These editorials may be used without permission. Please email us if you use them so we can share on our social networks.

War with the Saints

Author, pastor and counselor, Bruce S. Campbell received his Master’s of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. His latest novel and companion study guide, The Beginning: Prelude to the Apocalypse, discuss many of the paradoxes of the Christian faith. In 2009, Bruce and his wife, Jill, founded The Secret Place to counsel ministers who are struggling in sin or need to be renewed in their faith journey. For more information, visit

          7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. Rev. 13:7 (NKJV)

            Most evangelical Christians believe the world is headed quickly to its end.  There have been many books and movies depicting possible scenarios of how it might all play out.  We have seen many Hollywood versions of demons and angels fighting for power and dominion at the end of the age.  Most depictions I’ve seen don’t seem to take God’s word into account.   We don’t really know how it will all work out, but we are assured that God ultimately wins.
            In spite of the ultimate victory, we are told in Revelation 13:7 that the saints will be overcome by the beast. And Daniel 12:7 tells us that “when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.”  It is not an easy reality to be told you will be overcome.  In everyday life, I see the war on the saints as having already begun.  In fact, it has been going on for a long time.  The war is being waged for the hearts and minds of men, women, and children everywhere.  I see it daily in counseling sessions of Christians whose lives have been overcome by the evil one.
            To make matters worse, the saints that are being defeated often don’t even know they are in a war. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor. 10:2-5 (NKJV).  We do not know what the final war will look like as described in Rev.13:7. But, if we open our eyes, we can fight the war we are in right now.  I am talking about the war over fear, guilt, selfishness, unforgiveness, apathy, disappointment, lust, fornication, homosexuality and the like. 
            Recently, my wife and I were dealing with a single woman that was suicidal.  She had taken out a life insurance policy to leave money to her children and began to make plans to stop her pain and her life.  Fortunately, God intervened in her plans and we were able to speak life back into her soul.  She had been defeated in her heart and had been overcome by the evil one.  In counseling with her, we discovered that she wanted a husband and began to resent God for not giving her what she wanted.  She was jealous of other women and relationships, and began to feel rejected and felt angry at God.  She felt that because she was a Christian, she was entitled to get all of her wants met.  She began to compromise in dating and then felt the disappointment of the inevitable failures.  The disappointment led to emotional pain, depression, and finally to suicide as the only way out.
            The defeat of this single Christian woman is indicative of the war on all saints.   We must put to death the desires of our flesh.  When we listen to the voices of selfish entitlement and envy what others seem to have, we become prey for the evil one.  If we could learn to be satisfied in Christ alone, we would not be filled with disappointment.  If we didn’t covet after other’s things, we would never feel cheated for not having them.  Even though God intervened in this woman’s life and she is healing, I wonder how many other people go on being defeated in the hidden war of the heart.  We should learn to fight against our own selfishness by yielding to God through simple trust.  This is how we win our war!
            Jesus said that he who sins is servant of sin (Jn. 8:34).  In other words, if we turn in our hearts away from God we can come under the power of Satan.  It has nothing to do with our salvation, but does have everything to do with our quality of life. Satan went to God and requested to sift Peter.  Peter was full of pride and arrogance and the devil knew it.  31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." 33 But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death." 34 Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me." Luke 22:31-34 (NKJV).  The book of Revelation chapter 12 declares that Satan stands before God day and night accusing the brethren.
            Why does God allow us to be tempted?  For one thing, it tests our faith and helps us to see areas of weakness in our lives.  His motive is to bring us to maturity.  It is His desire to bless us, not only in this age, but also the age to come.  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4 (NKJV). Even Christians will be under the attack of Satan if they sin.  Paul gives many examples of this in Scripture.  Paul acknowledges that some Christians in Corinth are sick and have fallen asleep (passed away) for drunkenness and sin at the Lord’s Supper. (1 Cor. 11:20-32).  Sin will not take away your salvation, but it will give authority to Satan.
            The trouble is in misunderstanding the temporal and eternal law.  The law still exists in the temporal until all things are fulfilled.  Jesus said it like this: "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matt 5:17-19 (NKJV).There is much confusion over passages like this because people want to make it about salvation.  It is not about salvation, but is about reward.  Our sin as Christians not only gives power to Satan in this age, but also affects our reward in the next age.  When I hear a Christian spout off that they are not under the law, I ask, “Which one are you not under?  Perhaps you are not under the law of murder, or adultery or false witness?  Can you violate any of these laws with no consequences?”
            The law has not passed away in our temporal existence.  Even rejecting the Old Testament covenant laws still has some consequences.  For instance, Leviticus 11 talks about how touching a dead carcass causes a person to be unclean.  The law commanded people to wash and even break dishes and throw them away where defiled by carcasses.  Now if you should happen to handle a dead carcass, you could say, “I’m free from the law!” and not wash your hands, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  The reason God gave the law is still in affect regardless of our obedience to its commands. God wants obedience from the heart as a matter of trust.
            We should focus on the motives of our hearts, and get rid of everything that isn’t motivated by the spirit of love.  All works that come from love are acceptable to God.  When love is our motivator we are being motivated by His spirit.  His Spirit in us produces works of righteousness.  Each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 1 Cor. 3:13-17 (NKJV). It is not that we are endlessly trying to obey every detail of the law, but rather that we allow the Holy Spirit to live through us.  The Spirit produces life in us. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Gal 5:22-23 (NKJV)
            The only way we can win this war on the saints is by submission to the Spirit of God.  56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 1 Cor. 15:56 (NLT).  We only come under the power of sin if we yield to it.  Satan must have legal grounds in order to present a cause before the great judge in heaven.  Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.  Rev 12:10-11 (NKJV). The Holy Spirit of Christ (represented as blood) that was in them was the power to overcome the devil.   The saints overcame the devil because they didn’t have selfish love ruling their hearts.  They were yielded to the selfless, sacrificial love of Christ, regardless of the cost to themselves.

Ten ways evolution distorts the Bible and undermines Christianity

By Bruce Malone

Prior to founding Search for the Truth Publications, Bruce Malone was a as a research leader for Dow Chemical for 27 years and holds 17 patents.  He lectures frequently on the subject of creation and biblical history, and has spoken over 600 times in 12 countries. His company has given away over 50,000 books to students and prisoners.  For more information, visit

There is much effort by well-meaning Christians to blend the belief in evolution with Christianity in order to make both the Bible and Christianity “more credible” to the world.  Well-funded organizations such as BioLogos, and superficial fluff articles such as “10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew about the Creation vs. Evolution Debate” by Michael Lehmann on, are working hard to convince Christians that evolution and the Bible blend seamlessly.  Yet the exact opposite is true.

1. Evolution is NOT a fact of science
First let’s define our terms.  “Evolution” can mean change and biological variation due to the genetic variability built into the DNA coding of any given type of creature.  This type of “evolution” is a biological fact which no-one disputes.  When evolution believers state that evolution is as strongly supported by a “vast body of evidence” as the law of gravity, they are referring to change within a kind.  Yet the same word, “evolution” is then used to support the belief that bacteria have turned into people.  This has never been proven and there is a “vast body of evidence” showing that it is a scientifically impossibility.  Furthermore, using the same word to mean two completely different things is both deceptive and dishonest.

2. The Bible claims to be God’s divine revelation to man and starts with an account of creation.
God goes out of his way to make important and relevant facts crystal clear.  Ten times in the first chapter of the Bible it states that different kinds of creatures reproduce “after their own kind”.  This does not exclude variation within a kind, but clearly means that fish stay fish, cattle stay cattle, trees stay trees, birds stay birds, etc…  This forms the very foundation for understanding biology, and if denied, biology is going to be misinterpreted because the only alternate explanation is that one kind of creature turned into a completely different body structure.  Yet this has never been demonstrated by either the fossil record or any known observation.

3. If the Bible cannot be trusted at the beginning, when does it start meaning what it says?
The Bible describes the creation of the universe in six days.  Every time a numeral or the words “morning/evening” are used with the word “day,” it means a normal literal day.  Furthermore, Exodus 20:11 states that, “In six days God made the Heavens and the Earth…”.  This statement is part of the Ten Commandments and was written by the very hand of God.   If this does not mean what it says, why believe the commandment?   For that matter, who gets to decide when we should start believing what the Bible actually says vs. making it mean whatever we want it to mean?  The entire book rapidly becomes very fluid and any basis it provides for morality, history, and reality becomes blurred.  

Furthermore, the vast majority of scientific methods for measuring the age of the Earth support its recent creation and there is no valid scientific reason to not accept what God’s Word says about the recent creation of the Earth and life upon Earth.

4. Every modern culture which accepts evolution as a fact, Biblical Christianity declines
Almost every country in Europe came from a strong (albeit often distorted) Christian heritage.  It has only been in the last 200 years that the belief in God’s Word as a clear straightforward document has become questioned.  And not coincidentally, as molecules-to-man evolution has become accepted by the masses at large, the belief in Christianity ALWAYS falls away.  Church-attending, Bible-believing Christians have fallen from over 60% in all European countries to under 5% in the same time period as evolution as become accepted as a fact in these same countries.  To miss this correlation is pure blindness.  The same trend is under way in America.

5. The Bible’s account of creation is NOT filled with inconsistencies
BioLogos (and others out to justify their belief in macroevolution) promote misinformation about Genesis with the ultimate result of undermining trust in God’s Word.    There are not two stories of creation in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 but an overview in chapter 1 and an amplification of the most important event (the creation of mankind) in chapter 2.  This is a common practice in Hebrew writing.  

Genesis 1:7 states that God divided the waters under the “firmament” from the waters above the “firmament”.  One meaning of this Hebrew word “firmament” is “dome.” Thus skeptics have stated that the Bible teaches that the sky is a “solid dome.”  The Bible does not teach a solid dome was created over the Earth, but uses understandable language just as a weatherman referring to “the rising of the sun” is not denying that the Earth rotates but is simply using common, understandable language. 

Pointing out these tiny misunderstood issues while denying that the specific, crystal-clear text means what it actually says about the big issues of history (the creation of separate forms of life in six literal days, the entrance of death into creation because of mankind’s actions, and the real world-restructuring flood as a primary cause of the Earth’s geology) is like focusing on the bark of a single tree in order to deny that there is an entire forest in your face.

6. If Evolution is true, then God is the “Author of Death”
Evolution required millions of years of death, disease, bloodshed, and extinction to explain the development of life without God.  This is the exact opposite of the God described in the Bible who declared all of creation not just “good”, but “VERY GOOD”, after the creation of mankind.  It was mankind’s rebellion against God which brought death into all of creation so that we would not live forever separated from our Creator.  Where does this fact fit into an evolutionary scenario of history?

7. The fossil record is the result of a real, factual, historic globe-covering flood
Genesis chapters 6-9 spends more time talking about a world covering flood than the creation of the entire universe, “…all the high mountains, UNDER HEAVEN were covered…” (Genesis 7:19).  This event has enormous geological consequences and would have formed the sedimentary rock layers of the Earth, filled with dead plants and animals (which subsequently turned to fossils and coal seams), recently and rapidly.  If the flood is denied, then these rock layers and fossils have to be explained some other way and they will be misinterpreted.  

The flood would have included enormous volcanism and cloud cover, rapid land movement which created new ocean floors and pushed up the current mountain ranges of the Earth after the flood, and guaranteed an enormous Ice Age following the flood as warmer ocean water evaporated and condensed as snow for centuries following this event.  Even Mt. Everest is covered with sedimentary rock (formed under water) and has sea shells at its peak.  Did these sea creatures crawl up there?  By denying the flood and accepting macroevolution as a fact, the cause of all these Earth features and the timing of the Ice Age will be misinterpreted.

8. Every culture of the world has a remembrance of this flood.
Over 250 global flood accounts have been collected from essentially every ancient culture of the world.  This is because all cultures of the world spread out after this event from 4350 years ago.  They would have taken with them a remembrance of this event which would have become more distorted with time.  This is exactly what we find in cultures throughout the world.  Highly advanced, civilization-exploding cultures appeared around the world, fully formed and fully functional, only 4000 years ago.  

Often repeated dates placing cultures such as the Egyptians and Chinese older than 4000 years are the result of misplacing the Ice Age, misinterpreting fragmented ancient documents, or misunderstanding the assumptions of carbon-14 dating.

9. Mankind has lived with, and has knowledge of, dinosaurs
The word “dinosaur” was not even coined until 1841.  Before that time these creatures were commonly referred to as dragons.  Their fossilized bones are found in flood sediment but they would have survived the flood along with other animals taken on the ark and exact depictions of these creatures can be found in ancient cultures (which arose after the flood) in cave drawings, burial stones, and literature.  They are frequently referred to in the Bible but under a variety of different names since the word “dinosaur” had not yet been invented.  Job 40:15-24 describes an enormous creature with a tail like a cedar tree.   This could be neither an elephant nor a hippo.  Furthermore, many dinosaurs have been found with undecayed tissue remaining within their bones.  This is a scientific impossibility if these creatures were buried 60 – 200 million years ago but makes perfect sense if they were buried during Noah’s flood only 4350 years ago.

10. Neither majority nor authority determine truth
As Christians, we are to accept God’s Word as truth, yet the vast majority of experts and scientific authorities claim that they are right and the Bible is wrong.  The truth exists whether it is believed or not and neither scientific consensus nor human authority determines truth.  But how can so many intelligent people believe in molecules to man evolution if it is not true?  Dr. William James (commonly known as the “Father of Modern Psychology”) made the following observation, “Nothing is too absurd to be believed - if it is repeated often enough.”  

Millions of years and the evolutionary story of life’s development is the ONLY explanation for life shown to students within our schools and museums.  Thus generation after generation has become blind to any other possibility and evolution becomes the “fact” through which they view history. Even God’s Word eventually needs to be distorted to fit this belief system, and that is exactly what BioLogos and other compromising Christians are unwittingly doing.

Life Not Typical: Dealing with Sensory Processing Disorder

by Jennifer Shaw

October is Sensory Awareness Month. The following is an editorial from Jennifer Shaw whose son was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Jennifer is a Telly Award winning performer, Billboard Top 40 singer/songwriter, and author of the book Life Not Typical: How Special Needs Parenting Changed My Faith and My Song, an official resource of Autism Speaks. Visit her online at
Last month my son Toby turned 10. He had a party with pizza and cake and ice cream, and a sleepover afterwards with all his friends. Sounds pretty typical, but it was actually a miracle. There was a time when Toby would not dream of eating any of those things, a time when we never thought he would be able to leave our home to attend school, let alone have a party and friends who loved playing flashlight tag with him in our backyard. In fact, there was a time I didn't think Toby would ever walk on grass. 

Ten years ago, I was the mother of two beautiful girls and was thrilled to add a son to our family. When Toby was born after a difficult and dangerous pregnancy we were especially thankful that he was healthy. He seemed to be a very unhappy baby compared to our girls, but we hoped he would grow out of it.

The first indication that something was out of the ordinary was when we could not get him to eat any food. I had nursed him without any problems, but when we introduced baby foods, it was a daily struggle that we lost. We also noticed that he never babbled or made any sounds and he rarely smiled. Eventually it was clear that he was very speech-delayed, but because he had suffered from repeat ear infections which caused clinical deafness during his first year, we attributed a lot of his irritability to pain and hoped that when his hearing improved, his speech would come along. After surgery on his ears, his hearing did get better and the infections went away, but he still did not make any sounds.

During Toby's second year, my father was dying of ALS and that took much of our emotional energy so we did not react as quickly to the signs we were seeing in Toby as we might have otherwise. Still, Toby's behavior was getting more and more extreme. He wouldn't touch anything or play. He did not want to be touched. He was terrified of being messy or being anywhere near things like grass or sand. A drop of water on his clothing would make him scream. It became really frightening and we did not know how to help him.

When Toby turned two, we started him at a therapy school for speech delay. There was an occupational therapist on staff and she was the first to diagnose him with Sensory Processing Disorder (previously known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction). Toby's brain was not interpreting sensory input correctly. People with this disorder can suffer in a variety of ways, but in Toby's case, he was extremely hyper-sensitive to touch of any kind. Food in his mouth, clothes on his skin, crumbs on his hands were all completely intolerable to him –his brain told him they were “hurting” him. He was completely terrified of his world and shutting down.

Toby began play-based occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy (because he didn't touch things or play and had poor balance his muscles were very weak), and food therapy. Within two months my son who had no sounds said, “I love you, mom,” and within a year, Toby's progress was nothing short of miraculous. He spent years in therapy, but by age six, he had been discharged from all of it, and attended kindergarten as a typical kid. At the time, he still had some minor issues that we continued to work on at home, and now at age 10, there is nothing left of his SPD.  It is literally a miracle in our lives.

I am a speaker and musician, not a doctor or therapist, but we learned a lot of things along the way that I share with people who suspect this condition in their own children. There is so much hope if you know where to look, and although Toby's outcome is not typical, there is help for every child with this diagnosis. So here’s my advice:

Be attentive. Do not ignore the signs, even if you don't know what they mean. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but some of the symptoms of SPD are speech delay, poor coordination, poor balance, avoiding touch or seeking touch in extreme ways (running into walls or falling down on purpose, running into people), extremely picky eating or extremely messy eating, irritability or a “difficult” personality. SPD is often misdiagnosed, especially in older children or less severe cases, as ADD or ADHD.

Be diligent. Do not wait, even when your pediatrician tells you to. After everything we went through with Toby, my pediatrician (whom I love and really respect) told me that she gave me the wrong advice by advising me to wait for Toby to catch up. This may be good advice for many problems, but SPD is not one of them. Early intervention is critical, and treatment is so much more effective before the age of three that you cannot afford to waste time. If you suspect something, get tested by an occupational therapist – if they say there's nothing to worry about, fine, but if not, you have not wasted valuable time for therapy.

Be willing to ask for help. There is a federal program for ages 0-3 developmentally-different children available in every state. It goes by many different names; ours in Ohio was “Help Me Grow.” They will do testing and help get your child into therapy programs, many of which are free if you qualify. You can call the special needs department at your local school district and they are usually able to tell you who operates the program in your area. If your child is over the age of three, help is available through your local school district's special needs department. Also, take advantage of any therapy coverage on your insurance plan. We were very surprised by what was and was not covered.

Be an expert. Find out all you can, and do everything you can to support your child's progress. Talk to your therapists about what you can do at home, watch the therapy whenever possibly, and ask a lot of questions. We were able to overcome a lot of Toby's issues only because we worked on it every day with techniques we had learned from our therapists.

Be patient. This is not a quick fix. For example, Toby was literally afraid of food. Since we were not usually able to get him to stay in the same room with us while we ate, sitting down and eating a meal was out of the question. So first, we worked on getting him to be with us in the room at meals, then getting him to sit at the table, then allowing us to put food on the plate, then touching the food with a fork, then touching it to his tongue before finally tasting it. It took many months of frustrating moments, but eventually, my son ate a healthy diet and enjoyed mealtimes with our family. Today, our family meals remain extraordinarily important to us because we know not to ever take it for granted.

Be hopeful. Dealing with special needs can be very lonely and frightening. Our faith in God and our church community truly held us together at times. The other parents of special needs children at Toby's school were also a wonderful source of support. Realizing we were all dealing with similar challenges and emotions helped us see that we weren't alone. They were also a wonderful resource for practical ideas as we all talked about what was working or not working for our children.
Be courageous.
Don't give up. SPD can be overwhelming and confusing. It can be hard to navigate the therapy system. Every therapy will not work for every child and you will need to be careful and wise about your choices. Take comfort in knowing that there is help and things can improve. You are your child's best advocate, and your child needs you.

This past summer I was a speaker at a Joni and Friends camp which ministers to families dealing with disabilities.
  I shared my story with the mothers and afterwards, a woman came up to me.  She said, “I have a four year old who has severe SPD and high functioning autism.  Three months ago, I gave up.  Your story has helped me know that I shouldn't.”  I pray that our experience will help other parents to know that there is hope for children with SPD.   

Is Spanking Biblical?

by Tom Frye
Tom, Lisa and their family live in rural Indiana where they home school their three children. Tom is a singer/songwriter, worship leader, speaker and author. He and his family have an active music ministry, known as the Frye Family Band. The Fryes recently founded Family First, a ministry to strengthen families. The Frye Family Band’s new book, 101 Devotions for Busy Families , and their new EP “Alive for the First Time” are available at .

We freely talk about the importance of discipline in the context of our finances, health, or work ethic, but when it comes discussing the discipline of our children, we often shirk away. Parental discipline, it seems, has become just as polarizing an issue as religion or politics.
In recent weeks, with the Adrian Peterson story being plastered all over the media, the debate over spanking has, once again, been the topic of a plethora of news reports and water cooler debates. One such report by Matthew Paul Turner went so far as to say: “his alleged crimes didn’t happen simply under the guise of ‘parenting’ but rather ‘Christian parenting’” (  Adrian Peterson and the false gospel of spanking). Mr. Turner went on to say, “Today, the most notable proponents of spanking are American evangelicals. They not only preach the gospel of corporal punishment, they also impart messages that lay the foundations for abuses against children and the protection of such abuse by our legal system.”
Though I personally believe, after seeing photos on the news of Peterson's son, that his actions went well beyond a spanking on the behind and into abuse, I do think it is important we do not go as far as Mr. Turner in labeling all forms of spanking as "abuse against children.” Allegations of abuse can understandably stir the emotions of the anti-spanking crowd, while at the same time, create opportunities for defensiveness among those in favor of this specific form of discipline. It is important, however, that we keep our emotions in check and remember the reason for the debate: the well-being of our children.
I am very familiar with the tension this topic can create, as it was also a subject of many discussions in our household during our early years of parenting. My wife Lisa and I had two totally different life experiences. She never recalls a time in which she was spanked, while I was spanked regularly and always in anger. So how is such an issue reconciled? As Christian parents it starts with scripture.
Spanking is often referred to as “corporal punishment,” but as we began to truly examine scripture two things become noteworthy. While “the rod” of correction is mentioned no less than four times in Proverbs (Proverbs 13:24 , 22:15 , 23:14 , 29:15 ), the word “punishment” is never associated with it. However, the word “discipline” is used in three of the four referenced verses. I believe this is a clear, yet often overlooked, distinction.
Though frequently used interchangeably, the words discipline and punishment are, in fact, quite opposite. Discipline, whether in diet, finance or correction is about betterment, while punishment equates to getting even, settling the score and ultimately separation. Through his sacrificial death Jesus became our punishment. The debt has been paid, the score has been settled (Galatians 1:4 , 2:20 )
Our job as parents is to model God’s love to our children. They should know they can trust us and that we always have their best interest in mind. 1 John 4:16-18  (NIV) puts it this way, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (emphasis added).
After examining the scriptures, I have come to believe that the debate over spanking is not one of “right or wrong” but rather of “appropriate or inappropriate.” Appropriate discipline (in any form) is rooted in love (Hebrews 12:5-6 ). So how and when is spanking an appropriate form of discipline?
  • A spanking (or any form of discipline) should never be delivered in anger. This may require a “time out” for the parent to cool down so that loving discipline can take place.
  • Loving discipline requires both an explanation of the offense and consequence, and the affirmation of our love for our child.
  • A spanking should be reserved only for an act of willful defiance.
  • Spanking is not always the best form of discipline. It is important for us as parents to know our children and therefore understand the method of correction which best redirects our children’s behavior.
It is often tempting to succumb to the “world’s wisdom” in many areas of our life, but it is imperative that we turn to scripture as our ultimate source of guidance. Disciplining our children is one of the most difficult, yet important jobs we have as parents, but as Hebrews 12:11  (NLT) reminds us: “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening--it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”

Finding the "Some"

By Jaclyn Rowe

Jaclyn Rowe is an author and speaker who teaches a weekly Bible class for women ages 18-30 in addition to teaching preschool children through AWANA. A former television talk show host and top ranked speaker for, Jaclyn is a sought-after speaker for Bible teaching, as well as personality and etiquette training.  Her latest book is a bible study entitled King Hezekiah: Examining a Life of Bold Faith.
for more information

Just this morning, I was on the phone with a woman almost 700 miles away.  We have never met, but I was delighted to be hearing of the work God is doing where she lives in Louisiana.  We were discussing ministry and the church she and her husband planted over six years ago.  As with so many conversations I have with those in ministry, she reluctantly expressed the struggle she and her husband have to not only reach, but also keep people coming to their church and Bible studies. 

I can easily relate.  As a Bible teacher and lay worker at my home church, it often feels daunting to try and retain people.  It is hard to persevere when, frankly, it feels like no one is listening and no one cares. 

I think those of you in ministry understand this emotional roller coaster ride.  We are so thrilled when new people come and so discouraged when they don’t come back or when we see people leave.  Even though our brains tell us to “trust the Lord, fear not, give thanks and pray” and our mouths may even say the right things, our hearts are still hurt.  My experience tells me this struggle is one echoed across the nation by pastors and ministry leaders and by missionaries around the globe.

So, how do we keep from throwing in the towel when it seems like we are fighting this battle and we just can’t seem to win?  Well, we do trust the Lord, fear not, give thanks and PRAY!  But for today, how about just a little encouragement from God’s word?

I’ve been so impacted time and again by God’s word to us about King Hezekiah.  In the account of King Hezekiah told in 2 Chronicles 30, the newly crowned king desires to host the Passover feast in Jerusalem.  It had been decades since the people had celebrated this important holiday and Hezekiah was seeking to restore the laws of Moses and the decrees of King David in order to get his wicked nation back on track.  While there is so much packed into this story, I want to focus on two relevant things Hezekiah did.

First, he reached far.  Hezekiah was the king of Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel.  At this time in history, God’s people were divided and both the northern and southern kingdoms were a hot mess!  The people were violently wicked; they worshiped Baal idols and took no thought for the God of the Bible.  They had been paying a high price for their sin as many of them had died in war or been taken captive.  Hezekiah had EVERY reason to be discouraged and he had an overwhelming task to do in Judah.  It slays me that we see him reach beyond his borders to Israel.  Hezekiah was not responsible for the northern kingdom.  He was under no obligation to reach them.  Yet, he sent invitations for the Passover by messengers, not only throughout his southern kingdom of Judah, but also to the northern kingdom of Israel.  His heart was for everyone to have the opportunity to know God and to experience a right relationship with him.  He did not only concern himself with his own, but was willing to invest in as many people as he could by broadening his reach. 

Second, he ignored the negative.  2 Chronicles 30:10 tells us that as Hezekiah’s messengers went out throughout the land, they were laughed at and mocked. 


Can you relate?  For example, you just know God has given you this great new outreach idea.  No one thinks it will work.  Or, you invite everyone you know, you work so hard at getting the word out about your church, Bible study or event and it seems to you the response is low and slow.  Or maybe you start with an excited and enthusiastic bunch and then three weeks in, you have to send fourteen text reminders just to make sure you have enough people coming to justify the meeting.  Distractions, busy schedules and resistance to change constantly interfere and while you want to press on, you wonder if it’s even worth it anymore.  Can I get a witness?

The very next verse is what inspires me.  Depending on your version, verse 11 says, “Nevertheless, however, SOME…” Some came.  In reality, the “some” snowballed and ended up being a huge sum.   Thousands were restored in their relationship with God as they returned to Jerusalem and, ultimately, to the God of their fathers.  In fact, when the author describes the scene in verse 26, he says nothing like this had taken place in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon and the building of the temple.  The entire nation would experience blessing and revival because of the “some” that did come. 

These remarkable results could have been missed.  What if the messengers had turned around and went home early?  What if they had reported back to Hezekiah, “King, we’ve taken a survey and no one wants to come.  Everyone is laughing at us and they think we’re crazy.  Sorry, but it’s just not worth the humiliation.”

Imagine if Hezekiah would have given up.

So ask yourself; who has come?  Who does come?  Who has God sent for you to disciple, mentor and encourage?   Rather than focusing on those who don’t or won’t attend your church or Bible study, praise God for the some who are there.  Embrace His timing and trust him to expand your territory as He sees fit.  Until then, reach far, ignore the negative and be encouraged. 

Christianity is No Shield from Depression

by Kristi Lemley
Kristi Lemley is a minister, speaker, author, counselor, and licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is the founder of Living in the Light Ministries, an international ministry focused on helping people deal with daily life struggles, and heal from their past hurts by experiencing the freedom and truth of the Gospel. Her latest book and bible study is entitled Broken and Transformed: Moving beyond life’s difficult times.
For more information visit
If you have never been depressed, you might not understand how a person can take their own life. I have often “They had a beautiful family, they had everything going for them, they had it made.”However, when you are experiencing darkness so deep that you cannot see anything else, nothing else matters.
heard comments like, 
Depression can be a very lonely battle. One of the main symptoms of depression is feeling alone which, in turn, causes people to isolate. I have seen marriages come unraveled because the depressed spouse has lost their passion, energy, sex drive, and any interest in activities they once enjoyed. Obviously, marriages are not the only part of the family that is impacted.
Are you or someone you love currently suffering from depression? Here are some symptoms to consider in yourself or loved ones:
  • Feeling sad
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Changes in appetite and/or sleep
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Suicidal thoughts
If the majority of these symptoms describe you, you might be suffering from depression. The first thing I want you to know is that you are not alone. There is help that is ready and willing to meet you right where you are and join you on your journey to recover your life. Call your primary doctor for help, go to your minister at church, or call your insurance and find a Christian therapist in your area. If you don’t have insurance, call your community mental health clinic. Where ever you decide to seek treatment, you are not ALONE.
Sometimes people erroneously think that if someone is a Christian, they should not struggle with depression. I want to expose that myth. If you read a majority of the psalms that King David wrote, he experienced terrible depression, as did many other people in the Bible:
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
   Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
   for I will yet praise him,
   my Savior and my God
 (Psalm 42:5).
The myth that Christians cannot be depressed is one reason I believe that some people simply do not seek treatment. Do not be ashamed for what you are experiencing – find the courage to seek help, especially if you are thinking about ending your life. Some of the heroes of the Christian faith experienced the same feelings:
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:3-4).
In addition to professional help, I recommend a few practical suggestions you can do on a  daily basis to help alleviate your symptoms:
  • Exercise
  • Watch a comedy
  • Use positive self-talk
  • Tackle one thing at a time
  • Journal your feelings
  • Stay connected with friends and family
  • Hug someone
  • Take a bubble bath or do something nice for yourself
  • Take one day at a time.
  • Read and quote scriptures- for example: content with what  you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I                            forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).
If you have not experienced depression, I want to encourage you to reach out to someone if you see them struggling or hurting. I believe simple acts of kindness keep us compassionate and help us to begin to understand how depression can affect our friends and family. Depression does not discriminate based on color, race, gender, or social class. It is not something to fear in other people, but an opportunity to reach out and let them know they are not alone.  

We Are All Home Schoolers Now

by Tom Frye
Tom, Lisa and their family live in rural Indiana. Tom is a singer/songwriter, worship leader, speaker and author. He and his family have an active music ministry, known as the Frye Family Band. The Fryes recently founded Family First, a ministry to strengthen families. The Frye Family Band’s new book, 101 Devotions for Busy Families, and their new EP “Alive for the First Time” are available at

If you're a homeschool family, you are likely well aware of the court battle involving the Romeike family. The Romeikes fled Germany and its Hitler-era laws against homeschooling, seeking asylum in the United States so they could honor their conviction to homeschool their children. This case serves as a great reminder of how truly blessed we are to have the freedom to educate our children at home, choosing curriculum that re-enforces our values, spending those all too fleeting moments with our children, and helping them develop and pursue their passions.
Homeschooling is not without its share of challenges, but like any good investment the dividends received far out-weigh the required sacrifice. In the early years when we began homeschooling, we faced many questions and objections. There were concerns about socialization, the limited amount of resources available to homeschoolers, and the fact that neither my wife nor I have a degree in education.  But in the end we have found two things to be true: God's grace is more than sufficient, and there are, in fact, even more educational and social opportunities available to homeschooling families.
I am often reminded of the story of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah found in the book of Daniel chapter 1. These four men risked death to honor their convictions and not defile their bodies with the delicacies of the king, opting instead for a diet of vegetables and water. God honored their faithfulness by giving them "knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds." (v.17) The king "found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah" (v. 19) declaring they were "ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom." (v.20).
Over the years, as the exhaustion or exasperation sometimes diverted our attention to the sports facilities, social organizations, or the "more qualified" teachers found in the public school system, we regained our focus by remembering the “diet of vegetables and water.” Looking back now, we can see the beauty of obedience. We have found our children to be, in fact, more social than most kids their age. Not only do they have a strong friendship with each other, but they have never had a problem engaging people of any age or background in conversation.
I recall one evening many years ago when I was singing at a coffeehouse, there was a gentleman there from Mexico who was in the United States on a work visa. Maggie knew only a handful of Spanish words, certainly not enough to break the language barrier. But like the two fish and five loaves feeding the multitudes, those few words began a dialogue that lasted all evening with the man writing numbers on a napkin and teaching Maggie to count to two hundred in Spanish. The owner shared with me afterwards that Maggie had brightened that man's spirit because he had a little girl about Maggie's age in Mexico whom he missed terribly. There have been many occasions over the years when we have visited local nursing homes. I have watched all three of my children - even now in their late teens - take time to talk with the residents or help them walk or wheel down the hall. I believe their ability to interact with almost anyone is due, in part, to the fact that homeschooled students are not segregated into peer groups as are those in traditional classroom settings.
The flexibility of homeschooling has allowed us the wonderful opportunity to share our music ministry whenever and wherever we have been called to go.  Our children have been able to pursue their passions of theater, dance, and sports. Together, they have been a part of nearly twenty separate theatrical productions with both our local civic theater, as well as in a professional setting at an area resort. As for sports, our son has been able to satisfy his desire to play football through a regional Christian high school football league.  Our children have always been able to pursue whatever interests they have, debunking the myth that homeschool kids just don’t have the same resources available as public school children. It simply isn’t true.
My wife, though not formally trained as an educator, has taught Latin, Chemistry, and all the other necessary high school level classes. Most communities also now have a local network of home educators, which can often assist with various subjects. In our homeschool community, we have had the opportunity to participate in science labs through a local Christian college. Our children have been able to take cottage classes for English as well as dual credit classes. Both our daughters were able to graduate high school with several college credits, and our son plans to begin taking dual credit courses in the fall.
Though I am an advocate for home schooling, it is not for everyone. As Jesus said it is important that we "count the cost" (Luke 14:28-29) before making a decision.  My wife and I are not super-parents--we are a normal family who have simply made a commitment to educate our children in the way which best represents our values. I believe homeschooling has allowed us to delve much deeper into the understanding of God's faithfulness, not just in education, but in life, helping us to see more clearly that the vegetables of obedience are always more healthy than the delicacies of the king.
I applaud the Romeike family for not giving up on their conviction to educate their children at home. I thank God for His faithfulness in honoring their desires. And I pray our nation continues to be a place where the freedom to raise our kids in the way that we choose is always defended.

Jesus and Hanukkah

By Dr. Jeffrey Johnson
 Dr. Jeffrey Johnson is a humanitarian, author, and sought-after lecturer on Jewish roots and Bible Prophecy.  He was a pastor for over 17 years and received his Master’s Degree from Moody Bible Institute and his Doctorate from Louisiana Baptist University. He is a member of the American Society of Church History as well as Evangelical Theological Society.  He has authored several books including God Was ThereChildhood of Jesus, and Life After Death: What Happens Next?  His latest book is , The Moses Papers.  For more information

In 168 B.C. the Syrian emperor Antiochus came from the north and defeated Egypt.  During the process of celebrating his victory he was pressured by Rome to withdraw. In his anger at this reversal, he directed his resentment towards, and made a swath through, the land of the Jews.  He set out to destroy Judaism making any observance of the Jewish religion illegal.  It is recorded that he would torture mothers and children publicly and then would execute them.  He defiled the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar to the god Zeus Olympus, and then looted the Temple (Daniel 8:11-19; 11:21-35). 
          It looked as though this notorious Syrian emperor was unstoppable.  However, in Modin, three miles north of Jerusalem, a Jew named Mattathias, along with his five sons began a revolt against the Syrian monarch.  This small band grew in number throughout the Judean hills and within three years drove the Syrian invaders out of Jerusalem and the surrounding area.  It is said, that on the 25th day of Kislev (November/December), exactly three years to the day, after its desecration, the Temple and altar were rededicated.
          The Jews wept when they saw the desecration of the temple and began to restore it to a “state of ritual purity.”  Jewish tradition records that when the heroic Jews set about to rekindle the Perpetual Light (candle stand; seven candle menorah) there was only enough consecrated oil to last only for one day. It would take eight days to prepare ritually-permitted oil. The miracle was that the oil in the menorah, which was to only last for one day, remained lit for eight days, until the special oil was procured. 
          Today, Jews throughout the world light candles each night during the eight-day celebration of this miracle of God.  The miracle is the emphasis, not the military victory.   Hanukkah, which means “Dedication,” proclaims a divine miracle, not a human victory.  The reason the rabbis emphasize the spiritual, although the Bible regarded some wars as just, was simply they did not allow human bloodshed to be associated with worship.  David, for example, was not permitted to build the Temple because his life had been devoted to the quest of war.  Hanukkah marks the rescue of Judaism, as a faith, and a way of life from annihilation.
          It is interesting how Hanukkah and Christmas are similar.  Both originated in the same land, by the same people, Israel and the Jews.  Both are celebrated the same day in their respective months – 25th day of Kislev (November/December), and the 25th day of December.  Gifts are exchanged during these holidays, special foods are prepared, candles are lit, and spiritual songs are sung.  Both commemorate a historical event.
          The “Servant” is prominent in both holidays.  The “shammash,” or servant candle, which is usually in the middle of the nine-candle menorah, or on the side of the menorah, is higher than the other eight candles.  The shammash is used to light the other eight candles.  The rabbis teach it was the flame of faith which brought about the miracle.  It’s motto is found in the prophetic portion read during the festival,“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).  The Hanukkah Menorah is usually placed near a window so that all can see them from the street.  This is in fulfillment of the rabbinic mandate “to publicize the miracle.” According to Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), the eight candles correspond to the name of God, which means, “I shall be” (Exodus 3:14). 
          The shammash was given a special purpose, to light the other eight candles.  On the first night, one candle is lit.  The second night, two candles are lit.  The third night, three candles are lit, and so on, until all eight candles are flickering with flame. The shammash, or the ninth candle, is the candle used to light the others. The flame of the shammash, or servant candle, gives of itself to create an additional flame without losing any of its own brightness.  Thus, man gives of his love to his fellow man without losing anything of himself.  The Messiah, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister as a “servant” said in the context of Hanukkah“I am the light of the world;  he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”  (John 8:12).  Just as the menorah is put in the window to pierce the darkness, so it is with Jesus, who pierces the darkness of the heart and brings light.
  Also, Messiah Jesus said of himself in direct connection to Hanukkah, during the “feast of dedication” (Hanukkah), “I am the good shepherd (shammash), and the good shepherd (shammash) giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11,22). Jesus chose Hanukkahas the time to reveal who He was.  The evil Syrian Antiochus had a second name, “Epiphanes.”  His complete name and title was King Antiochus Epiphanes.  Epiphanes means “God Manifest.”  You’ve guessed it, Antiochus called himself God. Jesus took this opportunity, during the celebration of Hanukkah, to proclaim that He IS God (John 10:24-42).  The psalmist said there would be such a declaration.  “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day I have begotten thee” (Psalm 2:7).  How do we know that the psalmist was speaking of Jesus?  Luke confirms this when he wrote, “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Acts 13:32,33).
The apostle Paul described Jesus in connection with Hanukkah in Philippians 2:5-11.  In these verses, you will find the Messiah lowering himself taking on the form of a “servant” giving life to all who believe.     
Jesus came not to be ministered unto but to minister as a “servant,” “Shepherd,” and “Light.”  The resurrection confirms who he said he was, and is. 
          May we be reminded this Christmas of God’s love for us, humbling himself, becoming a man, taking on the form of a servant, being born in Bethlehem’s cave, born of virgin to die on a cross for our redemption and forgiveness. It is truly joyous to know that Jesus is the “Light of the world.”