Friday, December 27, 2019

After the Christmas Rush: The Latest Compilation of "Must Read" Articles

On the third day of Christmas, Vital Signs Blog gives you 3 French hens...and a
terrific set of enlightening articles for those of you who are looking for solid information about issues of genuine importance, practical applications of your faith and morals, and a strong dose of common sense.

* "Why Bureaucracy, Not Your Doctor, Is Making All Your Medical Decisions" (Deane Waldman, Federalist)

* "Cuomo vetoes bill letting all judges officiate weddings because some were Trump-appointed" (New York Post, via Fox News)

* "Happy Kwanzaa! The Holiday Brought to You By the FBI" (Ann Coulter, Town Hall)

* "Climate Worship Is Nothing More Than Rebranded Paganism" (Sumantra Maitra, Federalist)

* "How An Unlimited Supply Of Borrowed Cash Is Destroying Higher Education" (Rebecca Kathryn Jude and Chauncey M. DePree, Jr.)

* "Vatican Rules in Favor of Gay Dutch Priest" (Stephen Wynne, Church Militant)

* "Rapper Eminem’s Powerful New Song 'River' is a Sorrowful Apology to an Aborted Child" (Corinne Weaver,

Denny, How About a Little Advice?

Hey Denny,

Like most young Americans, my worldview has been severely limited and morally warped by the leftist public school system, Hollywood, and the establishment media. I'm no snowflake but I am beginning to see I need better sources of instruction. So where do I go to get some straight information as well as a bit of enlightened application about how a Christian should deal with the important issues of the day?

Signed, G--------


Dear G--------

Good question. I appreciate your honesty and desire to do something about the problem. That puts you way ahead of your peers (and most of my generation too!). So here are a few suggestions. 1) Read your Bible faithfully and frequently. Study your Bible. Think about what you read; talk to friends about it; apply it diligently.

2) Read other books. And develop a long and comprehensive view by extending your reading to such areas as theology, culture, politics, and even fiction. And, by all means, do not neglect old books. They are among the best friends you'll ever have.

3) Regarding "breaking news" and commentary -- many of my trusted friends applaud Fox News but, alas, Claire and I don't have cable TV. However, we do listen with some frequency to Rush Limbaugh but even more regularly do we check in with websites like Power Line, The Federalist,,, The Stream, BreakPoint, Town Hall, Fox News, Daybreak Insider, Family Research Council, City Journal, and, of course, items on Facebook that have been posted by other conservative Christians.

4) An even easier approach (at least to start) is to check in occasionally to Vital Signs Blog where you'll find scattered about several compilation posts that include 6-8 articles that I think are truly "cutting edge" in the culture wars.

May the Lord protect us both and lead us to truth, beauty, and holy living. Thanks for the note.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Amid the Christmas Rush: Part One

Despite the Christmas rush, don't miss the chance to stay alert, informed, and stimulated to effective prayer and action with these important articles.

* "12 Stories The Media Got Horribly Wrong In 2019" (Tristan Justice, Federalist)

* "The Era of ‘Good’ Fascism?" (Victor Davis Hanson, American Greatness)

* "Christianity Today took aim at Trump, but it only hurt itself" (Hugh Hewitt, Jewish World Review)

* "Netanyahu: [The U.N.'s] ICC makes Jewish rights to biblical Israel a war crime" (Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post)

* "'Silent Night' -- Persecuted Palestinian Christians Kept Out of Sight" (Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute)

* "The New War Against Africa’s Christians" (Bernard-Henri Lévy, WSJ)

* "Dear President Trump: Please Make America Flush Clean Again" (Margot Cleveland, Federalist)

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Finally! Darrell Scott's "Sentence Sermons"

Rev. Darrell Scott (1933 – 2017) was a faithful, compassionate, and much beloved Christian whose beneficial influence was not only profound but is still active in many, many lives.   Darrell was a dedicated student of the Bible, an excellent preacher, a disciple maker, an energetic and winsome evangelist, a humble intercessor, an encouraging friend, and a devoted husband and father.  Indeed, in all of these roles, he truly shined.  Earlier in his life, Darrell won the title of "Mr. Omaha" in a bodybuilding contest and, despite dealing for many years with serious heart problems, those succeeding decades saw him keep in excellent shape and vibrant spirits. He was thus a sterling example of self-discipline and commitment. However, it was through his ministries as the pastor of Pleasantview Church, preacher, evangelist, and friend that he became as widely known and keenly admired as just about anyone in town.  In a very real sense, Darrell Scott was still "Mr. Omaha" at age 84 and still building the body -- but it was now the Body of Christ that had claimed his attention.

Darrell Scott was also noted for the witty and wise proverbs with which he liberally seasoned his sermons and conversations.  Along with the Bible verses that he so faithfully memorized, Darrell had a remarkable knack for communicating spiritual truths in ways that were clear, persuasive, and memorable.  He often referred to these as “sentence sermons” while those of us who were quick to write them into the margins of our Bibles called them “Pleasantview proverbs” or simply “Darrell Scottisms.”

It turns out that we weren’t the only ones writing these things down.  So was Darrell.  Indeed, throughout his life, he kept notebooks in which he recorded pithy proverbs, one-line exhortations, sermon illustrations, quotations, even quick jokes that he knew would effectively connect with people. They came from his reading, from listening to the sermons of others, from conversations with friends from a wide variety of backgrounds and, of course, many of them came from the perceptive and experienced mind of Darrell himself.

Shortly before Darrell’s death, we talked about this extensive collection of proverbs and his frustration that he had never organized and edited it. Well, Claire and I, who had been close friends and enthusiastic fans of Darrell Scott since way back in 1970, offered to try our hand at the project.  He was delighted with our offer but warned us about how daunting a task it would be.  After all, he knew that our responsibilities with Vital Signs Ministries would mean that we would only be able to work on the project now and again.  Nevertheless, we agreed to grab a few friends and try. And that meant the world to Darrell.

We are now delighted and honored to present several hundred of what we believe are the most sparkling and provocative of these “sentence sermons.” We hope you will find them, as we do, of great value. Use them as points to ponder, stimulants to prayer, conversation starters, and sanity checks. And Darrell would love it if you would also use them as seasoning for your own letters, evangelism, counsel, and sermons.  Finally, for those of you who treasured your friendship with Darrell Scott, we hope these “sentence sermons” will help remind you of a very dear saint who we will all see again when we begin our heavenly celebrations in the presence of the Lord Jesus.

If you are interested in getting one copy or more (one friend has already ordered ten), let us know by phone, email or FB message. The cost is $3 which is simply the cost of having them printed.

Let the proverbs proceed.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thanksgiving Scriptures and Other Quotations

Feel free to print out and use this compilation of enlightening, provocative quotations for your Thanksgiving Day celebration and, for that matter, in your conversations, letters, and prayers throughout the year.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4)

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” (Ambrose of Milan)

"By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is,
the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." (Hebrews 13:15)

“The lack of gratitude is the foundation of all sin.” (G.K. Chesterton)

"True thanksgiving means that we need to thank God for what He has done for us,
and not to tell Him what we have done for Him." (George R. Hendrick)

"Ingratitude is the worst of vices." (Thomas Fuller)

"Some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses among thorns." (Anonymous)

“I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.” (Psalm 7:17)

"How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors.  It changes a child’s personality. Thankful children want to give; they radiate happiness; they draw people."
(Sir John Templeton)

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” (John Milton)

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
Let Israel say: ‘His love endures forever.’
Let the house of Aaron say: ‘His love endures forever.’
Let those who fear the Lord say: ‘His love endures forever.’…
Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter.
I will give You thanks, for You answered me; You have become my salvation.”
(Psalm 118: 1-4, 19-21)

"Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count past mercies." (Charles E. Jefferson)

“In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted.” (Isaiah 12:4)

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues." (Cicero)

"Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road." (John Henry Jowett)

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

"We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction."  (Harry A. Ironside)

"You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake.
If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled." (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

"But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." (Ephesians 5: 3-4)

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” (G.K. Chesterton)

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

“Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.”
(George Herbert)

"From David learn to give thanks for everything. Every furrow in the Book of Psalms is sown with the seeds of thanksgiving." (Jeremy Taylor)

"Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel."  (Unknown)

“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. 
For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all.”
(Psalm 95:2-3)

"Giving thanks to God for both His temporal and spiritual blessings in our lives is not just a nice thing to do; it is the moral will of God. Failure to give Him the thanks due Him is sin." (Jerry Bridges)

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." (H. U. Westermayer)

"The Christian who walks with the Lord and keeps constant communion with Him will see many reasons for rejoicing and thanksgiving all day long." (Warren Wiersbe)

Speaking of Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul writes, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15)

“How slow we are to thank and swift to grumble." (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” (G.K. Chesterton)

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.” (Psalm 28:7)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Vital Signs' Christmas Card Party Breaks a Record

It was quite a night. In fact, it was one of the most successful letter-writing parties Vital Signs Ministries has ever hosted.  It was also an unusual event, not only because it was the Christmas card edition of the year’s quarterly letter-writing parties, but also because we had some special projects, special guests, and special materials for use.

Of course, there were the same hallmarks of every such event; namely, the prayerful effort to use the time-proven method of personal letters to make an impact for the cause of Christ and to do so amid the encouraging, helpful fellowship of other believers.  But, in our Christmas card edition of the last few years, we have started a tradition of including in our “letter targets” U.S. military veterans and Christians who are imprisoned for their faith. Let me tell you a bit about how things went.

By the time our doorbell rang announcing the first of what would eventually be 14 guests, we were ready.  The house was cleaned.  Extra tables and chairs were in place.  The coffee and tea and cookies were on the kitchen counter.  Furthermore, we had prepared the letter targets for the evening with all the necessary addresses, set out all the writing materials (including 2 dozen boxes of Christian-themed Christmas cards), and, because we knew Matt was bringing his young daughters, we even had some Christmas-themed coloring books on hand. And I know those recipients will feel themselves doubly blessed who will find inside their Christmas cards a wonderfully hand-colored piece of art from a conscientious, caring kid. It turned out that the girls went one better by also decorating other cards with colored drawings of stars, American flags, and candy canes to adorn their Christmas greetings. Way to go, girls!

By the end of the party, the group had written 149 Christmas cards to American servicemen and women who are currently deployed in freedom’s cause. And, thanks to “Operation Christmas Cards For Our Troops” (an outreach created by United Soldiers and Sailors of America), and because we have already sent to the USASOA the whole package of cards by Priority Mail (December 1 being their deadline), the organization promises they will reach their destinations before Christmas. That’s terrific.

But that’s not all. The second special group for our Christmas cards Tuesday
night were the 15 Christians listed on the Voice of the Martyrs website – devoted saints who are imprisoned for their faith in Jesus Christ in places like China, Eritrea, and Iran. As I have done for several other Vital Signs letter-writing parties, I had used the VOM website to compose 45 personal letters to go inside Christmas cards – letters that, remarkably enough, are written both in English and the prisoner’s own language! So it is that each Christian from the VOM list receives from our group 3 Christmas cards each. They are beautiful cards with Christian illustrations that are themselves a dramatic contrast to the bleak, dispiriting atmosphere of a third-world prison. More important, in each of those 3 cards, there are different Bible verses and personal greetings to thank them for their steadfast courage and to encourage them to persevere. So Lord, please let every Christmas card, every Scripture, every word of solidarity and hope that we mailed out bring abounding blessings to those who receive them.

And, finally, in addition to the Christmas cards described above, we wrote out another 84 cards directed to political officials, business leaders, media personalities, and Christian heroes. The messages therein concerned the issues Vital Signs Ministries and our friends most care about: the sanctity of human life, religious freedom, promotion of biblical marriage, etc.

Now, the messages in all of those cards included Christmas greetings and promises of our prayers in their behalf, but there were additional messages that, as you can easily guess, depend on the particular recipient. For instance, the sentiments expressed in the Christmas cards that went out to Joni Eareckson Tada, Franklin Graham, the Assure Women’s Resource Center, or President Trump are going to be quite different than the ones sent to such leftist and pro-abortion groups as the Girl Scouts of America, Planned Parenthood, or the Democrat Party. Yet even in the notes to our enemies, we remain precise and polite…even winsome.

Of these 84 Christmas cards, the majority were sent to the President and members of his cabinet – President Trump 9, Vice-President Pence 8, Attorney General Barr 6, and so on. But there were a lot of others who will have at least one Christmas card coming their way from our Tuesday night efforts. They include: Nebraska’s Senators and the 2nd District’s Congressman; Governor Ricketts and Lt. Governor Foley; Omaha Mayor Stothert; pro-life and pro-family businesses like Scheels and Hobby Lobby; outspoken advocates for biblical values like NFL standout Demario Davis; and then several others who we believe deserve our thanks and encouragement. In that group (besides those mentioned above) were Tony & Lois Evans, Randy and Nanci Alcorn and their team with Eternal Perspective Ministries, Rush Limbaugh, Nebraska Family Alliance, Kanye West, Tim Tebow, the team at Joni & Friends, and Back to the Bible’s Harold Berry.

It was a really superb evening of truth-telling, light-bearing ministry alongside other dedicated Christian activists. And we were all very pleased, of course, to learn that we had set a new record for a Vital Signs Ministries letter-writing night. Indeed, using just our regular time of 90 minutes or so, the 16 of us turned out those 45 Christmas cards to our imprisoned brethren, the 149 to men and women serving our nation in the military, and the 84 to people in the categories I’ve mentioned.  That’s a total of 278 Christmas cards…plus the bonus of a few pages from coloring books! 

Don’t you think it’s time for you that start doing some letter writing of your own?  Or, better still, perhaps you should consider organizing a party like ours for your friends, family, fellow church members, and so on.  Just give us a ring and we’ll be delighted to help you get started.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Reflecting on Handel’s Messiah

Yesterday afternoon (Sunday) I was blessed to attend the Voices of Omaha 51st annual presentation of Messiah, George Handel’s epic oratorio written in 1741. The performance was at the Holland Performing Arts Center downtown, a perfect showcase for a musical event.  Claire wasn’t feeling well but she urged me to fulfill the promise we had made to our dear friend Sharon Struve who sings in the choir. Indeed, Sharon was, I believe, the only charter member of that company singing yesterday.  And there she was thoroughly enjoying her participation with the choir, orchestra, four professional soloists, and a large audience as Handel’s grand review of Christ’s predicted coming, His birth, His earthly ministry, His crucifixion as He dies to pay the penalty for man’s sin, His resurrection, and His promised return to earth as King of Kings transpired over 2 and ½ hours. It is a truly glorious, inspirational work and yesterday’s performance was superb.

(By the way, I was pleased to learn that Claire had found an online performance of Messiah and, while we were at the Holland enjoying it, she was at our living room fireside doing the same.)

The “we” in the above sentence mostly includes “good friends and true” Patrick Osborne and Quint and Carol Coppi who I sat with.  But I greeted several friends in the audience: the Coker family, Lynn & Frieda Schmit, a group from the men’s Bible study that used to meet at the West Maple Panera, and a few others including a few new friends we made that afternoon.

The music of Messiah is sweeping, dramatic, and provocative.  Yet it is, of course, the text of the oratorio (taken almost exclusively from the King James Bible) that provides the most powerful spiritual illumination. I jotted down quite a few notes on my program as the concert progressed, most of them made with a view to do a more intensive study of several of the phrases (even specific words) that are included in the text selected for Handel by Charles Jennens. I’m confident that it will make for an excellent series of studies and meditations for my Christmas season.

But while I’m writing up my thoughts the day after hearing Messiah, let me make a few observations of a more philosophical kind. Number one, it wasn’t just a concert I attended; it was genuinely a worship service.  Sure, I know that many in the audience and even in the company of singers and musicians probably did not consider it as such. Nevertheless, it was for me. The bold exposition of Holy Scripture; the exquisite music; the glory of God reverberating through the creativity and talents He so liberally gives to human beings; the fellowship involved in sharing the experience with good friends; the beautiful interpretations given by the two young women doing sign language; and the stirring example of Sharon’s faithfulness and courage to sing praises to God despite the pain and frustration she’s dealing with. All this and more made yesterday afternoon a very special ministry to my soul.

Secondly, I was struck anew by the significance a simple smile can express. There were several moments yesterday afternoon. The smiles of the chorus members as they performed but also when they were listening to the soloists and the orchestra. The particularly striking grin of the tenor soloist when the Scriptural text changed from a description of Christ’s crucifixion to His magnificent resurrection. And, of course, the smiles I saw all across the auditorium as the audience members were moved to joy and hope when the text illustrated the fantastic splendors of the gospel.

A third item. I find it thrilling that the tradition of audience members rising to their feet and standing throughout the famous “Hallelujah Chorus” has continued through the centuries to today.  Yes, moderns often seek to downplay this dramatic response by attributing it to mere tradition started by King George whose standing at this moment of the oratorio required every mere citizen to also stand. This alone could be but an old wives tale. But, even more wildly speculative is the reason so often given that the King stood (the woman introducing the program yesterday trotted out this old tale) not out of reverence of any kind but merely to stretch his legs. But then secularists are uncomfortable with any religious motivations and they diligently try to find other reasons for spiritual acts…especially God’s. Anyhow, this skepticism was roundly refuted yesterday – and at every performance of Messiah -- when so many in the audience enthusiastically (indeed joyfully) rise from their seats in celebration of the divine truths of Christ’s ultimate victory over sin, Satan, and death. Count on it; this happy, response has nothing to do with King George’s arthritis.

And finally, as I’m speaking of tradition, I praise God for the patient, longsuffering mercy He has bestowed upon the world. But I was praising Him quite specifically yesterday for the tradition of this 18th Century oratorio as just one example of that grace. Think of it. The Messiah, resplendent with gorgeous, inspirational music but its foundation being several texts of the holy, ever-relevant Word of God is still so frequently performed throughout the world.  And this even though Western culture has turned its back on Jesus. As the Messiah text reminds us, we have despised and rejected Him. We have turned to our own ways. Nevertheless, the Lord continues to provide beauty, enlightenment, conviction, the miracle of the new birth through faith in the Savior, second chances, the empowerment of the Spirit, the availability of the Word.  Even in our darkened culture, God provides light enough to find our way to Him. Through Handel’s Messiah. And, if we are willing, through you and me.

And so I’m moved by yesterday’s oratorio to make sure I’m also doing my part to be a “light of the world,” presenting the gospel to my culture in as winsome, wise, and uncompromising way as possible.

What About That "Christmas Card "Edition of VSM's Letter-Writing Nights?

At tomorrow night's special "Christmas edition" of Vital Signs Ministries' letter-writing series, we will be sending letters and Christmas cards to:

* Christian heroes expressing our appreciation for their good work;

* Public officials and business leaders who have done good service in pro-life, pro-family causes also to express our thanks...

* Public officials, business leaders, and others of influence who have yet to act justly in relevant social issues or, even worse, who are championing wickedness. These we send letters and Christmas cards expressing advocacy, reasoning, and principled protest...

* Veterans of America's military branches expressing our appreciation for the efforts to keep our nation safe...

* First responders expressing our gratitude for the good work they perform in taking care of life, safety, and property...

* The U.S. State Department, other U.S. political officials, ambassadors and diplomats from countries engaging in persecution of Christian believers, and letters to newspapers and magazines to highlight the needs of the persecuted Church.

* Christians who are suffering unjust imprisonment and other persecutions expressing our gratitude for their loyalty to Jesus, promises of prayer, and promises to advocate justice in their behalf to the powers that be...

Regarding this last category, we utilize the resources at Voice of the Martyrs and
Open Doors to get specific names, stories, and addresses. These sites even help you send your messages in the prisoner's own language! We urge you to check them out and add this ministry to your family's "brotherly love" activities. For that matter, try and involve your church, your youth group, your seniors group, your Sunday School Class, your fellowship groups... you name it.

And, of course, we would be delighted if you'd like to come join our party too!

What will our Christmas cards say tomorrow night which will then be sent to believers languishing in prisons in China, Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, and
Tajikistan? (And remember, along with the English phrases, VOM allows us to also send the translations in their own language.) Note also that we will send beautiful, colorful cards with Christian Christmas scenes -- that will be a blessing in itself -- and we send 3 cards to each prisoner on our lists.

Message 1) Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Revelation 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Message 2) When one part of the body suffers the whole body suffers. Many Christians around the world are standing with you. You are fighting a good fight. May you keep the faith and finish the race.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

Message 3) My prayers are with you as you endure the fellowship of suffering. My heart rejoices that you are strong in the Lord. May your light reveal the truth to those around you.

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

1 Peter 4:13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

Friday, November 15, 2019

We Need a Few More Lie Detectors

A little known poem written in the 1920’s by the author of Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak, describes the power of Bolshevik revolutionary and ruthless dictator Vladimir Lenin in a striking stanza. In this poem, “Lofty Melody,” Pasternak emphasizes the connection between Lenin’s comprehensive political power and his propaganda prowess. Writes Pasternak, “He ruled the flow of thought, and that is why he ruled the land.”

Pasternak understood that the prelude to controlling people’s lives was controlling their minds. And as the decline of Western civilization continues its dramatic course, it is critical that you and I take the challenge that Pasternak’s observation implies. After all, ours is an age when the erroneous inventions of Darwin, Freud, and Marx still dominate the academic world – an age when the terms and demographics used in the public debate over abortion are provided by the abortionists themselves – an age when lies of the devil have become the dominant messages in our culture’s music, movies, television programming, fashion, education systems, and the leftist reporting which masquerades as journalism. These godless sources clearly have ruled the flow of thought in our era, thus creating the most horrendous flow of action, including waves of unimaginable violence, sexual perversion, and open defiance of Almighty God.

Jesus warned us that Satan is the father of lies and also that he is a creature committed to fierce action, especially against Christians. Indeed, the devil is never content with the lie itself; he is also a blasphemer, a deceiver, an accuser, a tempter, a murderer. And, in pursuit of these wicked things, he creates alliances with foolish, rebellious human beings. For instance, he uses such voices as a newspaper or magazine article, a film or a television program, a humanistic school curricula or museum exhibit, the allure of cocaine highs or illicit sexual thrills, get-rich-quick pitchmen or false preachers, and so on. Through such voices, the devil seeks to rule the land -- by ruling “the flow of thought.”

The psalmist tells us that those who speak lies go astray. The deception of the mind leads to “actualized” sin...and then more sin. Stressing the same truth, the Lord tells us that as a man thinks, so will he act. As apologist Francis Schaeffer repeatedly emphasized, “Ideas have consequences.” And no more crucial does Dr. Schaeffer’s remark relate to you and I than in this matter of believing lies.

Now this isn’t normally a topic we talk about. The word “liar” is considered too stern, too moralistic, too judgmental for social use…even in church. And certainly being a “lie detector” will not make you very popular nowadays. Nonetheless, those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior have an unmistakable, undeniable calling which requires them to perform that very function. Detecting the lies that confront us throughout the day, refusing their power in our own lives, and then daring even in the public square to expose and refute those – these are critical elements of being a true disciple, a “light of the world.”

I fear for the state of the Church in the West because of the frequency with which everyday Christians succumb to worldliness, forfeiting their rich intellectual heritage for the propaganda doled out by the devil’s minions. Is it any wonder then that believers, “unsalty” and begrimed with the spirit of the age, have lost their power to influence the events around them? Rather than acting as sojourners in this foreign country of the world, we’ve settled in and become quite comfortable. Rather being transformed into the image of Christ Jesus, we have chosen to be poured into the molds made by advertisers, politicians, secular educators, entertainment moguls, and preachers who deny the necessity of both holy living and sacrificial service in behalf of others. It has been a tragic sell-out.

Is there a way back? Certainly. And it begins with the simple refrain, “Out with the bad and in with the good.” Or, put another way, we need much less of the world in us and much more of the Word. The writer of Hebrews tells us that the mature Christian is one who has by practice had his senses trained to discern good and evil. That is a comforting thought as well as a challenge. For despite the enveloping cloud of lies in our era, the Holy Spirit reminds us that the obedient Christian can overcome evil with good. Not only can we escape the tyranny of lies ourselves, we can even beat them back as they try to claim new victims.

It doesn’t come easy, of course. The most difficult reclining chairs to get out of are the ones that feel so good to be in. You have to be a diligent student of the Bible. You must strive for holiness, deny self, be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. And you have to engage the power of the Holy Spirit as you bring His light to bear upon everything you encounter. If you let down your guard in any area, you become easy prey for the father of lies. He will fool you. He will exploit you. And he will then toss you aside. How infinitely better is it to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd?

By wisdom a house is built
And by understanding it is established.
And by knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.

A wise man is strong
And a man of knowledge increases power.
For by wise guidance you will wage war,
And in abundance of counselors there is victory.
(Proverbs 24:3-6)

The above passage from Proverbs presents a dramatic contrast to Vladimir Lenin’s ambition to rule over men by dominating the world of ideas. For the wise man, as these verse illustrate, is one who builds his life on the sure foundations of God’s Word. That man can then influence the world of action as he teaches truth, exposes and overcomes the devil’s lies, and guides others towards spiritual freedom, justice, moral purity, and serenity of soul.

Unlike Lenin (and unlike Satan and his henchmen themselves), the wise man has trusted Jesus Christ’s death as payment for his sin. He has been adopted into God’s forever family and given the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to walk in the newness of life. In obedience to God’s commands for him to be a light-bearing disciple, the wise man will thus celebrate his freedom to know truth, but he will also bravely take on the duty of “lie detection” to help liberate others.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

A Few News Site Recommendations

"Denny, what's the most notable change in your search for quality news and commentary nowadays?"

It was an interesting question. And my reply was in 4 parts. Here they are.

1) The sites that I most frequent (they show up regularly in either my email or on my bookmarks bar) are Power Line,,, The Federalist, The Daily Signal, Juicy Ecumenism, and The Stream.

2) A few others I sometimes check in with? National Review, City Journal, Fox News, and Town Hall. Of course, there are several others I sometimes use but these are my standard "go to" sites.

3) I don't bother at all anymore with the Drudge Report. As Rick Johnson recently wrote in a CDN article, "Matt Drudge is not the man he used to be. Obsessed with UFO stories, and constantly linking to British uber-tabloids like The Star, Matt Drudge has taken his LGBTQ sensibilities and crossed the aisle to dance with the Democrats. Conservatives are deserting him in droves. Where once Drudge Report was the first place conservatives would go to a daily rundown, now they are seeking out other more reliable aggregators. The up and coming Whatfinger News and the long-running Lucianne are increasingly the new leading lights in reliable conservative thought."

And, finally, 4) I advise friends to steer far clear of such wildly inaccurate, manipulative, and leftist-dominated sources of "news and information" as Wikipedia, Snopes, and all the old guard media.

Don't Miss This One (The Latest Compilation Post)

* "Britain Forces Northern Ireland to Legalize Abortions Killing Babies Up to 24 Weeks Old" (SPUC,

"The Ghastly Practices of Planned Parenthood" (Michael Brown, Town Hall)

* "William Barr Is Right: Secularists Are Imposing Their Own Religion" (Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, The Federalist)

* "We Killed God, Family, And Community — And Now It’s Killing Us" (Thane Bellomo, The Federalist)

* "Why Blacks Should Ignore the Liberal Agenda" (Walter E. Williams, The Daily Signal)

* "Party of Progress Lets Its Mask Slip" (Robert Knight, Town Hall)

* "Why Washington D.C. Compulsively Lies About Donald Trump" (Mark Hemingway, The Federalist)

* "What’s Exceptional About American Exceptionalism?" (Allen C. Guelzo, City Journal)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

How's Your Prayer Life?

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  (Philippians 4:6 NASB)

How’s your prayer life?  Yeah, I know.  That’s a question most Christians find both convicting and frustrating.  Convicting because we know our grades in this area aren’t as high as they should be and frustrating because our attempts to raise those grades have often created a track record of failure.  We’ve read books which promise to open the mystery of prayer; we’ve listened to sermons; we’ve gone to seminars; and we’ve had a few mountaintop experiences that we hoped would make our prayers profound, fulfilling, and successful forevermore…only to find ourselves disappointed.

So we tend to surrender to mediocrity and accept an inconsistent, vague, and unrewarding prayer life as the norm.  Must we settle for this?  No. You see, the constant examples and exhortations regarding prayer in the Bible are not put there to scold us or keep us humble by emphasizing how poorly we’re doing compared to Bible heroes.  Rather, they are there as inspirations and challenges – encouraging rather than condemning challenges, by the way.  And they are there to teach us how we can succeed in regularly taking our prayers before our heavenly Father.

The verse I opened with is a wonderful example.  Set in the context of what should be the hallmarks of a devout Christian’s life (joy, gentleness, expectation of the Lord’s return, peace of heart, an ongoing dedication to purity), the apostle Paul explains that confident, grateful prayers are yet another indispensable part of Christian maturity. The devout Christian will reflect all of these things and at the same time. You can’t pick and choose from the list. This alone is a crucial corrective to a dismal prayer experience; namely, a believer’s prayer life will never be successful if he is not living in the Spirit, being a doer of the Word in all its teaching.

 You get the idea?  The first secret to an effective prayer life is actually an open secret indeed. It is simply this – live a sanctified life.

However, there’s another thing I’d like to point out from this Philippians passage that is crucial to understand.  And that is the role that learning represents in one’s sanctification.  Growth in Christ is not automatic.  Nor does it come easy or overnight.  All areas of godliness, including the practice of prayer, must be learned over time.  Remember, Jesus needed to teach His disciples to pray. He did so both by precept and personal example.  As we see here in Philippians, the apostle Paul and his ministry colleagues did the same with those in their spheres of influence. So, let’s not be surprised that we too must learn how to pray well and that the educational process requires humility, study, practice over time, and a willingness to confess mediocrity or even outright failure and start fresh. God is forever our Friend Who desires us to succeed in prayer. His mercies to help us improve are always available.

Note also that, after faithfully learning these things, the disciples were then faithful in teaching others. They preached, they modeled, they mentored, and they encouraged one another to love and good deeds for the Master’s sake. The iron-sharpening of authentic Christian fellowship provides tremendous motivation and help for a believer’s growth in Christ. And, yes, that includes improving one’s prayer life. Certainly I have greatly benefitted from the teaching, example, and counsel from friends. And I have a few suggestions to pass on as well.  I do so in honest humility for, of course, I am merely a “prayer pilgrim” like you. But I also share them with no small degree of excitement, for I have seen substantial improvement in my prayer life in the last few years and I sincerely hope you will find something in my advice that will prove useful.

As I’ve suggested already, you will never move forward in your prayers if, in other areas of Christian growth, you are moving backwards or, as it might seem, going round in dull circles. Reading and studying the Bible is of first priority for without a firm theological foundation, you will not succeed in building godly character or living out the Word. And, as it regards prayer, a comprehensive theology provides the motivation (as well as the specific means) to confess sin and weakness, to adore and sing praise, to give thanks, and to make requests of the Father. In the same way, living for God purifies your heart. It frees your mind from the things that compete for attention to Him.  It clears your agenda and purifies your motives.  Prayer isn’t such a difficult thing to do when your relationship with your Savior is open and existential.

Now I know someone might interject here and say, “Wait up, Denny.  I have enough of a problem already with improving my prayers.  But now you’re complicating  things by suggesting that my prayers won’t get much better unless I also make progress on reading my Bible, curbing my anger and lusts, trying to be more patient and forgiving, and so on.  The next thing you’ll say is that I need to reduce my TV addiction and maybe even stop screaming at other drivers when they cut me off in traffic.”

The answer is yes; that’s exactly what I’m saying. Remember the exhortation of James 5:16 -- “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” What is emphasized in that verse is not simply the passion of prayer but the spiritual character of the one praying.  True prayer is an expression of sanctification, an application of abiding in Christ whereby the believer acknowledges His Lordship in all areas of life.

Yes, I have a few practical tips on improving one’s prayer life and I’m certainly hoping that you’ll find them helpful.  But let’s be clear; the Christian who isn’t growing in Christ, who isn’t ready to present body and soul to God will discover that no amount of hints or tweaks or tips will make much of a difference.

Now however, with all that said, what are my tips to make one’s prayers more frequent and full?  Let’s take a look…

1) Get organized.  Because we tend to relate prayer to some kind of ethereal, higher-plane activity, we too often fail to apply common sense to the matter.  And just as you try and organize things at work, cleaning the house, or planning a picnic, you must organize your methodology of prayer.  For me, this requires a prayer list.  Sure, I often go “free style” in my prayers and talk to the Lord about things off the top of my head, things related to immediate needs or situations.  Even then, however, I usually adopt some kind of method. I might use specific Scriptures as a springboard and guide. Or I might follow the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern. I sometimes utilize notes from a book I’m reading or from last Sunday’s sermon.

But often when I’m praying, I use categorical lists that I’ve printed on 3x5 cards.  My categories? People who are sick or who are facing other grave trials. Missionaries and Christian ministries we support. Vital Signs Board members. Doctors I know and others working in caregiving occupations. Widows. Political office holders. (Your prayer categories would undoubtedly be different.) Each weekday I also use the “3 for 5” prayer campaign against Planned Parenthood.  And finally, we regularly pray for God’s Spirit to overwhelm the enemy strongholds from which the devil launches his most sinister attacks on our culture.  Those strongholds we pray for are the media, Hollywood, education, labor and big business, government bureaucracy, false religions, and medicine.  And yes, we pray a lot for the church. An ambitious agenda?  Not really.  Not if you spread out the categories during the week.  And not if you are making adequate time for prayer…which introduces the next item.

2) Time. This may be the most common excuse, as in “I wish I had more time to pray but I just don’t.” But here too the key is effective organization of your time. (Well, that and simply making prayer a priority.) For instance, you’ll be surprised how much time you could find for prayer if you were to say…cut out some TV time. Or maybe go to bed 15 minutes earlier at night in order to get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning for prayers.  Time can be found…when you want to. But, even before thinking about finding extra time, why not consider re-purposing some of the time you already have available.  Do you walk the dog?  Cool. Take your prayer list along.  What about the time you spend in the car?  Could you not turn off the radio for at least part of your trip and pray?  Your coffee break?  When you’re submerged in the bubble bath?  Vacuuming the carpet?  Let’s face it. The excuse breaks down. We do have time to pray after all.

3) Praying together.  This is particularly applicable to couples but all the rest of you can certainly adapt some of the lessons.  For the Scripture promises special blessings not only to couples who pray together, but to all groups of two or more who are gathered in Jesus’ Name. Don’t be intimidated by embarrassment or guilt or past failures. Don’t be deterred by hindrances in your relationship.  If that is the case, confess and forgive one another and make new efforts to improve your prayers together.  A prayer list can be very helpful here too.  So too can re-purposing the time in the car.  Some couples have found success in after-meal prayers instead of the perfunctory grace habitually used before. Make that last cup of coffee the occasion for a prayer together before the evening agenda. Pray for the kids, grandkids, church matters, politics, friends…you name it.

Claire and I have found immense help in praying together by using all of the things mentioned above. But, most recently, we have been blessed by our participation in the Thanksgiving Jar project I’ve outlined to you in previous letters. We have also added to our read-through-the-Bible in a year regimen the listening to CDs of Alexander Scourby reading the Scriptures. It’s been really neat. And it’s created a natural bridge to conversation and prayer about the section we’re reading that night. We recommend these things very highly too.

4) Praying aloud.  The last couple of years I’ve experienced a greater advance in my prayers than at any time since my conversion.  And all of the things I’ve listed so far have helped create that improvement. But here’s a fourth. Because a great deal of my prayers are occurring during my 2 hours of walking (almost every day), I am praying out loud.  Now, there’s no magic in this.  And God certainly doesn’t need me to pray out loud in order for Him to hear me.  But it’s made a huge difference to me!  I’m more concentrated.  I stay on-point much more instead of drifting and losing my way. And, as I experienced greater freedom and significance in my prayer during these walks, I also found other venues where I can pray aloud: the car, the deck, and the guest room downstairs where we have created a cozy little place for devotions.

As you might guess, there’s a few more hints about prayer I could list. There’s the reading of quality books (C.S. Lewis’ Letters to Malcolm Chiefly on Prayer, Randy Alcorn’s Happiness, and Tony Evans’ Kingdom Man are prime examples from my recent reading.) There’s spending quality time with Christians who are also serious about sanctification. (My weekly meetings at Panera with close friends are invaluable in this.) And there’s the recognition that the path to progress requires practice.  You won’t, for instance, move that C minus to an A plus overnight.  But I can guarantee that if you never make any moves to change things, you’ll never get above that dismal, disappointing C minus.

The Great Britain Adventure: Catching Up

Okay, it's been several days since I've checked in with a report on our activities here in Great Britain but, believe me, it's a difficult task given our schedule (a quite hectic one which includes a lot of moving about) and the inconsistency of internet connections. Anyhow, it's early morning in Broadbottom, Cheshire and I'm online, ready to write a brief catch-up.

We are very much enjoying the gorgeous home and generous hospitality of Jonathan & Allison Fewster all this week and, because we have far fewer meetings, speaking engagements, and "When Swing Was King" shows this week than last, we are able to have a lot of stimulating conversations with our hosts. But, before I mention the tasks coming up in the next few days, let me quickly review what's been happening since my last post.

Our time in Cambridge? Well, we had the most interesting (and comfortable) accommodations in the West Court in Jesus College (part of Cambridge University) where we enjoyed an elegant but rather rigid breakfast procedure in the dining hall all three mornings we were there. The town itself was intriguing, beautiful, full of history, and full of bicycles!  Our "work" here (besides a lot of personal discussions with Christian friends) also included an evening with young pro-life colleagues at the Round Church, a talk to about 100 high school kids at an assembly, and an address about pro-life apologetics to a gathering of local Christian ministers, academics, and Cambridge students. In between, Greg took us to Blectchley Park (the WWII codebreakers site) and the American National Cemetery just outside Cambridge. And a very moving highlight of that experience was that I was  allowed to fold the American flag after it had been lowered at dusk. Wow.

On Friday we drove south, skirted London, and made it to the little village of Greatham and the Manor House which serves as the headquarters of the English L'Abri. We had rain all through the trip and it was raining still when we got there. The old place was cold but the tea and fellowship of the staff soon warmed us a bit. L'Abri was full up this time around with many more visitors than we had seen in previous trips there. That made for a lot of interesting conversations with people from Britain, Australia, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Brazil, the United Sates, Romania, and more. Supper was simple fare but lively discussions and we volunteered to help with dishes afterwards. That duty almost made me late for the evening's lecture which was especially embarrassing because I was the speaker!

The topics covered in the 45-minute lecture (and the 45-minutes of Q&A which followed) were Christian literature, the art of reading well, reading as co-creation, book clubs, specific authors, etc. We had a swell time and, after a quick breakfast the next morning, we were off north.

It was another drive through the rain all the way to Birmingham where we barely made it on the train. Whew. It was a rather exasperating beginning to an afternoon of adventure involving hauling luggage from platform to platform, train changes, crowded conditions, and finally figuring out a solution to a cancelled train. But we made it okay and only a little late.

Christine Fidler met us at the Hyde Central platform and we had tea (a full supper) at her house, enjoying very much a reunion with her kids -- who now have kids of their own! And after tea, we were taken to Jonathan and Allison's where we're snugly tucked in for the week.

One of the key events of our trip was figured to be the Big Night Out, an elaborate and intergenerational dinner/dance that Debs Fidler and her team created. And that's exactly what it proved to be because we were a part of that gala party last night. But our detailed report on that and the other parts of our final week here in the U.K. will be a featured element of the Vital Signs Ministries pie social coming up at Converge Church, Friday, November 8 at 7:00. We sure hope you'll be there. For details of what else the pie social holds, please check out my (or the Vital Signs Ministries) Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

The Great Britain Adventure: Take One

We arrived in Birmingham, England Friday afternoon after a long flight from Newark and a two hour coach trip from Manchester. Tired because of no sleep, we still had a delightful time catching up with Dr. Greg Gardner (our host for the first few days of our adventure here) and with his 3 grown kids. (Greg's wife, Grace, wasn't coming home until Monday from family reunion trip to China and Malaysia.) We made it an early night and got started early Saturday morning with a full English breakfast (well, a Paleo version for us) with Greg and Francis, a Baptist pastor who also works with the local Christian rescue mission. Our conversation was wide-ranging, enlightening, and challenging. Then Claire and I joined the leaders of the Christian pregnancy aid center in Birmingham to talk a bit about our ministry, swap stories, answer questions, and pray together. The rest of the day involved a walk around the High Street of Mosely, ironing clothes, reading on Kindle A. W. Pink's study of Elijah, and a chili dinner with the Gardner family. 

Sunday saw the jet lag finally catch up with us a bit so we found time to rest and read in the afternoon, even watch a rerun of the Great British Bakeoff on TV. Nevertheless, there were times of refreshing, encouraging fellowship also with believers at Greg's church in the morning and a very provocative conversation that evening at the Gardner home with Greg and 6 of his close colleagues in Christian ministry: Sheila, Ray, Gary & Bev, Richard & Ann. That was a very profitable time for us all.

Monday we spent quite a bit of time with Shelia, the director of Stillwaters Pregnancy Centre who along with her husband, Terry, is a missionary here in England with the Southern Baptists. Our time involved a coffee conversation, a delightful tour of the counseling office, and a luncheon at a quaint café nearby. We believe we've made a significant new friend in Sheila. Next on the schedule was a brief talk to a collection of doctors and other medical professionals who work with Greg at Cape Hill Medical Centre. That went really well. And then it was on to the Bearwood Nursing Home where we presented two showings of a special British version of "When Swing Was King." The program was a definite "hit" with both residents and staff. Indeed, watching residents sing along with Vera Lynn's "The White Cliffs of Dover" was worth the whole trip! Finally, Monday evening we very much enjoyed meeting Oliver and Margaret, originally from Zimbabwe and who served 12 years with YWAM, but who now serve in very influential lay vocations. Our dinner together involved one of the most stimulating conversations I've experienced for a long time. Great, great stuff.

And now, as of this writing, we are at our second base of operations -- Cambridge. we motored down here yesterday afternoon after welcoming Grace home from the Far East, packing our gear, and presenting two more "When Swing Was King" shows at Ash Lodge Nursing Home in the late morning. It was a rainy trip with a lot of traffic but we made it on time to check into our venerable room in the West Court of Jesus College which is part of Cambridge University. What a really neat place to stay. We only had a few minutes to clean up, however, because we had a brisk walk ahead of us to get to The Punter pub where we had a long dinner conversation with Greg and old friends who we first met at L'Abri many years ago, Ian & Elaine Cooper. Our talk concerned all kinds of topics, including the talks I'll be giving here in the next few days. Then a more leisurely stroll in the moonlight back to our digs and a nice night's sleep. Next update in a couple of days, I hope.

Friday, September 20, 2019

“Your Salvation Is Sealed”

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation —having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”  (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Believing the gospel of salvation results in many supernatural and ongoing effects in a person’s life.  And one of the most glorious and comforting is the truth the apostle Paul describes in the verse quoted above; namely, that the Christian is sealed with the Holy Spirit to guarantee the ultimate redemption he will receive in heaven.  You see, the New Testament explains that when a person places his trust in Jesus Who died on the cross to pay the penalty of mankind’s sins, that sinner is forgiven – completely and forever. 

And that salvation comes with three effects.  1) The person, at the very instant of his belief in Christ’s atoning death in his behalf, is saved from the penalty of sin.  That’s right; the judgment of God against sin no long rests on the sinner because it was poured out instead upon Jesus. This is the “substitutionary atonement” – Christ died in our place to pay the price of our sin. It is the aspect of salvation that is called justification.

2) The Christian can also be saved from the power of sin in his life for he has been “born again” and is a new creature, indwelled by the Holy Spirit Who gives the believer the ability to resist temptations and live in holiness. This is the aspect of salvation that is called sanctification.  And 3) The Christian will one day experience a salvation from the very presence of sin. The Christian who receives Christ as his Savior immediately experiences the first two effects of salvation. But the third effect will be realized when Christ receives His adopted child into His presence and ushers him into the heavenly home He has prepared for him. This is the aspect of salvation that is called glorification.

It is this third aspect of salvation that Paul highlights in the Ephesians 1:13-14 passage.  And he repeats the point later in verse 30 of Chapter 4: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”  But these aren’t the only times Paul underscores how the destiny of the Christian has been sealed by the power of God.  For instance, he comforts the church members of Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:22) by reminding them that they are sealed, representing God’s pledge (literally, a down payment) on their heavenly inheritance.  Also, in 2 Timothy 2:19, Paul’s young protégé is exhorted to remember that God’s seal is not only related to a believer’s eternal standing but also to his present experience.  In that verse Timothy is told that the seal of God is a “firm foundation” reflecting not only God’s ownership and protection of His children but also the motive and empowerment for their holy living.

The basic Greek word translated “seal” in these instances is sphragis.  It is a word connected with ownership, security, authority, and permanency.  Therefore, its use by the apostle Paul is a dramatic illustration of how wonderfully secure is the believer’s position in Christ – fully forgiven, redeemed, empowered for holiness and service, and yes, guaranteed an entrance into God’s heaven. For, of course, the seal of God is unlike any earthly counterpart we can imagine. We’re not talking about Saran Wrap, Tupperware, or latex caulking here! Oh no; the gifts which God seals in us will never evaporate, never leak out, never be contaminated or weakened by a foreign substance, never lose power.  Our relationship with God including, of course, all three aspects of salvation (justification, sanctification, and glorification) can be thoroughly and joyfully depended upon. The deal is truly sealed.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Swinging Into September

Well, we've presented "When Swing Was King" shows at 4 senior living facilities this last week and the verdict is in.

And, we're delighted to announce (though it's no surprise) that the September playlist is a big, big hit.

We'd love to have you join in the fun and warm-hearted fellowship at any of this month's remaining events. Just check out the "When Swing Was King" schedule at the Vital Signs Ministries website right here.

And to encourage you further, take a look at the songs that will accompany those intriguing, beautiful photos that make up a "When Swing Was King" show.

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra — “In the Mood”
2) Eddie Fisher — “ I'm Yours”
3) Benny Goodman Orchestra — “Stardust”
4) Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Frank Sinatra — “This Love of Mine”
5) Artie Shaw Orchestra with Helen Forrest — “They Say”
6) Larry Clinton Orchestra — “Dodgin’ the Dean”
7) Ella Fitzgerald — “Isn’t It Romantic”
8) Vaughn Monroe Orchestra — “Ballerina”
9) Harry James Orchestra — “You Made Me Love You”
10) Rosemary Clooney — “Hey There”
11) Nat King Cole — “L.O.V.E.”
12) Andy Williams — “Moon River”