Wednesday Testimony – Life in Prison

Way back in August of 2017 I shared the movie EXIT with you all. This is a LivingWaters production that specifically addresses suicide. The clip below is of a young man who is going to the Native American jails in South Dakota and sharing this video. In this clip you’ll see the prisoners walk in, sit down, and after the movie their facial expressions completely change. Some of them look hopeful, others look broken, and humble. I’ll be honest, I don’t like the ‘raise your hand’ thing but at least Matthew explained that raising your hand will not save them. What I love about this clip is that it shows the ability we have to use media in difficult situations. It’s often the case that jails won’t let you come in and just talk to a large group of men, or that those men won’t want to sit and listen to you talk. But a video is a treat, it’s something they don’t get everyday so they’re more likely to want to come and watch. We should be utilizing everything we have to share the Good News of the Gospel!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=poFslrL778Q&t=0s&list=PLIMAX6WHtnhAVtfHcR5ft68YqRs93RZ3A&index=2

We spend a lot of time in the Dakotas, we love it up here in the spring and summer. It’s really as beautiful as the video shows, especially down by Spearfish, the Badlands, or the Blackhills. It’s also true that there are some deep seeded racial tensions between the natives and white people. That is not a one way street, it’s mutual, and very sad. As Christians continue to reject Genesis it’s easier to forget that we’re one race, with differing levels of melanin in our skin. We all came from Adam and Eve, we all came from Noah and his wife. What this young man is doing is very brave, I hope you’ll all join me in praying for his work in the Dakotas. I pray this will encourage you all to go and share the Gospel, get tracts if your a nervous person, pray for strength and boldness, pray for one another. Hell, dear ones, is a real and terrible place, despite what Rob Bell might peddle in his latest books. We share our faith because Christ is the only way, truth, and life. No man comes to the Father but by the Son. As always, beloved friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

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Are Old Earther’s Really Saved?

Hello and happy Monday, dear ones! This is the day of the week that we usually dig into Creation Science, however today I want to discuss an issue that stems from that topic. It’s a very serious, and touchy subject, because it deals with salvation. What I want to address is the question of whether or not someone can believe in an earth that’s millions of years old, and still be a genuine believer. Let me start by asking you all to handle this topic, this post, and the writer with patience and mercy. I value all of your opinions more than I could express, so with a subject this debated let us pray for wisdom and grace before we continue.

So, then, the question I’m asking is whether or not you need to be a Young Earth Creationist to be a born again Christian. First, let me separate the camps with a bit of a broad brush for the sake of time. There are those who profess to be Christians who believe the Earth is younger than at least 10,000 years old. There’s some debate about whether or not the original math is correct, some say it’s 6,000 while others say 8,000 or 10,000. There are also professing Christians who believe the Earth is hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years old. There are Atheists and theists who believe in Young Earth evolution, they would be called Catastrophists as they are of the opinion that Evolution happened rapidly and the Earth has changed drastically due to catastrophic events. There are Muslim Creationists, and theist Creationists falling in young and old Earth categories.

In other words, this is not as black and white as the popular secular speakers, such as Dawkins, would have us believe. As my husband would say “clear as mud.” Thankfully, Gods Word makes our question today clear, regardless of the great variety of opinions. Can someone be genuinely saved if they’re not Young Earth Creationists? The very simple answer is, yes. Friends, we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Christ alone! Not through scientific or philosophical beliefs. I’m thankful for this, as I was certainly in the Young Earth Theist camp long before being saved, though I would have called myself a Christian. I believed a god created the Earth 6,000 years ago based on the scientific evidence. I just didn’t know the God of Creation! I know others who were saved by Gods grace, but had never considered the scientific side of the debate. It wasn’t that they didn’t care, but that they were dealing with other Biblical issues.

Can someone be unsaved that holds to a Biblical view of Creation? Of course, in fact I think you’ll find a couple of our more well known brothers in Christ entered into ministry or seminary before being born again. This is simply due to the fact that intellectual assent does not equal salvation. I had a good deal of knowledge about Creation Science, but I had no idea what the Gospel was or why Christ needed to die. There are others who hear the Creation scientists and have that barrier removed from their understanding, who go on to bow their knee to Christ. The evidence did not save them, God saved them. Our sovereign Lord can use any means He chooses to draw His lost sheep.

This is, at the core, an errancy issue, not a Gospel issue, although getting this wrong can , and often does, lead to a misunderstanding of the basic principles of salvation. Why is this an errancy issue? Essentially the debate is over whether or not Genesis 1 and 2 are literal accounts of creation or just poetry. There are forms of poetry found in the Bible, in the Psalms for example. There are also historical narratives found in the Bible, such as the Gospels. When we read Genesis it’s very clear from a literary stand point that it’s being written as historical narrative, lacking in every word is any form of poetry.

For me, as a believer, the very fact that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ pointed to creation, a literal Adam and Eve, during His time on earth is all the evidence I need. There are those who have never considered the consequences of believing otherwise, who are still growing in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord. When born again believers are faced with calling their Savior a liar, or assuming secular philosophers and scientists are wrongly interpreting the evidence, genuine Christians will go for the latter. It’s not until faced with this dilemma that many find themselves making a choice where they’ll stand. This happens to be brought up often when evangelizing, which means those who do not often do so might find themselves a believer for many years before even considering creation.

How does this effect our understanding of salvation? This is where the issue of origins moves from being an issue on errancy and becomes a Gospel issue. You see, friends, God created the world perfect without death. Adam and Eve fell, throwing the entire creation into a sin cursed world. This is where death began, and why we need a savior. If Adam hadn’t fallen you and I would not have been born with a sinful Adamic nature, in need of salvation. Without a literal Adam we simply don’t need a literal Jesus. Misunderstanding the beginning of Gods Word will cause the rest of it to be very confusing. Increasingly, those who hold to such positions, will need to continue the compromise of Scripture to fit their views. It is at this point that we can say someone is not in the faith. If someone calls themselves a Christian, yet does not hold that we are sinners in need of a savior, they are not born again. There are many out there, like Andy Stanley, who want to use the Bible as good moral lessons rather than Gods written Word.

I hope I didn’t make this more complicated than it needs to be. Essentially what I’m saying is that we can not cast out those who are young in the faith, or Biblically immature, simply because they do not understand the importance of Creation. We need to pray for these, teach them, and be very patient with them. We need to have grace for one another, baring with each other in love. However, those who have spent years fighting against those of us who hold to a Biblical view point, those who compromise, twist, or ignore, Gods Word, or who say Christ is a liar, and worse, a story, can be known to be false converts. These are the men and women who should be shown their error, prayed for, and evangelized with hopes that God will give them the gift of repentance and faith. We must judge with righteous judgement, dear ones. We can not call evil good, or good evil. To say that Jesus Christ, God made man, was wrong when He pointed to Genesis as a historical narrative, is evil. To be a new believer in need of instruction is not evil. To be a believer for a while, and yet to have been sanctified in other areas first, is not evil. With patience, love, and grace we can help one another grow. Consider, beloved, that there are areas in our own life that need more sanctification, before we anathematize others.

When I came out of the WoF Movement, there was nothing of that theology I could hold to. I had to unlearn all the erroneous things I had been taught, and to check everything against Gods Word. The only thing I believed that was accurate, that held up against the Bible, was Creationism. Ironically enough, Creation is not something the WoF teaches, but something I learned on my own. You’ll find WoF teachers very mushy on doctrine. When others are saved out of secularism there will, likewise, be so much they have to unlearn. This is the same regardless of what false worldview we’re saved out of. It is the rare few, like Dr. Jason Lisle, that are raised in a God fearing, Biblically accurate, home who can come to faith without a massive paradigm shift. That being said, let us share the Gospel with all boldness, in love, that some might be saved. Whether that some comes from an Old or Young earth background! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Sunday Hymns of the Past – All Creatures of our God and King

Today’s hymn reflects yet another aspect seemingly missing from the modern ‘Christian’ music of today, Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God Alone. Much of what we hear today is man centered, feelings based, and even unbiblical. This is not praising God, but rather praising man and his ability to vocalize. This beautiful hymn not only gives the glory and honor to the only one true King, it calls all creatures to do the same! I’m thankful to God that we have access to these hymns. Do you have a favorite hymn, dear ones? I’d love to hear what it is!

All creatures of our God and King,

lift up your voice and with us sing

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou burning sun with golden beam,

thou silver moon with softer gleam,

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,

ye clouds that sail in heav’n along,

O praise Him! Alleluia!

Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,

ye lights of ev’ning find a voice!

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

And all ye men of tender heart,

forgiving others, take your part,

O sing ye! Alleluia!

Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,

praise God and on Him cast your care!

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Let all things their Creator bless

and worship Him in humbleness,

O praise Him! Alleluia!

Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,

and praise the Spirit, Three in One:

O praise Him, O praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Saturday Homeschooling Update and Resources – Plants and Circuits!

Hello dear ones, and happy Saturday to you all. I hope this finds you doing well. I wanted to give you an update on what we’ve been doing in homeschool as well as some AMAZING new lessons produced by my favorite homeschooling, pastor, and lesson making machine, brother Jim! These are the most organized and detailed lessons I’ve ever found online, and he shares them free of charge. This time he did a series on plants!

Plants Lesson – Introduction – Lesson 1

Plants Lesson – Life Cycles – Lesson 2

Plants Lesson – Photosynthesis – Lesson 3

Plants Lesson – Flowers – Lesson 4

Plants Lesson – Leaves – Lesson 5

I also wanted to share with you the new circuit board Kayleigh has been creating with. Her goal is to invent something everyone needs before she’s 10, so we’re starting with the basics of computer technology. I found this super neat kit that has snap on circuits, along with wires, motors, fans, sirens, music boxes, and lights all which require the circuits to work! She’s created a couple already, and can’t wait to make one of her own. If you have a little one that loves technology or is curious about machinery, these snap on circuit kits are very helpful. If you have an older kiddo, they even have a larger kit thats a bit more complex.

This month we’ve done some assessment testing, nothing too terribly stressful, just to see where she’s at and what we need to improve on. This is the second year we’ve done this, and it’s very helpful. It’s not a timed, pass or repeat a year, nightmare giving state exam. I found some short, manageable assessments online designed for homeschoolers. Now we know we’re further ahead in some subjects that I expected, and right on pace with the others.

Per my handy dandy spreadsheet we’ll be learning about the organization of the animal kingdom this month. We’re also going to continue making our way through the Catechism questions, and learning about the PreReformers. She’s currently on the 6th book of Little House on the Prairie and reading yet again her favorite adventure book, Pilgrims Progress. That’s about all the updating I can think of, I hope these ideas, resources, and links help! Until tomorrow, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Easily Offended

Hello dear ones, I hope this Friday post finds you all doing well! Today, as you all know, is the one day of the week that I have yet to assign a specific topic too. It gives me the little extra space I need for subjects like today’s. I want to talk about being easily offended, and compare it with something that happened to me a couple of months ago. I mentioned very briefly in the post about my first NFL game that I have an issue with sensory overload. It’s actually a symptom of a larger neurological disorder that I’ll perhaps deal with at a later date. I only mention it now to give some context to how and why this all happened.

So what happened? Well, a couple months ago I found out that you can cook bacon in the stove and it comes out with the perfect crunchy consistency for topping delicious casseroles with. It has to be the thick cut bacon though, just in case you give it a try. You take a cookie sheet and place a cooling rack inside it. You put the bacon on top of the rack and cook it at 400 for about 20 minutes. In the end you have all the grease in the bottom and beautiful bacon on top. We save that grease, it’s the best way to get corn bread crispy on the bottom! If you’re not from the south of the United States this might all sound really gross, but trust me it’s yummy. All that to say, I made some bacon one night to go in dinner. I had an oven glove on the right hand and nothing on the left hand. I pulled my bacon out of the stove and noticed my eye had something in it. Ignoring my left hand, noticeably empty of any scolding hot grease, I used my right arm to rub my eye with. All that piping hot bacon grease poured onto my left arm. Sorry for the following image, if you have an uneasy stomach!

This is why I mention the neurological issues, otherwise that might not make any sense. Before I could work through the consequences of my actions my arm moved. This was certainly not the first time I’ve done something like this, although it was the straw that broke the camels back, as my husband rushed to the first aid kit and began tending to my arm he assured me I’d be seeing a doctor and getting help. He’s treated many a burn trauma, and gave me every bit of information that he could on preventing infection. Adrenalin is a funny thing. All while my husband was fussing over my arm, it didn’t hurt at all, and I kept insisting I was fine. But my floor! My freshly mopped floor! Grease was splattered everywhere. Just like my husband told me would happen, the pain came on as soon as the adrenaline wore off. Second degree burns, and I didn’t even manage to get the troublesome bit out of my eye!

Over the next week I realized two very fascinating things. The first thing was that somehow, for whatever reason, the CBD oil given to my husband for his herniated disk by a chiropractor completely eliminated my pain from day one. I say that for any of you that might suffer from a burn, it has menthol in it as well. That night the pain was pretty overwhelming, in desperation I grabbed that oil and rubbed a bit directly on the burn. The pain went away, so I covered the entire arm with it and the effect lasted several hours before having to reapply. I can find absolutely zero medicinal research done in this area, even my husband was amazed having assumed the menthol would have caused the burn to get worse. It’s now permanently kept in our first aid kit for future accidents. The second thing I noticed, even with the pain at bay, this burn was very sensitive! Everything offended it. The slight touch of my jacket set off warning bells in my head.

This reminded me instantly of who I was before becoming a Christian, or who I tend to sound a lot like when I stay up too late. Everything offended me, I was a very sensitive person. At the same time, I had no sympathy or compassion towards other offended people. Ironic isn’t it? This burn had caused a lot of discomfort, and yet it have the nerve (nerve, get it? See what I did there?) to ache every time something touched it. Now, the burn on my arm was doing what burns do. But as a believer, if I allow my emotions to control so much of what I do and say, I can become easily offended. That’s not what we’re supposed to do, we’re supposed to hope all things, to give one another the benefit of the doubt. This is one of the many ways we show love towards one another, not to jump to conclusions or be so self absorbed that we only care about how we feel. Even if it is past our bedtime.

This isn’t something that happens all at once, although after getting saved by Gods grace I was far less sensitive. That’s because God has forgiven me of so much, surely I could overlook others misgivings? To be genuinely less offended, to not need to hold back the offense, but rather to give the benefit of the doubt, that comes with maturing. In this case we don’t need to be forgiving of others, but are instead understanding. When someone snaps at us, rather than getting offended, maturity leads one to consider the other persons struggles instead of how we feel about being snapped at. What’s happening in our brother or sisters lives that is causing them consternation? How can we help them? This is how I’d love to be all the time. 24/7. Sleep or no sleep. Food or no food. Heaven is going to be a beautiful place, is it not dear ones? Where there is no offense, no sin!

Beloved, what I’m saying to you is that we ought to be growing in this area. It’s a slow, and often painful process, but sanctification is evidence of salvation. God is, for the believer, constantly growing us in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He’s making us more like Him, rebuking, chastening, pruning, and sanctifying us. In this way, we are a peculiar people, set aside, in the world but not of it, and on a pilgrimage to the Celestial City. If you, my friend, have been in church for years but have never been made a new creation, if God is not at work in you, if you can enjoy sin without rebuke from Him, please understand that being born again is not the equivalent of saying a prayer, going to church, or being nice to people. Christ came and lived a righteous, sinless, life. He was arrested, imprisoned, beaten, whipped beyond recognition, and nailed to a cross. The wrath of God was poured out on Him, the wrath that you and I have stored up through our sins. Repent of those sins, place your trust and faith in Christ alone for salvation, and God will, by His grace, give you a new heart full of new desires. The sin you once loved, you’ll now hate, you’ll see it as the filth it always was. You’ll desire fellowship with other believers, you’ll desire the lost to come to repentance, you’ll desire Gods Word as a baby desires milk.

Salvation, friends, does not come from walking an isle, or repeating a prayer after someone. Salvation is a free gift from God that forever changes the recipient. We were once slaves to sin, bound to pay the eternal weight there of. Christ died to set us free! We owed a debt we couldn’t pay, so He paid a debt He didn’t owe. Those whom the Son sets free or free indeed! Flee from the wrath to come, flee to the cross. With nothing in our hands we bring, simply to the cross we cling! What grace is this? What beautiful, amazing grace is this? That while we were yet sinners, God hater’s, enemies of truth, filled with idolatry, lust, and murder, Christ died to save us! How could we continue to be the same as we were before? How could we, who were forgiven for so much, given the blessing of salvation, the honor of adoption, the gift of sanctification, and eternity justified, continue being easily offended? No, dear ones, we who have this great hope, we simply can not fix our eyes on the kingdom and still be so easily offended by the lost, or by one another. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved. And, if you have a moment, pray for me brothers and sisters!

Movie Review – American Gospel: Christ Alone

Hello dear friends! Today I want to review the documentary American Gospel: Christ Alone which was released in October 2018. This film was written and directed by Brandon Kimber, and can be found for rent on Vimeo. Unless you’re wanting to purchase this in DVD form, I have yet to find another source showing the documentary thus far. That might change in a few months, if so I’ll update this post. As you can see from the trailer below, it’s packed full of some heavy hitters.

While the documentary does mainly tackle the prosperity gospel, it also address Roman Catholicism and the dangers of ecumenism. It also goes further than just refuting prosperity preachers, but also shows the damage done by the Word of Faith movement. There is, in particular, one young lady whose journey from atheism to born again believer winds through a dramatic health crisis. You see her in the trailer with tubes in her nose. Her, and her husband, were both saved because of her many illnesses which alone destroys the idea that God does not use sickness or pain to draw His lost sheep to Himself. There are others who went into financial ruin, others who just did not understand that true Gospel of grace, and some who felt guilt and pressure from being told their problems were due to their lack of faith. All the while good, sound, Biblically accurate theology is being explained between interviews. All together, this makes for a very powerful two and a half hours of documentary.

A couple things need to be mentioned, before I get ahead of myself. One, with men like Dr. Steve Lawson and Dr. MacArthur, Ray Comfort, and Paul Washer, we feel the absence of one man of God. R.C. Sproul. This is one of the first major collaborations done since he went on to glory, and his wisdom and love for Gods Word was missed. We rejoice that he has finished his pilgrimage, he ran his race well, yet those of us who remain feel the lose. The second thing is that, with so many pastors involved in this documentary, it’s very likely there may be someone included you’ve come to disagree with in one way or another. I hope that doesn’t discourage you from watching, and sharing, this tremendous resource.

Not only does this video repeat the Gospel several times, making it evangelical gold, it also explains the whys, where’s, and how’s that we might not be able to get to within a short Gospel presentation. If you have family, friends, or co-workers that hold to a prosperity gospel, WoF, NAR, or Roman Catholicism, this documentary would be a great opportunity to open dialogue. Ask them to watch this if they can, it’s only $4.99 to rent right now, and then ask what they thought of it. Maybe even consider purchasing a copy to share. This documentary would be great for a youth movie night, women or men’s study, or a family event. In other words, dear ones, I recommend this to everyone! Especially if you feel like your understanding of a Biblical Gospel presentation is lacking. Have you watched this yet, brothers and sisters? If so, let me know what you think! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Christians and Mental Illness

Dear ones, this is the last post on my thoughts from our trip. I saved the most complicated topic for last. Mental illness. There are multiple members of my family with varying types of mental illness. This can make traveling and visiting one another difficult. I have two simple points I’d like to make in regards to this subject. I’m also including between paragraphs a two part sermon series that was very helpful to me.

https://archive.org/details/God_s_Truth_in_a_Culture_of_Mental_Illness_Part_1

The first is that even believers suffer from mental illness. As with cancer, flu, and death, the side effects of this fallen world rain on the good and the bad alike. Growing up my single mother struggled with hearing and seeing things that weren’t there, along with depression, all made worse by drug and alcohol addiction. When I was 14 she was soundly saved, and while the addiction to meth was removed, she still suffered from the mental illnesses. Her outbursts and paranoia were not evidence of false conversion, but rather that the medication and treatment she was receiving was inadequate. This is the case for other believers in my family who suffer from BiPolar Disorder. Unfortunately the modern WoF movement makes these individuals feel that their illness comes from a lack of faith.

The second point I want to make is that God is sovereign, even over mental illness. Throughout my life, and even now into my adulthood, God has used these experiences to soften my heart towards the suffering of others. He has taught me understanding, and given me the ability to to care for and love those who often times are unable to control their behavior. As a believer, over the last few years, God has used the daily difficulties that come along with being a caretaker of loved ones with mental illness to sanctify me. This is not to say that it’s easy, or that God has given me a special gift of patience. Patience of a fruit of the spirit that is worked in and through us, and I thank God that He has taken all these moments of pain in my life and used them for my good.

https://archive.org/details/John_Macarthur_2015_-_God_s_Truth_in_a_Culture_of_Mental_Illness_Part_2

There are two sides of this equation, those with the mental illness, and their caretakers. Both are subject to break downs, as the weight can often be too heavy. We need to be cautious, and judge with righteous judgement, when we come across impatient or frustrated people. It’s possible that they are dealing with one of those two sides of the equation. As church families we need to surround one another with love, prayer, and assistance when it’s needed. In that way, we can lift one another up and show the world the love we have for the body of Christ at the same time. There’s a lot of guilt, and embarrassment that comes with having any type of mental illness. Likewise, for the caretaker, there’s guilt in feeling exhaustion or irritation. This is another area where we can help our brothers and sisters in Christ, through discipleship.

One last thing I wanted to mention is that, during our trip and visiting with family, I noticed that the holidays seem to take an extra weighty toll on those dealing with mental illness. At a time when most seem to be full of joy, there’s even more pressure for those who find the sights, sounds, and responsibilities, stressful or confusing. We need to moderate our expectations, doing all things in love, without selfish ambitions. In other words, remember that these are human beings, their emotions might be overwhelming, or unexpected, but they are no less important. When we put others ahead of ourselves, not esteeming ourselves higher than them, we become more compassionate. I hope this helps anyone who is dealing with a neurological disease, or those who are caretakers. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.