The First “Abortion-Free” State, the Most Dangerous Countries for Christians, and the Presidential Inauguration (01.21.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The big news in our country this week was the inauguration of a new President. Transitions like this remind us of the need to pray for those in authority. In this episode we’ll also discuss the first “abortion-free” state and the increase of persecution against Christians around the world.

STORY #1 – Missouri Is the First “Abortion-Free” State

“Missouri has become America’s first ‘abortion-free state,’ after all 45 abortion facilities in the state have closed or ceased performing abortions, according to a report from pro-life organization Operation Rescue: ‘Reproductive Health Services Planned Parenthood in St. Louis was the last abortion facility in Missouri,’ the report said. ‘It remains open, but Operation Rescue has confirmed that no abortion appointments have been available there for months, and none are available anytime in the foreseeable future. All abortion appointments are now being referred to the Fairview Heights Planned Parenthood facility across the Mississippi River in Illinois.’” (Disrn)

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STORY #2 – List of the Most Dangerous Countries to Be a Follower of Jesus

“The watchdog organization Open Doors USA says levels of Christian persecution are at a record high around the world. Open Doors reports that levels of Christian persecution are at a record high, revealing that the number of Christians murdered for their faith rose 60 percent in 2020. […] Their latest data indicates one-in-eight Christians now suffer for their religious beliefs worldwide. […] The top 10 countries on the World Watch List include North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria, and India. Reasons for persecution range from communist oppression to Islamic oppression and Hindu nationalism. […] ‘The big surprise on the World Watch List 2021 is that extremists and governments are using COVID-19 as a justification to increase persecution against Christians and we see this in several places,’ [Open Doors USA’s CEO David Curry] told CBN News.” (CBN News)

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STORY #3 – The Inauguration of a New President

“Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States on Wednesday… Biden, 78, became the oldest U.S. president in history at a scaled-back ceremony in Washington that was largely stripped of its usual pomp and circumstance, due both to the coronavirus and security concerns following the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.” (Newsmax)

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“Follow Me”

Jesus Calls the First Apostles

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

In the Great Commission, Jesus told His apostles to go out and make disciples. A disciple is a follower of Jesus. Therefore, the Great Commission was about finding people who would follow Jesus.

This is also what Jesus did while on the earth – He made disciples. But while His apostles would call people to follow Jesus, He would tell them, “Follow Me.

There are a few examples in the gospels in which Jesus offered this invitation – “Follow Me.” In this article, we are going to look at these statements in the book of Matthew and make some applications.Continue Reading

Contentment: What It Is and Is Not

Man Sitting on Dock

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Philippians 4:11).

The Bible stresses the importance of contentment in the lives of God’s people. Like Paul’s example in the passage above, we should be content in every circumstance in which we find ourselves.

However, we need to be sure we understand what contentment is. Many might claim to be content; but in reality their condition may be better described as immaturity, disobedience, cowardice, laziness, or apathy. So in this article, we are going to consider what the Bible says about contentment – what it is and what it is not.Continue Reading

Shame: A Biblical Perspective

Man covering face

Shame may be defined as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” One can also be shamed or put to shame by others, causing him to feel ashamed.

Shame has a very negative connotation in our society today. Many believe that children should not be disciplined or corrected for fear that they might be made to feel ashamed. Sin is tolerated and even celebrated so that those who practice it will not feel shame for their actions. Behaviors that were once kept secret because they were shameful are now proudly announced to the world.

What does the Bible have to say about all of this? Let us consider shame from a Biblical perspective.Continue Reading

Pray for Leaders During the Spread of the Coronavirus

Prayer, Coronavirus

The topic that has everyone’s attention this week is the spread of the Coronavirus that has turned into a global pandemic. I discussed this topic previously on the podcast, focusing on some things that we as Christians need to do during this situation. One of those things is prayer.

In this article, I want to expand on the need for prayer – particularly the need to pray for our leaders (civil authorities) as this crisis moves along.Continue Reading

Does Persecution Cause the Church to Grow?

Persecution

Following the death of Stephen, a time of persecution began against the church in Jerusalem. The result of this was that the disciples were scattered and the gospel was preached and received in other places.

Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison. Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:1-4).

The early church faced much persecution. It also experienced a lot of growth. We do not experience the same degree of persecution today (at least not in this country). We also do not see the same rate of growth (generally speaking).

Because of this, some have wondered if we might see more growth if we experienced persecution. If persecution and growth seem to go together, does that mean a lack of persecution will result in a lack of growth? It is a good topic to consider. So let us examine the question: Does persecution cause the church to grow?Continue Reading

Regular Christians (Part 9): Antipas

Regular Christians

Antipas was one who endured persecution – not just mocking and ridicule; he was put to death. He was mentioned in the book of Revelation in the letter addressed to the church in Pergamum.

And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this: ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells” (Revelation 2:12-13).

Continue Reading