Monday, February 27, 2017

Practical Magic's Resurgence

The NY Times published an article titled The modern charm of practical magic. I found it interesting for many different reasons. I was not saved by grace of the Lord Jesus until I was 42 years old. I spent all of my adulthood prior to the salvation moment, searching for the magic key to the magic in life, the unexplainable, explained. I dabbled in lots of different kinds of magic. Ouija boards, Kirlian aura photography, dreamcatchers, sage burning, Reiki, astral projection, summoning spirits & spirit guides, clairvoyance...

We all want to know what's on the other side. We do enjoy peeking behind the veil, knowing the unknowable. Because, the unsaved person knows there is a higher power. (Romans 1:19-20). They just deny Who it is. 'Oh it can't be God. It must be runes...solstice...labyrinths..."

The NYT article says that they notice more than ever, people seeking answers through magic,
You may have noticed it at work. Perhaps your co-worker has ornamented her cubicle with rose quartz crystals? Has a friend uploaded an I Ching app onto his phone? Or maybe your boyfriend blamed his failure to respond to your text messages on Mercury being in retrograde? 
Why magic, and why now? The lack of religious faith so prevalent in our age is an anomaly in history. Magic, which usually does not demand faith in a particular deity, or the sometimes exclusionary imperatives of organized religion, allows people to access a sense of the miraculous on the level of the quotidian.
The article concedes the yearning for a higher power but subtly warns against it actually being God,
There is relief to be found in simply accepting a higher order, in letting go, but what of appeals to reason? Is it not important to disbelieve things that aren’t real? Might faith in the healing powers of a vibratory sound bath lead the next day to outlandish conspiracy theories?
I liked this NY Times article, for many reasons but mainly for its use of my favorite word, quotidian. Where else are you going to read an essay where the author uses such a fancy word which means mundane?

The Christian is bombarded with practical magic all the time. Did you know that? The fads are part of the devilish worming into your home of these magical activities. Labyrinths, Breath prayer, mantras, prayer beads, Mandala coloring books, the false gospel of telling you your words have power, drawing prayer circles, horoscopes, seeking the Presence (which is actually summoning spirits)...and more, are just different kinds of old magic that satan is using to take your eyes off Jesus.

Beware of the charm of practical magic, brethren. The warning is not just for unbelievers, but for believers. Satan insinuates practical magic into our lives under the guise of it being Christian, but it never is. We have the answers. We have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16). Our answers are in the all-sufficient Bible. We do not need additional practices that promise to deliver information, (but never does), or promises to give added insight (but won't) or gives a special closeness to Jesus (but never does).

Here are some resources about the dangers of Christian magic:

Desiring God: Jesus vs. the Occult

Critical Issues Commentary: Contemporary Christian Divination

GotQuestions: What does the Bible say abut Divination?


Sunday, February 26, 2017

We live our lives in a waiting room

Life is a waiting room



It might seem strange to say this, but we are not living to live. Living is not the point of our living. Waiting is. We live while we're waiting.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:11-13).

Paul is giving Titus some instructions and reminders as to our duties as Christians, to be done while we wait.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible reminds us also that this life is a preparatory for the one to come.
To look for the glories of another world, to which a sober, righteous, and godly life in this is preparative: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Hope, by a metonymy, is put for the thing hoped for, namely, heaven and the felicities thereof, called emphatically that hope, because it is the great thing we look and long and wait for; and a blessed hope, because, when attained, we shall be completely happy for ever.
In today's time it's not considered mature to speak of prophecy. I believe that's wrong. I believe that because so many verses stress that we are to look forward, to hope in His coming promises, to wait for His return. I can't think of a better encouragement than to dwell on His prophecies. This life is difficult. (John 16:33). It's full of evil people and seducers waxing worse and worse. (2 Timothy 3:13). It's full of disease, strife, challenge, and vigilance. (1 Corinthians 11:30, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Proverbs 28:25, Psalm 46:1,1 Peter 5:8).

We are being trained while we wait. But waiting is our task, our joy, our hope. We should look to His return for encouragement. He is the blessed hope!

Illustration by Chris Powers


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Recommendation on Devotionals

If it helps anyone, here are three devotionals I like, use, and recommend. I'm just some internet lady, so as always, use your discernment when choosing theological material.

I use alternately three particular devotionals. I like them for men and women, but I especially like them for women because we are too often subjected to wispy and insubstantial devotionals aimed at our gender which are light on theology and heavy on the crayon coloring. These are my favorites:

1. Morning & EveningSpurgeon "Charles Haddon Spurgeon's classic Morning and Evening collection of daily devotionals was written in England more than a century ago. For generations, its cherished gems of daily strength and meditation inspired millions."

It is in hard copy and also online, so that if you're  out and about or traveling you can get it on Kindle or just on WiFi and not miss a day. I love Spurgeon's devotionals and I read and post one each morning. His "Faith's Check-book" is another devotional I enjoy, these are even shorter and like the Morning & Evening devotional , are very uplifting.

2. John MacArthur: Any devotional. Heavy on scripture but short enough devotions to help fuel a daily habit and not take so much time one abandons it before beginning. Here is a great overview and review of four of his devotionals which are organized in various ways (daily verse-by-verse through one larger passage, topically, NT, or OT).

3. Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers. Despite being written in Puritan days the language is easily understandable.) I personally consider this book the third most important in the English language, ever (after the Bible and Pilgrim's Progress). I cannot read one and not feel convicted and slain before the throne of Jesus. They're wonderful!! The hard copy is available at Amazon, the online

Blurb: "Draw upon the inspiration of the elegant prayers of such Puritans as John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, David Brainerd, Augustus Toplady, and Charles Spurgeon. The Valley of Vision has been prepared not to simply supply Christians with prayers, but to prompt and encourage them as they walk upon the path of others who've gone before them. You'll relish the elegance of these writings as they transport you to the heavenly throne of grace. Topics include redemption and reconciliation, holy aspirations, penitence, and more."

Enjoy!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Why does the LORD allow false prophets?

One question I'm asked a lot is "Why does the Lord allow false teachers?" I ask myself that question a lot! Another question related to it is, "Why do false teachers prosper?" We're not alone in asking this. Job, Jeremiah, and David all asked the same thing. (Job 21:7, Jeremiah 12:1, Psalm 94:3). You and I are in good company!  I think of Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen and other false teachers especially on the African continent, who live high off the hog and rake in millions of dollars, and it grieves me to see the sheep led astray and the false teachers enjoying a comfortable life filled with amenities, acclaim, and comfort. So...why??

He is testing us.

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).

Walvoord's The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, "The need to maintain national purity was emphasized by Moses, for the command, 'You must purge the evil,' occurs nine times (13:5; 17:7, 12; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21–22, 24; 24:7)."

In their Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown title the warning about following false prophets section of Deuteronomy, "Enticement to Idolatry". One can only be enticed, (or seduced as Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:13) if there is some aspect of your (my) flesh that responds to enticement. It's our job to vigilantly slay pockets of sin in us so that the flesh will not seek fulfillment through idols, whatever they may be.

The Commentary says,
If there arise among you a prophet—The special counsels which follow arose out of the general precept contained in De 12:32; and the purport of them is, that every attempt to seduce others from the course of duty which that divine standard of faith and worship prescribes must not only be strenuously resisted, but the seducer punished by the law of the land. This is exemplified in three cases of enticement to idolatry
In the Old Testament Law, false prophets were stoned to death.

In Walvoord's The Bible Knowledge Commentary, we read,
The Israelites were to view each solicitation to idolatry as a test of their love for the LORD. Though there was always the danger that they might succumb to a temptation, with each successful resistance to sin their faith in and love for Him would grow stronger (cf. James 1:2–4). They were to love … follow … revere … obey … serve, and hold fast to Him (cf. Deut. 10:20; 11:22; 30:20). The death penalty for a false prophet was appropriate for if he would successfully seduce people into idolatry he would bring them under God’s judgment (cf. 7:26). Killing a false prophet was a way to purge the evil from Israel
Matthew Henry explains about the testing.
Not only thou shalt not do the thing he tempts thee to, but thou shalt not so much as patiently hear the temptation, but reject it with the utmost disdain and detestation. Such a suggestion as this is not to be so much as parleyed with, but the ear must be stopped against it. "Get thee behind me, Satan." Some temptations are so grossly vile that they will not bear a debate, nor may we so much as give them the hearing.
The need to purge evil hasn't changed. In this Church age, too many people deem it 'tolerant' or 'merciful' or 'non-judgmental' to entertain false teachers, to give the false prophets a hearing, debate them, or to stay quiet about them. We must reject false teachers with the "utmost disdain." In today's time we don't stone the false prophets to death, but we do practice church discipline over the grossly sinning unrepentant ones who claim Christ, we excommunicate them so they will not seduce others, and we mark the false teachers and we avoid the false teachers and we do not receive them into our house, and more.

If we fall for false doctrine put out buy a false teacher, it means we have been seduced. If we've been seduced, it means we have fed the flesh in some form of sinful lust it had wanted. If we succumb to satisfying he flesh, it means we have not loved the Lord with all our heart, mind, strength, and soul, back up to Deuteronomy. Therefore we can see how the LORD tests us. It's our job in Him to stay as pure as possible so we do not follow a false teacher who brings a substitute for God in the form of doctrine which appeals to the flesh. We must not be enticed to idolatry.

The Lord is testing us.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5).





Thursday, February 23, 2017

The quality of charisma many wolves possess

Introduction

This week GraceLife Pulpit's pastor Phil Johnson tweeted out a link to a Nautilus magazine article in a positive light. I usually like what Pastor Johnson likes, so I thought his positive remark to the article might be worth a read. It was. The article is titled "The Anatomy of Charisma".

I first began hearing the word 'charisma' as a very young person. After President Kennedy was assassinated, which occurred when I was nearly three years old, the word became indelibly attached to Kennedy and then the Presidency itself. I used to hear it a lot. This Japan Times article notes that Kennedy set the bar for charisma and the Presidency.

It's interesting to note that 'charisma' and 'presidency' are usually intertwined. Or any national leadership position. Truly charismatic people do not remain unknown. Their peculiar light ends up shining more and more brightly to ever widening audiences, until the top levels of leadership - or notoriety - have been reached. This happens due in part of course to the times, and the man, but also to his possession of the quality we are examining today: charisma.

Defining charisma

So what is charisma?

Laying aside the interesting article above for a moment, we read the straight definition of the word:
compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.
If it sounds like possessing a charismatic personality can be dangerous to others, it is. 'Inspiring devotion' usually means the person receiving the charismatic's shining light makes emotional decisions, not rational ones. The article opens with this paragraph:
For weeks I had been researching what science has to say about the power of charisma. Why do some people so clearly have it and others don’t? Why do we fall so easily under its influence? Charismatics can make us feel charmed and great about ourselves. They can inspire us to excel. But they can also be dangerous. They use charisma for their own purposes, to enhance their power, to manipulate others.
The article goes on to quote a Christian-turned atheist, Bart Campolo, son of  preacher Tony Campolo. Bart uses his charismatic personality for manipulative purposes and in the article Bart plainly tells how.
Humanist chaplain Bart Campolo knows the dark side of charismatic leaders: "The essence of demagoguery is recognizing that appealing to people’s emotions is the most rational way to move them. After all, that’s where people make their moral decisions."
The best way to inoculate one's self against falling for a charismatic personality is to stay in the Word. The word is of the mind, it's where truth resides. An effect from learning the truth can be an emotional one, but the first pass is always the mind. Truth sheds light and clarity on the Christian mind, and if we keep putting the Word in it, we can stay safeguarded against manipulation.

Charismatic people in Christianity

The second straight definition for charisma was: "a divinely conferred power or talent." Many charismatic leaders do seem to infer possession of a divinely conferred gift. At least, they don't deny it when their loyal followers intimate as such. Or say it right out. The Nautilus article goes on,
The early 20th-century German sociologist Max Weber wrote charisma is a quality that sets an individual "apart from ordinary men," and causes others to treat him as "endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities." Such qualities, Weber wrote, "are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader."
Pastor Johnson tweeted out the link to the Nautilus article from the angle of being interested in how one goes apostate. He wrote,
Atheistic "chaplain" Bart Campolo makes some telling analyses of charisma, his dad’s influence, & his own apostasy:
As I read the article though, another famous charismatic leader kept popping into my mind. The antichrist. I began to think how the pinnacle of charismatic leadership will be encapsulated in this man prophesied to come and delude the whole world.

Charismatic Antichrist

I'm fascinated with this figure the Bible prophesies will appear in the very last days of the end time, during the Tribulation. He will delude the entire world, duping men from east to west and leading them into perdition. He will be the devil's best and most successful tool, right until the moment Jesus decides enough is enough and comes back to earth to stop him.

In Daniel 11:21 we learn that the coming world dictator will obtain the kingdom by flatteries. This word actually means slippery. I think we have all read about or even have known someone we dubbed "slippery tongued'. Some say silver tongued. That will be the antichrist, using language to bamboozle and appeal to the emotions, where all rational thought will slide right out of their brains.

He will be a master of intrigue, Daniel 8:23 records. The word means dark intrigue, riddles. Once again the antichrist will use language to manipulate, a feature of all charismatic people.

He will deceive the whole world. (Revelation 13:14).

The fact that the entire world will be deceived (except post-rapture saints) is indicative of his powerfully charismatic personality. The world will be spellbound, taken in by his smooth words, flatteries, facility with language to confuse and deceive them.

Even though the world has not seen THE antichrist yet, many antichrists have already gone out into the world (1 John 2:8). Many charismatic men come along to deceive and twist the Word, to the detriment of the health of the sheep. Paul noted this in Romans 16:17-20,

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. underline mine

In this second Nautilus article about charisma, Why Joel Osteen, “The Smiling Preacher,” Is So Darn Appealing, we learn that charisma is not only an inborn quality, it can also be taught and then used as a tactic.
But there’s a small but growing group of individuals who have another explanation. Using brain-scan technologies and modern statistical techniques, a band of committed academics in recent years have set out to decipher that mysterious quality from which legendary leadership is born. And some have reached what a previous generation of observers might have considered a dubious conclusion: That it’s possible not just to reverse-engineer charisma, but that it’s something, at least in part, we might learn to master.
During the Tribulation, the coming antichrist will delude all the people who do not have Christ. Even today with the church on earth, we see how easy it is to be taken in by wolves, especially charismatic wolves who manipulate your emotions and use rhetorical tactics that confuse the mind. So what's the antidote?

Protecting yourself against charismatic wolves


1. The Word of Christ.

In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:16-17)

The sword of the word of God is both an offensive weapon and a defensive one. Staying in the Word is the best protection against the wolves, no matter who they are, whether they be charismatic or dull.

2. Vigilance

We are also to take heed and be on guard. The Christian life requires vigilance. Many, many verses urge us to be on guard, stay sober, be vigilant. That means admitting that wolves exist, expecting them to come, and testing them against the word, no matter how popular or well-liked they are. Do this every time. It's what vigilance means.

3. Avoid them

Paul said in Romans 16:17 that of those who cause dissensions and strife, and teach what is contrary the Gospel, avoid them. Don't dabble. Don't eat the meat and spit out the bones. Don't entertain them on TV or in books or go to their movies. Don't rationalize that they might be OK. Avoid them. The word actually means 'to turn away from' which is a stronger action that passively avoiding. It's a deliberate turning of your back to the wolves.

4. Submit to elders

Acts 20:28 tells the pastors and overseers to take care for the flock. Hebrews 13:17 tells us to have confidence n the overseers and submit to them. I know that many of you cry out that your elders are not doing their jobs, that they allow false doctrine in all the time. But in any case, the Bible tells us what to do. Pray for them, help them, and submit to them. We know what to do even if they do not. And if they do, all the better. God raised them up for a reason.


I'm sure if we scoured the Bible we'd find lots of directions for how to protect one's self against the false ones. But these are top of the list. Pastors and preachers with charisma come along all the time. They come and go. Osteen has had some staying power, others are flashes in the pan. But there will be one particular religious seeming man who will possess all the charisma and power and signs satan can give him (2 Thess 2:9). He, and the ones preceding him, will be easily spotted if you do what we're supposed to do, and compare what he says to the word of God. Not how he says it, not how he looks when he says it, but his actual words.

As always, it always comes down to God's word. Praise the Lord He revealed Himself in it and to us!



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Jesus' predestined life

Predestination is a topic many people either disbelieve or refute. Here is the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry's definition of foreordination:
Foreordination is the same as predestination which means that God ordains what will happen in history and in salvation. It means to appoint beforehand. The word 'foreordained" is used in the KJV in 1 Pet 1:20. Source
It's the difference, for example, of God using the circumstances around Esther's situation to make events come out like He wanted, and causing the circumstances of Esther's situation, in order to work His pre-planned purposes. Understanding Foreordination means you see the God of the universe as the cause of everything for His purposes and will, instead of a bystander scrambling to pick up pieces from man's actions in order to work it all out for the good.

See these two of many verses regarding foreordination-

also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, (Ephesians 1:11).

to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. (Acts 4:28).

I apologize in advance...but I heard a sermon in which I took notes and forgot to credit the source. I did not make the following up. It's from a sermon I was listening to, but sadly I don't remember who spoke it!

In it, we learn that Jesus did not have a problem with foreordination. We also see clearly that foreordination did not nullify Jesus' will and it did not turn Him into an automaton. Here is the sermon excerpt:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Whenever we find a doctrine to be challenging to us [like predestination] the most helpful question we can ask is: 'What did Jesus think of this? How did it work out in his life?' 
When we ask those questions in connection to God's foreordination and predestination, and search the Scriptures to see how they worked out in Jesus' life, what do we discover?
There never was a man so conscious that his life had been predestined by god as the Lord Jesus Christ. But this did not turn him into a an automaton, or a mere puppet. God's predestination is not biological determinism, nor it is a form of fatalism. 
There was, surely, never a freer man, or one more conscious that his actions were his responsibility than our Lord Jesus Christ. He did not become our Saviour by accident on the one hand or merely as a machine n the other. He was destined to be our Saviour; and to that destiny he freely committed himself. He never saw nor felt any contradiction between God's sovereignty in his life and his own responsibility for his actions., neither should we.

That God had planned His his destiny in advance becomes clear from the very beginning - in the first two chapters of his Gospel Matthew mentions five occasions when Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies when he was too young to have had any choice in the matter.
Matthew 1:22-23

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).

Matthew 2:5-6

5 They told him, "in Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 "'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.'"

Matthew 2:15

15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Matthew 2:17-18

17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Matthew 2:23

23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For me, knowing God is in COMPLETE control is a balm. Understanding that He orchestrates events from before the foundation of the world is a relief. He does not have to play catch-up. He does not have to scramble. He is not surprised.

When you read the genealogies, doesn't it occur to you that God is in control of each and every person meeting and marrying and procreating at the perfect and exact time, so that eventually the line of the Tribe of Judah will produce the Lion? God had to have been behind that since Adam and Eve for the lines to descend in the way He wanted with the bloodlines fulfilling promises and prophecies.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)

If you'd like to learn more about predestination, here is a series by Ligonier. Usually they have a paywall, but not for this series. It's entirely free.

Predestination A Teaching Series by Dr. R.C. Sproul

Here is an essay from Grace To You answering the question: What does the Bible teach about election?



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Prata Potpourri: writers, future husbands, the broken way, just silence, post-sermon discouragement...more

Here are some other bloggers for you, their good thoughts and insights. Enjoy!


For all the hand-wringing we do over the immature state of the next biblical generation coming up, their lack of biblical knowledge causes one to wonder, who will be the next generation of authors, bloggers, editors? Samuel D. James makes 4 requests to young evangelical writers
We can be honest about our experiences and how they form us, but making experience authoritative–especially when it empowers broad assumptions and animosity toward others–is deeply deceptive.

Jen Wilkin guest blogs at Christianity Today and explains why it's important what we call our Bible classes. Stop calling everything a Bible Study.
Churches have gradually shifted away from offering basic Bible study in favor of studies that are topical or devotional, adopting formats that more closely resemble a book club discussion than a class that teaches Scripture.

Rebekah Womble at Wise in His Eyes reviews Ann Voskamp's The Broken Way. She insightfully poses the question that the unusual language Voskamp is known for employing may serve a darker purpose than simply poetic (or eccentric) - deliberate biblical confusion and intentional misdirection of the sheep.
The most frightening thought I had while reading was that even an unbeliever could agree with the vast majority of the book. Voskamp’s claims about God, love, suffering, and helping humanity are not far off from those made by any theist who seeks after “world peace” and mankind’s happiness. are I propose that this ambiguity and pretty, poetic language on Voskamp’s part is purposeful? I can’t pretend to guess at her intentions, but she must answer to the way she misguides her readers into unbiblical, mystical, man-centered beliefs.

Many of us are tired of social media, for a variety of reasons. One thing I've noticed personally is that I am weary of being told what to do every time I scan my Facebook wall or skim my Twitter feed. Just note the plethora of tweets or statuses that say 'You must...' and you'll know what I mean. You must vote for this guy, you must not vote for her, you must pray, you must stop being undiscerning, you must use baking soda to clean your counters, you must retweet this meme ... Oy. Even though the advice is usually good, please stop telling me what to do, Social Media. I'm off to read a book instead.

Another wearisome thing is being told what to care about all the time. We must speak out on this social issue, donate to that social issue, pray for social injustice over there, get active about the social injustice over here. Adam Parker has some good ideas in A Just Silence on why it is good to wait before speaking, or sometimes, it's best not to speak up at all.
The insistence of many that all of us need to continually speak out about almost every social issue and make official statements of sympathy or refutation in the court of public opinion--when, in fact, the courts that God has established have not had a chance to run their due course--is, quite frankly, wearing me out. I suspect I'm not alone.

Joel C. Rosenberg has some observations about the immediately warming relations between the infant Presidency of Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and compares to the relations between the two nations during Obama years.
Night and day: President Trump warmly welcomes Israel’s leader & the contrast with the Obama years couldn’t be more vivid. (My observations on the “two-state solution” & other major issues the two leaders discussed.)


After an event toward one had anticipated, worked, struggled, there is often a let-down afterward. Post-partum depression, post-traumatic stress, even post-wedding day blues all demonstrate that while we work toward ascending some great height and labor in love toward a cherished goal, there often comes an anticlimax when it's over. The same is often true for pastors after a sermon. Sunday afternoon and especially Mondays can be tough for your pastor. Here, Richard Caldwell at The Expositor's Blog has some thoughts on Post-Sermon Discouragement. What's a pastor to do when he feels that he's laid an egg?


Kirsten at Point to a Purpose has some thoughts on washing feet, sacrificial love on our knees for others. Anytime I wonder how to love my enemy as Matthew 5:44 says, I think of Jesus lovingly washing Judas' feet on the night Judas goes out to commit the most heinous act in the universe. Convicting.
And even in spite of knowing what Judas was going to do, Jesus was on his knees, washing Judas' feet and loved him anyway. Showed him kindness anyway.
Courtney Reissig at Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood wonders, Have we made too much of submission? (Yes, and no...)
Submission is often seen as a women’s issue. It’s the wife’s role in marriage, we say. And it does pertain to women in the covenant of marriage (I should know. I wrote an entire chapter on it in my book). But it’s not just a women’s issue. Whenever submission in marriage is brought up in Scripture it is always done within a larger conversation about submission for everyone.


Broken-hearted? Crushed in Spirit? Here are some thoughts from Growing Christian Resources showing How God Works In The Lives Of The Broken-Hearted And Crushed In Spirit,
We in American Christianity think it is our heritage to be free from difficulties. When trouble comes, we begin to wonder whether God still loves us or not. We can be doing exactly what He tells us in His Word, be in the center of his will so-to-speak, and yet, find the dryness, crushing weight of circumstances crack us on the inside. In those moments, we ask God: "what is going on?"

Beggar's Daughter reveals that she does not pray for her future husband, and why:
When I speak at college or high school events, sometimes I’ll get asked about the practice of praying for my future husband. More and more I see it addressed on other blogs and by other speakers on the issue. I used to do this, (and write him as well!) but I don’t anymore, nor do I encourage young women to.

David Murray at HeadHeartHand blog asks Are you a deep worker or a shallow worker? (I understnd that the busy pace of life often prevents the time necessary to devote to deep-thought work, but try. Here's why)
It’s what’s necessary not only to wring every last drop of value our of your current intellectual capacity, but it also creates the state of mental strain that is necessary to improve intellectual abilities. ... This contrasts sharply with most modern knowledge workers whose use of digital devices has fragmented their attention span into slivers. Instead they are pre-occupied with “Shallow Work” which Newport defines as...

To that same end, Erik Raymond also asks the question, Are You Suffocating Your Creativity? Oftentimes we stultify our creativity by reducing free time that cuts out time to imagine, wonder, think. Don't.
One such area involves free time to simply think. This is open time when we can allow our minds to wander a bit and latch onto things that we may not normally have the opportunity to think through. I believe this free space is vital and increasingly being diminished. It’s been crowded out by the pace of life; some of this is our fault, and some of it is simply the result of living in our age.

Thank you for reading!

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I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
Proverbs 24:30-34