Daily Archives: April 13, 2018

April 13: The Curious Thing about God’s Work

Deuteronomy 26:1–27:26; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; Psalm 40:1–17

Doing God’s work is a curious thing. It requires both mad rushes and patiently waiting.

Christ followers are meant to think like the psalmist did: “I waited patiently for Yahweh, And he inclined to me and heard my cry for help” (Psa 40:1). Yet Jesus’ followers are also meant to do His work at breakneck speed, as described in Deut 26:1, where the Israelites are told to take possession of the promised land and settle it.

We’re meant to recognize where the answers and timeframe come from: God. Giving the first of what we make to God’s work indicates this understanding: “You shall take from the firstfruit of all the fruit of the ground that you harvest from your land that Yahweh your God is giving to you … and you shall go to the priest who is in office in those days, and you shall say, ‘I declare today to Yahweh your God that I have come into the land that Yahweh swore to our ancestors to give to us.’ Then the priest takes the basket from your hand and places it before the altar of Yahweh your God” (Deut 26:2–4).

In ancient Israel, the firstfruits wouldn’t be wasted. This sacrifice would provide the priest with a livelihood so that he could serve Yahweh by serving others.

God has asked His followers to listen and to act, but to leave the timeframe of doing both up to Him. Giving after we complete both tasks shows that we realize that God has given us all we have, and it requires us to understand the purpose of sacrifice.

Just as the Israelites were a wandering people (Deut 26:5), we were also once wandering sinners. It’s for this reason, and many others, that we must trust our God in our patience, in our speed, and with our giving.

What is God asking you to be patient about, and where should you make haste? How are you currently neglecting to give?

John D. Barry[1]

[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

April 13 Being Filled with Mercy

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).


Mercy is a characteristic of true believers.

Like the other Beatitudes, Matthew 5:7 contains a twofold message: to enter the Kingdom, you must seek mercy; once there, you must show mercy to others.

The thought of showing mercy probably surprised Christ’s audience because both the Jews and the Romans tended to be merciless. The Romans exalted justice, courage, discipline, and power. To them mercy was a sign of weakness. For example, if a Roman father wanted his newborn child to live, he simply held his thumb up; if he wanted it to die, he held his thumb down.

Jesus repeatedly rebuked the Jewish religious leaders for their egotistical, self-righteous, and condemning attitudes. They were intolerant of anyone who failed to live by their traditions. They even withheld financial support from their own needy parents (Matt. 15:3–9).

Like the people of Jesus’ time, many people today also lack mercy. Some are outright cruel and unkind, but most are so consumed with their quest for self-gratification that they simply neglect others.

Christians, on the other hand, should be characterized by mercy. In fact, James used mercy to illustrate true faith: “What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:14–17). He also said mercy is characteristic of godly wisdom: “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (3:17).

As one who has received mercy from God, let mercy be the hallmark of your life.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for His great mercy. ✧ Ask Him to give you opportunities to show mercy to others today.

For Further Study: Read Luke 10:25–37. ✧ Who questioned Jesus, and what was his motive? ✧ What characteristics of mercy were demonstrated by the Samaritan traveler? ✧ What challenge did Jesus give His hearer? Are you willing to meet that challenge?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 116). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Still Using Snopes To Fact Check? PLEASE Just Say Nope to Snopes!

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

****This is a reprint of an article I wrote over a year ago.  I will probably be put in FB jail again – the first time I shared this I was in jail after just 3 shares!  

It horrifies me when Conservative Christians come to me and say “I fact checked this on Snopes and they said it’s not true.”

Just say NOPE to SNOPES!  

This left leaning outfit, run by an ultra liberal couple is definitely not the place for Conservatives to go for verification of facts. May I just say that if you want to be lied to, then Snopes is for you!  Talk about Fake News – Snopes is the place where left wing fake news is verified and news stories from Conservative sites are vilified.

Where is the discernment?

Actually, it is just as shocking to me when Conservatives are duped by rag websites…

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Wretched Radio 04/12/2018


•Psychiatric drugs, emotional blunting, and mass shootings
•Rick Thomas explains why Hope works and psychiatric drugs don’t
•Words from the pastor of the Humboldt Broncos
•Applying theology in times of grief
•Robert Morris and the Prosperity GospelDownload Now (right click and save)

The post 04/12/2018 appeared first on Wretched.

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – normalizing mysticism.

With thanks to Rick Becker from ‘Famine In The Land’  – his latest article. Another excellent resource to help our readers understand the dangers of attending the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry.

Rick writes:

The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry School Planting website has published an article entitled “Pastoring People With Unique Spiritual Giftings.”  Their article reveals their progressive slide into mysticism and Gnosticism, and reaffirms the need to expose this school for what it is.  Some have compared it to Hogwarts, the school of Wizardry from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  Bethel itself has been labelled a cult by others.  What is certain, is that Bethel church and their School of Supernatural Ministry are deceiving thousands of people all around the world.  In this post, we examine an article published on the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry School Planting website.

Bill Johnson has groomed his underlings to take risks beyond…

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‘Praise the Lord!’: Christian ‘American Idol’ Contestant Blows Katy Perry Away With Stunning Performance

Shannon O’Hara is a 17-year-old contestant on American Idol who, like every other performer, wants to win. There is something different about O’Hara though, as she credits her musical talent to God.

The 17-year-old’s story of faith and determination is failing to receive media attention, but it is extremely fundamental to her musical journey. She has not only captured the love and attention of millions of fans, but also that of the American Idol judges.

In order to place in the top 24 of contestants, O’Hara made the bold move of singing a Katy Perry song. Not only did she sing “Unconditionally” by the judge, but she added her own twist to it, raising the stakes even higher.

How an American Idol Contestant Went From an Anxious Teen to a Christian Rockstar Touring the Country


Luckily, Perry, like so many watching, was wowed by Shannon’s performance. Perry called O’Hara a, “secret spiritual ninja,” and teared up during her performance.

O’Hara was not only trying to impress the judges that day but to praise God on national television.

“For me, that song is almost like a worship song — it can be taken that way, and that’s how I took it. My faith is really important to me, and it’s a big part of my life, so I wanted to do something that I can kind of relate in that sense,” Shannon told The Charlotte Observer.

O’Hara grew up singing in church. She did not get a formal education of musical training of any sorts. The only time of formal training she received was a few years of piano lessons. She is a self-taught guitar player and singer. But that does not mean she doesn’t sing plenty. She leads her youth group worship on Thursday night as well as Sunday mornings, singing at the church twice a week.

During the show, Perry asked O’Hara about her roots.

“Shannon, you’ve primarily sang in church, correct?” asked Perry, who also comes from a Christian background with Christian parents.

“I know exactly how it feels to be raised in church,” she remarked.

The show apparently cut another comment Perry made.

“You have the hand of God in your voice,” Perry said.

“She actually said that to me,” Shannon said, “but they didn’t show that whenever they showed me getting judged. I wished they would have shown that.”

Shannon made it to the next round, placing in the top 24. The 17-year-old posted to Instagram to update and celebrate.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhFwb2-H3f4/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=8&wp=500#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A1756367.5%7D“PRAISE THE LORD!!!! I can’t even believe it. Thank you Jesus for this opportunity. HERE I COME!!” O’Hara wrote.

In her promo video, O’Hara also explains that American Idol signals a, “chance for me to bring some hope to my family in this extremely difficult time.”

The singer continued to detail that her father’s health was so bad that the family had to sell their home in order to afford his medical bills.

The Charlotte Observer also reported that her dad was the manager of a restaurant that was shut down a year and a half ago.

“The restaurant he was the manager of shut down a year and a half ago, and not long after that, his health started getting bad,” Shannon said. She also added that he has had to go through “multiple surgeries” and has been in a “lot of pain.” Her father has a vascular disease.

She hopes that she can help the family financially with this opportunity.

“My dad worked really hard my entire life until now, so I’m just trying to help my family financially with this opportunity, as well as following my lifelong dream,” she said. “Hopefully, American Idol can bring my family out of our current situation.”

O’Hara told the Observer that her father has vascular disease. He recently had to have a toe removed, and it has been a tough recovery.

Carrie Underwood Makes Surprise Appearance at Massive Christian Conference


“It’s taken over six months for the wound to close; it’s been a really slow process,” Shannon added. “For awhile, he was going to wound care and going to the doctor every other day.”

Despite the hard times, Shannon’s trust stays firm in God. Her social media is filled with worships songs, Bible verses, prayers, and encouraging words. Her Twitter bio reads, “HE is my strength.”

She took to Instagram on Easter to thank God publically for her time with American Idol thus far.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhCbPJRnlPO/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=8&wp=500#%7B%22ci%22%3A1%2C%22os%22%3A1756373.5%7D“As I look back to that day in August where it all began, I can’t believe where I am now,” she wrote. “In my weakness, the Lord’s power has been made perfect in my life. He makes me brave. He rose out of the grave that I was supposed to be in!”

“He is the greatest love I have ever known, and my life has been radically changed because of what Jesus did for me. May we remember what He did everyday, not just today,” she added.

American Idol Winner Explains the Very Moment She Knew God Had Answered Her Prayers


The young girl stays positive and grounded in her faith, stating that she plans to pursue ministry and worship in college.

“I’d really like to go to this ministry school in California,” she said. “That also involves worship and worship-leading – which is music.”

Source: ‘Praise the Lord!’: Christian ‘American Idol’ Contestant Blows Katy Perry Away With Stunning Performance

J. Warner Wallace: I am not a Christian because it works for me



Here’s a must-read post from Cold-Case Christianity author J. Warner Wallace.


Life on this side of my decision hasn’t always been easy. It’s been nearly seventeen years since I first trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. I still struggle to submit my prideful will to what God would call me to do. Christianity is not easy. It doesn’t always “work” for me. There are times when I think it would be easier to do it the old way; easier to cut a corner or take a short cut. There are many times when doing the right thing means doing the most difficult thing possible. There are also times when it seems like non-Christians have it easier, or seem to be “winning”. It’s in times like these that I have to remind myself that I’m not a Christian because it serves my own selfish purposes. I’m not a Christian because…

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I’m old enough to remember when ‘evangelical’ was a bad word

According to Jesse Johnson “evangelical suffers from an ambiguity largely owning to its diversity. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) is different than the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, yet members of both would sign the Manhattan Declaration. If you believe the gospel and the fundamentals (inerrancy, virgin birth, bodily resurrection, personal conversion, etc.), does that make you evangelical? There is no clear answer to that question.”  But what is clear says Johnson is that “an evangelical is someone who says with their feet that Catholicism and liberalism are wrong, but they just would never say so with their mouths. They leave the Catholic church on Sundays, but turn around and call Catholics our brothers in the Lord on Tuesdays. This is evangelicalism’s squishy middle.”

Does Jesse offer a solution to the confusion over how to better define evangelicalism? Is there a better word we could use? If so, what word would that be? Jesse Johnson shares his thoughts over at The Cripplegate. He writes:


If there ever was a word in need of a definition, it’s evangelical. While confusion with evangelical didn’t start two years ago, it was exasperated and exaggerated by the election of President Trump. More specifically, by the Pew exit poll declaring that 81% of white evangelicals voted for him. This led to much hand-wringing, soul searching, blame shifting, and guilt-casting about what exactly is wrong with evangelicals, particularly the white ones. (A side note—you might be an evangelical if you are naive enough to believe an exit poll).

Many called “white evangelicals” to repent of their love affair with presidential politics, while others have lamented that so-called evangelical churches are largely white. Meanwhile, some African-Americans are “quietly” leaving their churches over the issue—no word yet on how “quietly” it can be when it is a lead story in the New York Times.

I watch these unfold as a spectator. As I mentioned, I’m old enough to remember when evangelical was a bad word. If I was even older, say 500 years old, perhaps I would embrace the label. William Tyndale declared that evangelical encompassed anyone who is made “good, merry, glad and joyful… who sings and dances and leaps for joy in believing what we call the gospel.” By that definition, count me in. Also, by that definition, count most white evangelicals out.

But as time went on, the word “evangelical” did what words do: it changed. In England and Scotland as pulpits went liberal, evangelical came to describe a church where the gospel was still preached. If a person said they went to an Anglican church, a fair follow-up question might be: “But is it evangelical?” Some were, most were not.

State-side, the term took a different slightly different path. Here, liberalism, evolution, and alcohol consumption started to creep into the church. Some denominations began to question, then later deny, the historicity of Genesis, the virgin birth of Christ, and even the veracity of the bodily resurrection. These denominations were white, and that is more than a side note; it will matter very much in the year 2016. View article →

Nancy Ortberg Describes the Perverse Actions of the Reprobate Bill Hybels


April 12, 2018 

My name is Nancy Ortberg.  I served on the Board of the Willow Creek Association and served on staff at Willow Creek Community Church for nine years.  I would like to make clear why, after Bill Hybels’ accelerated retirement, I remain deeply concerned about the process and church governance that brought us all to this point, as well as the stories of the women who have spoken up.

Read it here.  #IBelieveHer