All posts by broboinhawaii

Bible believing christian worshiping God in Hawaii

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – On the Bottom Looking Up

Trusting in God’s power and grace makes it possible to break the cycle of despair.

1 Samuel 30:1-20

Most of us know how it feels to be at rock bottom. Despair is a horrible condition because it continually feeds on discouragement, hopelessness, and failure. And the longer one dwells on these things, the greater despair grows. The only way out is to break free from this vicious cycle of darkness. We do this by . . .

• Repenting of anything that has caused us to doubt the Lord. If we’re in despair, then something has overshadowed God in our life, and that barrier must be removed—the sooner, the better. 

• Recalling the Lord’s omnipotence. Since He had the power to save you from sin, He certainly also has the ability to overcome your despair. 

• Remembering that nothing in our life happens by chance. God works all things according to His sovereign plan, for the good of those who love Him, and for His glory (Rom. 8:28). 

Despair stands in conflict with the abundant life the Lord has promised. If you’re feeling down and out, ask Him to lift you back up today. You’ll never automatically fall out of despair. But with God’s help, you can change your mindset and see your situation through the lens of His Word.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 16-18

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Give While You Live

Bible in a Year:

As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me.

John 9:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

John 9:1–12

A successful businessman spent the last few decades of his life doing all he could to give away his fortune. A multibillionaire, he donated cash to a variety of causes such as bringing peace to Northern Ireland and modernizing Vietnam’s health care system; and not long before he died, he spent $350 million to turn New York City’s Roosevelt Island into a technology hub. The man said, “I believe strongly in giving while living. I see little reason to delay giving. . . . Besides, it’s a lot more fun to give while you live than to give while you’re dead.” Give while you live—what an amazing attitude to have.

In John’s account of the man born blind, Jesus’ disciples were trying to determine “who sinned” (9:2). Jesus briefly addressed their question by saying, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned . . . but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me” (vv. 3–4). Though our work is very different from Jesus’ miracles, no matter how we give of ourselves, we’re to do so with a ready and loving spirit. Whether through our time, resources, or actions, our goal is that the works of God might be displayed.

For God so loved the world that He gave. In turn, let’s give while we live.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

When it comes to giving, what’s one thing you’ve been delaying? What would it mean for you to give while you live?

Giving God, please show me places where I can give today.

Read Celebrating God’s Generosity.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Biblical Patience

“Walk . . . with patience” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

Patient Christians endure negative circumstances, cope with difficult people, and accept God’s plan for everything.

In our instant, microwave, drive-through, “I want it now” culture, patience is hard to come by. We get upset if we have to wait too long in the supermarket line or get stuck behind the guy driving ten miles per hour under the speed limit.

But today’s Scripture tells us that our lives need to be marked by patience. The Greek word translated “patience” literally means “long-tempered.” A patient person doesn’t have a short fuse or lose his temper.

There are three aspects to biblical patience. First, patience never gives in to negative circumstances, no matter how difficult. God told Abraham He would make him into a great nation and give Canaan to his descendants (Gen. 12:27). When God made this promise, Abraham and Sarah had no children. They had to wait far past their childbearing years before God gave them a son. But Hebrews 6:15 says, “Having patiently waited, [Abraham] obtained the promise.” “He did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom. 4:20). He trusted God and patiently waited for Him to fulfill His promise.

A second aspect of patience is coping with difficult people. Paul tells us to “be patient with all men” (1 Thess. 5:14). This is applied gentleness—a spirit that refuses to retaliate. Our normal reaction is to be defensive when provoked. But a patient person bears insult, persecution, unfair treatment, slander, and hatred. You can’t start a fight with a patient person. He defends God, not himself, knowing that He will repay all wrongs at the right time.

Third, patience accepts God’s plan for everything. It doesn’t question God. A patient person says, “Lord, if this is what You have planned for me, that’s all right.” Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Since God is in control, we can be patient, waiting for Him to work out His will.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you recognize when you’re apt to be impatient. When those times come, pray for strength to endure them.

For Further Study

  • James 5:10 says the prophets were examples of suffering and patience. Read what two prophets had to endure in Isaiah 6:9-12 and Jeremiah 1:5-19.
  • How might they be examples to you as you seek to be faithful in the face of life’s tests?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Healing for the Brokenhearted

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

— Psalm 147:3 (AMPC)

Those who are brokenhearted are broken in their personality. They are unable to function properly because of their wounds. They have been deeply hurt and are unable to move beyond their past pain.

It is important that we don’t merely park at the point of our pain and remain there for the rest of our lives. God is the author of new beginnings, and whether we are wounded due our own sin, or because of the sin of others who have harmed us, we are the only ones who can decide whether to move on or stay parked. Take your life out of park and start moving forward toward the great future God has arranged for you.

The apostle Paul is a great example of someone who kept shaking off the past and pressing forward. He moved past his own sin, past the persecution he received from others as his reward for simply trying to help them, past unfair imprisonment, beatings, abandonment, and many other painful things. He also moved past his own imperfections in his daily walk with God and said that letting go of what was behind was his determined purpose in life.

When we are hurting, moving forward isn’t always easy because our mind and emotions are telling us to just give up. Although change isn’t easy and is often painful, we have only two choices— to endure the pain of change or to endure the pain of never changing. It is easy to see which choice makes the most sense. If there will be pain either way, why not choose the pain of progress?

To keep going forward in the midst of personal pain takes a lot of courage. You may not even want to get out of bed in the morning, let alone be active and do what life requires that day, but if you live by wise choices rather than by your feelings, you can do it.

I vividly remember my father repeatedly telling me, “You will never amount to anything,” but with God’s help, I overcame his negative words. If those who should have affirmed you tore you down with their words, you too can overcome their words by seeing what God says about you and meditating on His words instead. God says many wonderful things about you, things such as: You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). You are loved unconditionally (Jer. 31:3) and accepted (John 6:37). You are precious and honored in His sight (Isa. 43:4). His Word includes many similar truths that will build you up and renew your mind so you can think about yourself and your life the way God wants you to.

Don’t settle for less than the best life that God wants to give you. Perhaps you are facing a time of testing in your life right now, and the temptation to quit and give up is strong. Know this: You have what it takes to go through it and experience victory on the other side.

It’s not too late! I’m sure the devil has told you the lie that it is too late for you. However, it is never too late for God to heal and restore anyone who truly wants Him to.

Prayer Starter: Father, in the Name of Jesus, I declare that I will overcome every accusation of the enemy by the Blood of Jesus and the Word of my testimony. In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Weakness in Triumph

And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, ‘You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst . . . ?’

Judges 15:18

Samson was thirsty and ready to die. The difficulty was totally different from any that the hero had met before. Merely to get thirst quenched is nothing like so great a matter as to be delivered from a thousand Philistines! But when the thirst was upon him, Samson felt that particular difficulty to be more weighty than the great past difficulty out of which he had so specially been delivered.

It is very usual for God’s people, when they have enjoyed a great deliverance, to find a little trouble too much for them. Samson slays a thousand Philistines and piles them up in heaps, and then faints for a little water! Jacob wrestles with God at Peniel and overcomes Omnipotence itself, and then goes “limping because of his hip!” 1 Strange that there must be a shrinking of the sinew whenever we win the day. As if the Lord must teach us our littleness, our nothingness, in order to keep us within bounds.

Samson boasted right loudly when he said, “I have slain a thousand men.” His boastful throat soon grew hoarse with thirst, and he betook himself to prayer. God has many ways of humbling His people.

Dear child of God, if after great mercy you are laid very low, your case is not an unusual one. When David had mounted the throne of Israel, he said, “I am this day weak, though anointed king.” You must expect to feel weakest when you are enjoying your greatest triumph. If God has wrought for you great deliverances in the past, your present difficulty is only like Samson’s thirst, and the Lord will not let you faint, nor allow your enemy to triumph over you. The road of sorrow is the road to heaven, but there are wells of refreshing water all along the route. So, tested and tired pilgrim, cheer your heart with Samson’s words, and rest assured that God will deliver you before long.

1) Genesis 32:31

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Sees Everything

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

Seven-year-old Natalie had just won a special prize at school: a spy kit. “It’s got glasses with mirrors in them,” she said. “I can see things in front of me and behind me at the same time!” Natalie’s spy glasses allowed her to do something humans normally can’t do: see more than one place at a time.

Unlike humans, God can always see everything in every place, all at the same time. He can see you sitting at your computer, and at the same time He can see another child lying down to sleep on the other side of the world. He sees you when you’re doing things that please Him, even if no one else notices. He also sees you when you’re doing wrong. He can even look inside your heart and know the reasons for what you do.

You can never be out of God’s sight. Does that thought make you feel scared or comforted? A heart that is right with God never wants to hide from Him.

God sees everything, in every place, all the time.

My Response:
» Is God pleased with what I do when no one else is watching?

Denison Forum – Major League Baseball star fills in as PE teacher

Harrison Bader, a Gold Glove Award-winning centerfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, learned that Meramec Elementary School in Clayton, Missouri, was dealing with staff shortages and needed some help, so he volunteered to cover a Physical Education class. However, he told reporters later, “Being a substitute science or math teacher, even at that level, would be above my pay grade.”

In other news, drivers on a Tennessee highway recently encountered a cast-iron skillet said to be the world’s largest. It was being hauled on the back of a flatbed truck to the Lodge Cast Iron store, which is building a Lodge Cast Iron MuseumUPI is also reporting on a 225.13-pound ball of human hair that has broken the Guinness World Record. (Click on the link to see the picture at your own risk . . .)

Then there is this bit of good news / bad news in the news: scientists say the sun will one day explode and kill us all, but not for another five billion years. However, some scientists also say our planet’s oceans will be vaporized by energy from the sun a mere billion years from now. Other experts disagree, claiming that our planet could host life for at least another 1.75 billion years.

So far I’ve not helped you solve any practical problems you might be facing today, but I enjoyed sharing news I found interesting in the hope that you agree. My friends know that I am just as ready to talk about a good book I read or a movie I enjoyed. And don’t get me started on my grandkids . . .

“Pleasure has no relish unless we share it”

A study by the University of Pennsylvania tracked the circulation of almost seven thousand articles from the New York Times over a three-month period. They found that positive articles were shared more often than negative ones. Another study reported that “we share our positive daily experiences 70 percent of the time.”

Virginia Wolff was right: “Pleasure has no relish unless we share it.” Albert Schweitzer agreed: “Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it.”

This week, we’ve focused on ways to respond redemptively to a culture that is “falling apart at the seams,” according to New York Times columnist David Brooks. We have noted the importance of humility in sharing God’s word with our lost friends and family members, and we have focused both on the urgency of compassion and the compassion of urgency in doing so.

Let’s close our series by centering on the well-known fact that the Christian “gospel” is literally “good news” (from the Old English god spel, translating the Greek euangelion, meaning “good news”). But let’s add this less-known fact: the Old English spel means not only “news” but also “story.” The gospel is a “good story” that has changed our personal story. Now we have the privilege of sharing that story with others so it can become their story as well.

“I have the most amazing job on the planet”

In John 4, Jesus met a woman who came to Jacob’s well to draw water. However, as he told her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again” (v. 13). Then he offered her the opportunity to experience “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (v. 14). Given the choice, she understandably wanted the latter (v. 15).

It’s our job and privilege to give everyone we know the same choice.

Don Mansfield became Albania’s national director for Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in 1991. The country had been officially atheistic for decades and had been entirely closed to missionaries until the borders opened that year. When he made his first visit to the country, three young men approached him, asking questions: “Where do you come from?” “What do you do?”

Mansfield told them, “I have the most amazing job on the planet. I get to tell people how they can know Jesus Christ.”

The leader turned to look at his friends. “Wasn’t it five minutes ago, we were talking, and we said, ‘We have got to find someone to tell us about Jesus?’” he asked them. Turning to Mansfield, he said, “Will you tell me about Jesus?”

Your truth will become their truth

Christians living in our postmodern, relativistic society are often warned that sharing their faith is the intolerant “imposing” of their values on others. Since being branded “intolerant” is the cardinal sin in our culture, it’s tempting to keep our salt in the saltshaker and our light under a basket (Matthew 5:13–16).

In addition, many Christians are unsure whether they know enough to be able to explain and defend their faith with skeptics. They know the basics of salvation but fear being embarrassed by questions they might not be able to answer.

The answer is to return to the “gospel” as a “good story.”

In a culture that measures truth by relevance, your experience with Jesus will be relevant to others to the degree that it is relevant to you. If you met Jesus this morning in his word and worship, surrendering your day to his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and asking that his “fruit” be manifested in your life, your prayer will be answered. Others will see the difference Christ makes in your life and will be drawn to that difference for themselves.

Your truth will then become their truth as they experience the truth.

The compelling question

Knowing Jesus and then making him known has never been more vital for the future of American Christianity than it is today.

My dear friend Kerby Anderson’s outstanding call for us to “equip the next generation with biblical truth” makes the compelling case that young people today know less about the Bible than previous generations. They are more likely to believe that other religious beliefs lead to heaven and are less likely to share their faith as a result. 

By contrast, the more we truly experience Jesus, the more we will want to share him with others. The more the gospel becomes our “good story,” the more our lives and our words will tell that story.

So, here’s the question: When last did Jesus change your life?

NOTE: There are just four days left to reserve your seat at the virtual book launch Q&A celebrating the release of my latest and most pivotal book, The Coming Tsunami. During the Q&A we’ll look at Critical Race Theory, one of the four major “earthquakes” I talk about in The Coming Tsunami that are seismically shifting our world. So I hope you’ll join us for the Q&A. Please pre-order your copy of The Coming Tsunami to reserve your seat. Thank you.

P.S. Amazon has dropped the pre-order price to $22.50. Amazon also offers a pre-order price guarantee, meaning that you’ll pay the lowest pre-order price offered before the book releases (even if you’ve already pre-ordered). If you pre-order through Amazon, be sure to visit TheComingTsunami.com afterward to register for the Q&A event.

http://www.denisonforum.org/

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Building Lasting Friendships

Strong, godly friendships like Jonathan and David’s are a blessing from the Lord.

1 Samuel 18:1-4

How many friends do you have? And I don’t mean the people you connect with on social media—I’m talking about the few who really know you and stick with you through thick and thin. Such mutual friendships are rare today. 

What does it take to develop this kind of relationship? There could be no finer example than the friendship between David and Jonathan, and three qualities stand out. 

1. The relationship was characterized by mutual respect. This often gets lost in today’s world, but the reality is that we can maintain a genuine friendship only with someone for whom we have high regard. 

2. David and Jonathan felt strong love for one another. Even though they weren’t related, these two friends shared a relationship as deep and loyal as a brotherhood. 

3. Their commitment to each other was genuine. These were no fair-weather friends. Their bond withstood even the attempts by King Saul to kill David. (See 1 Sam. 23:15-18.) Jonathan refused to let anything—not even his own father’s jealous fury—come between him and his friend. 

Think about your best friend. Is the relationship characterized by these qualities? If so, recognize that you have been given a blessing from the Lord. Praise Him for the gift of your friend. 

Bible in One Year: Exodus 13-15 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Love of Learning

Bible in a Year:

Let the wise listen and add to their learning.

Proverbs 1:5

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Proverbs 1:1–7

When asked how he became a journalist, a man shared the story of his mother’s dedication to his pursuit of education. While traveling on the subway each day, she collected newspapers left behind on seats and gave them to him. While he especially enjoyed reading about sports, the papers also introduced him to knowledge about the world, which ultimately opened his mind to a vast range of interests. 

Children are wired with natural curiosity and a love for learning, so introducing them to the Scriptures at an early age is of great value. They become intrigued by God’s extraordinary promises and exciting stories of biblical heroes. As their knowledge deepens, they can begin to comprehend the consequences of sin, their need of repentance, and the joy found in trusting God. The first chapter of Proverbs, for instance, is a great introduction to the benefits of wisdom (Proverbs 1:1–7). Nuggets of wisdom found here shine a light of understanding on real-life situations.

Developing a love of learning—especially about spiritual truths—helps us to grow stronger in our faith. And those who have walked in faith for decades can continue to pursue knowledge of God throughout their life. Proverbs 1:5 advises, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning.” God will never stop teaching us if we’re willing to open our heart and mind to His guidance and instruction.

By:  Cindy Hess Kasper

Reflect & Pray

What fresh truth of Scripture have you added to your knowledge recently? How can you continually pursue a deeper understanding of God’s truth?

Father, please continue to open my mind and heart to grow in knowledge and wisdom as I read from the Scriptures.

Grow deeper in your understanding of faith.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Are You Gentle?

“Walk . . . with all . . . gentleness” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

To become more gentle, begin by looking closely at your attitudes.

We’ve determined that gentleness is essential for those who want to walk worthy. How can you tell if you’re gentle? I’ll give you some practical questions so you can evaluate yourself honestly.

First of all, are you self-controlled? Do you rule your own spirit (Prov. 16:32), or does your temper often flare up? When someone accuses you of something, do you immediately defend yourself, or are you more inclined to consider whether there’s any truth in what’s being said?

Second, are you infuriated only when God is dishonored? Do you get angry about sin or when God’s Word is perverted by false teachers?

Next, do you always seek to make peace? Gentle people are peacemakers. Ephesians 4:3 says they are “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” If someone falls into sin, do you condemn or gossip about that person? Galatians 6:1 instructs us to restore sinning brothers “in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Gossip and condemnation divide believers; forgiveness and restoration unite them. Gentle people don’t start fights; they end them.

Fourth, do you accept criticism without retaliation? Whether the criticism is right or wrong, you shouldn’t strike back. In fact, you can thank your critics, because criticism can show you your weaknesses and help you grow.

Finally, do you have the right attitude toward the unsaved? Peter says, “Always [be] ready to make a defense to every one who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15). If we’re persecuted, it’s easy for us to think, They can’t treat me like that—I’m a child of God. But God wants us to approach the unsaved with gentleness, realizing that God reached out to us with gentleness before we were saved (Titus 3:3-7).

Consider carefully your answers to these questions, and commit yourself to being characterized by gentleness. Remember that “a gentle and quiet spirit . . . is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:4).

Suggestions for Prayer

If any of these questions have pointed out deficiencies in your gentleness, ask God to strengthen those areas.

For Further Study

  • Paul was often criticized by those who wanted to usurp his authority over the church. Study Paul’s response to such people in 2 Timothy 2:24-26.
  • Think about this passage’s application to events in your life.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Enjoy the Righteousness of Christ

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.

— Joshua 24:15 (AMPC)

The first step in doing anything is choosing to do it. In order to encourage someone, you first choose to look for the best. In order to be at peace, you first choose not to worry. In order to start some- thing new, you first choose to step out and go for it.

You may not know how it’s all going to work out, but you can make some foundational choices today. Begin by saying, Today I choose peace over fear! Today I choose to break that old habit and start a good one! Today I choose not to lash out in anger! Today I choose not to live in the past!

Make a choice, take a step, and never forget to ask for God’s help (His grace) in executing your choice. We can do all things with and through Him, but we can do nothing without Him (see Philippians 4:13).

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, I know I can’t always choose what happens around me, but I can choose how to respond. Help me to always respond the way You would have me respond. In Your precious name I pray, amen!

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –“Give Me Life”

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.

Psalm 119:37

There are various kinds of vanity. The cap and bells of the fool, the merriment of the world, the dance, and the cup of the dissolute—all these men know to be vanities; they wear upon their chest their proper name and title. Far more treacherous are those equally vain things—the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. A man may follow vanity as truly in a portfolio as in a theater.

If he is spending his life in amassing wealth, he passes his days in a vain show. Unless we follow Christ and make our God the great object of life, we only differ in appearance from the most frivolous. It is clear that there is much need of the prayer of our text: “Give me life in your ways.” The psalmist confesses that he is dull, heavy, all but dead.

Perhaps, dear reader, you feel the same. We are so sluggish that the best motives cannot quicken us, apart from the Lord Himself. What! Will not hell quicken me? Shall I think of sinners perishing, and yet not be awakened? Will not heaven quicken me? Can I think of the reward that awaits the righteous and yet be cold? Will not death quicken me? Can I think of dying and standing before my God, and yet be slothful in my Master’s service? Will not Christ’s love constrain me? Can I think of His dear wounds, can I sit at the foot of His cross, and not be stirred with fervency and zeal? It seems so!

No mere consideration can quicken us to zeal, but God Himself must do it; hence the cry, “Give me life in your ways.” The psalmist breathes out his whole soul in vehement pleadings; his body and his soul unite in prayer. “Turn my eyes,” says the body. “Give me life,” cries the soul. This is a fit prayer for every day. O Lord, hear it in my case this night.

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Wants To Change You

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” (Romans 8:29)

One October day, Brandon was on an airplane flying to Vermont. As the plane dipped its wings over Lake Champlain, Brandon looked out his window. What a sight! All around the misty water below were acres and acres of maple trees that had changed color. Brandon had never seen trees wearing any brighter shades of red, orange, and gold.

If you have become a Christian by trusting Jesus Christ to save you from your sin, God wants to make a glorious change inside of you – an even more beautiful change than the colored leaves of fall. He wants to make you just like His Son, Jesus Christ! Can you imagine what that would be like? You would love God with all of your heart. You would be full of joy. You would be confident in God even when bad things happened. You would be kind and gentle – even toward your brothers and sisters. You would never be selfish. You would never disobey. You would always hate sin.

Long ago, before you ever asked God to save you, He was planning to do this beautiful work in you. His Spirit who lives in you will show you the things that need to change. Will you cooperate with God as He works?

God wants to change you to be like His Son, Jesus Christ.

My Response:
» Is God’s Holy Spirit showing me areas that need to change in my life?
» Am I becoming more like Jesus?

Denison Forum – A balanced review of “Fault Lines,” Voddie Baucham’s critique of modern social justice

Voddie T. Baucham Jr.’s Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastropheprovides an in-depth perspective on how social justice has divided our culture, our country, and the church, and how the tenets of modern social justice employ narratives that do not match with evidence. 

To describe this ideology, he uses his own term, “Critical Social Justice” (CSJ). While he supports social justice, he believes that Critical Theory has taken hold in today’s culture. In this context, Baucham certainly does the job of critiquing and engaging culture. 

Most of the work is aptly summarized in Proverbs 18:17, which he quotes, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

In examining the evidence for and against the idea of systemic, structural racism, Baucham does not deny racial disparity in America. Rather, he challenges the CSJ narrative, which argues that the inequality is due entirely to the racist “DNA” of America. 

While Baucham offers some alternative explanations to the disparity, though not much, he mostly attacks one prominent fallacy in CSJ thinking: “There is unequal outcome, therefore, the structure is to blame.”

He claims, to help us get a broader perspective, that America is objectively less racist than almost any other country. His perspective, as he has lived in Zambia for the past six years, is one of an insider and an outsider.

He is frank, forthright, and defends the gospel. Furthermore, while he masterfully shows that the narrative of CSJ is downright dishonest, misleading, and extremely dangerous to the church and our culture, sometimes I think he doesn’t capture the full scale of the evidence. 

Critical reflections

With full respect and admiration for Baucham’s life, work, intentions, and thought, here are some critical reflections on Fault Lines. 

He addresses some of the evidence but often leaves out the other side. For example, he uses Harvard Economics professor Roland G. Fryer’s paper, “An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force,” which shows that, when external factors are controlled, unarmed black and white Americans are shot at relatively equal rates. He cites this to disprove the 2.5 to 1 ratio that is often cited, which states that unarmed black men are killed at 2.5 times the rate of white men. 

However, that same paper also shows that police disproportionately use force against black Americans (even when outside factors are controlled and the offenders comply with officers’ requests). He doesn’t acknowledge the latter point. 

He sometimes uses unscholarly or difficult-to-confirm sources, like a tweet with a video compilation or an obscure YouTube video. One footnote led me through a difficult search, and I ended up listening to an entire podcast because Baucham didn’t cite the original content or timestamp. This, and other references, sometimes lacked context or only gave one side of the picture. 

As another reviewer notes, when Baucham compares the CSJ movement to a “new religion,” complete with its own “creation story” and cosmology, he stretches the comparison. Undoubtedly, the CSJ movement with Critical Race Theory often has religious fervor and generally provides a worldview. Regardless, this comparison seemed forced. 

Additionally, readers must remember that Baucham believes that there is a deep divide on this issue. When we look around, it’s hard to disagree. But, one will notice when reading that this division defines the work, and his charge is to “pick a side.” While he may be completely correct in his analysis, Baucham’s tendency to harp on the division is sometimes tough to swallow. This, compounded with the fact that he spends little time on positive solutions, makes the book sometimes feel partial and unnecessarily divisive.   

Why Christians should read this book

Suffice to say, while those complaints are important, on the whole, Baucham excellently addresses the spreading destruction of CSJ in evangelicalism. For example, he demonstrates that Be the Bridgeand other Christian works on the subject are often rifewith “Ethnic Gnosticism,” whereby the truth can only be heard from people of color and people of color are always to be believed. While humility is important, as Christians we shouldn’t abandon the belief in objective truth. 

He addresses the danger of accepting CSJ, as it can contaminate the gospel with legalism and distracting goals that tend toward disunity rather than unity. Additionally, he provides insider insight into the events of the SBC controversy and its resolution on Critical Race Theory. 

Baucham affirms the importance of ethnic diversity. He values his African heritage highly as an important part of his identity. And, indeed, he affirms that Christians must “do justice.” However, he believes that CSJ can blind us to true justice and avoid the real problems that lead to racial disparity. Insofar as this book is a critique of the movement and its danger to Evangelical Christianity, it does its job excellently. 

If you don’t pick up this work, I would at least recommend that you read and wrestle with the “Dallas Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel,” even if you disagree with it. Baucham refers to this document frequently and was a prominent signature on it. 

All in all, Voddie Baucham’s work is a helpful source of argumentation and a fresh perspective very much needed in the CRT debate that rages in our culture. 

In their own words

“I wish I could say this book is meant to help us avoid the impending catastrophe. However, it is not. This catastrophe is unavoidable. These fault lines are so deeply entrenched, and the rules of engagement are so perilously complex, the question is not if but when the catastrophe will strike.”

“In the end, the answer to everything is racism [in the CSJ movement]. Not only is this kind of reasoning logically flawed, but it also flies in the face of a substantial body of sociological research and the historic preaching and understanding of the black church.” 

“The black family matters. Education matters. Decisions and choices matter. And above all, God’s Word matters.” 

“Racism is real. Injustice is real. No matter how many times I say those things, I will still be accused of turning a blind eye to them—not because I deny them, but because I deny the CRT/I view that they are “normal” and at the basis of everything.” 

“Pastors…I believe the church—your church—is under attack. As shepherds, we must defend the sheep. We must repel the wolves. And yes, the wolves are many. However, this one is within the gates and has the worst intentions. He desires to use your genuine love for the brethren as leverage.” 

“Living in Africa for the past five years has broadened my perspective on social justice in two major ways.

1) I have come to understand that the Critical Social Justice movement is global… 

2) I have come to realize that culture does matter, that not all cultures are equal, that Christian culture has produced the highest levels of freedom and prosperity and the lowest levels of corruption and oppression in the world, and that transforming culture is a laudable and worthwhile goal.”

http://www.denisonforum.org/

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – A Reason for Confidence

Negativity doesn’t fit who we are as God’s children—we should have confidence in our almighty Lord.

Proverbs 3:21-26

Negativity affects us in both spiritual and physical ways. Even simply spending time with a pessimistic individual can take a toll. On the other hand, positivity—especially that related to confidence in the Lord—enables us to live as our Father desires.  

As God’s children, we have every reason to live with assurance. His very presence is permanently within us, and He has granted us His peace, which passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). In addition, He promises to provide for our needs and empower us to obey and serve Him. 

Sometimes, however, we have trouble accepting and living in these spiritual blessings. When that’s the case, we should purposefully take steps to develop confidence in our all-powerful God. This begins with meditating on His Word and drawing near to Him in prayer. As we grow in our understanding of the Lord and His promises, our faith is strengthened and confidence in Him increases.  

The world is full of distrust, fear, and uncertainty. Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by negative messages that take your eyes off Christ. Focus on the truth of Scripture and put your confidence in almighty God. Facing each day with His strength will drive away doubt and anxiety.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 10-12 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Stay Awake!

Bible in a Year:

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Matthew 26:41

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Matthew 26:36–46

A German bank employee was in the middle of transferring 62.40 euros from a customer’s bank account when he accidentally took a power nap at his desk. He dozed off while his finger was on the “2” key, resulting in a 222 million euro (300 million dollar) transfer into the customer’s account. The fallout from the mistake included the firing of the employee’s colleague who verified the transfer. Although the mistake was caught and corrected, because he hadn’t been watchful, the sleepy employee’s lapse almost became a nightmare for the bank.

Jesus warned His disciples that if they didn’t remain alert, they too would make a costly mistake. He took them to a place called Gethsemane to spend some time in prayer. As He prayed, Jesus experienced a grief and sadness such as He’d never known in His earthly life. He asked Peter, James, and John to stay awake to pray and “keep watch” with Him (Matthew 26:38), but they fell asleep (vv. 40–41). Their failure to watch and pray would leave them defenseless when the real temptation of denying Him came calling. In the hour of Christ’s greatest need, the disciples lacked spiritual vigilance.

May we heed Jesus’ words to remain spiritually awake by being more devoted to spending time with Him in prayer. As we do, He’ll strengthen us to resist all kinds of temptations and avoid the costly mistake of denying Jesus.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

What part of your prayer life needs to be more devoted and disciplined? How can you intentionally spend more time alone with God this week? 

Jesus, because I’ve been spiritually sleeping, I haven’t been praying. And because I haven’t been praying, I haven’t depended on You. I’m sorry. Please help me to spend more time with You.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Christ’s Gentle Example

“Walk . . . with all . . . gentleness” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

Jesus is the greatest example of gentleness: He became angry when God the Father was dishonored, but not when He, the Son, was.

Jesus Christ is our supreme example of gentleness. Paul refers specifically to this in 2 Corinthians 10:1. Jesus Himself said, “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29).

Jesus showed righteous indignation when it was proper. When He found the Temple filled with people selling exorbitantly priced sacrificial animals, He drove them out, pouring out their money and overturning tables (Matt. 21:12). He told them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den” (v. 13). Jesus later said to the scribes and Pharisees, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell?” (23:33). He did not stand idly by while the Temple was defiled. He spoke out in judgment against hypocrites who dishonored God.

Even though Jesus became angry when God was maligned, He neither retaliated against nor condemned those who attacked Him. “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23). When God’s Temple was defiled, Jesus cleaned it out. But when the temple of His body was defiled, enduring the agony of the cross, with mockers all around, all He said was, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). That’s supreme gentleness—total selflessness.

It’s so easy to strike back when someone criticizes or attacks us, but that’s not the way of the gentle Christian trying to walk worthy. The only time we should let the lion in us roar is when God’s honor is at stake. Jesus forgave those who crucified Him. How can we do any less to those who hurt us?

Suggestions for Prayer                

We all fall short of Christ’s example of gentleness.  Pray that God would help you each day to reflect more and more the gentleness of Christ.

For Further Study

Read the account of Christ’s arrest and crucifixion in Matthew 26:47—27:50.

  • Did He have the power to strike back (26:53)?
  • Find all the instances you can in which Christ demonstrated His gentleness.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Let It Go

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted . . . forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.

— Ephesians 4:32 (AMPC)

The Bible teaches us to forgive “readily and freely.” That is God’s standard for us, no matter how we feel about it. We are to be quick to forgive.

According to 1 Peter 5:5, we can clothe ourselves with the character of Jesus Christ, meaning that we can choose to be long-suffering, patient, not easily offended, slow to anger, quick to forgive, and filled with mercy. My definition of “mercy” is to look beyond what is done to me that hurts and discover the reason why it was done. Many times, people do things even they don’t understand themselves, but there is always a reason why people behave as they do. Perhaps they are hurting and in their own pain they don’t even realize they are hurting someone else.

God forgives! We are to be merciful and forgiving, just as God in Christ forgives us our wrongdoing. He not only sees what we do that is wrong, but He understands why we did it, and is merciful and long-suffering. The choice to forgive others is ours. God will not force anyone to do it. Even if you don’t understand it, believe that God’s way is the best. It works. He can take what Satan meant to destroy you and turn it for your good.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to try to control my anger and forgive quickly. In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Learn at the Feet of Jesus

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

Luke 24:45

He whom we viewed last evening as opening Scripture, we here perceive opening the understanding. In the first work He has many fellow-laborers, but in the second He stands alone; many can bring the Scriptures to the mind, but the Lord alone can prepare the mind to receive the Scriptures. Our Lord Jesus differs from all other teachers.

They reach the ear, but He instructs the heart; they deal with the outward letter, but He imparts an inward taste for the truth, by which we perceive its savor and spirit. The most unlearned of men become ripe scholars in the school of grace when the Lord Jesus by His Holy Spirit unfolds the mysteries of the kingdom to them and grants the divine anointing by which they are enabled to behold the invisible.

Happy are we if we have had our understandings cleared and strengthened by the Master! How many men of profound learning are ignorant of eternal things! They know the killing letter of revelation, but its killing spirit they cannot discern; they have a veil upon their hearts that the eyes of carnal reason cannot penetrate.

Such was our case a little time ago. We who now see were once utterly blind; truth was to us as beauty in the dark, a thing unnoticed and neglected. Had it not been for the love of Jesus we should have remained to this moment in utter ignorance, for without His gracious opening of our understanding, we could no more have attained to spiritual knowledge than an infant can climb the Pyramids or an ostrich fly up to the stars.

Jesus’ College is the only one in which God’s truth can be really learned; other schools may teach us what is to be believed, but Christ’s alone can show us how to believe it. Let us sit at the feet of Jesus and by earnest prayer call upon His blessed help, that our dull wits may grow brighter, and our feeble understandings may receive heavenly things.

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Brings Good out of Sadness

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Will I trust God to bring good out of the sad time I’m going through?

One day, I brought home a bright red helium balloon. I was so proud of it! I could hardly wait to get it out of the car and begin playing with it. But no sooner had my feet touched the pavement of our driveway than it slipped out of my hand and went floating away toward the clouds. I was disappointed and angry. It wasn’t fair! I had lost my balloon before I even had a chance to play with it.

But my dad had an idea. “I’ll get my binoculars,” he said. “Let’s watch your balloon till it’s out of sight.” We stood out in the backyard, my dad and I, for a long time that evening. We passed the binoculars back and forth, tracking the red balloon’s flight into the sky. What fun we had! That evening that had begun so sadly ended up filled with laughter and joy. It was one of my favorite times spent with my father.

God, our Father, sometimes allows things to happen in our lives that seem very bad to us. Things might happen that hurt and disappoint us and make us want to scream, “It’s not fair!” But God has wonderful plans for those painful times. He may want to teach us something new about Himself. He may want us to come closer to Him. We get to know Him better as we pray and trust Him in times of suffering. He causes all things to work together for good to us if we are His children. Maybe someday you will look back on your saddest time as the best time you ever spent with your Father.

God brings good out of His children’s pain and suffering.