2016 By the Numbers, part 1. Top blog essays this year
It was a good year, fast coming and fast leaving. It seems like it was just 2008, and now it's nearly a decade later. Time hurries. Where does it go?
I haven't done as much as I'd hoped for the Lord and yet I'm sure there are things I've done that I'm not aware of that pleased Him more than things I purposely did for Him which didn't. I worked, laughed, studied, rested, helped, worshiped...all the things. I hope it was not striving after wind!
The Preacher wrote,
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
The end of the matter, the end of the year. All has been done...
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
Before we get too maudlin, we do rejoice in His cyclical march of time and seasons. We even rejoice that there is nothing new under the sun. Our God is ever stable, never changing, the same yesterday, today and forever!
As for me, the march of time includes another blogging year. This year I started another, mirror blog to this one, over at Wordpress. www.the-end-time.org. It's a back-up in case the blogger blog gets suspended for "hate speech", something that seemed to happen a lot after last June's Supreme Court decision legitimizing (to the secular world.) homosexual marriage.
The Lord in His grace allowed me to blog each and every day, or more. I published over 365 essays that had the intent of glorifying Him and/or edifying the sisters in faith. Of the most popular essays, that is to say number of views, because one particular essay was certainly not popular, are the essays in the discernment spheres.
I write essays in three spheres: discernment, prophecy, and encouragement. Of the three kinds, the discernment essays garner the most views. Of the top ten viewed essays this year, 9 were discernment essays. Most of those discernment essays that received the most views were about Beth Moore. Apparently people still need warning about her. I would hope that the interest in discernment is because these essays help sisters grow in faith. There is nothing worse than false doctrine deceiving many, with the sole exception of dying in sins.
I know part of it is that people like a good fight, and the discernment essays to some are just that. Juicy fights they can wrap their fleshly mind around. But I write them because they are necessary. What someone does with them in their mind is up to them and the Holy Spirit. Discernment is so important to me, just as much as it was 12 months ago at the last year-end blog review and 8 years ago when I started this blog. I'll relate an example of how important discernment is that I'd I shared on the blog last month.
I’ll follow that up with a real example that happened to me in the discernment realms two weeks ago. I write about the dangers of Beth Moore a lot. I’ve written about her numerous times. I was getting tired of writing about Beth Moore. Surely everyone knows she’s false. Surely everyone is up to speed, I’d begun to think.
Well, someone, somewhere posted a link to an old essay I’d written about Beth Moore. It suddenly was getting a lot of traction. I mean, like thousands of views per day. I received an email from a younger woman. She said thank you for the essay, and she said “this is the first time I’ve ever heard anything bad about Beth Moore.” I wept in gratitude that the Spirit is so faithful. So yes, I point fingers, and I always will.I was speaking with a young lady the other day about this and she said she didn't know until recently there were problems with Beth Moore. So, discernment will continue.
Overall, I hope that every encouraging article, every discernment lesson, every prophecy explained, glorifies Jesus and helps someone out there. With that, here are the top ten viewed essays in 2016 on The End Time. After those, my own personal top favorite essays :)
10. "Anyone can find the dirt in someone"... How Facebook helps twist God's Word
Facebook memes using God's word...be careful. Facebook is wonderful for perpetuating false teaching and ridiculous memes. I'd written,
No matter what translation you look at the verse in, the sentiment expressed on the photo is not the same as the one stated in the Word. Every translation mentions evil, but the scripture photo mentions only good. ... That's the trouble with Twitter, Facebook, etc. Only half the verse is shown. Or it's ripped from its context (Jeremiah 29:11 comes immediately to mind).
9. Here is the one non-discernment essay that made the top ten. Kay Cude is a Texas poet, an elder woman with wisdom in her mind and love for Jesus in her heart. He gave her a talent for combining the two in poetic language, and I've been blessed to be the recipient of it and allowed to publish her work here.
Here is an excerpt
8. Most of the discernment essays had to do with the ubiquitous and ever false Beth Moore. I cannot wait until the Lord stops her mouth. (Titus 1:11). This essay looks at the story she often tells, The Hairbrush. I have a personal connection to this story via her LPM lesson and a ladies retreat.
Discernment Lesson: Deconstructing Beth Moore's most popular story
A third way to look at this popular story of course is to compare it directly to scripture. It's hard to know exactly where to start because Moore doesn't teach scripture. She teaches feelings, events, and stories. Joel Osteen waves his Bible at the beginning of every broadcast. The crawl along the bottom of the TV flashes scripture addresses, but Osteen never really says what the scripture is about. Thus he and Moore and others look like they are teaching the Bible, but they really aren't.
7. Unbiblical divorce is an issue in Christendom. Two high-profile ministry parents, James R. White and Beth Moore, had daughters who divorced. One did so biblically nad publicly in 2016 and one did so secretly and quietly in 2013. This essay looked at both dovorces from women who say they are in the faith.
Two divorce cases: Summer White and Melissa Moore
6. Beth Moore again. People must need constant teaching as to why this dangerous woman must be avoided. This essay received over 4000 views. It's a biblical look at the verse in Matthew 18:18–20 about what we bind on earth is bound in heaven, and how Moore's increasing Charismaticism is destructive to solid exposition-
Beth Moore binding prayers
5. I looked at a sermon by Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Beth Moore teaching the exact same verse, and showed through a point-by-point discernment lesson how Moore's varied from scripture, and why. Though it is helpful and biblical to point fingers at false teachers and warn, it is more helpful to show why and how. I seek to do that. However, be it known that I have no problem with pointing fingers, naming names, or warning incessantly in discernment for the protection and help of the weaker sisters. I am unapologetic and unhesitating about that, because the Bible tells us to do it, and because it is a spiritual gift the Holy Spirit delivered to me.
Discernment Lesson: Comparing a Beth Moore & Martyn Lloyd Jones teaching on on the same verse
4. Ravi Zacharias. What a sad essay I had to write with that one. No one is above being looked at for their teaching, if they claim to speak God's words and do any evangelizing, witnessing, or missionary work etc., on His behalf. Ambassadors must be examined to see if they are:
A. Teaching rightly according to the word (not twisting or introducing false doctrine as per 2 Timothy 2:15),
B. Delivering the King's FULL message (Acts 20:27).
Was there any part of God's word Paul shrank from delivering? Was there any message Paul felt was too delicate, too incendiary, too strong for the people to hear? Was there any message Paul felt was not a part of contending for the faith? No. However, there is much from the Word that Zacharias will not speak. My essay shared that, plus looked as his lack of discernment in partnering with heretics and also endeavoring in rhetoric and fine sounding arguments from philosophy. This essay resonated. It received almost 10,000 views.
On Discerning Ravi Zacharias: It's time to say what needs to be said
3. My little blog gets help from some other bloggers when they link to mine. Thanks, fellow bloggers! Someone linked to this one, and it received over 12,000 views. Thank you so much!
The problem with tolerating false teachers is...
A friend and I were talking about the younger church generation. A kind of "Kids these days" conversation, lol. She said, "They've been swimming in Beth Moore stuff for so long they don't know if they are even in troubled water." She and I, and others I've spoken with, notice the younger generation of 16-25 year olds simply do not have a solid theological grounding. They do not approach Bible study credibly. They infuse it with feelings, mysticism, romanticism, and subjective experience. They think this is the norm.
This is wrong.
And it is our fault.
Home and Garden TV (HGTV) presently has on its schedule a very popular show called "Fixer Upper." Its hosts are Chip and Joanna Gaines, a married couple from Waco Texas. The show gained popularity because of its wholesomeness and the design of the home-stager Joanna. It gained more popularity when local Baylor University and Gaines Alum Joanna partnered to produce a testimony video which allegedly shared her Christian faith. I was troubled by what I'd heard and seen in the video and more troubled when I'd watched three seasons of Fixer Upper straight through. The Gaines lifestyle didn't seem to match up with what they were saying in interviews and videos and articles and on their show. So...I did two articles which looked first at Joanna's testimony, and secondly at their life compared to the Bible and to what they say. To this day, these essays are the most popularly viewed on the blog. Number two received 18,410 views.
2. Looking at HGTV's Fixer Upper Joanna Gaines' testimony: Christianity, or Prosperity Gospel?
Several years ago a Waco business developer/realty/design/construction company generally named Magnolia run by Chip and Joanna Gaines were contacted to star in a HGTV fixer upper show. The first episode aired in April 2014 and has become an instant hit for the network. Ratings in the first season were through the roof. This phenomenon was largely attributed to the couple's likability and charisma, good looks, and business savvy.
1. Below is part 2, the top blog essay of the year, 91,365 views. Unbelievers HATE lifestyle discernment essays. But we look at both the doctrine and the behavior of a person who claims Christ as their savior. When Paul was outlining the credentials of potential leaders and elders to Timothy, only one attribute related to skill. ("able to teach" 1 Timothy 3:2). The rest were behavior and lifestyle attributes.
The Hypocrisy of Chip and Joanna Gaines
With all the national attention given to folks who claim to be Christians, and have been given a platform to speak it or live it out for all to see, we should examine both their theology and their lifestyle to see if indeed what they are saying lines up with the Bible. In Ms Gaines' case, her testimony was not biblical. That's what we saw in yesterday's essay. Today we examine the Gaines's lifestyle.
Discernment still matters, sisters. Just because another year has passed and we have grown in faith, does not mean we have outgrown discernment. We haven't. Some might find it distasteful, but beware. Dispensing with contending for the faith brings with it its own problems. There are always those born into the faith who do not know. Our own discernment must be, as Sinclair Ferguson says below, "constantly nourished"
What is Discernment?
Most of us doubtless want to distance ourselves from what might be regarded as “the lunatic fringe” of contemporary Christianity. We are on our guard against being led astray by false teachers. But there is more to discernment than this. True discernment means not only distinguishing the right from the wrong; it means distinguishing the primary from the secondary, the essential from the indifferent, and the permanent from the transient. And, yes, it means distinguishing between the good and the better, and even between the better and the best.
Thus, discernment is like the physical senses; to some it is given in unusual measure as a special grace gift (1 Cor. 12:10), but some measure of it is essential for us all and must be constantly nourished. The Christian must take care to develop his “sixth sense” of spiritual discernment. This is why the psalmist prays, “Teach me good judgment and knowledge” (Ps. 119:66).
Ferguson continues with defining discernment, showing 4 impacts of how discernment affects the way we live, and teaching how such discernment it to be obtained.
John MacArthur writes What is Biblical Discernmentand Why is it Important?
In its simplest definition, discernment is nothing more than the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. In other words, the ability to think with discernment is synonymous with an ability to think biblically.
So those are the top ten essays that the public viewed and consumed this year. My personal favorite essays, though, were
Wynter Awakeneth All My Care
Ex-Wham! singer George Michael dead
The Forgotten Victorian Craze for Collecting Seaweed, and other biblical thoughts on women's roles
Jachin and Boaz, two named Temple columns
The beauty of creation at the microscopic level
East is from the west: cardinal directions in the Bible
I live a small life in obscurity. Can I really make a difference for God?
It was an ordinary day, and the woman was thirsty (I love, love, love the woman at the well story. It's my favorite, along with Hagar in the desert)
God's word goes out and does not return void: Faroe Islands
Relief in Christ, a soul rejoices
The curse of thorns and the crown of thorns
I love the encouragement essays and the praise essays. I like writing them and I pray they encourage others as well. I also love researching the natural history essays, learning about linen-making or the onions of the Nile or the animals in the Bible.
Lord willing I'll still be blogging as much and in truth throughout 2017. Happy New Year all!