming the Lord to think that they know what he has explicitly said they cannot know. And make no mistake, the Lord does not take such things lightly.

So far, every person who has ever predicted when Jesus would return, and lived to see they were wrong, has had to repent, revise or retreat (though some choose to double down and embrace life as a cult leader). Their hoopla is nothing more than a distraction from the mission we have of proclaiming the gospel among all nations. Of seeing people come to know and love the Lord Jesus, to be given new life through his death and resurrection and by his Spirit, so that when the day of the Lord does come, they will be counted among the redeemed who will live with him forevermore.

So don’t give in to distraction. Have nothing to do with foolish and fanciful speculation—and those who propagate it (Titus 3:10). No good will come from giving them an ear. For we know the truth: No one knows when Jesus will return. No one but the Father.

Wait expectantly, for he will come when you least expect it. And while you wait, ignore anyone who says they know when.

Think the Church’s Precarious Cultural Situation is Unique? Think Again

It is clear by now that we are living through one of the most monumental cultural shifts in the history of America.  While most cultural changes are slow and plodding, this one has been a rapid, raging flood wiping out everything in its path.

Christianity, while once the defining influence on American culture and policies, has now become public enemy number one.  In many people’s minds, Christians represent a clear and present danger to the social stability of the American enterprise. We are now less like citizens, and more like foreigners.

As a result, a bit of panic is spreading through the ranks. Anxiety levels are high. Christians are wondering how we should deal with this radically new and unprecedented cultural situation.

The answer may be a bit surprising.  We deal with this radically new and unprecedented cultural situation by remembering it isn’t radically new and unprecedented.

In fact, it is a return to normal.

Of course, I don’t mean normal in the history of America.  In the American experience, the pundits are right: this is an unprecedented cultural shift.  But, in the history of God’s people, this present situation is not at all unusual.  Indeed it has often been the norm; indeed, even the means by which God has advanced his Kingdom in unique and special ways.

I was struck by this reality the other day while revisiting the well-known story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3.  These three Israelites were no longer in Canaan, but were now in Babylon–a foreign country with no loyalty to the God of Israel. They had been exiled.  They were foreigners.

Even more than this, the cultural situation in Babylon was eerily similar to the present situation in America:

1. Even though Babylon did not worship Yahweh, they did worship something (everyone does).  They were committed to the cultural idol that Nebuchadnezzar had set up (3:1).

2. The idol of Nebuchadnezzar was very intimidating and imposing–over 90 ft. high (3:1).

3. The commitment to this cultural idol was nationwide–everyone bowed down from the least to the greatest.  This was especially true of the governing officials (3:2-3).

4. Babylon’s commitment to their idol was remarkably intolerant.  It was absolute and dogmatic.  It required unquestioned allegiance to the idol, lest one get thrown into the fiery furnace (3:6).

It is also worth adding that this was the same cultural situation that Christians found themselves in the second century.  The Roman government viewed Christians as a threat to a stable society and threatened them with death if they would not bow down and pay homage to the Roman gods.

It doesn’t take much reflection to see how similar these cultural situations are to the present one in America. Our nation has become religiously committed to an idol of tolerance–particularly the belief that everyone’s sexual preferences must be embraced and affirmed.  This is an intimidating idol which looms threateningly over all our nation’s citizens and is embraced by many of the governing officials.

And, most notably, this idol of tolerance is remarkably intolerant, with a commitment to destroy anyone who does not bow down and pay homage.

The implications of this situation are clear. As Christians we are no longer living in Canaan.  Indeed, our situation is a lot more like living in Babylon.

And, this side of glory, that is back to normal.

If we are living in Babylon, then our primary response to the present cultural challenges must be just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and just like the second century Christians in Rome.

We must not bow.

Of course, there is more that can be said than this.  And there is more than can be done than this.  But, nevertheless it all starts with this.

Whatever steps we take to engage our culture–whether intellectually, socially, or politically–we must first be committed to this.

When you are living in Babylon, not bowing is the foundation of all other cultural engagement.

“I AM” Shows Us How We Encounter God

This is the first of a three-part series on God’s name, I AM.” Be sure to check back in tomorrow for Part Two (“‘I AM’ gives us the ground rule for knowing God”), and on Wednesday for Part Three (“‘I AM’ transforms our identities”).

The encounter between Moses and the burning bush (in Exodus 3) is one of the most famous scenes of the Bible. And rightly so: Exodus 3:14 is the very first time in Scripture that God reveals his name. Not just his attributes, but his name: “I am.” It’s a name as unusual and surprising to us as it was to Moses. But it’s the only name that shows us how we can truly encounter God.

When Moses asks God for a name, he wanted to put God in a category he could understand, to define God based on what he already knew. But God flips that idea on its head. He says, in essence, “Moses, you can’t define me based on what you already know. I am. I don’t have a beginning. I am. I don’t have an ending. I am. I didn’t come from anywhere. I am. You don’t define me based on reality; you define reality based on me.

For most of us, we don’t encounter God through a lifetime of philosophical reasoning. Our encounter with God is much more personal and experiential. We come to some moment when we are simply confronted with the fact that God is. Like Moses standing before the burning bush, we come face to face with something that we simply can’t explain away. We are going through life unsuspecting, when suddenly—boom—God interrupts.

Burning bushes still happen today. They are the mysterious events that make people stop, turn aside, and listen for God’s voice.

For many people, that burning bush begins with an unanswered question. And as a person turns aside to investigate it, they may not get a voice of explanation—but they often find the revelation of “I am.”

For some, that question revolves around the mystery of the cosmos. Antony Flew, one of the past century’s most famous atheists, declared himself to be a theist nearing the end of his life, because the complex design of the universe seemed to demand it. Thomas Edison once said, “When you see everything that happens in the world of science, and in the working of the universe, you cannot deny that there must be a captain on the bridge.”

For others, the question centers on the problem of evil. Albert Einstein, reflecting on the depth of evil in the human race, concluded that something more than biological was going on: “It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man.” I recently read one atheist who said the most troubling question in his life was what he called the “problem” of universal human rights. As he put it:

“I am an atheist, but I believe in human rights, which is problematic, because I believe we got here by trampling on the weak. Those of us with stronger genes dominated the weak, so why give people rights now? Some of my atheist friends say that the will of the majority grants people rights. But what if the majority says we can oppress a certain kind of person? Is there not a standard above the will of the majority to whom the oppressed can appeal? … I don’t know why universal rights exist, but I know that they must; thus I must temporarily abandon my worldview to hold such a view.”

For other people, their burning bush isn’t a question at all. It’s a longing they feel in the course of normal life. A child is born. A parent dies. And something within them is awakened, whispering, “There has got to be something more out there.” Steve Jobs, in his last public interview before his death, echoed some of this sentiment. “Ever since I’ve had cancer,” he said, “I find myself believing in God a bit more. I want to believe in an afterlife.” Some people call this wishful thinking. I see it as God shaking somebody awake to true reality.

For many, their burning bush comes when reading the Bible. It’s a story that could be told a hundred-fold: someone begins investigating Christianity by reading the Bible, and suddenly they find that they are the ones being investigated. As Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, put it, reading the Bible is like staring through a keyhole and finding someone staring back at you.

For many, their burning bush is a profound religious experience. Blaise Pascal, the scientific and mathematical prodigy of the 17th century (who has been called the architect of modern civilization), had an experience of God one night. He wrote it down and later sewed it into the lining of his coat: “Monday, November 23, 1654,” he wrote. “From 10:30-12:30…Fire…God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob. Not the God of the philosophers and the sophisticated. Joy. Joy. Joy. Tears of joy. I submit myself, absolutely, to Jesus Christ, my redeemer.” The genius Pascal had met the God of the burning bush.

Perhaps something like this has happened to you. It may not be as dramatic as Pascal. It may not be as intellectual as Einstein. But God has put eternity into your heart, which means that until you turn to the I am, your heart will be restless. The unanswered questions, the inward longings—these are burning bushes God has placed in your life. Don’t ignore them: turn aside, look, and live.

How An Affair Really Begins

How An Affair Really BeginsAt some point, we have all witnessed the devastation of an affair. On the one hand, it is shocking just how much can be destroyed by the act of one person sharing sexual intimacy with another. But on the other hand, it is not shocking at all when we consider how much meaning God has packed into marriage and into the sexual relationship within marriage.

One of the great misconceptions about affairs is that they begin with sex. Affairs do not begin with sex. Falling into bed with a man who is not your husband or a woman who is not your wife is never a sudden, unplanned event. Instead, it is a culminating decision in a long list of terrible, self-centered decisions.

Some time ago Denny Burk and I spoke at a conference, and Denny told us about the 6 “e’s” that Tommy Nelson uses to describe the “ease” with which people fall into extra-marital affairs. I have shared them before but thought it might be helpful to share them again. I believe any married man or woman can benefit by occasionally considering them. Consider it one more means to fulfill 1 Timothy 4:16: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching”. (I will write from a male perspective, but it works equally well if you reverse the pronouns.)

1) Eliminate

Affairs do not begin when you experience sexual intimacy with someone who is not your spouse. An affair begins much farther back, when you begin to eliminate intimacy in your marriage. This is not only the intimacy of sex, but the intimacy that comes by dating, by long face-to-face conversations, and by physical affection. Instead of pursuing your wife, you grow hard and complacent. The joy fades, the discontentment rises.

2) Encounter

As you eliminate the intimacy in your own marriage you will inevitably encounter someone else who is attractive to you. She may be physically attractive, she may be attractive in character, she may be attractive in seeming to provide what your wife is lacking. Regardless of the specifics, there will be something about her that will draw you and promise to offer the very things you are missing in your own marriage.

3) Enjoy

After that encounter, you will find that you soon begin to enjoy your relationship with that other woman. Your enjoyment of this woman allows her to move into the emotional space formerly reserved for your wife. It is here that the wise man will immediately identify the danger and back away. Yet the enjoyment is pleasurable, of course, and too many men neglect to take the wise and godly course of action.

4) Expedite

If you do not take action against the enjoyment, you will soon begin to expedite opportunities to be with her. You will linger where you know she is likely to be. You will hurry to get to the place where your paths may cross. You will time your lunch break to coincide with hers. You will generate opportunities to talk through the phone or through Facebook or through text messaging or face-to-face.

5) Express

Inevitably, this growing relationship will lead to a kind of intimacy so strong and so exhilarating that you will have to find out if she feels the same way. You will express your feelings. You won’t come right out with the full expression of your feelings—you are too clever and too subtle for that. Instead, you will test the waters a little bit. “I really enjoy spending time with you.” And she will reply, “I enjoy spending time with you as well.” “I wish I could talk to my wife the way I talk to you.” And she will say, “I wish I could talk to my husband the way I talk to you.” And then you will advance to, “I wish my wife was more like you” and she will reply “I wish my husband was more like you.” And at this point you’re caught. You’re in. Tommy Nelson says, “You’ve built a bridge to Fantasy Island,” and it’s now all but certain that you will walk across it. The emotional bond is already there and it is now only natural to give that emotional bond a physical expression. That leads to the final “e.”

6) Experience

All that remains is to experience the physical consummation of that enjoyment, that expression, and that emotional bond. And then you are in bed together as adulterers, entwined in a full-fledged affair.

Through it all, John Owen’s insight remains so crucial: Sin always aims at the uttermost; the smallest sin is but one step to the biggest and most treacherous sin. That decision to neglect the pursuit of your wife, that surrendering of marital intimacy, these were only the first small, sinful steps to the destruction of your marriage.

I will give the last word to John Owen who reflects on Hebrews 3:12-13: “Take heed, says he, use all means, consider your temptations, watch diligently; there is a treachery, a deceit in sin, that tends to the hardening of your hearts from the fear of God. The hardening here mentioned is to the utmost—utter obduration; sin tends to it, and every distemper and lust will make at least some progress toward it.”

Check out


Diplomacy or D-Day | Ligonier: Gregory Koukl
Apologist Gregory Koukl with two helpful questions for personal evangelism.

Unintended and Imperfect Children Aren’t Unwanted | The Federalist 
“Was it difficult to watch Maddie struggle through the challenges her birth defect presented? Incredibly. Would I do it all over again to see that bright, toothy grin and those beautiful, long-lashed eyes? In a heartbeat.”

Writing the Sermon and the Use of Systematic Theology | Place for Truth: Tim Bertolet
On the same subject, here’s 5 Reasons Why Systematic Theology is Indispensable to the Preacher.

Social Sin, Social Media, and Social Interaction | Feeding on Christ: Nick Batzig
What do the Scriptures teach us about how a Christian is to respond to news about notorious individuals, societal injustices and scandalous sin?

Is Same-Sex Attraction Sinful?
Denny Burk and Heath Lambert discuss the Bible’s teaching on this important matter.

From Bahai To Porn to Alpha to Jesus | Christianity Today: Emily Armstrong
Beautiful testimony of grace.

Some Thoughts on the Reading of Books | Al Mohler
6 tips to get more reading done and get more from your reading.

Three Steps to Successful Sabbaths | Lifeway: Mark Dance
“Several years ago I became spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally unhealthy because I had consistently neglected practicing the Sabbath.”

New Book

Systematic Theology: A Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion by John Brown.

Kindle Books

The Joy of Calvinism: Knowing God’s Personal, Unconditional, Irresistible, Unbreakable Love by Greg Forster $2.99.

The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by Michael Reeves $0.99.

Live Like A Narnian: Christian Discipleship in Lewis’s Chronicles by Joe Rigney $2.99


Glory to the Holy One Premiere

Links I like


Kindle deals for Christian readers

Injury Interrupted My Idolatry

Landry Fields:

I’ve never struggled to believe in God. But I’ve lived a lot of my life as a person who believes in God, but lives as if he doesn’t exist. I already had a “gospel” of my own — the promise that love and wealth are the world’s to give to the popular and gifted. I didn’t need to trust God, because I already trusted another god: the NBA.

Why I Am A Complementarian

Lore Ferguson Wilbert:

We are never satisfied… Here is why I am a complementarian (aside from the fact that I think the Bible is clear about it and I’m too tired of all the other mental gymnastics I do to add one more routine): because it goes against my nature to submit to anyone on anything. I’m aware of it so strongly that I war against anything that teaches me to reach for a higher branch of forbidden fruit.

You Don’t Need Your Perfect Church Now

Stephen Miller:

Many worship leaders consider themselves artists. Translation: We are typically passionate, idealistic, opinionated, and sensitive.

We have specific ideas about how things should go and can let those preferences affect us deeply when things don’t go the way we hoped they would. While our convictions and zeal can be some of our greatest strengths, they can also set us up for a constant stream of frustration and dissatisfaction with the church.

And the potential for frustration with the church is by no means limited to worship leaders.

God Is Not a Magic 8-Ball

Bethany Jenkins:

God is not a magic 8-ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have a decision to make. . . . We know God has a plan for our lives. That’s wonderful. The problem is we think he’s going to tell us the wonderful plan before it unfolds. We feel like we can know—we need to know—what God wants every step of the way. But such preoccupation with finding God’s will, as well-intentioned as the desire may be, is more folly than freedom.

Why Churches Should Study Systematic Theology

Randy Alcorn:

Our church has been through some very hard times over the years, but with all its (our) imperfections, we love the body and bride of Christ. And if you’re disillusioned with church, as many people are, we encourage you to either get more deeply involved in your church (e.g. in small group Bible studies) or if you need to leave, do so, but don’t give up until you find a Christ-centered, Bible-teaching, and grace-filled church—which will still be very imperfect, of course, especially once you arrive.

A La Carte (September 28)

The Daily Discovery (September 28, 2015)

(Click title to go to full article)

Of super blood moons and blaspheming the Lord – “So the world didn’t come to an end last night. Jesus didn’t return. Armageddon didn’t begin. (But you already knew that, didn’t you?) The doomsday prophets were wrong. Again. Just like they’ve been every single time. In the last decade alone, we’ve had multiple predictions of the Lord’s return. Jack Van Impe said 2012 would be the year. Harold Camping said 2011 (twice), after his 1994 prediction turned out to be bunk. Ronald Weinstein predicted his return as being in 2011, 2012, and 2013, though I suspect he gave up making predictions after being imprisoned for tax evasion.”

How An Affair Really Begins – “At some point, we have all witnessed the devastation of an affair. On the one hand, it is shocking just how much can be destroyed by the act of one person sharing sexual intimacy with another. But on the other hand, it is not shocking at all when we consider how much meaning God has packed into marriage and into the sexual relationship within marriage.”

Unwrapping Rapture (again) – “With all the talk of blood moons and the putative “probability” of the rapture being today (September 28, 2015), I decided to reprise this…  All Bible-believing Christians are expecting the rapture; we all just define that event differently. My earlier post, Secret Disservice: Problems with the term ‘Secret Rapture,’  generated some questions I’d like to address.”

Sex Belongs to Believers – “In 1 Timothy 4:1–5, Paul confronts certain ascetic false teachers who believed that sex in marriage and eating foods freely were at best for second-class Christianity. Paul called these false teachings demonic. First, the false teaching, as Paul summarizes it in verses 1–2 and the first part of verse 3…”



Nate Pickowicz – Abiding in the Vine (John 15:1-5)


Calling a Philadelphia Police Lieutenant to Repent

The worst Christian T-shirts ever???

“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur

Christian Headlines Daily – Monday, September 28, 2015

Top Headlines

Pope Doesn’t Mention Jesus in Speech to Congress

Donald Trump Looks to Evangelical Voters for Support

Persecuted Chinese Lawyer Kidnapped Again

TLC to Feature Duggar Sisters in New Programs

Pope Francis to Congress: ‘Stop Fighting, Start Working!’

Court Ruling in Argentina Spurs Prosecution of Aggression against Church

Selena Gomez Reveals Favorite Christian Singer

Mike Huckabee Says Obama ‘Pretends to be a Christian’

Doctors in Quebec Told They Must Perform Euthanasia

Syria: Martyrdom, or Live to ‘Fight’ Another Day


Do We Have Soul Mates?

Our Gifts Used for God’s Glory

The Power of a Poem: Hannah More and the Abolition of the Slave Trade

Shout Your Abortion or Share Your Faith?

Cherry-Picking Pope Francis

READING: Nehemiah 8-10

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  These chapters cover so much that it’s hard to summarize them in a single devotion. Ezra read the Law, and the people both worshiped and wept when they heard the Word (Neh. 8:1-12). They prayed a lengthy prayer of remembrance and confession (Neh. 9), followed by a vow of renewed faithfulness to Yahweh (Neh. 10).

Portions of the chapter 9 prayer outline so powerfully reflect the grace of God that all one can do is stand amazed. They are again the story of a people undeservedly called to be God’s people, yet who continually reject His leading. God, though, is a compassionate God who does not abandon them:

Neh. 9:17  They refused to listen and did not remember Your wonders You performed among them. They became stiff-necked and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in faithful love, and You did not abandon them.

Neh. 9:19a  You did not abandon them in the wilderness because of Your great compassion.

Neh. 9:31  However, in Your abundant compassion, You did not destroy them or abandon them, for You are a gracious and compassionate God.

Even when the word “abandon” is used for God’s judgment, that judgment was followed by God’s grace extended again; that abandonment was not truly abandonment at all: “But as soon as they had relief, they again did what was evil in Your sight. So You abandoned them to the power of their enemies, who dominated them. When they cried out to You again, You heard from heaven and rescued them many times in Your compassion” (Neh. 9:28).

When I consider my own repetitive sin, my numerous rebellions, and my recurrent idolatries, I cannot put into words my gratitude that Jesus has never abandoned me. He would be right to do so, except that He is indeed abundantly compassionate (Neh. 9:31).

My only legitimate response is to do what the Hebrews did in chapter 10: commit myself to carefully obey all the commands of Yahweh our Lord (Neh. 10:29). Undiluted obedience is only right.

PRAYER: “God, I thank you for never abandoning me. Help me to show that gratitude through obedience.”

Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)

What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.

Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more

Resource Links is a website inspired by, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.

Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed

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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

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