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Archive for April, 2018

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This morning I had the privilege of hearing Alan Shlemon preach on “Bad Arguments Against Religion” as part of an apologetics weekend. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: A reasonable defense of Christianity is needed because false ideas are obstacles to people believing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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A First For Me

Several days ago, I shared this article from The Federalist in my Facebook page. It explains how Snopes.com isn’t telling the truth about California Assembly Bill 2493.

Snopes used to be a go-to site for me if I needed to know the truth about “urban legends” as they’re called. It was a repository of stories, rumors, and conspiracies with specific designations for each (true, false, or maybe). Did Madalyn Murray O’Hare petition the FCC to remove all Christian programming from all American television and radio? No, she didn’t. That’s just one example.

But Snopes is no longer a site I ever visit. At some point during the Obama administration, they changed direction and became a “fact-check” organization with a strongly leftist political bent. Snipes still has credibility with many because of it’s earlier work and a lack of knowledge of its present political viewpoint.

This morning I checked Facebook and found that my post from The Federalist had been removed. Facebook explained that the post looked like “spam,” and had therefore been removed. I was given the opportunity to learn more, which I did. The explanation said the post was either spam or it “violated community standards” developed by Facebook. I was given the option of saying the post was not spam or that I didn’t post it myself. I did post it and it isn’t spam. After I made that statement, Facebook said they would investigate and decide whether or not to restore the post. Very quickly, the post was restored and can be found on my timeline.

This is the first time anything like this has happened to me with Facebook. I have some questions. Why did this post look like “spam” and thousands of my other posts didn’t or don’t? Did the post’s removal have anything to do with its viewpoint, especially since Facebook uses Snopes to fact-check news stories? What are your “community standards”  and how does The Federalist article violate them? Is this a regular practice? How often does it happen? I’ve seen at least one other person on Facebook today who had the same thing happen with the same article. That’s not a coincidence.

What can you do? Read The Federalist article and share it on Facebook (if you’re on Facebook) and other social media outlets. Let’s see what happens.

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How can I pray for you? We should ask that question to our brothers and sisters in Christ more often than we do. We may be surprised at the answers we get.

But we should also be thinking about what we can pray for others. There are times when we’re at a loss as to specifically what we can ask God on their behalf. One answer comes from the apostle Paul in Philippians 1:9-11. He says, And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

We can pray for ourselves, our family, our church, our pastors, elders, and deacons, our Bible study group, our teachers, our classmates, our parents, our friends, our co-workers, and anyone else we can think of, and ask God:

  • Would give them a love of God and others that will abound still more.
  • That their love would abound and grow in real knowledge.
  • That their love would grow in all discernment.
  • That they may approve what is excellent.
  • That they would be sincere and blameless all the way up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
  • That they would give glory and praise to God.
  • What better things could we ask God to give and develop in the lives of our fellow believers (as well as our own life)? That’s what we can pray for each other coram Deo (before the face of God).

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Psalm-3

I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on Psalm 3. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: A God-centered life means doing what you can do, then leaving the rest in God’s hands.

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This morning I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on Psalm 1. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Living a God-centered life means delighting in God’s Word.

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weary

Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing (Judges 8:4).

The Midianites had oppressed Israel for seven years. In response to the cries and prayers of His people, God raised up Gideon as a judge and deliverer. After paring down Gideon’s army from 32,000 to a mere 300, God told him to pursue the Midianites and promised him victory.

That doesn’t mean it was easy, however. Gideon and his men, the Scripture says, were “weary yet pursuing” the Midianites. In the English Standard Version, weary is translated as “exhausted.”

We all get tired. We all become weary, even to the point of exhaustion. And the truth of the matter is that we can become weary, even if we’re doing precisely what God has commanded us to do – when we’re obedient to His will. Obedience doesn’t make us immune to weariness and exhaustion. That was true for Gideon and his men and it’s true for us. The weariness could be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual (or any combination), but it happens and it’s real.

Gideon and his 300 men were weary, but they kept going – they pressed on and pursued by the power of the Holy Spirit and ultimately gained the promised victory.

In Isaiah 40:28-31, we have God’s promise and a good dose of hope for the weary:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

When you’re weary, continue to pursue in the power of God’s Spirit. In the words of J.I. Packer, “Trust God and get going.”

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Prayer is one of the essential spiritual disciplines of the Christian and the church. Just how essential is explained by John Calvin as follows:

Words fail to explain how necessary prayer is, and in how many ways the exercise of prayer is profitable. Surely, with good reason the Heavenly Father affirms that the only stronghold of safety is in calling upon his name. By so doing we invoke the presence both of his providence, through which he watches over and guards our affairs, and of his power, through which he sustains us, weak as we are and well-nigh overcome, and of his goodness, through which he receives us, miserably burdened with sins, unto grace; and, in short, it is by prayer that we might call him to reveal himself as wholly present to us.

(Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, chapter XX, Sec. 2)

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