Category: Book reviews, articles, music video, etc.

The length of our days is seventy years– or eighty if we have the strength

Psalm 90

Psalm 90 A prayer of Moses the man of God.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning–
though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.
We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
The length of our days is seventy years– or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span [1] is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Relent, O LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.
May the favor [2] of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us– yes, establish the work of our hands.

It’s cowardly and yet the longer that we let it go on and we don’t challenge it then we become culpable

I was named after Victor Hansen he was killed at Okinawa in the 6th Marine Division and I read his letters all the time and I can’t believe that he died for a country in which major people call it garbage I just don’t think that’s what he died for and each of us according to our own station has to speak out and say these people didn’t die for that they didn’t die in the Civil War they didn’t they died for a better America not for some person that knows nothing about history (AOCortez, Beto,Hollywood,Dem-media) and I say that because of her empirically from what she’s been saying to subtly level an accusation against an entire dead generation I really I’m getting very angry at this idea we attacked the dead and we apply the standards of the present when most of us in the physical sense alone couldn’t last a day in a covered wagon or we wouldn’t have last but one moment at Shiloh and yet all of a sudden these people that’s not why they’re unhappy it’s because of our path that’s something deeper and to blame other people or their parents or past generation for their own inability to cope it’s just it’s cowardly and yet the longer that we let it go on and we don’t challenge it then we become culpable ourselves.  Victor Davis Hanson

Be Aware of Human Trafficking and Pray as You Travel This Year


January is Human Trafficking Awareness month. Sadly, no community—yes, even here in the United States—is immune to the evils of human trafficking. That’s why we all need to be aware of the signs and if we see something, report it. Send Relief put together the following helpful prayer guide to bring awareness to this issue. Also check out this podcast and this article, both with more specific information on knowing the signs of trafficking. —Randy Alcorn

As-You-Travel Prayer Guide

• 46,876 miles of interstate

• 100,000 daily flights

• 53,000 hotels and over 5,000,000 rooms

• 185 US ports

The pavement, airways, hotels and ports constitute the network for human exploitation and slavery. As you travel, here’s how you can pray:

• Pray for the trafficking victim: strength, freedom, safety, hope, help, healing, and restoration. Pray for their families and that they can be reunited.

• Pray for exits along the interstate which includes:

• Truck Stops: Girls (called “Lot Lizards”) are dropped off by traffickers to go from truck to truck asking the truckers to buy them. Pray for Truckers Against Trafficking, Transport for Christ and other organizations who work to educate truckers and truck stop employees about human trafficking. Pray that the Human Trafficking Hotline number will be placed at all Truck Stops.

• Rest Areas: Traffickers may stop with victims to use restroom and to clean up as they often move the victims from city to city. Movement lessens the chances of them getting caught. Pray that the Human Trafficking Hotline number and materials can be placed in Rest Areas and that security is trained and placed at all rest areas.

• Motels & Hotels: Victims are often advertised on social media sites, appointments are made, and a buyer (the “John”) meets them at motel or hotel room. Pray that motel and hotel employees will be trained and will sign ECPAT’s code of conduct against sex trafficking. Pray that missing and exploited children’s pictures and booklets will get into the hotels so that children can be identified and rescued. Pray that the Human Trafficking Hotline number can be placed at facilities and in the rooms.

• Restaurants and Businesses: Pray that business owners are made aware of human trafficking and do not participate in sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Pray that they will be open to looking for missing and exploited children.

• Ports: A barge can hold as much as 1,500 tons of cargo. Not all containers can be inspected. Pray that port workers become educated on human trafficking, look for suspicious containers, and the resources and technology become available to make it possible to inspect more containers.

• Borders: Some borders have rivers, fences, checkpoints, and workers going back and forth across each day. Pray for Border Patrol and others that protect our borders to make a conscious effort to look for human trafficking.

• Stateline Checkpoints: Many truckers drive their trucks through checkpoints every day. Pray for the workers at the checkpoints to keep an eye out for human traffickers. Pray for more laws and better technology to inspect cargo that is processed through the checkpoints.

• Airports: Pray that all airport employees will be trained to recognize trafficking and place information regarding trafficking within the airports. Pray for pilots and flight attendants to be trained.

• Bus Stations and Train Stations: Pray for training for all employees in both of these transportation industries. Bus stations are notorious for traffickers hanging out to pick up runaways.

• Pray that law enforcement will be trained on what to look for and pray for their safety.

• Pray that the traffickers will be caught and prosecuted.

• Pray that buyers will be caught and prosecuted. If there was no buying, there would be no selling.

• Knowing that God’s grace is for everyone, pray for the trafficker and the buyer to be convicted of their sins and that they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. This does not mean that they should go free and not pay for the consequences of their crimes.

• Pray for ministries as they seek to assist through providing shelter, food, clothing, transportation, and restoration.

• Pray for churches as they become knowledgeable about human trafficking, willing to educate others, and open to minister where God leads.

• Pray that human trafficking is stopped. Victims of Human Trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Victims are young children, teenagers, men, and women.

Human Trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. The Human Trafficking Hotline number is 1-888-3737-888.

You can also download the PDF of this information to share.

If you’d like to finally support organizations actively working to end human trafficking and minister to victims, check out these ones recommended by EPM: Compassion FirstDoor to GraceGotta Go MinistriesInternational Justice Mission, and Love146.

This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!

Dr. Everett Piper, President

Oklahoma Wesleyan University

This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.

So here’s my advice:

If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

This is not a day care. This is a university.

Further Reading:
Interview with EducationViews
More about Dr. Piper

2019 Christian Reading Challenge

Do you love to read? Do you want to learn to love to read? Do you enjoy reading books that cross the whole spectrum of topics and genres? Then I’ve got something that may be right up your alley—the 2019 Christian Reading Challenge.

Whether you are a light reader or completely obsessed, this 2019 Christian Reading Challenge is designed to help you read more and to broaden the scope of your reading.

How It Works

The 2019 Christian Reading Challenge is composed of 4 lists of books, which you are meant to move through progressively. You will need to determine a reading goal early in the year and set your pace accordingly.

  • The Light Reader. This plan has 13 books which sets a pace of 1 book every 4 weeks.
  • The Avid Reader. The Avid plan adds another 13 books which increases the pace to 1 book every 2 weeks.
  • The Committed Reader. This plan adds a further 26 books, bringing the total to 52, or 1 book every week.
  • The Obsessed Reader. The Obsessed plan doubles the total to 104 books which sets a demanding pace of 2 books every week.

Begin with the Light plan, which includes suggestions for 13 books. Choose those books and read them in any order, checking them off as you complete them. When you have finished those 13, advance to the Avid plan. Use the criteria there to choose another 13 books and read them in any order. Then it’s time to move to the Committed plan with a further 26 books. When you have completed the Committed plan (that’s 52 books so far!), you are ready to brave the Obsessed plan with its 104 books. Be sure to set your goal at the beginning of the year so you can make sure you’re reading at the right pace.

All you need to do is download the list (or buy a printed version—see below), choose your first few books, and get going. Happy reading in 2019!

2019 Reading Challenge


  • Take the challenge with your spouse and divide the list in two.
  • Take the challenge with your family and divide the books between the entire family.
  • Take the challenge with your youth group or small group and divide the books between all of you. Regularly report on your progress with short reviews.
  • Set your goal and read the books from all of your lists in any order (rather than progressing from Light to Avid to Committed).
  • Discard all the rules and choose books from any plan in any order. Use the 2019 Christian Reading Challenge as a guide to diversifying your reading.
  • Use #vtReadingChallenge to connect and to keep track of others on social media.
  • Have fun with it!

Young Christian: Give the Lord a Lot to Work With

The teens and twenties—these are years that can be put to very good use or that can be squandered. These are years that can form the firm foundation of a life well-lived or the unsteady foundation of a life tragically wasted. In this brief article, I’d like to speak to teens and young adults to offer a word of counsel about making the most of this stage of life.

You have lots of life left to live and one of the responsibilities that falls to you in this stage is to build a foundation for the many years that remain. To that end, here is a principle I’d like you to consider: Give the Lord a lot to work with. As you grow into adulthood, God will make use of talents you’ve developed, experiences you’ve had, challenges you’ve accepted, skills you’ve gained, passions you’ve pursued, and opportunities you’ve taken. This is what he does, this is how he works, this is what gives him delight. Yet not all talents, experiences, challenges, skills, passions and opportunities are created equal, which means some should take pride of place over others.

The Lord is unlikely to make great use of the gaming skills you’ve gained through many thousands of hours spent on your computer, console, or mobile phone. There’s nothing at all wrong with gaming, but it’s not the kind of activity that’s likely to contribute much to future success. Enjoy it if it’s of interest to you, but enjoy it in moderation and with a greater emphasis on more important skills.

The Lord is unlikely to make great use of the knowledge you’ve gained or entertainment you’ve enjoyed by watching movies on Netflix or shows on YouTube. Both can be perfectly good ways to unwind, but neither is likely to chart a path to success in future life or ministry. The same is true of a commitment to obsessively browsing or even mastering social media.

The Lord is unlikely to make great use of whatever it is you think you’ve gained through hundreds or thousands of visits to porn sites or to all those hours spent reading erotica. To the contrary, these simply add knowledge and desires that must later be repented of and put to death for the sake of spiritual and relational health.

It is very unlikely that you will ever look back on life, recall these activities, and lament that you did not give them more time or pursue them with greater earnestness. It is very unlikely you will ever conclude that God used these things in great ways to shape you into a man or woman who is living for his glory by doing great good for others. Not when compared to some of the things that could have consumed your time. So what could you have been doing instead?

The Lord is likely to make great use of the knowledge you gain and the godliness you observe as you spend time with older believers. Young Christians should be relentless in finding ways into the lives, homes, and prayers of older saints so they can see how the Christian life is lived, so they can ask honest questions, so they can learn by observation. God uses this kind of mentorship in powerful ways.

The Lord is likely to make great use of a dedication to the local church—committing to a single church as much as possible and as long as possible and with the determination to be there as often as possible. Go there to enjoy worshiping with other believers and to learn from studies and classes. But don’t go as a mere consumer. Instead, go looking for opportunities to serve and opportunities to develop Christian friends and mentors.

The Lord is likely to make great use of your commitment to the spiritual disciplines of reading Scripture, prayer, and worshipping with God’s people. It is often very difficult to see the day-by-day benefit of these practices, but through time, repetition, and commitment they add up to something that forms and directs an entire life.

The Lord is likely to make great use of the education you gain through diligence in studying, writing, and testing. He is likely to make great use of the jobs you do as you work your way from minimum wage to a career. He is likely to make great use of the good books you read and the real-world skills you diligently acquire. He is likely to make great use of the time you spend serving children or serving the elderly, or serving people with special needs. He is likely to make great use of those first faltering attempts at evangelism or that view of the developing world that comes through a missions trip. He is likely to make great use of the second or third languages you learn.

Now here’s the thing: Unless you are careful and deliberate, you will find that the things God is unlikely to use so quickly and easily displace the things God is far more likely to use. Those easy and attractive things that are fun, that demand no effort, that keep you squarely in your comfort zone, and that trigger all the brain’s pleasure centers—these can keep you from doing what ultimately counts for so much more. It’s not that there is no room for games and pleasure and fun in the Christian life, but that the Christian life is not meant to be all games, pleasure, and fun. We’ve got too much to accomplish for that, too serious a mission, and too short a time.

Building a firm foundation instead of a shaky one will take earnest desire and the willingness to deliberately make that desire a reality. It will require thoughtfulness and planning and effort and self-denial. But it will be worth it as it reaps a great bounty of doing good to others and bringing glory to God.

Christian, when you commit sin and feel shame, embrace it as an opportunity to turn again to the Lord, to repent of that sin.

by Tim Challies

It is a theme I have been thinking about quite a lot. It is a theme I have known in my own life at various times and in certain circumstances. I have pondered guilt and shame, and today I want to return to some reflections on them.

So many Christians live their lives racked with guilt and shame. They think back to the things they did, the sins they committed, whether two days ago or two decades, and they live under a cloud of shame. This shame hurts, it burns, it incapacitates. It raises this question: What is the place of guilt, what is the place of shame, in the life of the Christian?

We need to begin by distinguishing between guilt and shame. Here is how I differentiate between them: Guilt is the objective reality that I have committed an offense or a crime; shame is the subjective experience of feeling humiliation or distress because of what I have done. God has made us in such a way that sin incurs guilt and guilt generates shame. But there is a catch and a caution: Guilt and shame come in helpful forms and in paralyzingly unhelpful forms. Guilt and shame can be a good gift of God or a curse of Satan.

When I sin against God I may find that my conscience accuses me, that it convicts me that I have done wrong. My guilt, the realization that I have sinned, brings a feeling of shame. This guilt and shame is a good gift of God when it motivates me to repent of my sin, to look again to the cross of Christ.

When I repent of sin, I am assured by God that Christ himself has already dealt with the guilt of it. At the cross the guilt of that offense was transferred to Christ. He took that sin—the full, objective, legal guilt of it—upon himself to such an extent that my sin became his sin. Jesus Christ took every hateful thought and adulterous glance and spiteful word and every other sin upon himself. He took that sin to the cross and suffered God’s wrath against it to the point that justice was satisfied. This means that the offense has been truly and fully paid for. It is gone. I am no longer guilty before God!

But Christ did more than that. Not only did he take away my guilt, but he also gave me his righteousness. This is the great exchange of the gospel, that my sin was transferred to him and his righteousness was transferred to me. I am not only not sinful, but I am actually righteous. Because the guilt of the offense is gone, the shame is gone as well. Because that sin is no longer my own, the shame is no longer my own.

Think about this. The sin is no longer my own, which means the guilt is no longer my own, which means the shame is no longer my own. The guilt and the shame of that sin now belong to Christ. If anyone ought to be feeling shame for that sin, it is not me but Christ! Do you think Christ is at the Father’s side today racked with shame because of the adultery and murder and envy that he took upon himself? Of course not! Christ knows that those sins have been dealt with, that they have been forgiven, that they have been removed as far as east is from west. There is no shame left for him to feel.

So why, then, do I feel shame for sins I committed so long ago? Why do I get all wrapped up in guilt and shame? Because Satan wants me to be incapacitated by that shame, to doubt that it has been dealt with, to convince me that I still need to carry the weight of it. He wants to destroy my joy, to cripple my usefulness to the church, and he can do this by wrapping me up in guilt and shame.

The hymn “Before the Throne of God Above” speaks powerfully about forgiveness for guilt and shame.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,

Here is Satan, actively drawing old sins to mind, and convincing me that I still bear the guilt and shame of each one of them. But…

Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

The guilt of my sin, the shame of it, cannot withstand just that one glance at the cross, for there I see the death of Christ and with it, the death of sin, guilt, and shame.

Christian, when you commit sin and feel shame, embrace it as an opportunity to turn again to the Lord, to repent of that sin, to preach the gospel to yourself, to assure yourself once more of the Lord’s grace for those who put their faith in Christ. And then embrace the freedom of forgiveness and let Jesus feel the shame.

Nearly 3 million jobs have been created since President Trump took office.

500 DAYS: In his first 500 days in office, President Donald J. Trump has achieved results domestically and internationally for the American people. 

  • Since taking office, President Trump has strengthened American leadership, security, prosperity, and accountability.
  • After 500 days, the results are clear: the American economy is stronger, American workers are experiencing more opportunities, confidence is soaring, and business is booming.
  • President Trump has re-asserted American leadership on the world stage, secured vital investments in our military, and stood up against threats to our national security.
  • President Trump has put the American people first and made government more accountable.

AMERICA’S ECONOMY IS STRONGER: The American economy is stronger today and American workers are better off thanks to President Trump’s pro-growth agenda.

  • Nearly 3 million jobs have been created since President Trump took office.
    • 304,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since President Trump took office, and manufacturing employment stands at its highest level since December 2008.
    • 337,000 construction jobs have been created since President Trump took office, and construction employment stands at its highest level since June 2008.
  • Under President Trump, the unemployment rate has dropped to 3.8, the lowest rate since April 2000, and job openings have reached 6.6 million, the highest level recorded.
    • 67 percent of Americans believe now is a good time to find a quality job, according to Gallup.
    • Only under President Trump have more than 50 percent of Americans believed it is a good time to find a quality job since Gallup began asking the question 17 years ago.
  • President Trump prioritized job training and workforce development to empower workers to seize more opportunities, signing an Executive Order to expand apprenticeship opportunities.
  • President Trump has restored confidence in the American economy, with confidence among both consumers and businesses reaching historic highs.
    • Consumer confidence in current conditions has reached a 17-year high, according to the Conference Board.
    • Optimism among manufacturers has hit record highs under President Trump, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.
    • Small business optimism has sustained record-high levels under President Trump according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
  • President Trump signed the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, cutting taxes for American families and making American business more competitive.
    • American families received $3.2 trillion in gross tax cuts and saw the child tax credit double.
    • The top corporate tax rate was lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent so American businesses could be more competitive.
  • President Trump has rolled back unnecessary job-killing regulations beyond expectations.
    • In 2017, President Trump far exceeded his promise to eliminate regulations at a two-to-one ratio, issuing 22 deregulatory actions for every new regulatory action.
    • The Administration rolled back rules and regulations harming farmers and energy producers, such as the Waters of the United States Rule and the Clean Power Plan.
    • Regional and community banks and credit unions got relief after President Trump signed legislation reducing harmful requirements imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act.
  • Since taking office, President Trump has advanced free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals that protect American workers, ending decades of destructive trade policies.
    • Days after taking office, the President withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and agreement.
    • President Trump’s Administration is working to defend American intellectual property from China’s unfair practices through a range of actions.
    • The President improved the KORUS trade agreement with the Republic of Korea, which will allow more U.S. automobile exports to South Korea with lower tariffs and increase U.S. pharmaceutical access to South Korea.
    • American agriculture has gained access to new markets under President Trump.

AMERICA IS WINNING ON THE WORLD STAGE: President Trump has re-asserted American leadership on the world stage and is achieving results for the American people.

  • President Trump followed through on his promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
  • President Trump ordered an end to United States participation in the horrible Iran deal and immediately began the process of re-imposing sanctions that had been lifted or waived.
    • The President has taken action to confront aggression by Iran and its proxies.
    • The Department of the Treasury has issued a range of sanctions targeting Iranian activities and entities, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force.
  • Under President Trump, the United States has led an unprecedented global campaign to achieve the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
  • President Trump’s leadership has contributed to the return of 17 Americans held overseas.
    • In May 2018 alone, Venezuela released one American and North Korea released three Americans who came home to the United States.
  • The President has secured historic increases in defense funding in order to rebuild our Nation’s military with the resources they need, after years of harmful sequester.
    • President Trump signed legislation to provide $700 billion in defense spending for fiscal year (FY) 2018 and $716 billion for FY 2019.
  • The United States has worked with international allies to decimate ISIS.
  • President Trump ordered strikes against Syria in response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons in April 2017 and April 2018.
  • The Trump Administration has imposed a range of sanctions on the Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela, including sanctions targeting Maduro and other senior government officials.

AMERICA’S COMMUNITIES ARE SAFER AND MORE SECURE: President Trump has worked to secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws, and protect the safety and security of American communities. 

  • Despite limited resources and obstruction from Congress, President Trump has worked to take control of our border and enforce our immigration laws.
    • President Trump has called on Congress to provide the resources needed to secure our borders and close loopholes that prevent immigration laws from being fully enforced.
  • President Trump authorized the deployment of the National Guard to help secure our borders.
  • President Trump’s Administration has carried out immigration enforcement efforts based on the rule of law.
    • From the start of President Trump’s Administration to the end of FY 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) made 110,568 arrests of illegal aliens.
    • Arrests made in this timeframe represented a 42 percent increase from the same timeframe in FY 2016.
    • Of the 110,568 arrests made, 92 percent had a criminal conviction, pending criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive, or had a reinstated final order of removal.
  • President Trump has made clear that his Administration will continue to combat the threat of MS-13 in order to protect communities from the horrendous violence the gang has spread.
    • In 2017, the Department of Justice worked with partners in Central America to file criminal charges against more than 4,000 members of MS-13.
  • The Trump Administration has cracked down on the import and distribution of illegal drugs in order to stop them from reaching our communities and causing even more devastation.
    • As of April 2018, U.S. Border Patrol has seized 284 pounds of fentanyl in FY 2018, already surpassing the total of 181 pounds seized in FY 2017.
  • The President has launched a nationwide effort to fight the opioid crisis, which has devastated communities across America.
    • The President’s Opioid Initiative seeks to reduce drug demand, cut off the flow of illicit drugs, and save lives by expanding treatment opportunities.
  • President Trump signed an omnibus spending bill which provides nearly $4 billion to address the opioid epidemic.
    • The bill included $1 billion for grants focused on the hardest hit States and Tribes and provided funding for a public-private research partnership on pain and addiction.

AMERICA’S GOVERNMENT IS MORE ACCOUNTABLE: Since taking office, President Trump has worked to ensure the government is more accountable to the American people. 

  • President Trump has confirmed the most circuit court judges of any President in their first year, and secured Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court.
  • President Trump has signed legislation to bring more accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs and provide our veterans with more choice in the care they receive.
    • President Trump signed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and the Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, improving processes for addressing misconduct.
    • President Trump signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act into law, authorizing $2.1 billion in additional funds for the Veterans Choice Program.
  • President Trump successfully eliminated the penalty for Obamacare’s burdensome individual mandate.
  • The President’s Administration is seeking to provide more affordable health coverage and broader access to affordable alternatives to Obamacare plans.
  • President Trump has released a blueprint to lower drug prices for Americans.
  • President Trump has ensured that the religious liberties and conscience of Americans are protected and respected by the Federal government.
    • President Trump signed an Executive Order to protect the free speech and religious liberties of groups such as the Little Sisters of the Poor.
    • The Department of Justice issued guidance to all executive agencies on protecting religious liberty in federal programs.

Help your children see that there are two ways to think about everything — the world’s way and God’s way. You can give them a glorious biblical vision of what God intends marriage to be.

Article by

Guest Contributor

The most important and valuable things in life are not always obvious to us. For example, both we and our children need to be taught from the Bible just how amazing marriage really is. Most children know a lot of married people — their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, or teachers. To them, marriage doesn’t seem amazing. They do not know that it is a wonder of the gospel.

Our world says that marriage is something we invented for ourselves. So, we can reinvent it in any way we want. And, indeed, our world is doing just that. It is aggressively saturating our children with a new and unbiblical vision of marriage and sexuality and human flourishing. Families with different parental arrangements and interchangeable roles and titles cause confusion in our children.

Tell them the Story

But God tells us something better. He tells us that he created marriage for a sacred purpose. Your children and grandchildren deserve to learn about that purpose at an early age. Who better to learn it from than you?

Help your children see that there are two ways to think about everything — the world’s way and God’s way. You can give them a glorious biblical vision of what God intends marriage to be.

“A biblical marriage shows the world a tiny picture of the Big Romance.”

Start back at the creation of marriage in the perfect garden of Eden (Genesis 2). Teach your children that even in that beautiful place, with all the animals surrounding him, God knew that Adam would need something more. God knew that Adam needed someone like him, but also different from him. And so, God made the first woman in a different way than he had made anything else — he made her out of Adam’s body. And then, like the father of the bride in the very first wedding, he brought Eve to Adam. What God did in the garden of Eden is why people get married even today. It was all God’s amazing idea!

Be sure that your children know that, just like everything that comes from the heart of God, marriage is good and beautiful. If you are married, show your children what a valuable treasure your spouse is. Talk often about your gratitude for your marriage. Let your children see the affection you share toward each other. Make sure they hear you speak kindly to and about your spouse.

Draw attention to other solid marriages in your family, church, and community. Show them pictures from your own wedding day, and let them see your joy in celebrating your anniversary year to year. As they get older, take them to a wedding and discuss the vows and promises the couple make to God and to each other.

God Sees One “Us”

Your children need to hear God’s definition of marriage from you — one man and one woman giving all of themselves to each other for their whole lives (Matthew 19:4–6). That’s why a married couple shares everything. They share their hearts, their name, their home — even their bodies. Explain why Daddy and Mommy kiss and hold each other.

You can help your children understand that when a man and a woman marry, God doesn’t see two “me’s” anymore. He see one “us!” You could illustrate it this way: make two large paper hearts to symbolize two people in love who get married. Glue them together and let it dry overnight. The next day, try to separate them. The two have become one, and you can’t separate them without hurting both.

Talk about divorce in the most tender of terms. When sin hardens our hearts (Mark 10:2–5), we can hurt the ones we are supposed to love the most. Help your children learn how God cares for those who are hurting (Psalm 34:18Isaiah 40:11).

The Big Romance

It would be wise to introduce same-sex marriage very carefully. Children need to understand that, when we are born, we don’t know what will make us truly happy. But God does, and he tells us about our true happiness in the Bible.

Some people think that marriage can be between two men or two women, or that a husband can have more than one wife. That is not what the Bible teaches. Part of trusting God is following what he says about marriage and happiness because God created us and God created marriage for our joy and his glory.

“If you are married, show your children what a valuable treasure your spouse is.”

You can help young children understand that each country has its own laws about marriage. Talk to your children about marriage laws in your country. Be very clear that these laws are not always the same as God’s laws about marriage — and God’s laws are the most important laws in the whole world. Teach your children that what God says about marriage matters most. He can be trusted. His way is always best.

This matters because a biblical marriage shows the world a tiny picture of the Big Romance — the one between Christ and his church in love together. Marriage is meant to be an up-close display of the forever love of Jesus for his people. May the little ones around us grow up secure in God’s design for marriage. May they treat it with sacred honor all throughout their lives and pass on the legacy to their children.

Enjoy a day on the beautiful course at River Glen Country Club. Get back in touch with your nature side while networking with friends and playing for a chance to win one of our 1st Annual Golf Outing awards! We have openings sign up today

Enjoy a day on the beautiful course at River Glen Country Club. Get back in touch with your nature side while networking with friends and playing for a chance to win one of our 1st Annual Golf Outing awards! Enjoy a day on the beautiful course at River Glen Country Club. Get back in touch with your nature side while networking with friends and playing for a chance to win one of our 1st Annual Golf Outing awards! We have openings for both golfers and sponsors:

Parenting is the child’s most powerful influence. It’s more powerful than the culture. It’s more powerful than peers. It’s more powerful than media, because parenting can control all of that. It is a full-time responsibility.

God has designed that society exist in families, in families. God designed the family.    God created man and woman and said, “Make families.” God repeated that, first of all, when He said that in Genesis 1 there was Adam and Eve. And then after He had destroyed the whole world and came back to Noah, he reiterated that command in the ninth chapter of Genesis, “Make families. Make families. Fill the earth.”

Families are the unit that passes on truth and righteousness from generation to generation. Families are the units that provide discipline and instruction, and therefore create civilization. They hold society together. They provide, as a Chinese proverb says, “Shade for the children” – one generation plants the trees; the next generation enjoys the shade.

We are living in a time when one would wonder whether any shady trees are being planted for future generations. There’s a generation of young people, even Christian young people today, who are afraid of the prospect of bringing children into the world. Our culture not only allows for the destruction of the family, it aids and abets it. Our society makes laws to destroy the family; we see them all the time. We are living in a culture where all taboos have been abolished. There’s only one taboo left, and that’s the Bible and biblical morality. Fornication and adultery abound at a pandemic level; and for those people who do get married, divorce is a ready aid to get them out of that marriage.

We’re all aware of the fact that we have a wholesale rejection of male headship, male leadership. We have a feminized culture: working mothers; latchkey kids; abortion, millions of children being killed in their mother’s womb. That’s been going on for decades. Pornography not only is abundant, but it is protected by free speech. We have a dominant media that pollutes people’s minds with entertainment that is corrupt. And then we have social media where people can exploit themselves, corrupt themselves, and corrupt others. It is pandemic. The culture will not offer any solutions; it will only escalate the corruption. And while this is what this sinful world has chosen, it has become divine judgment.

According to Romans 1, when God judges a society, there will be a sexual revolution, followed by a homosexual revolution, followed by reprobate minds where there’s no way back because thinking is so corrupted. And if you were to identify where thinking is most aggressively corrupt, you would probably have to answer outside the entertainment world itself, in the universities, which have the responsibility to educate the next generation. This culture offers no solution; and indeed, this culture is now under the judgment of God and catapulting at a rapid rate into hell. I understand why people look at all of this and wonder how it’s going to be for their children and their grandchildren. The culture has no solution.

Seemingly, many in the church are unwilling to step up and provide for people a true biblical understanding of sexual relationships, marriage, and the family. So what I want to do for you and for us is to just look in the Word of God and put together an understanding, a framework for understanding marriage and the family, and raising children the way God has designed it. And I want you to turn in your Bible to the sixth chapter of Ephesians, because I just want to set this passage in your mind, and then we’re going to go a lot of places. I have no idea how far we’ll get; I’ve put down a lot of things to talk about.

Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers [or parents] do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” That’s a summation of what the New Testament teaches.

You find almost an identical passage in the third chapter of Colossians as well. And as you can tell by looking at that passage, it draws on the Old Testament, so that nothing has changed. This is a reiteration and clarification of what the Old Testament says. God has already established His divine pattern for the family.

As I said, it’s difficult today for the church to define this with the precision that the Bible demands because the church, the contemporary church, is so eager to absorb the world, and to make worldly people feel comfortable; and return to clear, precise, exact, demanding, biblical commands regarding marriage and the family would threaten churches that are trying to capture the world. So let’s start with where we need to be and what we need to understand. Let me give you five things that are foundational.

Number one: children are a blessing from God. Children are a blessing from God. That’s where you have to start. They are not a problem, they are not a trial; they are a blessing from God.

God blessed Adam and Eve, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” Early civilization understood that, even after the Flood. When that was repeated, people understood that children were a blessing from the Lord. In fact, not to have children was a disaster in the minds of people.

In the twenty-ninth chapter of Genesis, for example, Rachel was barren. “Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, ‘Because the Lord has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.’” It’s as if not having a child would cause your husband not to love you.

“Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, ‘Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.’ So she named him Simeon. She conceived again and bore a son and said, ‘Now this time my husband will become attached to me because I have born him three sons,’ and she named him Levi…She,” in verse 35, “conceived again and bore a son and said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’” Not until she had a fourth son did she believe she could stop longing for something and be satisfied. Children were a blessing from the Lord. It was a kind of shame in her mind not to have many children.

Chapter 30 says, “When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or else I die.’”  “‘Give me children, or else I die.’” Then she came up with a stupid plan, as you know, and wanted a kind of surrogate child.

God was gracious to her, down in verse 23, “She conceived and bore a son, and she said, ‘God has taken away my reproach.’ She named him Joseph, saying, ‘May the Lord give me another son.’” It was as, almost as if one child wasn’t enough; it was. The desire of the heart of a mother to have many children, because children were stated by God to be a blessing.

Listen to Psalm 127, verse 3: “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.”

It was actually a kind of personal reproach, a kind of shame not to have children. Certainly, there were some for whom God did not design children. But as a general matter, children were a blessing; and not to have children was to be unblessed.

Second principle to understand: parenting is a blessing. This is partner with the first point. Parenting is a blessing.

There are three times in the Proverbs where it talks about a son making a father’s heart glad. Proverbs 29:17 says, “Correct a son, and he will give you rest. Yes, he will give delight to your soul.” Children are a blessing, and being a parent is a blessing.

A third principle: parenting is measured by the parents and not the children. Parenting is measured by the parents and not the children.

What do I mean by that? I simply mean the principle of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he’s old he will not depart from it.” Really, children are a testimony to parenting.

We live in a time when the focus is on the children. The focus should be on the parent. Now, what does that mean, “Raise up a child” – or train up a child – “in the way he should go, and when he’s old he will not depart from it”? It isn’t a guarantee of salvation. It’s just an axiom. It’s just a truism. It’s just a self-evident truth – children become what you raise them to become. That is a general fact.

A New Testament equivalent of that would be Luke 6:40, “When a man is fully trained, he will be like his teacher.” You will be responsible for shaping your children. They will be what you lead them to be. They will become what you allow them to become. They will take the shape that you have provided for them in your parenting.

Nothing you do guarantees their salvation; that’s not what that is saying. But it is saying your children will be the products of your parenting; and that’s why I said that third point is parenting is measured by the parents – not the talent of the child, not the beauty of the child, but the effort of the parents.

So as you look ahead and you say to yourself, “I don’t know if I want to bring up a child in the world that is coming, or the world that exists,” remember this: in any occasion, in any world, any child will grow to be whatever it is that you shape that child to be. Parenting is a nonstop responsibility. There are no coffee breaks. There are no vacations, because it’s so important. It can’t be a part-time job. That’s why working mothers can be such a disaster.

A fourth thing to think about with regard to that, and it’s obvious: parenting is the child’s most powerful influence. Parenting is the child’s most powerful influence. It’s more powerful than the culture. It’s more powerful than peers. It’s more powerful than media, because parenting can control all of that. It is a full-time responsibility.

In fact, if you go back to Deuteronomy, chapter 6, you will remember that built into the start of God revealing to His people His law again – which He does in the book of Deuteronomy as they get ready to enter the Promised Land, the familiar words of Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I’m commanding you today, shall be on your heart.” That’s the sum of all the commandments, “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might.”

And then verse 7: “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” That’s parenting; it’s nonstop, nonstop.

“You bind them as a sign on your hand,” so that they basically affect what you do. You put them as “frontlets on your forehead,” so that they effectively control what you think. That’s the symbolism there. “You write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,” so that when you come in and you go out, the law of the Lord dominates everything. This is how parents have the greatest influence.

Keep in mind that the children of Israel, at this point in time, were living in the middle of paganism. The paganism was so bad at that time that God had told them when they went into the Promised Land to literally kill the nations that occupied the land. They didn’t do that, and so there was this constant battle with a corrupt culture.

The history of Israel, frankly, is an object lesson about the dangers of not teaching your children, of not having the law of God dominate your children, of not teaching them, of not talking about the law of God when you sit down – when you walk, when you lie down, when you rise up – making it what controls your behavior, what controls your thinking, and your coming and going. Obviously, Israel failed to do that, even though they were commanded in Deuteronomy 6.

If you come over to, for example, one generation later – just one generation – to Judges chapter 2, verse 7, “The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the Lord which He had done for Israel.” Joshua, of course, led them into the land. Verse 10: “All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.” That generation failed to do what they were told to do – teach the law of God to their children so that they would love the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their might. That whole generation failed in their parenting.

Verse 11, here’s the next generation: “Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals,” – literally worshiped the false lords – “and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; and thus they provoked the Lord to anger. So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and Ashtaroth.”

One generation, given a clear command: “Take the law of the Lord, which had been given to Moses and was given again a second time” – Deuteronomy – “teach it to your children.” They didn’t do it. They turned to the gods of the Canaanites – a pattern in the life of Israel repeated again, and again, and again, and again; and we all know the terrible, tragic history that resulted.

I guess the sum of it is in Judges 21:25, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Sound familiar? That’s American culture; that’s the world we live in. And we are there for the same reason that Israel was there.

The people of Israel lived in this sea of paganism. They were told what to do to protect themselves: to teach their children. It was a full-time responsibility, and it had to be going on all the time, not only by precept, but by example – “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might.”

Children are a blessing. Parenting is in itself a blessing. In fact, a family is measured by the parenting. Whatever you do is going to decide what kind of child you have; and parenting is, by God’s design, the child’s most powerful influence. It is a full-time responsibility, built in at the very start of God’s law; and when ignored, tragedy upon tragedy – not only the decline of a family, but the decline of an entire culture.

And that leads us to a fifth sort of foundational truth: parenting is God’s plan for man. Parenting is God’s plan for man. The exception is not to be a parent. Is that sort of obvious? Because if you don’t have parents, you don’t have anymore people. Parenting is God’s plan.

To say that is to say marriage is God’s plan, marriage is God’s plan. God designed us as sexual creatures, sexual beings, and that can only be fulfilled in a union between a man and a woman in a life-long marriage. Anything other than that is devastatingly corrupting.

In 1 Corinthians, chapter 7, you might want to look at that as we continue to sort of construct our understanding along this line. In 1 Corinthians, chapter 7, Paul says, “Concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.” He means in a sexual way. But you’re going to have a hard time with that, so he says, “But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.”

You can’t have people with sexual desires running around without spouses. Sometimes when people say, “What do you think the biggest problem in the family is today?” I have answered this way: “Singleness.” Singleness is a big problem. You don’t have marriage. You don’t have children. What you have is immorality.

Paul goes on to say in verse 9, “If you don’t have self-control…marry…better to marry than to burn with passion.” We have a society of single people pushing, pushing, pushing marriage off, off, off, off into some nebulous tomorrow. Epidemic singleness is deadly to the family; it produces massive immoralities in all directions. It is a sign of selfishness.

Nearly fifty percent of the population in America over eighteen are unmarried. Looking at this statistic another way: only about fifty percent of the households in America are couples who are married. And the most common household in America, the most common household in America since the year 2000, is a person living alone. Millions of unmarried people living alone and hooking up. That kind of behavior has increased a hundred percent since 1990. Nearly fifty percent of all births now are illegitimate.

Ninety percent of Americans in this survey of the Harris Poll said, “Society should value all types of families equally, all types of families equally. It doesn’t matter whether they’re a man and a woman, whether they’re married, or whether they’re same-sex.”

Such situations, said ninety percent of the people surveyed, have no effect on the children. So the solution for the United States government is to cave in to immorality, sexual vice, deviation, homosexuality; and rampant lust dominates the culture. And, “Oh, by the way, if you do happen to get pregnant, kill the baby.” We need to understand that God has designed people to have families, to have families.

As Christians and as the church, we need to lead the world in upholding marriage and children as God’s most precious blessing in all of human life. Look, first of all, marriage is the grace of life, right; it’s what the New Testament says. Secondly, children are a blessing from the Lord; and the promise is that you raise them in the correct way. When they’re old, they will demonstrate that way that you have poured into their lives. This is God’s design. Christians can’t be so selfish they don’t want to get married; and a lot of people don’t want to get married, because around the bend they might see somebody better. It’s time for Christians to stop interrupting God’s plan for children by staying single. Get married; be a husband; take a wife.

And among Christians, I think that’s still, for the most part, initiated by men. Men would like to think that maybe the women would come after them. But Christian women are more modest, I think, and men need to lead in that. I don’t know what Christian men are waiting for. There are many sweet Christian ladies that they could care for and love as Christ loves His church, and with whom they could raise godly children who would be to them supreme joy.

At the creation, do you remember the statement, “It’s not good to be” – What? – “alone.” Marry; bring up children; bring them up to know the Lord. So that would be a kind of foundational perception that I want to set in your mind.

Now I want you to go back to Ephesians and we’ll just kind of talk a little bit more about what this text specifically says. First, it talks about the submission of children, and then it talks about the submission of parents – both submitting to God’s design. Verses 1-2: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise).”

Do I need to say that children need to be taught to do that? They don’t come into the world ready to do that; they come in the world as reprobates – little, beautiful reprobates; but reprobate. They come into the world as fallen sinners bearing Adamic nature and Adamic guilt. But let’s just look at this in particular. Children, they must be taught this. But children are to “obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

What do we mean “children,” tekna? It doesn’t mean tiny babies; it doesn’t mean little children. It means any child who would still be classified as a child, which would mean any child who is in the home and has not yet started their own adult life – broadly speaking, all offspring still under parental care, still under parental care. In fact, it doesn’t really apply to the smallest ones because you really can’t command them. They don’t have a faculty to even comprehend that. It refers to those who are old enough to reason.

And by the way, this is the only command in the Bible to children; this is it: “Obey your parents in the Lord.” This kind of obedience is so essential for civilization. Society holds together in some kind of a cohesive, sane way – and safe way when children obey their parents.

In fact, that is in the commandments in Exodus 20: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” In other words, if you don’t do that, you could die. If you don’t do that, you could die.

And that’s reiterated in the next chapter of Exodus, chapter 21, and verse 15: “He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” Verse 17: “He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.”

Capital punishment for a child that strikes a parent or curses a parent. Repeated in the twentieth chapter of Leviticus, verse 9: “If there’s anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, his bloodguiltiness is upon him.”

The next verse talks about the man who commits adultery with another man’s wife – same penalty. The death penalty is to be applied to children that don’t obey their parents. This is how urgent this matter of obedience is. To raise a generation of people who can make a real civilization requires that children obey parents. That’s just absolutely foundational.

Look at the book of Proverbs for a minute, and let me just show you a few things here, as we can kind of continue our Bible study. Proverbs is really truth passed on from fathers and mothers, but particularly fathers, to their children. So verse 8 of chapter 1, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.” In other words, there’s a beauty in a child that receives parental instruction and obeys it.

In chapter 2, verse 1, “My son, if you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding.”

Chapter 3 begins the same way: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”

Chapter 4: “Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, and give attention that you may gain understanding, for I give you sound teaching; do not abandon my instruction. When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my father, then he taught me and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live.’” In chapter 4 again, verse 10: “Hear, my son, and accept my sayings and the years of your life will be many.”

Chapter 5: “My son, give attention to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding.”

Chapter 7, again: “My son, keep my words…treasure my commandments with you.” Not only obey them, but treasure them. “Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye.”

Same chapter, down in verse 24: “Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth.”

In chapter 8, verse 32: “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, for blessed are they who keep my ways.” And it goes like this all through this wonderful section.

You find in chapter 12, verse 1, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” Not only should you obey, but you should willingly accept the discipline that drives you in the path of obedience.

Chapter 13, verse 1: “A wise son accept his father’s discipline, but a scoffer doesn’t listen to rebuke.” There’s little question that this is at the heart of this entire book of Proverbs. So important.

Chapter 15, verse 5: “A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.” Do you want to be a sensible child? Do you want to grow up to be a sociable adult? Then you listen to your father’s instruction and you accept your father’s discipline.

And one more, in chapter 28, verse 7: “He who keeps the law is a discerning son.” “He who keeps the law is a discerning son.” The negative side: if you curse your parents, if you strike your parents, the death penalty. The positive side: listen to them, learn from them, accept the discipline that comes with instruction.

In Luke 2:52 there is an interesting statement with regard to our Lord, but it gives us some categories in which we can think about children. Luke 2:52, “Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

Children must be ruled, they must be disciplined, they must be taught, because they lack four things: they lack wisdom, they lack stature, they lack favor with God, and they lack favor with men. In other words, they are deficient mentally, they are deficient physically, they are deficient socially, and they are deficient spiritually – and that’s all of it. They are just plain deficient. It takes a nonstop, concerted effort to move them out of those deficiencies into a place where they receive wisdom and grow to strength – favor with God, favor with men.

God cares about the social aspect of life, about the physical aspect, about the mental aspect, as well as the physical aspect. So you want your children to be obedient. You understand that when they come into the world, they’re deficient. Their social skills are nonexistent. They just scream about whatever they want. They fight; they argue. They go places and do things that you don’t want them to do. They have no social skills. They have no spiritual understanding. They are weak and vulnerable, tossed to and fro. They have no wisdom and no discernment.

So what you’ve got is a little reprobate sinner that is utterly deficient in every area of existence, and your responsibility – before God and your great joy – is to eliminate those deficiencies. If you don’t do that, you get the kind of man, Proverbs 30:11 talks about, “who curses his father and doesn’t bless his mother.” You get the kind of man who “mocks a father and scorns a mother.” And Proverbs 30:17 says, “The ravens of the valley will pick out the eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, and the young eagles will eat it.” That’s pretty graphic.

So what do you do as a parent? You have the responsibility, and the joy, and the priviledge, and the command to raise children to be obedient. That means you have to be the instrument that God uses to help them increase in wisdom, stature, favor with God, favor with man.

You want your child – let’s go back to Ephesians – to obey, to obey. Teach your child to obey. That’s the only command, to obey your parents. Academics, not that important. Athletics, not that important. Fashion, not that important. Looks, not that important.

Obedience, all-consuming. “Obey,” hupakouō, literally means “to hear under, to submit, to submit.” It’s a present imperative, and it’s the idea that they habitually obey you. And I will just tell you: this is how, in one sense, simple parenting is. All you’re trying to do is raise an obedient child – a child that learns obedience because the consequences are so painful, the consequences of disobedience.

But there’s another aspect of it. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord.” What does that mean, “in the Lord”? What does that mean?

Colossians 3:20 adds, “Obey your parents in everything in the Lord” – in absolutely everything in the Lord. What does that mean? As if you were obeying Christ. As if you are obeying Christ.

That’s an amazing thing. You’re really teaching children to obey, not because of you, but because of God. Your authority is a delegated authority; it’s passed down to you from heaven. Why should you do this? Because “this is right.” There’s a novel idea: something’s actually right.

There’s a right thing, and it’s obedience. The word is díkaion, which is “righteous.” It’s “righteous” – used often of God, often of Christ, and often of us, when speaking of our righteousness in Christ, our justification. It’s “right.”

Children who disobey violate the Lord; they violate God’s law. This must have been a challenging thing in the early church, because Jewish children were forbidden to believe in Christ. Probably pagan children were forbidden to believe in Christ, and they were being introduced to the gospel. What were they going to do?

Well, what did Jesus say? Amazing, He said, “If you want to follow Me, you may have to hate your mother and hate your father.” That’s Luke 14. And in Matthew 10 He said, “If you love your mother or father more than Me, you’re not worthy to be My disciple.”

Here’s the one place where children do right when they disobey – that is, when they obey the Lord and the parents are commanding them not to do so. That’s a rare exception. Apart from that, the first duty of a child is to obey. So you teach your children to obey. And if you do that, when they’re old, they’ll be obedient.

The second duty, then, in verse 2 is to “honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise).” “Obey” is duty; “honor” is attitude. “Obey” is duty; “honor” is attitude. You don’t just want obedience. You don’t want a furious child obeying you with an angry heart. But this attitude corresponds to the act of obedience.

The obedience of a child should contain honor, and that, of course, comes right from the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:12. You are to raise a child who’s both obedient to parents because he realizes that parents have delegated authority from the Lord to bring the most blessed life possible to them, and at the same time, to have an attitude of honor toward father and mother.

Patricia and I used to talk a lot when we were raising our children about disciplining for attitude. We disciplined our children far more for attitude than we did for action, because they were more prone to think they could get away with an attitude than an act. We could prevent the act; we couldn’t prevent the attitude. Discipline for an attitude is as important for discipline for an act if you want a child that is obedient and reverent – reverent toward parents as the representatives of God, with the delegated authority to raise them to know and love God and live in the fullness of His blessing.

So this is really the fifth commandment – verse 2 is the fifth commandment – and it’s the first commandment that has to do with human relationships. The first four have to do with God – Exodus 20. This is the first one that has to do with human relationship. When you move into human relationships, the first thing you run into is parents and children. This is so essential because it comes with a promise.

Look at verse 3: “So that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” This is the first commandment “with a promise.” This is the fifth commandment – it’s the first one that deals with human relations. And it’s the first one “with a promise.” Godly children, obedient children who honor their parents, will not have their life shortened by chastisement; they will not have their life shortened by divine judgment. They will live a long, full, rich, blessed life.

That’s what you want for your children, right? That’s your desire for your children. And though when the command was first given to the people of Israel – there were physical promises to Israel attached to it about being in the land – there are still promises attached to it or it wouldn’t be repeated here. This is for all believers, and this is not tied necessarily to the land of Israel, but “you will live long” – not in that land but – “on the earth.”

I don’t know about you, but I would like my child to live a full life, wouldn’t you? It doesn’t guarantee a number of years, but what it does guarantee is that your life won’t be shortened by divine discipline. This is absolutely essential.

Now, I want to close by saying in order to bring your children to this point, you have to exercise some firm discipline. Let’s go back to Proverbs again, and I’m going to just show you a few things that you’re familiar with.

Proverbs 3, verse 11: “My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, for whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” God does it. God disciplines. This is repeated, isn’t it, in Hebrews. “Every son the Lord loves He disciplines.”

In chapter 10 of Proverbs, a familiar verse, 13: “On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding.” It not only tells you what to do, it tells you where to do it. Hit them on the back. That’s why God put ample padding in that location. That’s “a rod.” That’s a rod to the back of a child who lacks understanding.

In the nineteenth chapter of Proverbs, verse 18: “Discipline your son while there is hope.” “Discipline your son while there’s hope, and do not desire his death.” Wow. If you don’t discipline your son, it shortens his life. You love him? Discipline him.

Proverbs 22, verse 15: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” That’s what I was saying, that they’re born foolish. They’re fallen. “The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” That, friends, is a promise. You want to drive foolishness out of your child? Physical punishment from an early age, as soon as that foolishness becomes apparent and defiant.

Chapter 23 of Proverbs, verse 13: “Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol” – from the grave. All of this is saying if you want your child to live a full, rich, blessed life, it’s going to take some serious, painful discipline – corporal discipline. Of course, if you want to destroy the family, you make that illegal.

Proverbs 29, verse 15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom,” – Listen to this – “but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.” And then in verse 17: “Correct your son…he’ll give you comfort; he will also delight your soul.”

I’m not going to take you through Proverbs again, but if I were to make another trip, I would just let you know this, Proverbs says this: “An undisciplined child is a grief to his mother, a rebel to his father, a sorrow to his parents, a disaster to his family, a disgrace to his parents, a humiliation to his parents, and an abuser of his parents.” So it’s essential to have an obedient child, and it’s necessary so that “it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” Quality of life – “well with you.” Quantity of life – “long on the earth.”

So let’s go back to where we started. Children are a blessing from the Lord. Parenting is a blessing. Parenting defines the family, not the child. Parenting is the greatest influence your children will ever have; it has to be by divine design. And parenting is God’s plan.

So you may look at the world ahead and say, “Oh, I don’t know if I want to get married.” You’re going to end up postponing this race of life, postponing this high and glorious and delightful calling to be a family.

Lot’s of things threaten the family and the future, but I think very often an evangelical church’s singleness is the greatest threat. We just need to ask the Lord to humble us and to give us a heart to find a partner who loves Christ – and raise children.

You say, “Oh, the world is going to be” – the world has always been the same – Right? – always been the same. You can provide the protections that you need for your children; that’s what parents do. But this is God’s design.

We need more good Christian marriages, and we need more wonderful Christian families. We have so many here at Grace Church. The world needs more. The world needs more. And you have nothing to fear, because this is a divine calling. You do it in the power of Christ and the strength of the Spirit, and the Lord will use it to make your family a blessing.

We have been privileged, Lord, as we come to the end of this day, to enjoy a wonderful, fruitful day of fellowship and ministry together. We have been again exposed to Your Word on so many levels today. How rich we are. How blessed we are to have the truth and not be floundering around like people in the world trying to figure out what’s right, what’s true, where hope lies, where the answers are – how to live, how to love, how to marry, how to parent.

It’s all laid out for us, and it’s all just loaded with promise. It’s just loaded with promise: a loving marriage – a husband who loves his wife; a wife who submits to her husband; children who are taught and disciplined to be obedient; parents who bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord find the richest, most fulfilling life. It is well with them – quality of life. And they can live long on the earth – quantity of life. Life at its fullest and life at its most complete is found in this wonderful gift of the family. Help us, Lord, to seek Your purpose in this regard.

Lord, we know that there may be some who have been given a gift for singleness, who have no such desire; and if that is a gift from You, may they do, as the Scripture says, devote themselves continually to You unencumbered. We’re so grateful for those who have been so gifted and called; and they are a blessed part of our family as Your children.

Lead us, Lord, as we think about these things in the weeks to come. And as people beyond our own church hear these truths, would You do a work in many hearts?  For Your glory we pray. Amen.

There is nothing in all the world as precious as a truly Christian church. There is nothing in all the world as dangerous as one that is merely Christianish. Choose your church well.

Three little letters make a world of difference. Together i, s, and h distinguish Christian from Christianish and mark the difference between right and wrong, life and death, heaven and hell. There is nothing better for your spiritual wellbeing than to be in a Christian church. There is nothing worse for your spiritual wellbeing than to be in a Christianish church. Here are a few marks of each.

Christian church teaches the Bible. It is committed to the inerrancy, sufficiency, clarity, and authority of the Word of God and therefore preaches it week by week with confidence and consistency. A Christianish church teaches about the Bible. It is committed to imparting life lessons and uses the scriptures as a starting point to teach people how to live lives of success and fulfillment.

Christian church admits the deep depravity of human beings. It acknowledges that we are all deeply disordered so that not one of us has even the least righteousness to plead before God. A Christianish church proclaims the inherent goodness of humanity. It acknowledges that we aren’t what we could and should be, but encourages us to believe that with enough effort we can get there.

Christian church makes its core declaration the finished work of Christ. The good news of grace frees us from the impossible task of earning our own salvation and instead simply receives what Christ has already accomplished. A Christianish church has its core declaration the unfinished work of humanity. The bad news of works becomes the brutal and impossible path to impressing God with deeds that will catch his eye and win his favor.

Christian church proclaims the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. Believing that our sin has provoked the just wrath of God, it declares in awe that the Son of God willingly took our sin upon himself and absorbed the full fury of the Father’s wrath. A Christianish church proclaims the wrathless love of God and the exemplary life of Jesus Christ, upholding Christ as the ultimate example of what a human being can and should be.

Christian church preaches the gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It calls people to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness. A Christianish church preaches a gospel of social justice or personal prosperity. It calls people to right social wrongs or to claim financial enrichment, to repent only of insufficient action or insufficient faith.

Christian church gathers each week to worship the God of the Bible according to the Bible. Knowing their desperate need for divine wisdom, they read the Bible, preach the Bible, pray the Bible, sing the Bible, and fellowship around the Bible. A Christianish church gathers each week for empowerment or entertainment. Their services are shaped more by pop culture or personal preference than by holy Scripture.

Christian church preaches the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. It echoes scripture in saying Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that there is no other way to be reconciled to the Father but through him. A Christianish church insists Jesus Christ may be a way but not the way, and proclaims instead that all roads lead ultimately to the same destination.

Christian church proclaims the existence of heaven and hell. It takes hold of the authority of the Bible to plead with people to turn to Christ and be saved from destruction. A Christianish church affirms an afterlife but denies the possibility of eternal punishment for those who have chosen to reject the free offer of the gospel.

There is nothing in all the world as precious as a truly Christian church. There is nothing in all the world as dangerous as one that is merely Christianish. Choose your church well.

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Receive the love of God so freely given. |
Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Image: Jorge Láscar

The Bible is clear: we all need the gospel. For instance, have you ever noticed that virtually everyone in scripture could have been introduced in some kind of recovery group? Imagine it:

“Hi. My name is Noah and I am a drunk.”

“Hi. My name is Abraham. I am a coward and a liar. I would tell a lie to put my wife’s life at risk, to save my own skin.”

“Hi. We are Isaac and Rebecca and we’re dysfunctional parents.”

“Hi. My name is Jacob and I’m a cheater and a scoundrel.”

“Hi. My name is Aaron. I’m a religious leader; but I cave in to peer pressure.”

“Hi. My name is Miriam. I’m jealous of my little brother Moses and I’m a racist; I’m upset about his inter-racial marriage.”

“Hi. My name is Moses and I’m a hot-head and a murderer.”

“Hi. My name is Naomi and I am bitter.”

“Hi. My name is Samson and I struggle with lust.”

“Hi. My name is David. I am an adulterer and a murderer.”

“Hi. My name is Thomas. I struggle with doubts.”

“Hi. My name is Peter and I let down my best friend when he needed me most.”

“Hi. My name is Timothy. I struggle with paralyzing fears and insecurities.”

“Hi. My name is Paul. I am a Christian killer and I am very difficult to work with.”

These folks were certainly flawed and yet each was a hero of the faith. I do not believe they were rewarded for their flaws, nor do I believe their flaws were unrelated to the good that eventually occurred in their lives.

Awareness of their flaws preceded real humility and unmasked their fears. They came to acknowledge in progressively deeper ways their need of God’s love and mercy. At the place of specific need, God met them with unconditional love and grace. Clearly, His love is not conditioned by our performance.

In Francis Thompson’s poem “The Hound of Heaven,” the hound, who represents God, asks the man who has been running from Him (the man whose life is now spent in dissipation) this question:

Human love demands human meriting; how hast thou merited? Of all man’s dingiest clay thou art the dingiest clot. Alas, thou knowest not how unworthy of love thou art. Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee, save me? Save only me. Rise, clasp my hand and come….

The good news of the gospel can be found here. The words are very powerful. Again, God’s love is not conditioned by performance and, perhaps, all the folks listed above went on to accomplish their greatest work after their hour of crisis because they came to understand more deeply than they might have otherwise known that God’s love was deeper, richer, wider, and mightier than they ever could have imagined. Furthermore, His forgiveness goes ever deeper as well.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote that pride was the great sin. It is certainly bad, and perhaps we can legitimately say it is at the apex of all sin. But an apex, like the top of a pyramid, is always supported by that which is much more substantive.

What precedes pride, fear, and insecurity? Pride, or pretense, covers our fears. We think, If people really knew me as I am, they might reject me. This fear is easily cultivated in our subculture. For instance, in an evening of watching the nightly news (right or left), we see a row of talking heads, pointing out someone’s failures. The visual often reveals a lack of humility in those doing the talking since they act as if they are above the fray.

The process unwittingly creates the picture that people in this subculture better be perfect for they could also become the object of scorn and ridicule. Consequently, people mask their fears and insecurities. A culture characterized by condemnation and fault finding is not a safe one. This pretense creates a grace-denying subculture, even when that pretense reveals we are longing for something better.

The Bible says the antidote to fear is the love of God. First John 4:18 reminds us, “Perfect love casts out fear.” A corollary is that imperfect love breeds anxiety. If “human love demands human meriting,” then each of us is freighted with anxiety. Even well-meaning associates who love us, as well as they might, are incapable of loving us perfectly.

And it gets worse before it gets better, for we’ve never loved anyone as well as they should be loved. Consequently, we have contributed to the anxiety of others around us.

Only God, from whom we can hide nothing, fully knows us, and He loves us unconditionally, with a love that casts out fear.

If my analogy is correct, and pride is at the apex of the pyramid, then at the very base of that pyramid is unawareness, perhaps even an unwillingness, to receive the love of God so freely given. The love and mercy of God came to each of those heroes of the faith, listed above, in their darkest hours in order to restore them. The true Kingdom of God is made up of broken men and women mended by the love and mercy of God. I do not know much, but I do know this is true.

Consequently, the gospel remains as “good news,” and it is important to share it in a world where fears are masked by pride and pretense, and yet, at the deepest levels of our lives we simply long to know that we can be loved unconditionally.

Dr. Jerry Root is Professor of Evangelism at Wheaton College and Director of the Evangelism Initiative at the Billy Graham Center.

Christians, conservative Americans, and Trump supporters as bigots who fear non-white ethnicities.

By Bill O’Reilly
Public schools have the option of buying textbooks of their choice.  A new AP History book was written by James Fraser apparently portrays Christians, conservative Americans, and Trump supporters as bigots who fear non-white ethnicities.
A section of the book called “The Angry Election of 2016,” describes those who voted for Donald Trump as “mostly older, often rural or suburban, and overwhelmingly white.”  The chapter goes on to say those voters are “afraid” of ethnic diversity.
This kind of generalized propaganda has no place in any school.  But I can guarantee you that some districts will buy the textbook even though it will damage students by feeding them ideology, not fact-based history.
Which is why I am supporting a new group called FLAG, by giving the keynote address at its charity dinner this coming Saturday in Washington at the Trump hotel.  FLAG promotes a traditional approach to American history based on actual accomplishments.  Information on the group and the event can be found here.
Tonight on the No Spin News, we’ll further analyze the public school chaos, and also examine the civil war in California over illegal immigration.

I have considerably more moral contempt for the media’s and the left’s obsession with Stormy Daniels than I do for Donald Trump

By Dennis Prager
Some years ago, I wrote a column about adultery and politicians. In light of the Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal interviews concerning their alleged (and probable) affairs with President Donald Trump, it is time to revisit the subject.I do not agree with those — right or left, religious or secular — who contend that adultery invalidates a political or social leader. It may invalidate a pastor, priest or rabbi — because a major part of their vocation is to be a moral/religious model, and because clergy do not make war, sign national budgets, appoint judges, run foreign policy or serve as commanders in chief. In other words, unlike your clergyman or clergywoman, almost everything a president does as president affects hundreds of millions of Americans and billions of non-Americans. If a president is also a moral model, that is a wonderful bonus. But that is not part of a president’s job description.

But even anti-Trump conservatives still assert character matters a great deal in a president and other political leaders.

There are two problems with that argument.

The most obvious is that adultery is frequently an inaccurate measure of a person’s character. Indeed, many otherwise great men have been unfaithful to their spouse. And while it is always a sin — the Sixth Commandment doesn’t come with an asterisk — there are gradations of sin.

Let me give an example of when adultery would be a lower-grade sin: when it is committed by men or women who have taken care of their Alzheimer’s-afflicted spouse for many years and the afflicted spouse no longer even recognizes them. Of course, the healthy spouse could find love with someone else without committing adultery — by divorcing their demented spouse. But few people would be so heartless as to recommend that avenue. At the other end of the sin spectrum would be flaunting one’s adultery, thereby publicly humiliating on

The second problem with the adultery-matters-in-a-political-leader argument is that the policies of a political leader matter much more —morally— than that individual’s sexual sins, or even character. It is truly foolish to argue otherwise. Would we rather have as president a person with racist views who otherwise had an exemplary personal character or a believer in racial equality who committed adultery?

I have considerably more moral contempt for the media’s and the left’s obsession with Stormy Daniels than I do for Donald Trump for his alleged night of sinful sex with her. That “60 Minutes” correspondent Anderson Cooper and many in our country found it acceptable to ask a woman, “Did he use a condom?” on national TV is a far graver reflection of America’s moral malaise than a man having a one-night affair 12 years ago.

It should be clear that this whole preoccupation with Trump’s past sex life has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with humiliating Trump — and, thereby, hopefully weakening the Trump presidency — the raison d’etre of the media since he was elected. Here’s one proof: The media rightly celebrate, as we all do, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as one of the moral greats of the 20th century despite reports of his having committed adultery on numerous occasions.

Likewise, the media and the left idolized Sen. Ted Kennedy, regularly referring to him as the “Lion of the Senate.” Yet Kennedy was notorious for his lechery — far more so than Trump. Typical Ted Kennedy behavior, as described in New York Magazine, was when he and then-fellow Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd “participated in the famous ‘waitress sandwich’ at La Brasserie in 1985, while their dates were in the bathroom.”

John F. Kennedy remains the most revered of Democratic presidents in the modern era. Yet we now know he routinely had affairs in the White House in his wife’s absence and had the Secret Service provide him advance notice of her return.

And, by the way, if sexual infidelity invalidates the character and, therefore, the worthiness of a politician, why doesn’t it invalidate the character and worthiness of an editor at The New York Times or The Washington Post? Why aren’t their sex lives investigated? They have, after all, more influence than almost any politician.

So, dear anti-Trump conservatives, please tone down the moral horror at Donald Trump’s character, and the suggestions that it overshadows the good he has done and continues to do for America and the world.

The fact is it is none of my business and none of my concern whether a politician ever had an extramarital affair. To cite just one of many examples, a president’s attitude toward the genocide-advocating Islamic tyrants in Tehran is incomparably more morally significant. That is just one of many reasons — on moral grounds alone — I far prefer the current president to the faithful-to-his-wife previous president. via @albertmohle


The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters (Hardcover)


Let me warn you right up front–my goal in this book is to change the way you think about leadership. I do not aim merely to add one more voice to the conversation; I want to fundamentally change the way leadership is understood and practiced.

For the better part of the last three decades, leadership has been a major cultural preoccupation and a professional obsession. And yet something is missing…

You are going to discover that Christian leadership cannot be separated from passionately held beliefs. Only if you are deeply committed to truth will you be ready for leadership. You can be part of a generation that is simultaneously leading with conviction and driven by the conviction to lead. The generation that accomplishes this will set the world on fire.

I want to see that happen, and I think you do too.

–Albert Mohler|Dr. R. Albert Mohler is President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Southern Baptist Convention’s flagship school, as well as a radio personality, blogger, and sought-after commentator. Hailed by Time magazine as “the reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S,” Dr. Mohler has been quoted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He has also appeared on such national news programs as Larry King LiveNBC’s Today ShowDateline NBCGood Morning AmericaThe NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and The O’Reilly Factor.

Dr. Mohler lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Mary. Visit his website at

The Motives Behind the Massacre

“Enough is enough!” “This can’t go on!” “This has to stop!”

These were among the comments that came through the blizzard of commentary after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. We have heard these words before.

Unfortunately, such atrocities are not going to stop. For the ingredients that produce such slaughters are present and abundant in American society.

And what can stop a man full of hate, who has ceased to care about his life and is willing to end it, from getting a weapon in a country of 300 million guns and killing as many as he can in a public place before the police arrive?

An act of “absolute pure evil,” said Gov. Rick Scott, of the atrocity that took 17 lives and left a dozen more wounded. And evil is the right word.

While this massacre may be a product of mental illness, it is surely a product of moral depravity. For this was premeditated and plotted, done in copycat style to the mass killings to which this country has become all too accustomed.

z thought this through. He knew it was Valentine’s Day. He brought his fully loaded AR-15 with extra magazines and smoke grenades to the school that had expelled him. He set off a fire alarm, knowing it would bring students rushing into crowded halls where they would be easy to kill. He then escaped by mixing in with fleeing students.

The first ingredient then was an icy indifference toward human life and a willingness to slaughter former fellow students to deliver payback for whatever it was Cruz believed had been done to him at Douglas High.

In his case, the conscience was dead, or was buried beneath hatred, rage or resentment at those succeeding where he had failed. He had been rejected, cast aside, expelled. This would be his revenge, and it would be something for Douglas High and the nation to see — and never forget.

Indeed, it seems a common denominator of the atrocities to which we have been witness in recent years is that the perpetrators are nobodies who wish to die as somebodies.

If a sense of grievance against those perceived to have injured them is the goad that drives misfits like Cruz to mass murder, the magnet that draws them to it is infamy. Infamy is their shortcut to immortality.

From the killings in Columbine to Dylann Roof’s murder of black parishioners at the Charleston Church, from the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando to the slaughter of first-graders in Newtown, to Las Vegas last October where Stephen Paddock, firing from an upper floor of the Mandalay Bay, shot dead 58 people and wounded hundreds at a country music festival — these atrocities enter the social and cultural history of the nation. And those who carry them out achieve a recognition few Americans ever know. Charles Whitman, shooting 47 people from that Texas tower in 1966, is the original model.

Evil has its own hierarchy of rewards. Perhaps the most famous man of the 20th century was Hitler, with Stalin and Mao among his leading rivals.

Some of these individuals who seek to “go out” this way take their own lives when the responders arrive, or they commit “suicide by cop” and end their lives in a shootout. Others, Cruz among them, prefer to star in court, so the world can see who they are. And the commentators and TV cameras will again give them what they crave: massive publicity.

And we can’t change this. As soon as the story broke, the cameras came running, and we watched another staging of the familiar drama — the patrol cars, cops in body armor, ambulances, students running in panic or walking in line, talking TV heads demanding to know why the cowards in Congress won’t vote to outlaw AR-15s.

Yet, among the reasons gun-owners prize the AR-15 is that, not only in movies and TV shows is it the hero’s — and the villain’s — weapon of choice, but in real life, these are the kinds of rifles carried by the America’s most-admired warriors.

Some of these individuals who seek to “go out” this way take their own lives when the responders arrive, or they commit “suicide by cop” and end their lives in a shootout. Others, Cruz among them, prefer to star in court, so the world can see who they are. And the commentators and TV cameras will again give them what they crave: massive publicity.

And we can’t change this. As soon as the story broke, the cameras came running, and we watched another staging of the familiar drama — the patrol cars, cops in body armor, ambulances, students running in panic or walking in line, talking TV heads demanding to know why the cowards in Congress won’t vote to outlaw AR-15s.

Yet, among the reasons gun-owners prize the AR-15 is that, not only in movies and TV shows is it the hero’s — and the villain’s — weapon of choice, but in real life, these are the kinds of rifles carried by the America’s most-admired warriors.

One imagines Nikolas sitting alone, watching coverage of the Las Vegas shooting, and thinking, “Why not? What have I got to lose? If this life is so miserable and unlikely to get better, why not go out, spectacularly, like that? If I did, they would remember who I was and what I did for the rest of their lives.”

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Do You Believe God Will Save Your Kids?

There are few things I pray for with greater frequency or intensity than the salvation of my children. I long for them to be saved, and long to be able to be able to call them not only my son and daughters, but my brother and sisters. I long for them to profess faith, and for those professions to be proven true.

I don’t only pray it and long for it. I believe it. I believe God will save them. I believe he will save them because that is what he does–he saves. I believe he will save them because that is who he is–he loves to save. I believe he will save them because from their infancy they have been exposed again and again to the powerful gospel of grace, and that gospel is too good and too powerful to do nothing.

I believe it, but sometimes find myself trying to hedge my bets just a little bit. Sometimes I edge away from the gospel of God’s free grace and begin to trust in works—not their works, but mine. Sometimes I try to bring my works before the Lord, adding a little of my merit to their account.

I can find myself putting my trust in worldview training, believing that if I can only get them to think right, they will turn to Christ. Or I can find myself putting my trust in Bible training, convinced that if I can only get them to know enough facts about the Bible, they will believe in the God of the Bible. And for a time I can feel confident, at least until I remember all the kids I grew up with who knew their Bible and their worldview and their catechism, and who jettisoned it all the moment they got out from under their parent’s authority. Or until I meet other kids who appear so much more advanced than my own. And then, in despair, I have to admit what a shaky edifice I’ve constructed.

In those moments I have to remind myself to be careful what I wish for. I need to be careful what I hope for, or what I hope in. I can go before the Lord and plead all the things I’ve done right for my kids, but if I do that, I also need to go before him to admit all the things I’ve done wrong. And he, better than anyone, knows how much I’ve done wrong. Do I really want to take this accounting before him? The math is simple: If all the good things I do count toward their salvation, then all the bad things must count toward their perdition. And if that is the case, I, of all fathers, am most to be pitied.

So instead I entrust their souls to him. I put my confidence in him, and in his character, and in his Word. This is an act of the will–I have to push myself to believe it, and stretch my faith to hold firm to it. And then, in confidence, I do what is right before my children as God opens my eyes to see the right: I teach them the Bible, I help them construct a Christian worldview, I tell them all about Jesus, and I involve them in a Christian community. Mostly I just plain love them in a way that reflects God’s love for me. I don’t do all this in order to accrue favor, but because these are the means God uses to save his people, to expose them as sinners and to reveal the Savior.

I do what is right and trust his grace, pleading not my own merit, but the merit of Christ, trusting not in my own works, but in the work of Christ. And I pray–I pray that the God who graciously extended favor to undeserving me, would extend it to my undeserving children as well.

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Over Our Dead Bodies

Embracing the Costs of Warning the Lost

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On the most somber of occasions, he sought to comfort the mourning. The cold casket adorned a chilled body as the eyes of family and friends, swollen from grief, gazed up at the speaker. He wanted to bring whatever consolation he could. And so, he did what many well-meaning pastors have done in his situation: he abandoned the truth.

Many can sympathize with the impulse to do so. The woman before him lived as worldly as they come, blaspheming God and his word whenever the opportunity presented itself. With all her friends and family gathered, it hardly felt like the appropriate time to tell them what God actually said. And so, the pastor proclaimed that — deep down — she was a good person and was with the Lord in heaven.

It was at that moment, when all sat pleased at the pastor’s words, that a young woman spoke up:

It’s a lie! Do not believe him! We will not all be in a better place! That hope is false! Only those who believe in Christ, the Son of God, the one who died and was raised, will be saved! Only those who repent and believe and follow him until the end will be in a better place. Wrath awaits all who die in sin! Please believe! He stands ready to forgive you!

People stared, aghast. A funeral usher approached to invite her to leave. One person furiously told her to shut the hell up — and so she was trying. Hell’s mouth gaped open. Souls were at stake. God’s truth was being butchered. She tried, alone, to warn her loved ones off the path to perdition.

My wife was at that funeral home a decade ago. She witnessed the minister’s sentimental words, saw the usher approach, and heard the crude language addressed to her. She was the young woman who, with trembling voice, offered all who would listen grace at the gates of hell.

Sinners in Angry Hands

Ever since the fall, hell’s mouth has gaped open. Many will be swallowed up today. More will the next day. And the next. This reality caused even the apostle Paul profound sorrow and unceasing anguish (Romans 9:2). Does it for the rest of us?

This world is a doorway into eternity — a fact that few today consider and fear. Sinners frolic before the Almighty God, daring to provoke him to his face. Although God hates all evildoers (Psalm 5:5), burns with indignation towards the unrepentant every day (Psalm 7:11), and is even now whetting his sword and bending his bow in judgment (Psalms 7:11–13), the unrepentant go about life unmindful of their predicament. They slumber atop an active volcano.

They mistake the God of delayed wrath for the God of no wrath at all. They hear about the nuclear bomb of eternity, but are self-assured that it will never detonate. They approach the God of the Bible like some do those British royal guards: mocking, poking, and testing him to see if he will move — never realizing that the rifle has lowered until it is too late.

And they love the god they’ve created. Their god is never angry with them. Their god, if he even hates their sin, only loves the sinner. Their god is only merciful, only forgiving, only compassionate. Their god does not take sin personally, nor would he require the shedding of blood to forgive it. Their god serves the creature and simply pours forth unconditional love when and how the creature calls for it.

But this god is a pipe dream. This god is a demon. This god is absent from the Old and New Testaments. Even now, the true God holds the unrepentant by the nape of the neck to do them unspeakable injury if they will not bow to his great love and mercy, and take up his terms of peace and eternal joy offered them in the blood of his own Son.

Judgment Day Is Coming

As Christians with the book, we know what day is coming. A day when clouds will be rolled back, trumpets will sound, and the Terror of the unrepentant will descend. A day when the wicked will plead with the mountains to crush them so they will not face the fury of the Lamb (Revelation 6:15–17). A dreadful day when the wicked will be torched as Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 2:6). A day when they will not just drift but be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). A day of second death. A day of banishment. A day of wrath, tribulation, and distress (Romans 2:8–9). A day when there will be no escape, no rest, and no reprieve from torment (Revelation 14:9–11).

Better to cut off limbs in this life than to go there forever (Mark 9:43). Better to be cast now into the sea with an anchor around your neck than to go there forever (Mark 9:42). Better to not have been born than to spend eternity in hell (Mark 14:21).

Will We Speak Honestly and Pray Fervently?

Love invites us, compels us, demands that we speak. The unbelieving live but breaths away from eternal pleasure or eternal pain — amazing grace or everlasting justice. Are we to say nothing or mumble about it as though it were not true?

Perhaps you’ve heard of Charles Peace, a convicted criminal who, upon hearing of hell spoken coldly of by the prison chaplain who accompanied him to his execution, allegedly responded saying,

Sir, I do not share your faith. But if I did — if I believed what you say you believed — then although England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would crawl the length and breadth of it on hand and knee and think the pain worthwhile, just to save a single soul from this eternal hell of which you speak.

Will we speak honestly about hell? Will we cross the breadth of the street to tell the lost? Will we embrace our great fear of social awkwardness and press through?

Let’s resolve with Charles Spurgeon,

If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.

If our neighbors should perish, if family members should disappear upon the broad road, if co-workers should refuse the Savior, let them do so while leaping over our sober warnings and bursting through our arms of prayer.

Jesus in Angry Hands

God so loved the world that he sent his own Son to die for his people’s crimes. Jesus took our place atop the volcano. He willingly traveled through hell’s door and became our Door into heaven. He was pierced by the Father’s glistening sword, struck by his full quiver of arrows. God’s firing squad took aim at him and deafening shots thundered upon Calvary.

He walked into the furnace of God’s judgment. He plunged the depths of the lake of fire. He was tormented. He was crushed. He drank the cup of God’s anger poured out full strength. He did not escape on that Good Friday. Hell’s mouth gaped open to receive us, and he stood alone and shut the hell up for his people.

And on Sunday, he rose in victory. Death, sin, and Satan lay shuddering beneath his feet. It is finished.

Sinners in Crucified Arms

So, we do not merely warn them of God’s wrath. We welcome them to embrace Christ and live. We have good news of great joy for every human. We have a gospel that cries, The curse wasn’t strong enough, Satan wasn’t crafty enough, sin wasn’t ultimate enough, judgment wasn’t final enough, hell wasn’t fiery enough, the grave wasn’t deep enough, the lost weren’t distant enough, and the dead weren’t dead enough for the Lamb of God who was slain!

Family members can be adopted. Neighbors can be saved. Wrath can be abated. Eternal life can be received. We can have God as our greatest love, our greatest treasure, and greatest joy forever!

The gospel is the power of God for salvation from the wrath all mankind sits beneath. So we tell them in the streets. We tell them around our dinner tables. We tell them in coffee shops. We tell them while walking around lakes. We tell them in funeral homes. We bang against the gates of hell with words. We of course use discernment, but we err on the side of boldness instead of caution.

Yes, sinners are in the hands of an angry God, but they can rest in the arms of a crucified Savior. Will we tell them?

Jan. 11, 1906-1998

My Dad,

     Olin Lingle

Featured Image -- 4380
My Dad,
Who went to be with the Lord in 1998
at the age of 91,
was a wonderful example and
a great role model for me.
A Christ follower and a man
with a passion for fasting
and a strong commitment to prayer.
Thank you, God, for a godly father like Olin Lingle
who taught by example, and the way he lived his daily life.
I’m truly blessed.

Chef’s Special

Home / Indiana / Geist / Chef’s Special

Starting with the head chef, Connor Lingle. He’s just getting used to the title, but he’s no stranger to the restaurant and the food industry.

“I was born with a passion for cooking,” Lingle says. “I actually knew at 10 or 11 years old that I wanted to be a chef.”


21-year old takes over at Tegry Bistro

Writer / Suzanne Huntzinger
Photographer / Jamie Sanga

Starting with brand new owner and head chef, Connor Lingle. He’s just getting used to the title, but he’s no stranger to the restaurant and the food industry.

“I was born with a passion for cooking,” Lingle says. “I actually knew at 10 or 11 years old that I wanted to be a chef.”

Although just 21 years of age, Lingle’s journey has already been long and colorful. The chef and entrepreneur says it all started in the kitchen with his grandma Lingle’s cooking homemade meals.

“She taught me how to make all kinds of things,” he says. “So, I tried it out on my babysitter. I chopped up onions, seasoned them and sautéed them for her. She loved them. From that moment on, I knew cooking was what I wanted to do.”

Anxious to get started, Lingle got his first restaurant job at Stone Creek Dining Company at just age 15. He started out bussing tables, but it wasn’t long before he worked his way in to the kitchen. Then it was on to Tegry Bistro.

There, he met a mentor who would change his life forever. Owner and award-winning Chef, Joe Dagvadorj, brought Lingle on board and taught him a lot about the business during his junior and senior years of high school. When the time came to decide about life after high school, Lingle set his sights on Kendall College, the second best culinary school in the United States, and got accepted. His boss, Joe, had different advice for the budding chef.

“Joe encouraged me to go to culinary school at Ivy Tech and keep working,” he says.

So, Lingle withdrew his acceptance at Kendall and started culinary school at Ivy Tech. He tackled his baking requirement, but after just a few months, he realized he wanted to get practical experience in European restaurants. Lingle’s plan was to find a good paying job, save money and travel the world for a year, gaining experience as a “stagiaire,” or volunteer assistant chef.

Still, he intended to stick with it to build his savings a little longer. Until one day, Lingle stopped in Taxman Brewery for lunch, and the old familiar pull of the restaurant business struck him. He asked the manager for a job doing dishes.

He quickly moved up to cook at Taxman.

“I learned a lot more in that job than I had ever learned on my own,” Lingle says. “It was the most intense, highly structured kitchen with big hierarchy. But the leadership was good.”

Fate intervened again, and took Lingle back to Tegry. He stopped in for lunch, when his old friend Joe happened to be working. Lingle was happy to connect with his mentor and began telling him about being back in cooking. Chef Joe’s workload had become tremendous. Handling Tegry’s Fishers location along with their Brownsburg and Trader’s Point locations was stretching him thin. His nephew and sushi chef, Anand Tsogtbaatar, was also being stretched thin. Without hesitation, Joe offered Lingle the opportunity to take over the restaurant.

“At first, I didn’t take him seriously. I really thought he was joking,” Lingle says. “But then he followed me out to my car and continued to convince me.”

Joe explained to him that opportunities like this are rare, and he encouraged Lingle to follow his passion, not his paycheck. After thinking it over and talking to his parents, he told Chef Joe he was in.

Lingle has already made plenty of progress in making the restaurant his own. First, Lingle has lifted a weight from sushi chef Anand’s shoulders by handling management duties.

Lingle is already developing a new menu, too. He’s minimizing the current menu to feature the more popular items and create some new favorites, incorporating some of his own recipes. Starting in January, Tegry will be offering specials to help determine the most popular items.

“Our new menu is going to be sleek and modern, and it’s going to promote the most popular items,” Lingle says.

Besides the specials, Tegry will start offering sake flights or samplings. They’ll also update their beer and wine menu to add more local and craft beers. In the meantime, Lingle says Tegry will be learning and adjusting along with their customers.

“We’re not sure how Tegry will evolve exactly,” he says. “But we’re going to let it evolve naturally, starting with gradual changes. Ultimately, it will be a big change from what it is now.”

The changes will be noticeable in the way Tegry capitalizes on the restaurant’s already popular features. The sushi bar is already wildly popular, featuring sushi made the traditional Japanese way with perfect portions. Tegry starts with the highest-grade sushi rice and seaweed available. Lingle’s goal is to expand beyond the sushi bar.

“We’re moving away from the traditional Asian sushi restaurant we once were,” he adds. “We want to concentrate on making our kitchen menu as popular as our sushi menu.”

Tegry’s atmosphere is another great feature Lingle wants to exploit. The restaurant’s modern, classy yet relaxed vibe will be amped up by adding dimmed lighting with candles and jazz music in the evening.

Visit Tegry Bistro at 11561 Geist Pavilion Drive in the Geist Pavilion center off Olio Road. For more info, visit them at

Louder Than Words Audiobook by Andy Stanley 

Louder Than Words Audiobook on hoopla digital

Your character, more than anything else, will impact how much you accomplish in this life. It is more important than your talent, your education, your background, or your network of friends. Andy Stanley helps you chart a course toward becoming a man or woman of character. You’ll discover a definition of character that will inspire you for a lifetime, the external and internal benefits of strong character, the six false beliefs behind negative behaviors, and more. Using practical insights, biblical exposition, and engaging stories, Stanley guides you step-by-step in setting the personal goals that will build the foundation for true success.

Source: Louder Than Words Audiobook by Andy Stanley – hoopla digital

A Saint for All Seasons: The Unifying Legacy of Rich Mullins 

Rich recognized that the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism were not trivial. The hurt it would cause his fans weighed on him as well.

he last thing Rich Mullins would have us do is sacrifice our own convictions on the altar of tolerance. He was known to say, “Argue with me, and I will respect you.” He would wish for all true believers the boldness to defend what we believe and the grace to hear another man’s apology. And in all things, he would bring us back to the Scriptures he implored us to search for ourselves before blindly accepting his words, or the words of any man.

Source: A Saint for All Seasons: The Unifying Legacy of Rich Mullins | The Stream

Two Underused Strategies for Addiction 

Each day there are more people enslaved by a broader array of substances and activities. To sexual obsessions, add illegal drugs, then the prescription narcotics, then gaming, and there are more to come. As the church, we want to draw out fresh insights from Scripture and move toward the enslaved.

Source: Two Underused Strategies for Addiction | Desiring God

We Will Not Bow -No human court has the authority to redefine morality

This country talks a lot about terrorist attacks—and rightly so. Almost anybody in America can give you some kind of a listing of the most destructive acts of terror that have happened in our country. But let me suggest to you this: The two greatest attacks of terror on America were perpetrated by the Supreme Court. Not by any Muslim, but by the Supreme Court of the United States. The first one was the legalizing of abortion. Subsequent to that, there have been millions of babies slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers. It’s incalculable to even comprehend that. The blood of those lives cries out from the ground for divine vengeance on this nation.

The second great act of terror perpetrated by the Supreme Court was the legalization of same-sex marriage. The destruction of human life in the womb—in a sense, the destruction of motherhood—and now the destruction of the family itself. No bomb, no explosion, no attack, and no assault on people physically can come anywhere near that kind of terrorism. Our country is being terrorized by the people most responsible to protect it—those who are to uphold the law.

As the story goes, during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was asked if God was on his side. He replied, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

When it comes to abortion, I am equally dogmatic, totally convinced of the sanctity of life in the womb. I am 100 percent sure that homosexual practice is not sanctioned by God. And that no matter how devoted a gay couple may be, they are not doing the Father’s will together.


Source: Are We on God’s Side? | The Stream

The word ‘woman’ is being erased from public life 

If someone had told you 10 years ago that it would soon become tantamount to a speechcrime to say ‘Men cannot get pregnant’, you would have thought them mad. That would be like punishing someone for…

Source: The word ‘woman’ is being erased from public life | Coffee House

Jordan Lingle, Youth Pastor/Harvest Church speaks on  Two Brothers, Lost Son, Loving Father 


Jordan Lingle, Youth Pastor/Harvest Church enjoy Two Brothers, Lost Son, Loving Father  Click on link below, then scroll to Oct. 22nd arrow to listen-    

Source: Harvest Church 

Hillary, Uranium, Russian Bribes and the Shame of the FBI 

If you had a $100,000 for every report on Tuesday’s Clinton-Russian bribery bombshell, you couldn’t even buy a condo in the Valley.

HRC and Comey must be held accountable, I’m beginning to wonder if the demon-crat politicians have any redeeming value. They are ALL pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, pro-socialism, pro-Iran, Israel haters, cop-haters, unwilling to help our kids get a decent education by holding teachers (Union) accountable, etc, etc, STOP THE INSANITY !! STOP VOTING FOR DEMON-CRATS!

Source: Hillary, Uranium, Russian Bribes and the Shame of the FBI | The Stream

Knowledge Isn’t Power In A Sexually Depraved World

We think that knowledge is power. We think that just by knowing more information we’ll be able to put right what we destroyed. Unhappily, though, it is not. But really, look back at Adam and Eve. They were world changers. They took the goodness and beauty of God and changed it into such a corrupt idolatry that it altered everything. They destroyed the deep coherence of God’s creation, bringing the strong power of death not only to the body and the created order, but to the mind and heart. And having made this change, they then had all the knowledge they that moment had grasped for. They stood there and looked at their naked sorry selves, seeing everything. Unfortunately, that knowledge brought with it no power to do anything. They plucked some leaves, and the wind blew cold along the bareness of their unclothed skin.

Source: Knowledge Isn’t Power In A Sexually Depraved World

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