Things Christians Say

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Life is All About Jesus by Jaquelle Crowe

jaquelle crowe

Kids today are growing up in a compulsively connected world. Information is incessant, smartphones are ubiquitous, and with a click or a tap young people have 24/7 access to a never-ending digital conversation.

Of course, such connectivity comes at a cost. Much of this information is pumped out by an agenda-driven media with a message of their own—a message that sounds good, nice even, but is inherently poisonous. It is becoming louder, stronger, and constant. And young people are drinking it in.

This is the message of expressive individualism—the belief, Tim Keller explains, that “identity comes through self-expression, through discovering one’s most authentic desires and being free to be one’s authentic self.”

This is the follow-your-heart, believe-in-yourself, chase-your-dreams, Disney-Hallmark-MTV gospel. It is the catechism of our culture. It is what our youth are learning. You are the creator of your identity. You are free—even obligated—to be whomever or whatever makes you feel good, no matter what anyone says.

Expressive individualism is steadily becoming pervasive. It bleeds through everything—movies, music, books, news reports, private conversations. Think of Hollywood for the most obvious example. Moana, Disney’s latest animated family flick, has been getting rave reviews for its stunning graphics and gorgeous soundtrack. But Christians have also noted its less praiseworthy underlying ideology.

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The movie (much in the tune of its predecessor, Frozen) teaches kids that they must look within to find their true identity and purpose—even if people tell them not to, even if they’re “breaking the rules,” as Frozen’s Elsa so proudly declares. This theme weaves its way through much modern children and young adult media—its sitcoms and cartoons, its novels and comic books, and, of course, its movies.

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Another cultural idea propelled by expressive individualism is the self-esteem movement, typically aimed at teenage girls. This movement teaches some true and beautiful things Christians would affirm, such as the inherent worth that flows from being an image-bearer of God. But in much of the “ra-ra, you go, girl” mentality there exists a deeper craving for self-fulfillment. It doesn’t matter what “the haters” say. You’ve got to be loud and proud and, no, no, don’t just love yourself, sister; worship yourself. Be whomever you want to be and find your happiness in that self-realized identity. Embrace the true you, and shame anyone who doesn’t.

Yet all of this flies quite blatantly in the face of Scripture’s teaching.

Instead of following our hearts, God calls us to follow his will and keep his commands (Prov. 3:5–6).

Instead of bucking against authority and breaking rules, God calls us to honor our parents and respect authority (Eph. 6:1–3).

Instead of looking within to find our identity, God calls us to look to Christ alone (Col. 3:1–3).

Instead of idolizing our bodies, God calls us to steward them for his glory (1 Cor. 6:15).

Instead of going our own way, God calls us to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23).

Instead of individualism, God calls us to obey and adore the King (Eph. 4:15–16).

The narrative of self-fulfillment is an enemy of the gospel.

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Parents, teach your children life really isn’t about them; it is about Jesus. For only when they grasp this point will they become who they were truly created to be.

Jaquelle Crowe, The Gospel Coalition, How Youth Like Me Learn Expressive Individualism, January 4, 2017

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: The Bible Tells Us Which Religion is True by Shane Idleman

shane idleman

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been discussing the differences between certain religious groups. People are asking, “How do you know what religion is right? [At least Idleman admits Evangelicalism is a religion.] Who are you to say what is right or wrong?” I’m no one—please don’t take my word for it—look to God’s Word for the truth. [Idleman then spends the rest of his post NOT proving which religion is right. Like most Evangelicals, Idleman thinks quoting the Bible is evidence or proof for his claims.]

The Romans road to salvation has been very helpful during these types of conversations. It uses verses from the book of Romans to explain not only why we need salvation but how a person is really saved. All paths do not lead to heaven. Jesus said, “Enter at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it” (Matt. 7:13).

1. The first signpost on the Romans Road is Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:10 adds, “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.” We all sin and fall short—no one is innocent. Humility recognizes that we are fallible human beings who have sinned against God. His Word is a lifeline to our soul, an anchor for our lives—not something to be debated, altered or misrepresented. We don’t change truth—truth changes us.

2. The next signpost deals with the consequences of sin. Romans 6:23a says, “For the wages of sin is death …” This verse is not popular in many churches, and it is not preached from many pulpits. Telling others the punishment for sin is eternal death (separation from God) is not pleasant, marketable or palatable, but it is powerful: “It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes …” (Rom. 1:16).

“To convince the world of the truth of Christianity, it must first be convinced of sin. It is only sin that renders Christ intelligible” (Andrew Murray; 1828-1917). In other words, Christ’s shed blood on the cross only makes sense in light of the consequences of sin. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Tim. 1:15), yet many do not want to mention sin, repentance or judgment because it is not popular or marketable. They fail to realize that the good news about Christ can only understood with the bad news as the backdrop.

Our culture’s false perception of God as a cosmic ball of love or a doting grandfather desperately needs to be challenged. Unfortunately, difficult truths are often compromised, watered-down or avoided altogether in the hope of “not offending.” As a result, the church is a mile wide but only an inch deep: judgment is never mentioned, repentance is never sought, sin is often excused and lives are not radically changed. This leaves people confused and deceived because they believe in a crossless Christianity that bears no resemblance to Jesus’ sobering call to repentance. When we fail to proclaim God’s word faithfully, we run the risk of “encouraging sin” and “perverting the words of the living God” (cf. Jeremiah 23).

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3. The next signpost can be found in Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” This is how people are truly saved, delivered and set free from the bondage of sin and death. Romans 10:13 adds, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

We hear a great deal about God’s judgment and what can keep us from heaven, and rightly so, because “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). But we also need to reflect on God’s goodness, love, mercy and grace. The important question to ask is: What is the condition of your heart—has true repentance and a belief in Christ as Lord and Savior taken place?

Jesus healed my brokenness and restored my life, and He can do the same for you. If you take only one thing from this article, I hope it is this: There is a deep longing inside all of us that cannot be satisfied until we recognize our need for a Savior, repent of our sin and turn to Him. Though the road ahead may be uncertain at times, the solid ground beneath will never shift. It’s not about religion but a relationship—it’s all about Who you know.

Shane Idleman, Charisma News, Do All Roads Lead to God — What Religion is Right?, December 28, 2016

Christians Says the Darnedest Things: The Bible is a Science Textbook That Never Changes by Ken Ham

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Now, I’m glad the Bible’s not a textbook of science like those used in public schools, because it would change all the time. Many ideas have come and gone. For example, most of the evolutionary beliefs used by scientists in the transcript of the Scopes Trial have been abandoned—but God’s Word remains the same. It is the infallible Word of God—the true history book of the universe.

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Secularists often accuse us of reading Genesis literally but not other portions of the Bible. We point out that we should read the Bible naturally. There is history (e.g., Genesis), poetry (e.g., Psalms), prophecy (e.g., Isaiah), and so on. Different genres of writing require different interpretative methods. Historical documents such as Genesis are not intended to be taken figuratively.

Secularists also attack Christians for not following Old Testament laws. But most secularists have no understanding of the Old Covenant and New Covenant—and they don’t want to. They want to distort and attack the Word.

I’m burdened for those described in the Bible as “having no hope and without God in the world”, which is why we boldly proclaim truth. My challenge to secularists is this: the evidence of creation is obvious, so “do not be unbelieving, but believing”  and “lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light”.

When you reject God’s Word in Genesis and interpret it through the lens of man’s fallible, opinionated word, more and more compromise is sure to follow. You see, when you start compromising in one area of the Bible, it isn’t long before compromise shows up in other areas. My challenge to all believers is this: believe all of God’s Word!

People are born and die, but “the word of our God stands forever” — and no person can ever change that! Secularists can’t change this: “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever”.

Many people try to change God’s Word, particularly in Genesis, but “forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven”.

— Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis, Is the Bible a Science Textbook?, December 18, 2016

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Atheists are Healthy, Wealthy, and Comfortable by Tony Reinke

tony-reinkeWe look around and try to understand whether God understands and whether God sees. Does God see the circumstances we see, and does he see my struggles, and does he see the prosperity of the godless? The godless are wealthy and comfortable. Is God asleep? Does he watch the circumstances of the world like we watch them? Does he see the injustice of it all?

As we weigh our circumstances, we ask the cost-benefit question: Are the benefits of following Christ really worth the price?

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he psalmist looks around and sees the faithless living opulent lives of comfort and blessing and long life. He looks around and sees that these same people are wicked oppressors of others. He thinks that they’re getting away with it. The simplicity of the psalmist’s challenge fuels our search for clarity and answers. Where is our sovereign, righteous God when the sex trafficker naps on his yacht?

God is good to the “pure in heart” (Psalm 73:1). That makes sense. So why doesn’t he frustrate and undermine the lives of the impure in heart?

A question like that will shake your footing, and this psalmist (his name is Asaph), is losing his footing. His steps had nearly come out from under him. The ground seemed to move and the grave seemed to turn and slip under his feet (Psalm 73:2).

The God-rejecters are wealthy, healthy, and comfortable (Psalm 73:4–15). Their toxic cocktail of health and wealth and comfort becomes a prosperity “gospel” of degradation. They live pompous and arrogant lives, as they look down on everyone else and abuse others. They have tongues that strut, so they despise God as unspeaking and powerless. They have bank accounts that prosper, so they despise God as worthless. They have indulgences that abound, so they despise God as an opiate for the poor and lowly.

Asaph looked at this predicament and felt the ground of his worldview shift under his feet: “As for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:2–3).

Footing is faith, and to lose your footing is to lose your faith — or almost to lose your faith. In this world we face seasons of unbelief that hit like a dizzying spell of spiritual vertigo.

Unbelief hits so hard because our spiritual life depends so fully on faith. “Faith is the inescapable way in which we live our lives now in relation to God,” wrote John Webster, a beloved theologian who passed away this summer. “We cannot get beyond it; there are, again, no other terms on which we can have God” (Confronted, 163).

Tony Reinke, Desiring God, Why Do We Envy the Wicked?, December 12, 2016

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Watching “Sin” on the TV by Jeff Maples

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The biblical principle is simple. If it’s sinful to perform and produce, it’s sinful to watch. But the American church is so morally degenerate that she will not accept this. I understand that this is a very unpopular position to take. Some of the greatest Christian minds will disagree with me on this. Why? Because, for some reason, we have conditioned ourselves to accept “artistic” representations of sin as acceptable. “A swear word here or there won’t cause me to stumble.” But that’s just the thing, you’ve already stumbled. Immersing yourself into something sinful is sinful.

It does us no good to turn from our sin if we have no desire to completely separate from sin. How can we say that we’ve repented–that we hate sin–if we still desire to watch it? Will God allow this kind of entertainment in Heaven? Have the desires of your heart really changed if you’re a believer? If not, perhaps you should seriously examine yourself. Living out your depravity through television shows, movies, and entertainment is no different than living it out in real life. It merely assuages your conscience, leading you to believe that you don’t desire to sin, while the truth is, you very well may still be a twisted, barbaric fornicating pornographer and blasphemer at heart.

What a tool Satan has in leading the world away from God.

— Jeff Maples, Pulpit & Pen, How Entertainment Has the Church in Bondage to Sin, November 28, 2016

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Motherhood the Only Job for Women That Matters by Lori Alexander

lori-alexander

A mother who is a doctor or nurse can help people get better but they will all die eventually.

A mother who is a lawyer can win some cases but only those who love Jesus win in the end.

A mother who is a teacher can have an influence in her students’ lives for one year but what they learn in this life is very temporary.

A mother who is an actress or singer entertains a lot of strangers for a while.

A mother who is a salesperson sells things that will all burn one day.

A mother who is in the military, police or fire department may save lives temporarily but only very temporarily since life is short compared to eternity.

A mother who spends her child-bearing years raising, training, and teaching children full time have the opportunity to build God’s kingdom here on earth and for eternity.

Which job do you think is the most important one for mothers?

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Not one of the other jobs does God call a heritage of the LORD and a reward. Even Mother Theresa spent her life helping children. “How can there be too many children? That is like saying their are too many flowers.” Our children and grandchildren are our greatest treasures. Nothing in this world even comes close. It grieves me to hear young married couples who are not interested in having children or postponing having them because of the wife’s career.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Only One Job For Mothers Lasts for Eternity, November 29, 2016

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Evangelical Churches Are Businesses by Perry Noble

perry noble

Some may argue the church is not a business — I would disagree. After all, at one point in serving as the Senior Pastor of NewSpring Church I was responsible for 425 employees and a $63,000,000 budget — which takes way more than a prayer meeting to manage! What Jesus taught me I believe can be used to help you as well.

— Former pastor of NewSpring Church and alcoholic Perry Noble

After a stint in rehab, Noble has started a church (business) consulting operation — I Want My Church to Grow. Here’s the WHY (besides needing money) Noble gives for starting his business:

You want your church to grow. Not only that, Jesus wants your church to grow.

You know that if your church grows then more people will be influenced with the gospel, and in your heart you know that is a good thing.

However, it seems every report we see in both secular and Christian media screams that the church is declining and is in danger of being marginalized.

Not only that, when you express a desire to want your church to grow you seem to get the greatest amount of resistance from people who actually are in the church and claim to be Christians.

Jesus said to go and reach the world, and to do it through the local church! In your heart you know the local church has greater potential to change the world than politics, entertainment or social justice movements.  But when it comes to making this happen you feel like you are hitting a wall and feel confused, discouraged and may even be tempted at times to just throw in the towel.

I get it, I know how frustrating and heartbreaking the leadership journey in the local church can be.

However, I think the leadership struggle is worth it.

Jesus changed entire communities through what He did in this movement.

And here is what I know: if He can use someone like me, then He can absolutely use you to accomplish immeasurably more than you could ever ask or imagine.

During my 16 years at NewSpring Church we saw 15 people in a living room grow to over 35,000 in attendance at 17 different locations and over 50,000 decisions for Christ in 16 years.  And I believe with all my heart that if Jesus did great things in the church I served, He can do them in the church you serve as well.

My heart it to take the lessons I learned at NewSpring and help your church really clarify your vision and unify your staff and congregation, which I believe will result in exponential growth for your church.  (At the bottom is a list of the specific things we can work on, depending on your specific desires/needs.)

Schedule a call and let’s see what we can do to figure out how your church can accomplish more in your community than you ever imagined possible.

God is a big God, His followers should have big dreams and the church should not let the world outdo us or out-dream us.
I know you don’t want your church to be average or a mere statistic that says the church is dying.

Jesus said He would build His church, and your church is not the exception.  Let’s chat about what we can do to set your church up for healthy, lasting growth.

Thank you, Perry Noble, for illustrating my contention that megachurches are massive businesses, corporate giants out to dominate the Evangelical market.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: If God Doesn’t Get You Now, He’ll Get You Later by A.W. Pink

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The sinner sees little cause for alarm and fails to apprehend his imperative need of promptly accepting Christ as his Saviour. He imagines himself secure. He goes on in his sin, and because judgment against an evil work is not executed speedily he increases in his boldness against God. But God’s ways are different to ours. There is no need for God to be in a hurry – all eternity is at His disposal. He is in no haste to execute judgment because He knows the sinner, cannot escape Him. It is impossible to flee out of His dominions! In due time every transgression and disobedience shall receive “a just recompense of reward.

— A.W. Pink, The Wrath of God

Christians Say The Darnedest Things: Atheists Are to Blame For Hundreds of Millions of Death

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3. Even if we were to ignore the obvious crimes against humanity that atheists involved in the global communist movement in the past century have committed, we can condemn all atheists and atheism simply by examining the one million dead at the hands of “rational,” “enlightened” atheist French Revolutionaries. Historians call the Vendean Martyrs in March 1793 the modern-era’s first genocide. The atheist French Revolutionary Army ordered the conscription of 300,000 citizens of Vendée. Having already had all of their churches suppressed and their bishops slaughtered, this infuriated the populace which rose up in “The Catholic Army.” In response, the Revolutionary Army massacred 6,000 Vendée prisoners, many of them women, children and the elderly, after the battle of Savenay. In addition, 3,000 Vendée women were drowned at Pont-au-Baux. In addition, 5,000 Vendée priests, elderly, women and children were tied in groups in barges and drowned in the Loire River at Nantes. By July, AD 1796, nearly 500,000 Vendean Catholics were killed. All of these theists were killed at the hands of atheists. Considering this was the first cry of “public” atheism—as opposed to individuals who simply didn’t believe in God throughout Christian history—atheists have yet to explain why “compassionate” and “rational” atheists’ hands are so murderously bloody.

4. If the above statement were true, it might make the atheist case unassailable. However, anyone who has read a newspaper at any time between the 17th and 21st centuries knows this to be untrue. This is one of the atheists’ fondest lies. I’m not sure that the person about to be executed by a Marxist or Maoist atheist is assuaged in the knowledge that his evil, merciless executioner isn’t killing him because he’s an atheist but rather because he believes in an atheist philosophy and only coincidently doesn’t believe in God. Multiply this by all 152 million dead at the hands of atheists in the 20th and 21st century—a carnage which has yet to abate—makes the above claim perfectly worthless. In addition, we have more than sufficient proof that atheists killed in the name of atheism as in the case of the Soviet Union’s Society of the Militant Godless, Mao Zedong’s Red Guard, the Enlightenment’s Reign of Terror, Abimael Guzmán’s Shining Path, atheist Napoleon’s wars and Plutarco Elias Calles democide of Mexican Catholics during the Cristero Wars.

5. Atheists who make nonsensical, ahistorical and misological claims such as this one, prove they’ve never truly examined their own community’s behavior under the microscope as they enjoy doing with us. Consider instead those who have died in the name of atheistic philosophies such as marxism, socialism, communism, maoism, Nazism, fascism, totalitarianism, libertarianism, monopolistic capitalism, robber barronism, industrialization, secularism, jingoism, anarchism, social darwinism, eugenics, malthusianism, messianic scientism, nihilism, anti-humanist terrorism, individualism, narcissism, physicalism, materialism, consumerism, modernism, postmodernism, nietzscheism, Marquis de Sade’s sadism, (i.e., sadistic murders) moral relativism, hedonism, radical feminism, (i.e., abortions, infanticide, suicide, false claims of rape) radical environmentalism, (i.e., ecological terrorism) Anton LaVey’s satanism, (i.e., ritual murders) and the “Law of Attraction.” (i.e., the deaths, including suicides, caused by Peter Popoff, Sylvia Browne and other gurus”) All of these atheistic philosophies have resulted in the deaths of countless hundreds of millions of human beings. In comparison, the deaths caused by religion seem almost quaint and insignificant.

Angelo Stagnaro, National Catholic Register, Atheist Myth: “No One Has Ever Killed in the Name of Atheism”, November 16, 2016

Christians Say The Darnedest Things: Trump and Republicans Ushering in Spiritual Revival

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For generations now, the American church has been declining in both relevance and number as it sought to placate sinners rather than model holiness, call for repentance, and watch Jesus save them. The hold-hands-and-sing-kumbaya-with-culture way of doing church looked like it was modeled after the accommodate-and-yield way of doing politics (especially in the Republican Party). “Whatever we can do to keep you from getting mad” has been the mantra of both for decades.

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Americans were drawn to Donald Trump because of his fearless tell it like it is attack on what’s plainly and clearly wrong with the nation.  That same go-along-to-get-along mentality he railed against in government has clearly trickled into the churches and found a home.  We have hope for a better tomorrow in this country because a few pastors and Christian leaders boldly stood up and said Trump’s vision for America was more in line with biblical values and our Founders intent than Clinton’s dream of open borders, taxpayer funded abortion, and gun control.

Something is going on in America and it’s not just about the president.  Republicans are now in control of the White House, both houses of Congress, and a record number of state legislatures and governorships.  Liberals in government have been telling the American people for too long to “sit down and shut up” while they tell us what we need to do and even think.  At one point in her campaign Hillary Clinton even said, “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”  Mrs. Clinton wanted the government in charge of changing religious beliefs.  People are obviously fed up with it.  And the same goes for liberals and progressives in the church.  People are sick of it.

Smart churches that are experiencing growth have found that people are actually hungry for plain talk from the pulpit.  America’s parishioners are rejecting the progressive religious message just as they are rejecting the progressive political message.  They are sick and tired of being told by programmed clergy that the Bible doesn’t mean what it clearly states.

This country, as demonstrated by the 2016 presidential election, is ripe for a message of repentance, renewal, and restoration!  Someone has said that the electorate voted to make America great again and the Church should decide to make America a Christian nation again.

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Now is the time to speak truth to power from the halls of Congress to the padded pews in the vaulted ceilings of our church sanctuaries. The Left will call it hate speech, bigotry, and a long list of words ending in ‘phobia.’ But it is crystal clear that people are ripe for straight talk on both politics and religion. We will always have a welcome and needed contingent of people calling the body of Christ to love, forgive, and accept God’s love. Thank goodness. But what we have lacked for a long time is the voice of the prophet thundering about God’s judgment on unrepented sin. Surprisingly, we find out that people actually want to know God doesn’t look the other way when we sin.

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This may be our last chance. The political climate has actually paved the way for it. People are responding to plain talk. If our preachers will stop apologizing for what is in the Bible and start reminding people that God is both loving and holy, teaching about forgiveness and Heaven as well as God’s judgment and hell, we just might have a revival in the country. We might make America a Christian nation once again. I wonder if that might have been the real purpose in the miracle of the Trump victory?

— Ray Rooney, Jr., American Family Association, On the Cusp of National Revival?,  November 18, 2016

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Praise Jesus for Donald Trump by Mario Murillo

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The prayers of the saints have been answered.  Hallelujah!  Political Correctness is done.  Hallelujah!  The evangelical vote is back!  Hallelujah!  Israel has a new friend. Hallelujah!  The Swamp will be drained.  Hallelujah!  The justice that our government refused to deliver came from the people.  Hallelujah!   Abortion has a new enemy.  Hallelujah!   A leader will work for us and not our enemies.  Hallelujah!   The Supreme Court will be saved.  Hallelujah!

The people have repudiated the Obama legacy.  Hallelujah!  Obamacare will be replaced.  Hallelujah!   America has been spared.  Hallelujah!  Instead of filth, there will be faith in the White House.  Hallelujah!  The House, the Senate, and the President will work together for hard working Americans.  Hallelujah!  Outreach ministries are safe from the IRS.  Hallelujah!  A corrupt mainstream media has been discredited and neutralized. Hallelujah!

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Today, you are indeed, witnessing a singular miracle in American history. Donald Trump faced insanely impossible resistance. He was pronounced dead again and again. Today, he stands with humility, on the cusp of making America Great Again. Hallelujah!

Mario Murillo, Mario Murillo Ministries, Hallelujah!, November 9, 2016

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Did God Kill My Baby Because of My Sin? by John Piper

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John Piper

Question: “Pastor John, did God cause, or would God cause, my wife to miscarry our child because I have a struggle with lust and pornography? I have a lot of guilt right now, and I don’t know how to think about God’s discipline and punishment for my sin. I’m very confused, please help.”

May that discipline come in the form of harm, even death, to others that we love, as well as ourselves? And the answer is yes, it may. This was certainly the case with David’s sin of adultery and murder with Bathsheba and her husband. Nathan the prophet said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin” (2 Samuel 12:13). And then the next thing, “Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord” — and surely that is what pornography is — “the child who is born to you shall die” (2 Samuel 12:14).

So, I would certainly say in my own life — now hear this carefully — I would certainly say in my own life the most painful and humbling disciplining from the Lord has regularly been though the pain and suffering and sometimes death of those I love, rather than through any blows against my own body. Oh, that we only suffered in our own body. This has been the way the deepest Christians have always thought about the losses through the death of those they love. Jonathan Edwards preached numerous sermons about the way the Lord disciplines a church by taking away a godly pastor in death. Edwards’s godly wife Sarah spoke about kissing the rod of God in the death of her 54-year-old husband — a rod of discipline that she felt more than anyone. She called it a rod of God on her back. And she kissed it.

Every loss that we endure as sinful children of God have two designs: one from Satan, one from God. Satan designs our unbelief and rebellion and renunciation and guilt and paralysis and loss of faith. God designs our purification and that we would hope less in this world and more in God who raises the dead.

I don’t know whether our friend who wrote this question lost his child in miscarriage as a direct discipline from God because of his pornography. I do not know. He does not know. I do know that in the loss of the child, God wills a new humility and a new submission and a new faith and new purity through the pain of this loss.

— John Piper, Desiring God, Did My Lust Cause Our Miscarriage?, November 14, 2016