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Saturday Selections – August 28, 2021

God won't give you more than you can handle? (6 min) Tim Barnett explains why the assertion that "God won't give you more than you can handle" isn't biblical, and so, instead of being a comfort, it's a cruel catchphrase. Adult siblings – another reason big families are a blessing "In our recent national conversation about falling fertility rates and who will care for our aging population, the loss of adult siblings is rarely mentioned. But the idea of being with someone as an adult who has known you for your entire existence is both daunting and comforting. " What's wrong with our Church praise music?  "It might be shocking to the reader to hear that much of what is so called praise today in worship is not received by the Lord. God certainly turns his ear away from not just vain repetitions, but also empty hearts due to empty theology. It should be self-evident that our feelings have to arise to something higher than animal instincts to truly praise the Lord." Ten things I learned from the pandemic Here's #4:

"Governments that claim their rule is based on pronouncements will always prefer the quantitative to the qualitative. Bureaucrats and politicians find it easier to aim for goals like 'reduce the number of cases/hospitalizations/deaths (to zero!)' rather than qualitative goals such as 'educate our children in humane ways' or 'allow dying parents to see their children in person' or 'prevent the atrophy of human relationships' or 'promote freedom of religion.'"

Laura Ingalls Wilder in The Big Woke Woods Jonathon Van Maren shares the highs and lows of a recent documentary about the Little House on the Prairie author. You were once this tiny (3 min) This is an astonishing glimpse into the unseen happenings in the womb, following God's creative work from the moment of conception to the full-term wriggling baby ready to be introduced to the world. Be sure to share this one widely (you can also find it on Facebook here).

News

Saturday Selections – Aug 14, 2021

Save the planet by not having kids. What would you say? God says that children are a blessing and when we start with that premise, then we'll stop looking at more children as simply more mouths to feed. Then we'll recognize that we come with hands that can produce, and brains that can solve problems. We reflect our Maker's creativity in that we can even create resources out of refuse. Are people really like crumpled paper?  We should teach our kids not to insult others, but we shouldn't teach them that words will scar them for life. There is such a thing as apologizing, and being forgiven...and, as this article relates, that can even lead to stronger relationships than before. The "noble lies" of COVID-19 In James 5:12. God tells us that we should let our yes be yes and our no be no. What happens when we won't do so can be seen in Americans' response to their country's top health official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has owned up to telling "noble lies." The problem with lies, no matter how well-meaning, is that if you are willing to tell them, people don't have a reason to trust you when it matters. Where did this limit of 1.5°C of warming come from? (5 min/1 hr read) The UNs’ IPCC 2018 Special Report on 1.5°C Warming "expressly stated that it did not complete a cost-benefit analysis of limiting warming to 1.5°C” and only "argued that 2°C warming would have bigger impacts than 1.5°C, but it did not say that the policies to hit the lower target would be worth the cost.” The biblical take: sensible people count the cost (Luke 14:28-32). The link leads to a short 5-minute article, and also a longer 1-hour report. 100 years ago Hitler became leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party The Nazis are sometimes portrayed as having been Christian and capitalist, but they were not nearly. Jordan Peterson with a problem for atheism (6 min) Peterson points out – with the help of Fyodor Dostoevsky – that without God, it isn't reasonable to be moral. Peterson isn't speaking as a Christian here, but even as a quasi agnostic/theist he recognizes you can't have good without God. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Aug 7, 2021

The Genius of Flight (11 min) A close look at birds reveals the Genius behind the design of their feathers, heart, muscles, navigation system, and more. Why so many are so skeptical now This isn't an anti-vaccine post and I note that because some might otherwise conclude it is. It is being shared to help those who are frustrated or in any other way exasperated at fellow pew-sitters who are "vaccine hesitant." If you don't understand why anyone could possibly be so, this will help, and not because it offers any medical insights into the vaccines. This is, instead, about how media and governmental leaders have undermined their own credibility. Draw your own conclusions about the vaccine but patience please with those who differ: their skepticism is not unreasonable. Should the Church "stay in its lane" and stay out of politics? "...every law... based on consequential assumptions about human value, the nature and purpose of sex, what and how children should be raised, the scope of the state, and a million other things. The question is never whether politics will operate from worldview assumptions, but which worldview it will operate from." White House working directly with Facebook to limit the spread of "misinformation" Social media companies are taking it "upon themselves to be the arbitrators of truth" and the problem isn't just that they get it wrong and that they are working with the government to restrict speech, which has been caught lying repeatedly. The real problem is that we the consumers aren't outraged – we still continue to turn to these companies as our main sources for news and information. One alternative? You can find Reformed Perspective on MeWe here. Want to fund a Christian nature series? The folks behind the two Riot and Dance nature documentaries are looking to make a nature TV series now. Find out more – and watch the first half-hour episode about swimming with sharks, for free – at the link above. How can we see distant starlight? (15-min read) If the universe is only roughly 6,000 years young, and it takes millions of years for light to get to us from many stars, then how can we see them? You can read an explanation at the link above (a free chapter from The Creation Answers Book) or if you'd rather watch Dr. Jonathan Sarfati and Dr. Robert Carter discuss it, then check out this 25-minute video. Does the Bible "whisper" about sexual sin? (5 min) What better way to minimize the sinfulness of a sin than to say the Church should remain quiet – or only whisper – about it. This is worth listening to because this tactic is confusing even conservative Christians. ...

News, Pro-life - Abortion

On mandatory vaccines and “My body, my choice”

Don’t we live in strange times? Thousands of people are calling on governments all over the world to mandate vaccines for everyone twelve years old and older. These same people are often the loudest proponents of the principle: "My body, my choice!" How does that make sense? If the argument for allowing women to end the life of their unborn child is based on the false principle that their bodily autonomy trumps all, how can they also argue for the government to mandate the insertion of all kinds of chemicals into one’s body? Shouldn’t it be: my body, my choice? Absolute autonomy – the rule of one’s self – is also the rationale against conversion therapy, and it is the rationale for stripping parental rights in all kinds of areas, but this is probably most damaging when parents want to resist their child’s wishes for sex alignment therapies and surgeries. Because we must let everyone do with their bodies as they wish, without limit, and without any opposing opinions offered. Does it not strike you as extremely ironic, and terribly inconsistent, that the warriors for abortion, conversion therapy bans, and for stripping parental rights – all in the name of autonomy – are the same warriors arguing for mandatory vaccination? (Might this be an irony we can point out, to the benefit of the unborn?) Of course, Christians do not claim, “My body, my choice”, nor do we claim that we are autonomous selves. Rather, we understand that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit; that we belong body and soul to our faithful Saviour. We also know that we have been given stewardship of those bodies, to care for them as best as we know how. That means that while some of us may get vaccinated to God’s glory, others will refuse to do so to God’s glory. Some will argue: "Because my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, I will not get vaccinated" while others: "Because my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, I will get vaccinated." That’s okay. We do not all have to agree. But Christians should be agreed, it seems to me, to be against mandatory vaccinations. We need to have the freedom to act according to our own conscience when it comes to weighing the consequences of receiving, or not receiving, the vaccination; we need freedom to make the best decision in how we serve the Lord with our body. Chris deBoer is the Executive Director of Reformed Perspective Foundation. ...

News

Saturday Selections – July 31, 2021

Unequal results aren't proof of injustice The impartiality that God calls us to is that of equal treatment (Lev. 19:15, Deut 1:16-17, James 2:1-7) not equal outcomes. Parenting should humble you The opening lines of this article are a real kick in the pants: “Mom’s the worst sinner in the family,” my 4-year-old repeated to house guests after our previous gospel conversations about repenting of sin. Apparently. And you know what? There was a time in my life that would have been mortifying. Now, I hear it and think, Yup. Sounds about right. Transgeneria: identifying as a tree The woman said she identified as a tree, and, unbelievably, her doctors thought it was a delusion – they didn't take her claims seriously! Why is it always someone else's fault? The blame game - we all play it. Responding in love (not anger) when your child confesses their porn use "...chances are that your child was already nervous about telling you, and when we react in anger, the usual result is they stop being honest with us when they mess up in the future. It’s important that your reaction be void of anger and full of grace." Why wokeness is a Christian heresy This isn't long, but it's worth reading slowly. Doesn't adaptation prove evolution? (1 min) Does the ability of an animal to adapt to new circumstances disprove that it was designed? Or does it actually show how well it has been crafted? ...

News

Saturday Selections – July 3, 2021

Insects flying in slow motion (6 min) Kids will enjoy this cool video of 11 different bugs taking off, some elegantly, others not so much: it's great fun to see God's creativity on display! A small caution: elsewhere on his YouTube channel the videographer credits this astonishing creativity to evolution rather than God. How to preach against Critical Race Theory (10-minute read) "In this essay, I’d like to encourage pastors to oppose the errors of CRT, but I’ll suggest what might seem like an unusual approach: pastors should consider preaching against CRT without mentioning CRT at all..." How do you move a whole denomination to reaffirm biblical creation? Be inspired by how God used a grandmother to bring her denomination back to a 6-day understanding of creation. God loves LGBT people more than we do "...many professing Christians are tempted to disagree with what the Bible says about homosexuality and LGBTQ issues.....This is because many professing Christians believe they love LGBTQ people more than God does." "You still have to bake the cake, bigot!" Jack Phillips first got in trouble for not baking a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The day he won a Supreme Court decision on that fight, a transgender guy (male, pretending to be female) called him requesting a cake to celebrate his "sex-change." As before, Phillips didn't want to help someone celebrate their own destruction (in this case, the amputation of their genitals) and so he declined. And back to the courts Phillips was forced to go. Now he's written a book, which Jonathon Van Maren reviews here. When inclusivity becomes incoherence The LGBT movement is making "an ever-growing jumble of contradictory claims about sex, gender, and psychology, all of which lacks any uniting principle other than an opposition to what came before." Conservatives in 5 years... "O’Sullivan’s First Law" states: "All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.” Coined by journalist John O'Sullivan in 1989, it described the leftward tilt that we see happen among politicians, parties, and organizations of all sorts whenever they refuse to loudly and clearly establish their conservative bonafides. That same thought is captured in the video below – directed at US Republicans, it is far more broadly applicable. However, while the video is spot on, and O'Sullivan's First Law has proven itself time and again, neither goes deep enough. It is not simply a matter of being right-wing that stops liberal drift – to be rooted a group or an individual needs a firmer foundation than "conservatism." So, let me add an expansion to O'Sullivan, riffing off of Matt. 12:30. Perhaps we can call it O'Dykstra's First Law: "Those who are not unabashedly Christian, will over time – along with the organizations they make up – become unabashedly anti-Christian." God is our only firm foundation, but when we are ashamed in the public square to acknowledge Him as such, then whatever we stand on instead – whether that’s common sense, traditional values, natural law, capitalism, or conservatism – will offer only a sandy footing. It will hold only for a time, before we, unmoored, slide down the slippery slope. Let's remember it doesn't have to be that way. We serve a great God, who is sovereign and mighty and has already won. So why then would we ever be ashamed or afraid to profess His Name? ...

News

Saturday Selections – June 26, 2021

Motorcyclist who identified as a bicyclist sets cycling record (5 min) If the world insists feelings – and not the Father – defines reality, then insanity, and even hilarity, ensues. The burning of the wooden shoes Looking back at how the Christian Reformed Church slid down the slippery slope to liberalism, Chris Gordon issues a warning to other Reformed churches who are focusing on being more culturally relevant. Pro-gay theology invents a new sin This is a short but insightful analysis of textbook Scripture twisting – how clear teaching is muddied and then turned completely around. Confronting misunderstandings about money Jim Newheiser tackles a few common questions including: Is money the root of all evil? Is ministry good and making money bad? Were the early Christians communists or socialists? Is it doubting God to plan for our financial future? How not to debate ideas in the public square Kevin DeYoung offers up 8 ways to discuss things online in the worst way possible. 10 ideas to give your marriage a fresh start There are some good ideas here for couples, whether things are going well right now, or not so. The most effective technology on the planet to block pornography (5 min) That's quite the claim, and Justin Taylor shares the details in that article at the link above, while "Matt" explains it in the video below. ...

News

Saturday Selections - June 19, 2021

Happy Father's Day Rapper Shai Linne pointing his father to our Father. Yes, you can prove God's existence... ....but proof doesn't always persuade. Fatherhood as a vocation in Richard Scarry's The Bunny Book "'What do you want to be when you grow up?' It’s a question we are routinely asked as youngsters, with the more cliché responses ranging from 'fireman' to 'astronaut' to 'explorer.' Yet, as I’ve argued previously, we needn’t limit such contemplations to work outside of the home.... family needn’t be viewed as a 'capstone' to personal achievement, but should instead be seen as a 'cornerstone'" Kids' shows are pushing Pride Month Jonathon Van Maren wants Christians to opt out of a mainstream culture that is explicitly anti-God. But it's harder to opt out when you don't know what to opt into instead. So to help, we've got 243 viewing suggestions here. Canadian gov't to regulate (indirectly) what citizens post online "In its original form, Bill C-10 would not have regulated the speech of ordinary Canadians at all. The bill excluded “programs that are uploaded to… a social media service by a user of the service,” meaning that the CRTC would not have had the power to supervise the content of individual users. However, in April, the heritage committee removed this exception from the bill...." Should singles adopt? Children need a mother and a father, which is why it is selfish for single men and women to, via surrogates or IVF, create a child who will have just one parent. But one parent is infinitely better than none, so for singles considering adoption, rescuing a child is an entirely different thing. A miracle on the frontlines (5 min) While miracles aren't the norm, God will do what God will do. And in frontline ministries, where maybe the need is the greatest, God sometimes makes Himself very evident. ...

News

Erin O'Toole votes against the unborn at his first opportunity

On June 2, Canada’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly to reject restrictions on the murder of unborn baby girls. More specifically, they voted, 248 to 82 against backbench MP Cathay Wagantall’s Private Member’s Bill C-233, which would have made it illegal to abort a baby simply because she is female. The good news? For the first time in more than a decade, Parliament had to debate a bill that would restrict abortion. That got people talking about the unborn, and got their plight some needed public attention. The bill also gave us a public accounting of just how wicked some of our politicians are. This was about as minimally pro-life – as small a step forward – as any pro-life bill could be in that it didn’t necessarily prevent any abortions, but simply ruled out one justification for them: sex-selection. And by protecting unborn girls it also offered as much political cover as any pro-life bill ever could – this was a feminist pro-life bill. Yet 248 still voted against it. These MPs have shown that there is a real depth and commitment to their wickedness. Among those with babies’ blood on their hands are the leaders of the three major parties, including Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole. That he voted against the bill should come as no surprise to anyone since he’s always pledged to support the murder of the unborn as a right. But Christian Heritage Party leader Rod Taylor noted something that was curious: “31 of the 81 Conservatives who supported C-233 also supported the nomination of either Erin O’Toole in 2020, when he ran as a pro-choice (pro-abortion) leadership contestant or Peter Mackay, who was even farther left. When I look at the list of MPs who endorsed O’Toole or Mackay over pro-life MP Derek Sloan, it makes me wonder how they expected that the election of a leader who was actively promoting an anti-life position could ever lead to a good result in the House of Commons. As it is, any likelihood of the weakened and conflicted Conservative Party achieving victory in the next election has vanished. Compromise in the leadership contest in 2020 has guaranteed compromise on moral issues in 2021.”...

News

Saturday Selections - May 22, 2021

When the Pilgrims first landed, how many jobs were there? And how much work? (3 min) The answer is to these two questions are, there were no jobs, but lots of work. There were no employers to hire them, but the Pilgrims could see there was a lot they could productively set their hands to. Christian college president Ben Merkle explains that students who look to university only as a way of getting a job are missing the bigger picture - they should be looking for what work needs to be done. Two opposing types of "justice" (10-minute read) Thomas Sowell contrasts the traditional ideas of justice – where the ideal is to treat everyone equally – with "cosmic" or "social" justice, which is more concerned with equality of situations or outcomes. Sowell takes a Jordan Peterson-type role here, defending the biblical standard of justice, not really as a Christian (maybe he is one, but that's not how he is arguing here), but more as an appreciative outsider. 4 defining moments for young marriages "How newlyweds respond to these moments determines whether they stumble along separately or move forward together." Does democracy need Christianity? (5-minute read) "Democracy is not an ideology. It is a process through which a community gives expression to a vision. If our community is dazed and confused, then democracy will create chaos. "By all means Christians should engage in the democratic process but perhaps their first responsibility and their first desire should be to speak their faith loudly and clearly, live by and help many others to live by the truths and values which their faith embodies." On online privacy, Google, and you being their product You'd expect this article to be biased, as it is from a Google competitor (Duck Duck Go), but there's useful information here on why and how you would want to protect your online privacy. Free film: Does it matter what we believe about Genesis? (20 minutes) In this short film we get to see a man live out his life, from childhood all the way to his deathbed, but in three different ways: first we see him as an atheist who thinks the whole Bible is lies, second as a Christian who thinks only some of the Bible is true, and third as a Christian who understands that all of what God tells in the Bible is true and valuable. While the point here is that there is a strong connection between our beliefs – whether we follow God's truth or the world's lies – and the outcome of our lives, this isn't about earning God's blessings – this isn't the prosperity gospel. It is, instead, about taking seriously what God tells us in the Bible, and having His expressed Word be the guide for our lives.  ...

News

Saturday Selections – May 15, 2021

I forgot my phone (2 min) Seven years old, and still worth sharing: how our phones get in the way. Looking at the RC Sproul biography Wes Bredenhof with his kudos (and a little critique) for the new biography. Making suicide easier makes suicide more "popular" Some people who wouldn't otherwise commit suicide, will when it becomes easier to do. $10 million prize exposes what evolution can't do A $10 million prize is being offered to anyone who can show how an unguided, undesigned process (i.e. chemical evolution) could create an information system. The prize will never be claimed because: "information, like what is stored and communicated in DNA, has only one known source – an intelligent agent. To produce a system like DNA through unguided processes would not only be to do something that’s never been done; it would be to do something never before observed in the history of science." How Facebook lets advertisers be two-faced Exxon has been caught tailoring Facebook ads to people's political sensibilities, saying one thing to Left-leaning folk, and offering a different, almost opposite position, to those on the Right. The lesson? Getting it straight from the horse's mouth is a different sort of thing in a social media age where your collected information lets companies know, before they reach out to you, what you would like them to say. Should Christians always obey the law? Some solid help offered here, even if it might not offer complete clarity... ...

News

Saturday Selections – May 8, 2021

Moms rock! (6 min) An ode, of sorts, to moms everywhere. <span data-mce-type="bookmark" style="display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;" class="mce_SELRES_start"></span> My 3-year-old son is now a girl (4 min) This is some jaw-dropping, hind-quarters-kicking, satire. While these folks are politically conservative (libertarian?) they don't seem Christian. That means, as brilliant as this is in pointing out the craziness, they can't get to the root of it: that in rejecting God, the world is rejecting not just male and female, not just parental authority, but reality itself. This skit isn't on the creator's public YouTube page, presumably because they'd get in trouble for it. But you can view it at the link above on Facebook, and here on their unlisted YouTube page. Free John Piper booklet: Don't waste your cancer A frequent RP contributor, Dr. Wes Bredenhof, recommends this 18-page, free e-book, as being "helpful for anyone dealing with cancer or any other serious life-threatening (or even chronic) illness." How secure is your password?  The linked-to graphic makes the disturbing claim that if you have an 8 character password, even if it is different cases and a mix of numbers, symbols, and letters, it can still be hacked in 8 hours. More disturbing: the graphic is from September 2020, and presumably hackers are only getting faster... Finnish politician facing jail for defending the biblical view of homosexuality Jonathon Van Maren interviews Päivi Räsänen about the charges laid against her. Multiverse myth frees atheists from real science If you have to admit the odds are incomprehensibly stacked against our universe being as finely tuned for life as it is, it isn't an evolutionary save to, on the basis of no evidence, propose there must be countless other universes out there - a multiverse of them - so as to even out those incomprehensible odds. Mark Penninga on the start of ARPA Canada (18 min) The Pro-life Podcast Guys interview ARPA Canada's executive director, Mark Penninga. ...

News

Saturday Selections - May 1, 2021

Metamorphosis (5 min) Something new from Tim Nijenhuis based on Col. 3:1-17... Mosquitos are wonderfully and fearfully made? We might not like how they bite, but they do reflect the brilliance of their Designer! Pixar to introduce first transgender character Your kid's favorite superheroes, movies, TV programs, and book characters are being used to push an agenda on them. Baptism: a personal journey (10-minute read)  Pastor David Robertson, on his journey from a believer's baptism-holding Brethern and then Baptist, to an infant baptism-holding Presbyterian. In California, hundreds of men are transferring to women's prisons This is a sad opportunity for Christians to contrast God's Truth – that He made us male and female – with where the world takes us when we reject His Truth. Tennis trick shots by Mansour Bahrami (8 min) You don't have to be a tennis fan to enjoy this! ...

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