Archive for December 2, 2011

Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 1 Peter 5:8

I’m not a pastor who is constantly looking for Satan behind everything that goes wrong. I concentrate my attention on Jesus and encouraging others to follow Jesus and not to focus on the defeated one. Yet, I’m fully aware that Satan loves to destroy…or attempt to destroy…a church. Obviously Satan is a limited being and God’s church is secure. The gates of hell shall never overcome what God started, but Satan certainly loves to disrupt what God’s church is doing.

Here are 7 way Satan tries to destroy a church:

Church conflict – Satan loves business meetings that get out of hand or when two church members have disagreements outside of church. He loves when church members argue about trivial things, such as colors of the carpet or big things, such as whether to add another service. Doesn’t matter to him. Show him a good argument potential and he’s willing to stir the fire.

Burnout – Satan loves to burn out a church volunteer, staff member, or pastor. If he can make them feel they are no longer needed, their work is not appreciated, or that they no longer have anything to offer…he feels he’s winning part of the battle.

Rumors – Satan is the stirrer of dissension. He likes to plant little seeds of a juicy story, about someone in the church or community…sometimes even the pastor or staff…and watch them quickly spread through a church congregation or community. The version, of course, usually grows to a larger portion than reality. Satan likes that too.

Busyness – Satan loves to distract church goers with a plethora of activity that produces little results in Kingdom-building.

Lies – Satan attempts to interject what he calls a “half-truth”; just a hint of false doctrine and then watch it disrupt or divide a body. Of course, we all know that half-truth is really just a cleaned up version of a bold face lie, but Satan is clever enough to disguise a lie in a way where false teachers gain entry and do damage before being discovered.

Scandal – Satan loves a good, juicy, gossipy news headline in the local paper. If it will split, divide or destroy a church body…even better. If it will destroy someone’s Kingdom calling or work…he’ll take that too.

Marriage and family disruptions – Satan loves to destroy any relationship, but he also goes after key leader’s marriages; even the pastor’s marriage. He likes to encourage prodigal children. He wants to cause families to fight within the church and fight with the church. Satan knows if he can destroy a home, he has a better chance of destroying a church.

Thankfully, there is good news:

You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

What other ways have you seen Satan try to destroy a church?

A Love That Never Fails · Max Lucado.

Never Too Busy

Posted: December 2, 2011 in Our Daily Bread

Never Too Busy.

And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Today, we encounter the so-called “Second Word of Jesus” from the cross. It is one of the most astounding, unsettling, and encouraging verses in all of Scripture. Even as it energizes theological debate, the “Second Word” fills us with hope.

Jesus was crucified between two criminals. (The Greek of Luke 23:32 identifies them as kakourgoi, literally, “workers of evil.”) When the leaders who crucified Jesus mocked him as a failed messiah, one of the criminals joined in: “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” (23:39).

But the other criminal did not follow suit. Rather, he objected, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong” (23:40-41). Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom” (23:42).

Jesus responded to him with a stunning word of grace and promise: “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise” (23:43). The word paradise, from the Greek word paradeisos, which meant “garden,” was used in the Greek Old Testament as a word for the Garden of Eden. In Judaism of the time of Jesus, it was associated with heaven, and also with the future when God would restore all things to the perfection of the Garden. Paradise was sometimes thought to be the place where righteous people went after death. This seems to be the way Jesus uses paradise in this passage.

As you can imagine, the second word of Jesus has perplexed theologians for centuries. The criminal shows at most a half-mustard-seed’s bit of faith in Jesus. Yet, to the desperate thief who cries out to be remembered, Jesus offers a word of confident hope. “You will be with me in paradise.”

There are other times and places to figure out the theological implications of this statement.

Today, I want to underscore the extraordinary grace of God in Christ. We don’t have to pray perfect prayers for God to respond to us with favor. We don’t even have to have right theology or selfless motivation. Rather, when we call out with a mere speck of faith, God’s grace is poured out upon us in abundance.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you need to cry out to God today? What helps you to do this? What holds you back?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, how I thank you for your amazing grace. I cannot begin to fathom it. How glad I am that I don’t have to in order to receive it.

Thank you, Lord, for hearing me when I cry out to you for mercy. Thank you for remembering me, even when I forget you. Thank you for the promise of being with you in paradise. Thank you for being with me right now, through your Spirit. Amen.

P.S. from Mark: I have written a series of devotions on the Seven Last Words of Christ. They are intended for Holy Week, but are just as useful in Advent. These devotions include some of my wife’s marvelous watercolor paintings of the Stations of the Cross.

P.P.S. from Mark: I have put up on my blog some photos of the places where Christians believe Jesus was crucified. There are two primary locations in Jerusalem that are held to be the actual place of the crucifixion. You can see both of these in my collection of photos of Jerusalem.

Marked by Christly Fragrance

I also long in the tender mercies of Christ that among us there may be the following: . . . 7. A presence of Christ that is as the fragrance of myrrh and aloes. When you become accustomed to the smell of His garments you will be spoiled for anything less. If we never smell the myrrh and aloes out of the ivory palaces, we may go along a lifetime and not miss it. But one beautiful whiff of the fragrance of these garments and we will never be satisfied with anything less. When my wife and I were first married we attended a church of The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Akron, Ohio. There was something on that church, a sense of the fragrance of God. The great Dr. Gerow preached there in those days. The church had some sweet Christian brethren, some wonderful men and women of God, and there was a fragrance on that place. I have never forgotten it. I was between 19 and 21 for the three years I spent in that church, and I do not remember getting help from others of my age. But how I remember getting help that is with me to this day from the older saints whose garments were fragrant with the myrrh, aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces!


Posted: December 2, 2011 in Oswald Chambers


The Daily Spurgeon: Attentive Discipleship.

Editor’s note: This is Part II in a series. Part I can be found here.

As outrageous as it is to hear about the new sex-ed curriculum for New York City schools, beginning with middle schools, there are some school districts for which the program does not start early enough. And so, in June, 2010 the Provincetown, Massachusetts school board voted unanimously to begin distributing condoms to elementary school children upon the student’s request, beginning in first grade and without parental knowledge or consent. (What possible use could a 6-year-old have for a condom?)

After a public outcry, the district agreed to consider restricting condom distribution to grades five and up, meaning, to kids as young as 10. According to the official policy, “the school nurse is to give counseling and abstinence information to a student prior to handing out the condom,” although without parental knowledge or consent.

Is this so far removed from my fictitious account of a school handling out needles to kids shooting drugs (see the beginning of Part 1)?

As for the question of criminality, the age of consent in Massachusetts is 16 (under certain circumstances, it is 18), and in answer to the question posed by a 16 year-old boy who was having sex with his 13 year-old girl girlfriend, the website explained that, “Any sexual conduct with a child age 13 [is] a very serious matter in Massechusetts [sic] whether you are a minor or an adult” (their emphasis).

Doesn’t that mean that this school’s condom distribution is contributing to criminal behavior, not to mention to dangerous and harmful behavior? How can this be allowed?

In a recent article for American Thinker, family activist Linda Harvey notes “that America as a whole is still horrified by child sexual abuse” yet she points to books recommended by GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, better named the Gay, Lesbian, Sex Education Network) that recount the sexual experiences of boys as young as 13 with men more than twice their age. How is this not criminal?

Think about it. We are rightly outraged when we hear of the alleged acts of child rape by trusted adults (such as Jerry Sandusky at Penn State), but is there not a rape of a different kind – at the least, an assault on innocence – when schools show virtually pornographic movies in sex-ed classes or conduct lessons in which girls put condoms on boys’ fingers? (For a shocking report, see this article by Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Policy Institute.) And in the countless cases where these kids are anything but innocent, at the least, these schools are condoning, if not actually encouraging immorality.

One mother posted this on my Facebook page: “I visited the sex-ed teacher at the high school our children were going to attend in 1992. I had heard stories about some of her techniques and was very concerned. When I asked her about modesty, she told me that is something she tries to get the kids over as quick as possible. My daughter brought home the curriculum from the class and I was appalled. There were several pages of vocabulary they would have to know, including every perversion I had ever heard of and some that I never heard of. The definition they had for virgin was someone who had never had the opportunity to have sex. The list included polygamy but not monogamy. It even said that sometimes it is beneficial for a marriage if there is an affair.” And that was back in 1992.

On November 30th, a high school teacher from New York City called into my radio show, wanting me to know that things were far worse in the schools than I could imagine, from the way the kids dress and act to the fact that many of them spend far more time playing terribly violent (and often sexually charged) video games than reading books.

He also told me that in his school, there is a table in the hallway with condoms and lubricants. The students can take them freely, as desired. (Does this surprise you?) The other day, a student put a pile of Gideon’s Bibles on the table, also for the students to take freely. As a result, there was outrage in the school – outrage over the presence of the Bibles, not the presence of the condoms.

Is it an exaggeration to say that we need a massive moral and cultural revolution?

During that same broadcast, I received another called from a man in New York City who was involved in teaching sex education to high school students. As part of the program, he tells these students which condoms work best, among other things.

When I asked him, “Then shouldn’t you also teach the kids about responsible drug use and give out clean needles to intravenous drug users?” he responded, “Yes, we also teach about them drug use as well as where they go for clean needle exchanges.”

It looks like my fictitious scenario was not so fictitious after all.

We need a revolution.


Tags:                 Culture            ,                                    Family Values            ,                                    Morality            ,                                    Education            ,                                    Sex Ed
Michael Brown

Michael Brown

Michael Brown is host of the daily, syndicated talk radio show, The Line of Fire, and author of A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been.

Did you hear about New York City’s comprehensive drug education program for all students in middle school and high school? The teachers inform the students that abstaining from drug use is best, but since it’s impossible to stop them from doing drugs, the teachers give out cards that list the most common drugs, explaining which are the most dangerous. They also distribute needles to kids who are involved in shooting drugs to help them avoid getting contaminated needles, thereby reducing their chances of contracting or passing on communicable diseases.

You haven’t heard about this? It sounds almost criminal to you? Well, the truth be told, I made it all up, but I did so to illustrate a point, namely, that much of the current sex-ed curricula in our schools borders on being criminal and, in many ways, it is just as irresponsible as my fictitious scenario.

Consider what’s happening in some of our nation’s schools.

In October of this year, New York City announced an aggressive, comprehensive, and quite graphic curriculum that would consist of one full semester of sex education in 6th or 7th grade (meaning, beginning with kids as young as 11) and again in 9th and 10th grade. Yet the age of consent in New York is 17.

This means that these schools (along with thousands of other schools throughout the nation) are giving kids practical instructions on having sex even though it is illegal for them to do so. (If my suggested drug analogy doesn’t work for you, then think in terms of the schools teaching 12 year-olds about responsible drinking of alcohol, since later in life, it will be legal for them but to do so at their current age is currently illegal.)

It can even be argued that, on some level, these schools fail to do everything in their power to prevent statutory rape, since in New York, it is “second-degree rape for anyone age 18 or older to engage in sexual intercourse with someone under age 15,” and that is certainly what is happening with many of these kids. Either way, the activities are illicit, be they consensual acts between 13 year-olds or consensual acts between an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old.

How, then, can the schools teach anything other than abstinence? Why are they teaching our children about “safe sex”?

A New York health department report in 2005 revealed that 1 in 10 kids reported having sex before the age of 13. As shocking as that statistic is, it also means that 90% of these kids did not have sex before that age. Why introduce them to all these sexually-charged (and often sexually titillating issues)?

I am fully aware that many of these kids are anything but “innocent,” being exposed to sexual issues a hundred different ways every single day, among their peers, through the media, and online. But I have no doubt that many of our schools could do a much better job of pointing them towards morality more than encouraging then to have “safe sex.” (If you say that the schools have no business teaching our kids morality, then why are they teaching them immorality, or at the least, condoning immorality?)

Returning to the new curriculum being introduced in New York City, the New York Post reported that some of the workbooks include these assignments (as you read this, ask yourself if this will encourage or discourage teen and pre-teen sex; what follows is extremely graphic, even for adults):

High-school students go to stores and jot down condom brands, prices and features such as lubrication.

Teens research a route from school to a clinic that provides birth control and STD tests, and write down its confidentiality policy.

Kids ages 11 and 12 sort “risk cards” to rate the safety of various activities, including “intercourse using a condom and an oil-based lubricant,’’ mutual masturbation, French kissing, oral sex and anal sex.

Teens are referred to resources such as Columbia University’s Web site Go Ask Alice, which explores topics like “doggie-style” and other positions, “sadomasochistic sex play,” phone sex, oral sex with braces, fetishes, porn stars, vibrators and bestiality.

Is it any comfort to parents that the Department of Education still encourages abstinence as the best choice? As noted by child and adolescent psychiatrist Miriam Grossman, “Kids are being told to either abstain or use condoms — that both are responsible, healthy choices.” She also notes “that the [text]books minimize the dangers that pregnancy can still occur with condom use, and that viruses such as herpes and HPV live on body parts not covered by a condom.”

According to a staggering report released by the Centers for Disease Control in 2008, at least one in four teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease, which means that, at best, the schools are teaching the students how to have less risky sex, similar to playing Russian roulette with fewer bullets.

Are we just going to sit idly by?

(Part Two of this article will follow shortly.)


Tags:                 Education and Schools            ,                                    Innocence            ,                                    Sexual Revolution            ,                                    children            ,                                    Education
Michael Brown

Michael Brown

Michael Brown is host of the daily, syndicated talk radio show, The Line of Fire, and author of A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been.

Miley Cyrus, Occupier Poster Girl

Posted: December 2, 2011 in

She’s perfect. Miley Cyrus, Hollywood’s perpetually half-dressed wild child with an insatiable appetite for attention, jumped in front of the Occupy Wall Street bandwagon this week. The young Disney mogul unveiled a YouTube anthem hailing the aimless, anti-capitalist protesters. Smells like opportunistic teen queen spirit.


Like so much of the warmed-over, Big Labor-underwritten Occupy movement, Miley’s musical tribute to its foot soldiers is a worn-out derivative remix. She took “Liberty Walk,” a year-old single; spliced in video footage of union marchers carrying carbon-copy “TAKE BACK OUR DEMOCRACY” signs; tossed in random scenes of global discontent from London to China to San Diego to Salem, Oregon; slapped on a treacly dedication to “the thousands of people who are standing up for what they believe in” (like, whatever that is); stirred; auto-tuned; and released:

“Sayin’ goodbye to the people who tied you up/ It’s a liberty walk, walk/ Feelin’ your heart again/ Breathin’ new oxygen/ It’s a liberty walk, walk/ Free yourself, slam the door, not a prisoner anymore!”

Somehow, all the Occupier outbreaks of lice, public defecation, property destruction and rape got left on the cutting room floor.

Hipsters are horrified by the Hollywood hijacking. To borrow a favorite Occupier phrase, they rained “downtwinkles” on the starlet. One Occupy activist prominently distanced herself from Hannah Montana, Teen Revolutionary, and issued a challenge. Priscilla Grim, an Occupy flack, told the website TMZ that while Miley’s music video “‘rocks’ in spirit … she doubts the singer has the guts to actually hit the streets.” Grim dared “Ms. Cyrus” to “fight on the front line of economic civil rights” and join the agitators at Los Angeles City Hall.

Will Miley put her Louboutins where her vocal cords are? With an estimated net worth of $120 million, the radical chic poseur is no dummy. While her video stokes anti-police hostility and anti-bank rage, she and her managers can safely raise their figurative fists with one hand while inking new corporate deals with the other.

One YouTube commenter decried Tinseltown’s “cynical ploy”:

“This is disgusting. Another celebrity cashing in on the Occupy movement for their own profit. First (rapper) Jay-Z selling T-shirts and giving no money to the movement and now this. It might be different if she was giving all the profits from this song to the movement, but she’s keeping all of it for herself. I am an active member of Occupy — and on behalf of the movement I would like to say f**k you Miley Cyrus and f**k you Jay-Z. You are blood-sucking scum!”

That’s just a bit harsh. After all, diehard Occupiers themselves are hawking photos, documentaries and all manner of assorted swag from one coast to the other, while live-streaming their nocturnal, police-obstructing parties over corporate airwaves. They’ve opened bank accounts with the same companies their masked peers have vandalized. Their union elders are cutting deals with the same retailers they besieged on Black Friday.

In so many ways, Miley and the Occu-mob are a match made in heaven. Vacuous. Hypocritical. Entitled. Vain. Nihilist. Exhibitionist. Coddled. Forever adolescent, treating life like an endless “Party in the U.S.A.,” and demanding that everyone else pay for it.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is




Tags:                 Hollywood            ,                                    Media and Culture            ,                                    Occupy Wall Street            ,                                    Miley Cyrus
Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2010).