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Thoughts for the Journey
(A day in the life of a Baptist preacher. This is my blog. Sometimes I update it every day and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I ramble, sometimes I rant and every so often, I have something relevant to say.)
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What the Bible Says, Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
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Daily Devotions - Classified By Righteousness (July 2, 2021) Proverbs 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit. 6 The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the ...
Bills Lake Baptist Church Sunday Afternoon Service April 18 2021 Mark 15:23-39 Thoughts on the Crucifixion of Jesus Pastor Tuttle Comments can be posted on the channel's discussion page.
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Temple Baptist Church - 7-18-2021Jeremiah 17:1-10 Introduction: A. A couple of weeks ago, I preached on the issues of life that proceed from the heart (the soul of man, the seat of man's affections, where the things that he treasures are found). So much is said in the Bible concerning the heart. Proverbs 4:20-23 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. (21) Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. (22) For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. (23) Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (10) I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. Proverbs 23:7a For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. B. As we read these verses together this morning, we find: 1. A Depraved Heart – Verse 1. First Mention of Table in the Bible were the tables of stone upon which the Commandments were written. “Adamant as stone” Here we find the sin of Judah engraved WITH A PEN OF IRON AND A POINT OF DIAMOND. 2. A Departing Heart – Verse 5. Departing from the Lord. “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.” 3. A Deceitful Heart – Verse 9. Deceitful above ALL things. Who can know it? Self-deception is the worst form of deception. 4. A Defiled Heart – Verse 10. God tries the reins and gives judgment according to the “fruit” produced by the heart. 1. The Danger of our Heart. The heart is a source of “heartache” for each of us this morning. Our “heart,” by its sinful nature is naturally depraved. I will be so glad when eternity begins for me, and this sinful flesh is gone. (1) It matters not if you are male or female; (2) it matters not how much you love the Lord; (3) it matters not how godly a life that you try to live; your heart, my heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. That is the total depravity of the flesh. a. The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. I find it interesting that the Bible says “above all things.” I have been deceived by others; I have been deceived by circumstances; but the greatest deception that you and I face is an i51) You need to take heed to yourselves. Deuteronomy 11:16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; (Heed – to hedge about or to pay strict attention to something. Yourselves! We spend more time worrying about others than self when the greatest enemy that we face is the one who faces us in the mirror.) 2) Never trust your heart. Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. (One of the times that God calls a man or woman a fool is when they place trust in their feelings and thoughts. Right and wrong are dictated by God's Word, not what we think of feel.) 3) Never follow your heart. Isaiah 44:20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? (The heart will lead you in the wrong direction. “If I know my heart” is a deceptive phrase to follow.) a) Religion Can Deceive Your Heart - James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. b) Promiscuity Can Deceive Your Heart - Job 31:9 If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour's door; c) Alcohol Can Deceive Your Heart - Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. d) Pride Can Deceive Your Heart - Jeremiah 49:16 Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD. e) False Prophets Can Deceive Your Heart - Luke 21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. 2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. b. The Heart Is Desperately Wicked. Desperate – having urgent need; dangerous. The desires of the heart of an individual drive them to do hideous, wicked, perverted things. Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. c. The Heart Is Depraved. Who can know it? The answer is understood: no one. 2. The Defense of our Heart. a. Our Heart's Defense Takes Diligence. Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Keep-protect with vigilance. All-priority. Diligence-Meticulously.) b. Our Heart's Defense Takes Desire. Deuteronomy 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, (There are few in these last days who are willing to serve God with all their heart. Most only follow their heart. Desire dictates direction.) c. Our Heart's Defense Takes Determination. Acts 11:23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. (I am in this thing for the “long run.” Better men than I have fallen to the wayside over the years. I am not speaking evil of them because they are my friends and I believe that they love the Lord but, for various reasons, they followed their heart instead of determining their hearts.) Conclusion: The importance of our heart is that, for out of out heart are the “issues” of life. a. The Heart Dictates What We Do - Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. b. The Heart Declares What We Are - Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:
God knows our hearts, period! No doubt about that. But some Christians even invite Him to “inspect” the inner resources of their hearts, their innermost beings! “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.” So prayed David in Psalm 139:23. Which leads me to today’s Verse. Where another prayer, […]
Imagine a world where basic historical facts are contested daily, individuals who challenge the status quo are erased or “canceled” from society, and challenging viewpoints are crimes punishable by death. In George Orwell’s novel 1984, Winston Smith’s world of Oceania is a bleak, totalitarian dystopia demanding uniformity of thought, societal conformity, and most of all, allegiance and love for Big Brother. Every day, Winston clocks into his job at the Ministry of Truth in the Records Department and sets about his one task—to rewrite history to fit the narrative of the day.Reality, it seems, is often stranger than fiction. The term “Orwellian” has become a commonly used cliché, and yet the themes in 1984 are hitting increasingly close to home. In 2021, massive tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon have become bullies that can promote, campaign for, rewrite the facts, or silence whomever they please. In the name of curbing “misinformation,” Silicon Valley has exercised unchecked power over a social media-steeped society, assuming a position of authority for which Americans never cast their ballots in favor of.1984’s Big Brother and 2021’s Big Tech have a lot in common—silencing dissenting voices and viewpoints through censorship. Orwell’s dystopian government implemented principles such as doublethink (rewriting facts, even if contradictory) and crimestop (halting dissenting views in their tracks) to curb those who questioned Big Brother’s authority. Notably, Big Tech monopolies have been on a run recently of suppressing conservative voices and ideas as their executive leadership, philanthropy records, and policies conveniently favor the mainstream, progressive narrative. Increasingly, viewpoints deemed not politically correct are purged from social media platforms and dissenting opinions are removed—or given a glaring “Fact-checkers deem this information ‘false’” tag.Since the start of 2020, Big Tech’s efforts to control political and cultural narratives have been startlingly dystopian. “Non-partisan” fact checkers label posts about COVID-19, elections, debates, speeches, and vaccines as “false,” “partially false,” or simply “misinformation,” despite the fact that many of these issues are currently under debate and discussion from a variety of angles and between experts. For example, in the most publicized story, several social media platforms ousted the sitting president of the United States from his accounts for content they disagreed with. Amazon intercepted the marketing of Irreversible Damage, a book by investigative reporter Abigail Shrier that criticized the transgender movement. They even went so far as to entirely remove a similarly critical book by Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally. Conservative pundits and outlets such as Live Action, The Babylon Bee, and LifeSiteNews have seen their accounts, viewership, and content suspended or attacked by the fact-checking bots. These represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to attacks on free speech.In tandem with Big Tech’s influence and moderation power, social media users have watched a destructive trend emerge as angry internet mobs target and cancel individuals for expressing ideas that push against progressivism and political correctness. Armed with pitchforks in hand and ready for a witch hunt, “cancel culture” has led to many unpersons (to use 1984 Newspeak lingo referring to erasing a deviant individual’s existence) finding themselves on the receiving end of collective internet hatred in the form of doxing, threats, and reports for removal by the Tech platforms. In Orwell’s novel, Winston and his colleagues participated in a daily Two Minutes Hate, a short propaganda video intended to rile up the audience against their political opponents and their ideologies, with the purpose of solidifying their love and allegiance to Big Brother. The destructive power of cancel culture has been in its ability to maliciously turn people against one another and create fear of public dialogue or debate, stirring hatred against politically and ideologically deviant “friends,” “followers,” and “public figures.”Over the last two years, the actions of Big Tech have generated a lot of controversy—controversy that is sure to escalate as censorship affects more and more Americans. Thankfully, there are members of Congress, governors of states, and other leaders who are willing to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech. Conservatives must ensure that government protects our fundamental right to free speech, and that society cultivates our ability to dialogue, disagree, and hold varying opinions. The First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans to speak their mind free of government coercion, regardless of which side of the aisle they fall on. This freedom is worth protecting.As modern-day Orwellian doublethink and crimestop threaten our basic freedoms, we must take a stand. Unlike the grim totalitarian world of Oceania and Big Brother, Americans ought to be able to express a diversity of opinions, thoughts, and stances, political or otherwise, without fear of erasure by Big Tech.Marjorie Jackson is the Digital Media Specialist at Family Research Council.
As a graduate student in my early twenties, I volunteered on a suicide hotline. The calls I received while working on the hotline certainly included the suicidal person, but they also came from concerned family members, friends, and coworkers. When advising people who wanted to keep someone safe, it was essential to give them tools not only to speak with the person of concern, but to also underscore that the person they seek to help has a choice in the matter. Of course, the goal was to save lives, but we wanted to communicate to the helping party that, ultimately, they are not responsible for another person’s decision should their loved one choose to follow through with their threat of suicide.While suicide is a very serious issue, it doesn’t mean that the helper should be controlled by the threat. For example, after years of counseling with domestic violence survivors, I can recall countless stories of women who were told by an abusive spouse or partner, “if you leave me, I’ll commit suicide.” Again, suicidal thoughts and gestures should be assessed and evaluated, and underlying causes need to be properly addressed. However, tying such requests to expressions of suicide can prove to be, in some cases, controlling. That’s what I communicated to domestic violence survivors who felt demands placed on them to sacrifice their safety, and in some instances, their lives, because of the threats expressed by the person abusing them. Unfortunately, the “threat” of suicide is what is being used against responsible leaders trying to protect children from harmful and often unknown risks associated with gender transition procedures. In the wake of the news that a federal judge in Arkansas blocked that state’s Save Children from Experimentation Act (which would protect children from receiving unnecessary and invasive medical interventions aimed at treating a psychological condition characterized by confusion over one’s biological sex) from going into effect, we’ve seen a resurgence in claims of the risk of suicide, without reference or examination to a range of likely underlying and co-occurring conditions.When appealing to the judge several days ago to temporarily enjoin Arkansas’ law, Chase Strangio of the ACLU claimed: “These families, like hundreds of others across the state, are terrified . . . There has already been a spike in suicide attempts since this legislation was passed.” Court filings read: “For some transgender youth, the prospect of losing this critical medical care, even before the legislation is in effect, is unbearable . . . In the weeks after the bill passed, at least six transgender adolescents in Arkansas attempted suicide.” Within the ACLU’s claims, there is no reference to the other factors that might affect these adolescents’ decisions to attempt suicide. We are simply led to believe that legislative decisions alone are prompting suicidal thoughts in these teenagers.Similar assertions implying that this legislation will only increase the risk of suicide were sprinkled throughout other’s reports on the issue. Some involved in the case went on to argue that these medical practices “save lives” and are necessary for the transgender population that tends to be vulnerable to depression and suicide.The high suicide rate in the transgender identifying population, in fact, has been repeatedly given as the reason to support treatments that stop puberty in developing children, to start kids on a lifetime supply of the opposite-sex’s hormones, and to allow surgeries that remove healthy sexual organs. These claims are misplaced, and frankly, dangerous.That said, suicide is a real threat, and it should be addressed. The underlying causes that are leading to this threat should also be investigated so that this population can be properly treated. But, at this time, there is no evidence that suicidality abates after transgender medical procedures are performed. To the contrary, the available evidence shows a rise in completed suicides following medical interventions. Why? Clearly, the real psychological pain behind the suicidality is not being addressed by medical interventions.The problem here is that suicide should never be used as a tool, by any group, to strong-arm policymakers and the psychological and medical communities into both allowing and providing questionable practices that have somehow gained a monopoly on “standards of care” for gender dysphoria. Especially when those practices involve onboarding children, who have not fully developed physiologically, psychologically, and neurologically, to potentially irreversible and sterilizing treatments. In response, public policy makers should focus on protecting citizens, particularly vulnerable children. Further, policies that inform public health and safety should be firmly grounded in solid empirical research, such as:There is no evidence that transgender medical treatments reduce the psychological distress and mental health issues associated with gender dysphoria.There is no long-term investigation into the psychological and physiological consequences of transgender medicine performed on children.The credible and available evidence indicates:There are significant health risks to transgender medicine. Some of these include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, & blood clots.In a 30-year longitudinal study, gender reassignment surgery patients had a 19 times higher rate of completed suicide than the general population.A few known underlying conditions that are not addressed by transgender medicine:A recent study showed 45 percent of transgender identifying persons experienced childhood sexual abuse.Higher rates of substance abuse have been found in this population by comparison to the general population.For more information on this topic, see FRC’s issue analysis.Jennifer Bauwens is Director of the Center for Family Studies at Family Research Council.
Since its beginnings in the first century, the church has faced varied resistance from the surrounding culture and challenges to the gospel. Recently, a new challenge has emerged: “wokeness,” or the state of being “woke.” Merriam-Webster identifies “woke” as a slang term meaning being “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” On the surface, wokeness might sound like seeking justice and showing concern for the weak and oppressed—things the Bible urges us to do (Isa. 1:17, Micah 6:8). However, wokeness often embraces theories and ideologies inconsistent with or even hostile to the Bible. Many well-intentioned Christians—out of a desire to be compassionate, accepting, and loving—are succumbing to cultural pressure to conform to woke ideology, likely unaware of its unbiblical tendencies.To help Christians think biblically about wokeness, Owen Strachan, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview, has written a new book, Christianity and Wokeness: How the Social Justice Movement is Hijacking the Gospel. In the book, Strachan walks through the history of woke ideology and examines its consequences in American culture and the church. He also consults Scripture to give Christians advice for responding to the woke movement.Wokeness in the Culture and the ChurchThe first two chapters of Christianity and Wokeness examine how woke ideology is entering the culture and, more consequentially, the church. According to Strachan, “wokeness” means to be “awake” and in tune with the prevailing zeitgeist. Critical Race Theory (CRT), which sees society as an intentional system of power structures meant to oppress others based on their skin color, is currently the most well-known example of woke ideology. CRT purports that “White Privilege” is at the root of social justice issues and must be eradicated. The 21st century American church has been both passively and actively incorporating woke ideology into their institutions and practices. Strachan observes that some Christians have started apologizing for and repenting of their “whiteness.” Often these actions are prefaced with the proposal that we should change the gospel to fit with woke ideology so that brothers and sisters of color will be more comfortable in the church. While true racial reconciliation is an important outworking of the gospel (Eph. 2), wokeness changes the gospel by teaching that white people are never able to fully repent for their actions because they are inherently racist by nature of being white. But the gospel says all have sinned, and everyone can be fully redeemed through the work of Christ. With its different view of sin and redemption, wokeness undermines the gospel. This is why Strachan argues, “[W]okeness is not a prism by which we discover truths we couldn’t see in a Christian worldview. Wokeness is a different system entirely than Christianity. It is, in fact, ‘a different gospel.’ But it is not just that. In the final evaluation, wokeness is not just not the Gospel. Wokeness is anti-Gospel.”Why is Wokeness an Ungodly System?In chapters three and four, Strachan outlines his concern with the theological and cultural implications of CRT and woke ideology. First, he encourages believers to guard their hearts and minds, noting the apostle Paul’s admonition not to be taken captive by false philosophies (Col. 2:8). Strachan argues that wokeness represents a man-centered gospel that takes others captive through legalism rather than setting them free in the grace of Christ. In other words, wokeness says that only your works can save you—but you can never actually accumulate enough works to satisfy its requirements. Ultimately, this philosophy promises so much, only to abandon its followers in the end.Furthermore, Strachan provides guidance for responding to unbiblical ideologies. According to Strachan, wokeness calls into question the sovereignty of God and contradicts Scripture by saying that the root of all evil is “whiteness.” But, as Strachan explains, “[in] biblical terms, ‘white’ skin is not our biggest problem. Sin is.” He goes on to say, “If you have been convicted and demeaned for your skin color or heritage (whatever each may be), you have been wronged.” Woke ideology turns humans against one another, and results in individuals being judged by the color of their skin and status in society rather than the content of their character or their status in the eyes of God.The Bible and EthnicityBecause questions of race and ethnicity are so closely tied to woke ideology and CRT, chapter five and six provide an in-depth study of what the Old and New Testament have to say about our identity as human beings. Strachan explains how Genesis teaches that all humans are equally part of one human race. Although we may have different skin tones, languages, or ethnicities that distinguish us, we are all human beings who are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27).Further, the doctrine of the fall—not CRT—explains the fractured relationships present in humanity. It is not the differences between our skin colors that make us misunderstand, betray, and abuse one another but the sin that infects us all. One tragic consequence of the fall is the sin of racism, which is one way that humans wrongly show partiality. God is not elitist and shows no partiality to anyone, as the apostle Paul frequently discusses in his letters (Rom. 2:11, 10:12; Gal. 2:6, Eph. 6:9). The New Testament also demonstrates how everyone can be united and reconciled in Christ through the gospel message (Eph. 2:14-18, 2 Cor. 5:16-21). God desires that, ultimately, every tribe, tongue, and language be untied in Christ to form the household of God (Eph. 2:19; Rev. 5:9-10, 7:9, 21:3). As Strachan explains, “Distinctiveness is no bad thing and is, in truth, a gift and blessing of God—but unity will be our song in all the ages to come.”The Response to WokenessThe final chapter of Strachan’s book considers the reality of American history, specifically slavery and the civil rights movement. He concludes with recommendations for how Christians can respond to woke ideology in a biblical way, reminding his readers: “We cannot fall silent. We cannot stand by as people around us are taken captive by wokeness or any ungodly ideology.”Although Christians ought to recognize racism’s sinfulness and the necessity of repentance for racist thoughts, actions, and attitudes, they should also recognize that certain groups of people are not inherently racist simply because of the color of their skin. Strachan concludes, “Wokeness is advancing far too quickly to treat this matter lightly, or to assume that these issues will simply ‘go away.’” He reminds his readers, “No—they will not go away. As we have argued throughout the book, strongholds and false ideologies must be destroyed, not ignored or treated with a softshoe approach.”May we all heed this timely warning and put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17) to stand firm against all unbiblical ideologies in our day and proclaim the gospel of truth.Owen Strachan’s recent interview about his new book on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins can be viewed here.
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