I’m not a huge fan of podcasts myself. I prefer to read than listen. That’s the autism speaking. I’m extremely sensitive to sounds or anything auditory. But I recognize that many people are too busy to sit down and read edifying material, but they do have time when they exercise, drive, fold laundry, etc. My goal with my social media is to get as much biblical content in front of women as possible, and if listening is the way to get it there, then I’ll do what it takes. Including broadcasting a podcast.
WordPress hosts my blog. WordPress has recently joined with Anchor FM. Anchor powers 80% of new material on Spotify. Anchor has made it incredibly easy to record a podcast right from my written WordPress blog. So I jumped.
Apostasy is a hard, hard thing. For anyone who is righteous, seeing loved ones succumb to the sway of a false doctrine, or follow a false teacher, it is a torture to the soul and a agony to the mind and a hardship on the soul. I see a Blackaby book on a pastor’s desk and I worry. I hear a woman refuse to acknowledge Joyce Meyer is false “because she preaches straight from the Bible” and I mourn, I see a woman wear a “Walk to Emmaus” tee shirt and I fear. Encountering these things in my daily routine is grieving.
It’s not to say that these people or any person who reads a book, accepts a teacher or participates in a retreat once is an apostate. I participated in both the Experiencing God study by Henry Blackaby and a Beth Moore Living Proof weekend and a DVD retreat, but in doing so alerted me to the falseness of their teachings. It gave me a close-up view of what it was that troubled my soul so much. That’s what false teaching does, it either grieves the soul and alerts one to its falsity or it entrenches one deeper into their lack of discernment. I worry because I know when someone doesn’t or won’t see the falseness of a particular doctrine or teacher, the false teacher or a false doctrine has successfully taken root into their mind. Satan won’t let that go. Unless they refute it and repent, it will grow like gangrene. That is the way of things. (2 Timothy 2:17; Acts 14:2)
It feels sometimes like there are hardly any people with discernment left. It feels like so many friends and family are falling away. I know from your emails and blog comments that many of you are in locations where there literally are no good churches or where false teaching abounds. Doesn’t it feel like were the only ones, sometimes!
Here is where we praise the gracious Lord for His examples for us in scripture. We are not alone! Elijah thought he was alone! Jeremiah was tortured by the apostasy around him and in his lifetime, judgment came! Noah preached 120 years and only had 7 converts! Isaiah was told to prophesy until there was literally no one left!
“And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”… God assured him, Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:9-10, 18)
My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jeremiah 4:19) The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. …These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:5-6, 9)
“Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste,” (Isaiah 6:11)
In the New Testament, imagine there being no ‘church down the road’ you could switch to when apostasy is so rampant in your church you have to leave. The Corinthians were having chaotic services, drunken Lord’s Suppers, and immorality and sexual impurity were a problem. But that was the ONLY church. Can you imagine how the few pure and holy Corinthians felt?
I’ve seen a massive defection from the faith since 2008. I’ve also seen a horrific decline in discernment since then too. The rise in apostasy to my mind and according to how I interpret 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is that the time is near when the rapture will occur. The defections of millions from the faith and the fast tsunami of apostasy in even evangelical denominations shows this, in my opinion. The curtain on this age is coming down, and fast.
Each of the prophets named above walked closely with God. Even in times of terrible apostasy when they were literally the only ones in their sphere left who were faithful. They were human, to be sure. Elijah suffered a bout of depression. Jeremiah was tearful and mourning much of the time. The key is, they clung to God.
Take encouragement! The Lord Jesus is near to us. At the time of His incarnation, there were few faithful ones. His religion had been turned into a mockery. They rejected His words while clamoring for His miracles. They wanted His ‘stuff’ but not Him for Himself. He knew apostasy! He knows the pain we feel when people reject our precious Jesus and go astray! Don’t give up the fight!
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)
He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. (Hebrews 5:2)
Pray for those who are ignorant and going astray. Pray for yourself in your weariness and sadness. Jesus is with us. It is good.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
These days are getting more and more evil. A Christian in an area like ours, the Southern United states, is so far spared the persecution many are experiencing abroad, praise the Lord. However, attitudes toward Christians from secular people are shifting rapidly even here in the so-called ‘Bible belt.’ Though we are only just beginning to be persecuted from the outside, many local churches have been dying from the inside.
Just as Britain is grappling with the reality that they are a post-Christian nation, a clear look at the US will show that we are too.
Apostasy is rising, which means that people who have called themselves Christians are behaving less and less like our Master and more and more like the world.
Paul warned Timothy to:
“understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
“Having the appearance of godliness”…Christians who look like they are Christians aren’t really, but will at some point be found to never have known the Lord. (Matthew 7:21-23). This is one of the saddest verses in the entire bible, to me.
Because it is getting toward the end of the end of the age (we have been in the end of the age since Jesus ascended (1 John 2:18), there are a good many people who succumb to tickled ears, heaping up teachers for themselves, and won’t endure sound doctrine.
People still refuse to accept such and such is a false teacher, or that a particular doctrine is aberrant, or an activity founded on a scripture is actually a twisted use of that scripture, or that Jesus is no longer delivering extrabiblical revelation to them personally,…. Discernment is seen as something unnecessary to a vibrant Christian life. So many people display an attitude of “let’s just agree Jesus is the only thing we need to agree on and leave the rest to God”. But that’s not all there is, and still the gift of discernment isn’t adhered to much.
Back to the Galatians verse, Charles Spurgeon said in his exhortation about not being weary in the doing good-
"It is true, my Brothers and Sisters, that you are not to save yourselves by doing good. Your motive is not selfish, but because you are saved already, you desire to manifest the power of gratitude and to prove to all the world that those who receive a free salvation are the very men who most cheerfully labor to please God and to bring glory to His name. O you who are debtors to infinite mercy, “Be not weary in doing good.” …
Now, secondly, it appears from the text that in your service YOU WILL MEET WITH EVILS common to Christian workers of all descriptions. You will especially be liable to weariness and faintness. Take the first word as it stands in our version—you will be tempted to grow weary. …
Do you not think that, at times, our getting lax in Christian work arises from our being very low in Grace? As a rule, you cannot get out of a man that which is not in him. You cannot go forth, yourself, to your class and do your work vigorously if you have lost inward vigor. You cannot minister before the Lord with the unction of the Holy One if that unction is not upon you. If you are not living near to God and in the power of God, then the power of God will not go forth through you to the children in y our care! Therefore I think we should judge, when we become discontented and down-hearted, that we are out of sorts spiritually. Let us say to ourselves, “Come, my Soul! What ails you? This faint heart is a sign that you are out of health. Go to the Great Physician and obtain from Him a tonic which shall brace you! Come, play the man! Have none of these whims! Away with your idleness! The reaping time will come, therefore thrust in the plow.”
"Sometimes, too—I am ashamed to mention it—I have heard of teachers becoming weary from lack of being appreciated. Their work has not been sufficiently noticed by the pastor and praised by the superintendent. Sufficient notice has not been taken of them and their class by their fellow teachers. I will not say much about this cause of faintness because it is so small an affair that it is quite below a Christian. Appreciation! Do we expect it in this world? The Jewish nation despised and rejected their King and even if we were as holy as the Lord Jesus we might still fail to be rightly judged and properly esteemed. What does it matter? If God accepts us, we need not be dismayed though all should pass us by.
Perhaps, however, the work itself may suggest to us a little more excuse for being weary. It is hard work to sow on the highway and amidst the thorns—hard work to be casting good seed upon the rock, year after year. Well, if I had done so for many years and was enabled by the Holy Spirit, I would say to myself, “I shall not give up my work because I have not yet received a recompense in it. I perceive that in the Lord’s parable three sowings did not succeed and yet the one piece of good ground paid for all! Perhaps I have gone through my three unsuccessful sowings and now is my time to enjoy my fourth, in which the seed will fall upon good ground.”
Spurgeon always has a good word. In addition, the Good Book says –
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (Philippians 2:14-15).
"If there are a hundred reasons for giving up your work of faith, there are 50,000 for going on with it! Though there are many arguments for fainting, there are far more arguments for persevering. Though we might be weary and do sometimes feel so, let us wait upon the Lord and renew our strength and we shall mount up with wings as eagles, forget our weariness and be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!"
I used to think that God was ineffectual. I didn’t want to worship Him because He had failed in His plan (something about sin, whatever that was) and Jesus ended up dying. Other times I thought that God had to make a Plan B with Jesus dying on the cross because Plan A had failed. These were the thoughts of a lost person. But that was how it looked to me.
Then by His magnificent grace, I was saved. The cross is so central to everything, absolutely everything in life. It splits history. It divides between lost and saved. It demarcates eternal destinations. It is glory or doom, lawlessness or holiness. It is pain and joy, wrath or welcome. O, the wonder of the cross!
This summer there is a free, online-only conference that I encourage you to ‘attend’. It will be live but also recorded so if you miss it you can see it later on American Gospel TV, again for free. The line-up of women speaking is solid, the topic is relevant, and the material will be edifying. The founder of this conference, now in its second year, is Brooke Bartz. In just a year, the conference has gained the backing of Media Gratiae, The Master’s Seminary, and American Gospel TV, which will broadcast it! For the second year, CityAlight will perform the music!
Brooke Bartz is the founder of the “Open Hearts in a Closed World” online Women’s conference, bringing together biblically based solid women teachers to encourage and exhort women to live Christ honoring lives from the scripture.
Recently I’ve watched a growing wave of corruption of gender biology and more push-back about it than I’ve ever seen. In the secular world, the madness of trans-gender has become a pitched frenzy. The church isn’t unaffected. Even inside ‘Christian’ circles, sassy or angry or ignorant women are howling themselves into usurping madcaps more each day.
How do strong Christian women fight against this? First, by remembering this verse from Ephesians 6:12,
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
We combat this tsunami of falsehood secondly by staying in the word of God, wielding the word of God (Ephesians 6:13-17), and quoting the word of God.
Artist’s statement. She has been through an extremely rough year,
“… and yet as I’ve been brought to repentance and a deeper desire to draw close to the Lord in obedience and worship, I find that some of the greatest encouragement and rest for me comes through this beautifully simple hymn! Therefore, I am compelled to share it with the redeemed as a reminder and with the lost as an encouragement to respond to a call to salvation. I am far from how I desire to be!
Dear reader, when you go through tough times, rely on the scriptures, and bathe in good hymns, too. The older ones have scripture IN them, or are closely based on scripture. Find comfort in God’s word.
It’s the little things that make me happy. Children giggling. Birds splashing in the puddle. Sunbeams stirring up dust motes. Morning mist making the blossoms look soft. It’s spring here in my part of the world and the change of season is welcome.
It was a busy week. We had a tornado touch down near us while we were at school. That is always exciting. Spring Break is nearing, and everyone is dragging their bodies toward that much-anticipated finish line. I plan to do some spring cleaning inside and outside. I’m looking forward to Resurrection Sunday! I’ve already started reading blog essays and listening to sermons focusing on the event. It brings me to tears every time. I’m grateful for that. The moment I don’t have tears in thinking of the agony of the cross, the wonder of the imputation, and the glory of the resurrection, I will know my heart has drifted from Jesus. These matters are eternal matters and the ONLY thing that matters.
Here are a few links to edifying material you may enjoy.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
Jesus is our inheritance. There is no finer treasure in all the universe.
Jesus at His zenith of popularity… Big crowds, laudatory accolades, and promises, promises by the naive:
“And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:61-62).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary says of that verse, “As ploughing requires an eye intent on the furrow to be made, and is marred the instant one turns about, so will they come short of salvation who prosecute the work of God with a distracted attention, a divided heart. … The expression “looking back” has a manifest reference to ‘Lot’s wife’.“