Discerning the Lie

I am fascinated by military strategy. To me the most interesting component of war fighting strategy is what Carl Philipp Gottfried (or Gottlieb) von Clausewitz, the Prussian general

Carl von Clausewitz

Carl von Clausewitz

and military theorist, described as the “fog and friction” of war in his most notable work, Vom Kriege (On War).  In actual combat there is, thanks to fog and friction, a vast difference between what ought to be theoretically and what turns out to be the real situation.  The job of the military commander is to sort out the schemes of the enemy designed to deceive, distract, divide and thwart his forces while inflicting the same on his enemy.  As children of God we find ourselves in a similar warlike situation in that satan is relentless in seeking to mislead us with erronious information while trying to divert our attention from our Savior and His provision for us.  Praise God that He has given us the ultimate war-fighting manual, the Bible, by which we have all we need to discriminate between truth and deception and be victorious in life.
The following is a really helpful article written by my online friend April Cassidy, who is a leading voice in women’s ministry.  April itemizesScreen Shot 2016-07-11 at 9.53.12 PM various types of lies that attempt to deceive us.  She has also listed resources that are useful in dealing with the lies we are prone to believe.  This article appeared first at April’s website at: http://www.thepeacefulwife.com as: Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced.  Incidentally, I highly recommend April’s book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in  Submission to Christ as Lord.  It contains wise counsel on how to have a fulfilling and godly marriage.

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Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

By April Cassidy

April Cassidy "The Peaceful Wife"

April Cassidy
“The Peaceful Wife”

Here are some lies I have come up with that some of us may believe – I’m sure they don’t all apply to everyone, but they may give you some ideas to prayerfully consider as you invite the Holy Spirit to examine the hidden motives of your heart in your quiet time. This is not an exhaustive list! If you recognize that some of these lies are things you struggle with, I invite you to search on a site like http://www.openbible.com or http://www.biblegateway.com for terms to find verses in Scripture that reveals God’s truth about these topics. Be willing to REALLY dig into whatever lies are issues for you and spend as much time as you need to hash through what is true and what is not true. Some of these things are not conscious beliefs, but rather unconscious fixed beliefs upon which we have built our lives. Allow God to transform your thinking though the power of His Word! Compare everything any human author said against the Bible. Be willing to trash ungodly thinking and rebuild your life on God’s Word.

Lies about Perfectionism/People Pleasing:

1. I should be able to be perfect in my own strength without Christ. I’m a good person. I am not a wretched sinner.
2. Other people’s approval is the most important thing.
3. If I can do things perfectly in my eyes, I can control everything and I will be safe and can be guaranteed the outcomes I desire.
4. My approval and opinions are more important than God’s.
5. I am responsible for things that really aren’t my responsibility.
6. If I am not worried, afraid, and trying so hard that I am exhausted, I don’t really love other people.
7. I can’t relax and enjoy intimacy with God or with others.
8. My value is in what I do – not in who I am or in what Christ did for me.
9. If I don’t ever make mistakes, other people will love me and never be upset with me. This is a reasonable plan.
10. Perfection, in my definition(i.e.: how clean my house is, or how much I follow a list of manmade rules), is more important than people and relationships.
11. I am the key here, not God.  Continue reading

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RIP Wayne B. Smith

Bob Russell remembers a great Christian minister.  This blog post appeared at www.bobrussell.org as Wayne B. Smith (1929-2016) One of a Kind.  I had the honor of meeting and being present for Pastor Smith’s teaching and preaching and there is no doubt that God truly shed His grace on those who were able to share in his life.  RMF

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Wayne B. Smith (1929-2016) – One of a Kind

by Pastor Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

My good friend Wayne Smith died in his sleep last Wednesday morning. He was 87. He had just met with a group of 70 preachers at noon the previous day and encouraged them to be faithful. I’m so thankful he died peacefully in his own room at Sayre Christian Village. I wouldn’t ask for his passing to be any different but I am really grieving his death. I don’t cry a lot but when I tried to tell my wife what I’d just learned I lost it. I’m really going to miss Wayne Smith and so are a multitude of others.

Pastor Bob Russell and Pastor Wayne Smith

Pastor Bob Russell and Pastor Wayne Smith

(Left to right) Pastors Barry Cameron, Bob Russell, Wayne Smith, and Wally Rendell
(Left to right) Pastors Barry Cameron, Bob Russell, Wayne Smith, and Wally Rendell
I’ve often tried to analyze what made Wayne such an effective leader, pastor and preacher. Why was he able to lead a startup church in Lexington, Kentucky to become a church of thousands? Why was he so loved and respected not only in central Kentucky but by ministers and missionaries all around the world? What was there about him that resulted in so much influence both inside and outside the church?  Continue reading

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Unintended Consequences of a Hook-up Culture

I believe that most folks who venture to read this wee blog would quickly agree that society and the current morality are spiraling out of control. The following is an article which addresses the devastating impact of one aspect of what we’re witnessing – the rise of a permissiveness regarding sexual engagement with very little or no meaningful interpersonal relationship – just sex with seemingly no strings attached – no commitment – but very real and often unsuspected consequences. I’m grateful to Ms. Anne Maloney for permission to repost her article: What the Hook-up Culture Has Done to Women which appeared at: Crisis Magazine.  Ms. Maloney is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the College of St. Catherine in St Paul, Minnesota.  Incidentally, I feel compelled to add that my understanding is that sex apart from marriage, not just the hooking-up variety,   is sinful and an affront to God.  Also, in my experience, sex outside the confines of matrimony will eventually bear adverse consequences.  RMF

What the Hook-up Culture Has Done to Women

Sad girl
A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
∼ Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Anne Mahoney

Anne Mahoney

A few weeks ago, a young woman at Stanford University was raped by a virtual stranger, and her rapist received a ridiculously light sentence. The story grabbed headlines everywhere, and caused a firestorm on social media. This “dumpster rape” is being blared about everywhere in the public square while a far more insidious and dangerous threat to women rages on directly under our noses, unacknowledged. This threat is systematically destroying an entire generation of our daughters, sisters, aunts, future mothers, and friends.

The young woman who was raped behind the dumpster has an advantage over most young women today: she knows she was raped. She is angry, and rightly so. She realizes that she has been violated, and she can try to find a way to heal. The young women I encounter every day on the campus of the university where I teach are worse off than this victim, because they do not know what has gone wrong in their lives. Nonetheless, something has gone terribly wrong, and on some level, they know it.

Love & Lust  In thirty years of teaching, I have come to know thousands of women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six. These women are hurting. Badly. Consider these examples from “the front lines”: a young woman says to me with all earnestness, “This weekend I went to my first college party, and I hit it off with a guy so we went into the back bedroom where the coats were and started kissing, but then he reached down, moved my panties aside and penetrated me, so I guess I’m not a virgin anymore.” Another young woman came to me in tears because her doctor told her that since she has genital warts, she may have trouble conceiving children in the future. She had always assumed she would get married and have a family someday. “And the worst part is,” she wailed, “I’m not even promiscuous. I’ve only had sex with six guys.” This young woman was nineteen when she said this to me.  Continue reading

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Wisdom in the Midst of Confusion

I’m happy to be able to repost the following newsletter article by Pastor Jim Abernathy of the Westwood Baptist Church, Springfield, VA.  I always appreciate Pastor Jim’s writing and this article in particular will make it clear why I look forward to his newsletters.  As a matter of interest, Pastor Jim and I share a common “fanship” for the Kentucky Wildcat basketball team and the Washington Nationals baseball team.  Go Cats and Nats.  RMF

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Navigating the Murky Waters of Human Confusion
By Pastor Jim Abernathy

Pastor Jim Abernathy

Pastor Jim Abernathy

I am often asked to help navigate the murky waters of human confusion. When questions of “why” and “how” are found in the same sentence with the Almighty, I rarely offer an answer that is completely satisfying, either to the one who inquires, or to myself. There is obviously something empowering in the confidence of an indisputable answer, but the complexity of our modern world, and the relationship we share by faith with the Creator God, often positions us in a place of mystery. This doesn’t imply that truth is negotiable nor does it ultimately threaten faith. The writer of the book of Hebrews defines faith as, “…the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.” (Hebrews 11:1, CEB) That’s not exactly the irrefutable endorsement for the certainty we crave, that black and white answer that sets everything in its proper place…or is it?  Continue reading

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A Proper Anger

Here is a blog article by Bob Russell which appeared at: www.bobrussell.org as: A Time for Anger. RMF

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A Time for Anger
By Bob Russell

Many Christian leaders are encouraging believers not to get angry about the moral freefall that is taking place in our nation right now. The general counsel is, “Stay calm. God is in control. The world is acting like the world. Our responsibility is not to judge the world but to love the world. So, be nice. After all, we don’t want to turn people off to the gospel.”

Much of that is true. This is no time for believers to become panicky, hateful or violent. The Scriptures teach us to be “…slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20). Although we’re in a fierce spiritual battle, “…we do not wage war as the world does” (2 Cor. 10:3). We are never to do bodily harm. We are never to destroy someone else’s property. We are not to lose our tempers and attempt to overcome evil with more evil.

Scarsellino - Driving of the Merchants From the Temple

Scarsellino – Driving of the Merchants From the Temple

However, it seems to me that we could use a little (well maybe a lot!) of righteous anger right now. The Bible urges us to, “Be angry and sin not” (Eph. 4:26 KJV). When greedy merchants exploited the temple and prevented genuine worship, the Lord Jesus got angry enough to grab a makeshift whip and cleanse the temple of the excess.

There is an anger that’s appropriate. There is an anger that is motivated by love. A father who doesn’t get angry at a reckless motorist speeding down the street where his children are playing lacks character. Bede Jarrett OP said, “The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn’t angry enough”.  Continue reading

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Lies and Confusion v. Truth

Mutable truth, falsehood, moral relativism – we have it all on display these days.  The ultimate aim seems to be to blur the most fundamental distinction of all, that between good and evil.  I am reminded that Isaiah warned us long ago: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  (Isaiah 5:20)  Here is an article by Sean Fitzpatrick, Headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy, dealing with the issue of the day in the ongoing culture war.  The article appeared at: http://www.crisismagazine.com, a Catholic publication, as: Transeducation: What is Truth?  RMF

Crisis Magazine

Transeducation: What Is Truth?

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Sean Fitzpatrick

Sean Fitzpatrick

Americans are accustomed to mutable truth. Politicians often lie openly. Moral relativism commonly and craftily excuses falsehood. The media regularly and unabashedly fabricates and manipulates according to the agenda du jour—and high on today’s agenda is the issue of transgender normalization. From North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (which legally requires people to use public restrooms according to the gender on their birth certificate) to high-profile state boycotts, to retailers like Target establishing policies that open their bathrooms and fitting rooms according to patrons’ determination, the battle has been strange—and part of the reason for this is that it is a battle for reason itself. It is not simply a duel over bathrooms and gender identity.

People’s comfort is the euphemism in this debate. It is a battle over cultural identity itself. The latest conflict is over the Obama administration’s recent directive to public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice in order to ensure that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.” Though the letter does not carry the force of law, the threat of federal funding loss resonates. The attack on truth is here, and transgenderism is the newest angle in the culture war, and hence its heavy-handed, unconstitutional validation into the environment of education.   Continue reading

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Physics Primer

I love it when someone comes along to help me make sense out of things which I had never rightly considered, or for that matter even considered at all.  Stacy Trasancos is such a person.  She has the marvelous ability to speak truth and understanding into complex areas of science and, as a great bonus, she does so from a Christian perspective.  The following is a sample of her writing which appeared at: www.stacytrasancos.com as: Prescriptive and Descriptive Laws of Physics.  RMF

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Prescriptive and Descriptive Laws of Physics
Stacy A. Trasancos

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If someone asks you what you think of the faith and science dialogue, and the first image that pops into your mind is a tangled puzzle of equations, models, theories, laws, doctrines and dogmas, and you are not quite sure where to begin to sort it all out, then I am about to tell you one simple tip that will help.

Prescriptive and Descriptive

Stacy Trasancos

Stacy Trasancos

We will borrow two words from the late Fr. William R. Stoeger, SJ, who was an astronomer and theologian at the Vatican Observatory Research Group at the Vatican Observatory in Tucson, AZ. Fr. Stoeger made a distinction between “prescriptive” and “descriptive” laws. [1]

The word “prescribe” means to ordain, to decree, to assign, to lay down the laws. As Catholics who view science in the light of faith and profess that God created all things, we understand the laws of chemistry and physics as prescribed by God. They are complete and objective. We can hold that God created a fully interacting totality, a systematic universe.  Continue reading

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