Culture is so strong that churches are bending to its will. Are you struggling to shine in the midst of it all? The culture is awash with opinions and issues these days—so what does a Christian do? We are called to be full of grace and truth. We must never sacrifice truth on the altar of misguided mercy. Jesus was grieved at the Pharisees’ unwillingness to understand or even seeks God’s heart with issues such as healing on the Sabbath. Today, we’ll look at the similarities between the story in Mark chapter 3 and the church culture today.
Today’s Scripture Writing:
- Proverbs 15: 2, 7, 23
Mentioned in Podcast
- Mark 3:1-6
- Matthew 5:14-16
- Proverbs 15:25
Join us at MomStrong International for our Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey everybody, this is Heidi St John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Friday, May 31st episode number 773. Normally I have a guest on for Friday, but there were so many things on my heart today that I decided I was going to take a day and talk about what it means to shine—really shine—for the Lord in the culture today. And it may not be what you’re thinking.
Stick around. I think you’re going to be encouraged.
So, wow—31st of May! I can’t even believe it. My husband and I are in Columbus, Ohio right now for the Teach Them Diligently Conference. We are so excited to be partnering with, Teach Them Diligently for this season of my speaking, and I just want to encourage you, wherever you are—if you have a chance to come out and say hello at any of the conferences I’m at, particularly at Teach Them Diligently Conference, I would love to see you. The next event that I’ll be at is my son’s graduation from our homeschool. That’s right. I’m feeling a little melancholy this week. It’s probably going to drag on for a little while. But you know what—that’s our job as parents, right? To raise our children like arrows in the hands of a warrior. And it’s launching time for my son, Spencer. So we’re excited about that.
I’d appreciate your prayers as you think about our family and the many, many, many families who are launching children out into the world this season. It is a fearful thing to release an arrow. And that’s what we’ve been doing, right? We spend our whole lives preparing our children to, hopefully, stand for righteousness in the culture. And that’s part of what I want to encourage you to do today. I’m going to be talking a little bit about what it means to embrace what God embraces. And so I thought I would take a couple of moments today to read some headlines, talk about a little bit what’s going on in the culture, and then turn your attention back to the Word of God. Because as I’m always saying here, God isn’t silent. He’s not silent on the issues that we’re facing.
He’s not unaware, He’s not ambivalent—and He does not want us to be silent, unaware, or ambivalent either. So, that’s going to be my focus today. I want to encourage you, if you haven’t done it already, now is a great time to start Scripture Writing with me over at MomStrong International. I’ve been trying to remember to read the verses that I have on the on whatever day it is that we’re doing. And so today’s the 31st of May. This is the last day of the Scripture Writing challenge for the month of May, a brand new one starts tomorrow. And these come with a copywork for your children. They’re also available in Spanish now and you can register for free. Just go over to MomStrongInternational.com. I’m telling you—I’ve been saying this for many years. I’m going to keep saying it as long as the Lord gives me breath.
God’s Word says that His Word, the Bible, is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. And we have never needed a lamp and a light like we do right now. So head on over, you can download the copywork challenge. If you’ve got little kids, it’s a great opportunity for them to practice their handwriting all through the summer. Just a verse a day. It’s a very easy thing to do and you’re going to kind of kill two birds with one stone.
All right, so today’s verse—it’s kind of a smattering of verses actually from Proverbs chapter 15. It’s verse two, then we skip to verse seven and then we did verse 23. So let me read them to you. Proverbs 15 verse 2—The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. Proverbs 15:2
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge. I love this because he’s saying—listen, wisdom should be the foundation. And we adorn that with knowledge, not the other way around. And unfortunately in the culture right now—and this is even true in homeschool circles, and it’s absolutely true in the social justice circles that I see growing in the church today—we are adorning knowledge and then we’re backing it up. I mean we are making knowledge our foundation, and then we’re adorning it, we hope, with wisdom—but it doesn’t work that way. God says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is the foundation. It starts with the fear of the Lord. And so then the Bible goes on to teach us in Proverbs that the tongue of the wise adorns knowledge—so we don’t want to have a be the other way around.
Then obviously the mouth of the fool gushes folly. All you gotta do is go onto a college campus right now and you will see that play out for you in real life. All right, so the next verse is found in the same chapter of Proverbs 15:7a The lips of the wise spread knowledge. Again, this is Solomon saying wisdom is what we’re after, not knowledge, okay? The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright. [Proverbs 15:7] Again, once we attain wisdom as believers, then we start learning, then we start backing that up with knowledge. All right? We don’t want it to be the other way around. In fact, the Bible says that knowledge puffs up—so knowledge without that wisdom isn’t what we want. Knowledge is what we learn. Wisdom is the ability to apply it. And so if we don’t have wisdom, the knowledge is kind of for nothing. All right, so let’s skip down to verse 23 there are three verses in the Scripture Writing Challenge today. Verse 23 says, A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word! Proverbs 15:23
Now, I love this because really this is sort of the heartbeat of the ministry at MomStrong International, and absolutely the heartbeat behind the podcast. We bring this podcast to you three days a week because we want our words to be timely. That’s why I talk about the culture. That’s why I’m not afraid to dive into politics. That’s why I like to talk about things that are happening in real time. And then we write about them in real time as we study the Bible over at MomStrong International. And a for the month of June, I can’t even—June you guys, for goodness sake! For the month of June, we’re going to begin a study and we’ll do it all summer.
We’re going to study the Fruit of the Spirit. And when we talk about the fruit of the Spirit, obviously we’re talking about patience, and joy, and goodness, and peace, and gentleness, and self-control. But it’s a fruit. It’s evidence that we are walking in right relationship with the Lord. And so often what we see right now in the culture, and this has been certainly the case throughout history, and even when the Bible was written—it is replete with stories of men and women who claimed to be Christians. The Pharisees among them, right? Claim-to-be-followers of God. I guess they couldn’t have been since Christ hadn’t come yet. But you understand what I’m saying—right? They claim to be religious, but they had no wisdom and they were in it for the wrong reasons. And I see so many Christians today, people who claim the name of Jesus—and don’t know His Word—getting out there on platforms and espousing things that God actually says He hates. He says He hates it. In fact, if you go down to verse 25 in Proverbs 15, it says, The Lord tears down the house of the proud, but He sets the widow’s boundary stones in place. Proverbs 15:25
You see, the Lord is keenly aware of the conditions of our hearts. And so we want to focus on the conditions of our hearts today. There’s so much going on in the culture right now. Franklin Graham has declared June 2nd as a day of prayer for President Trump. I want to encourage you to join me. We pray for our president every day, but I love that we’ve declared a day to pray for him. I have never seen a president so maligned, so attacked, so viciously hated—as I see President Trump hated. I’ve also never seen a president stand for Israel the way that President Trump is doing.
I’ve never seen a president so pro-life, as President Trump. And I realized that he started out pro-choice, but I pray for him every day and we are seeing him make incredible strides for the pro-life movement and to really support what the people behind the pro-life movement are saying, which is— you shall not kill. Hands that shed innocent blood is something that the Lord detests. And we are certainly guilty of that in the culture today. So I want to just encourage you, I thought I’d read the statement from Franklin Graham. June 2nd, 2019 is a special day of prayer for the president. And Franklin Graham issued a statement on Facebook and he was asking his—you know, he has tens of thousands of listeners—to commit to prayer. And so we’re going to do that here at the podcast also and say—hey, let’s pray for our president. Let’s pray for him. Let’s commit to doing it together.
The Bible teaches us that we are supposed to be praying for those in leadership. We don’t just pray for people that we agree with, right? We pray for people that we disagree with and so Franklin Graham said, along with 250 plus other Christian leaders—I’m asking followers of Christ across the nation to set aside Sunday, June 2nd, as a special day of prayer for President Donald Trump. President Trump’s enemies continue to try everything to destroy him, his family and the presidency. In the history of our country, no president has been attacked as he has. I believe the only hope for him and this nation is God. This is a critical time for America. We are on the edge of a precipice. Time is short. We need to pray for God to intervene. We need to ask God to protect, strengthen, and encourage and guide the president.
I agree 100% with Franklin Graham. He’s saying that on June 2nd we asked that pastors would lead their congregations in praying for the president. That Sunday schools and their groups would join together and pray and that individuals and families across the country would have a special focus on praying for the president that day. And so June 2nd coming and write up, you guys, it’s right around the corner—this Sunday, a special day of prayer for President Trump and his family. I hope you will join me in praying for him as well.
It’s interesting because there’s so much happening in the culture right now. It’s never been a better time for Christians to be committed to prayer. And I’m watching some pretty amazing things happening where Christians are struggling to figure out—what is my role in all of this? And a couple of days ago, somebody sent me an article on One News Now. A guy who said that—Evangelical Trump supporters wink at sin. And this is the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention. And you guys, I was like—um, no. And so I said—this is hogwash. There’s not a Christian that I know that supports the president who has condoned his past sin. We don’t wink at it. We don’t take lightly. But I said several years ago when this whole thing started and I realized—okay, it’s either going to be a Mr. Trump or Ms. Clinton—that Trump would be a better option for a commander in chief, and he’s still a better option than any other person that’s currently eyeing the job. He was 1000% better than Hillary Clinton who would kill a baby up to the moment of birth and be proud to support such a wicked stance. And frankly, I’m sick of self-righteous Christians who are just too good to support the president. It’s not okay. We are called to pray for him, to support the policies that he’s making, to pray for the people around him—and we have a responsibility and an obligation to do so.
And so it’s not saying that we’ve said—oh good, he had an affair, I’m so happy he’s married three times. No, nobody said that. But oh my goodness you guys—were losing sight of the forest for the trees. I had someone say to me—Tim Keller said that he’s troubled by growing nationalism. And so the Gospel Coalition interviewed him and he was explaining why he thinks nationalism is a problem. He said he’s a Christian first and an American second. And I totally agreed with them on that. But then he sort of lost me at a bunch of other stuff he was saying, and I liked Tim Keller. But he’s talking about growing nationalism. And I’m talking about growing social justice, and I’m troubled by church leaders who embrace social justice above common sense and our nation’s sovereignty and then call it a biblical position.
You guys, we should read the book of Nehemiah. I mean, if we can’t be committed to our nation’s sovereignty and committed to serving the Lord Jesus at the same time—then we should all just go home, right? And Israel should stop defending itself. And so a woman, she messaged me and said you know—she doesn’t find any reference to common sense in the beatitudes. She said—Heidi, read Matthew 5. I don’t hear national saying the first shall be last or love your enemy, which she’s completely wrong about that. The words “common sense” don’t look anything like what Jesus taught in the Beatitudes. And so I said—I don’t understand why, as Christians, we’re having a conversation about divorcing common sense and the beatitudes. So love your enemy does not mean sacrifice your safety or behave foolishly. If that’s the case, then we should throw out Israel sense of self protectionism because evil is still evil—and we have a responsibility to protect our, our people in our country.
Have you ever heard of the phrase—they are so heavenly minded that they were of no earthly good. That’s how I feel about a lot of these discussions that are happening in the church right now—because the answer, of course, lies in the middle. You can be a good ambassador of your country and still be an ambassador of the Lord Jesus. And indeed that’s what we need to be. And so this self-righteousness, this idea that we are so morally superior that we can’t vote for President Trump, or pray for him, or support him. And if we do, somehow we’re condoning sin in his life is a ridiculous argument. And so the social justice stuff that has just leaked into, and is frankly hurting our churches, is ridiculous to me.
Absolutely we should be committed to caring for the people around. Absolutely be committed to the Gospel—but it’s grace and truth. We don’t divorce one and embrace the other. And so in response to this woman who said—Heidi, did you find the word common sense in the beatitudes? She said—Jesus called the citizens of His kingdom to be and to do that which looks foolish and weak. Well, this is the same argument. See this to me is devoid of human reasoning, and even godly reasoning because that’s the same argument that I heard for years and years of people who said—Oh, you know, that woman is in an abusive relationship, but she is called to be submissive to her husband. Well, not submissive to the point of her husband beating her to death. I mean, that’s ridiculous. I heard someone say—well, she’s called to turn the other cheek. No, that was not what Jesus meant! That’s not what He meant. And I also find no reference to gravity and the beatitudes, but that doesn’t mean the gravity doesn’t exist or that we should ignore it.
And so the argument is flawed because it asserts that we can’t believe the beatitudes and still use common sense. We need both grace and truth. There’s so much happening in the culture today, and Christians need to know the Word, and rightly defend it, and rightly apply it. We need to rightly apply God’s Word so that we can be leaders in the culture. We want to be leaders. We want to be aware of the suffering of other human beings around us, but we don’t sacrifice. This is the same argument that I just heard a Christian make last week for saying we should never remove the right to an abortion from women. I’m like—can you hear yourself? So you would say that we would sacrifice…so let’s say there’s a baby that’s been conceived in rape, right? This is one of the big arguments against the pro-life movement.
Well, what would you do about the baby who was conceived in rape? And so I would hold up the ultrasound of one baby who was conceived in love and another baby who was conceived with violence and ask you—which of those babies deserves to die? So our arguments that we’re making for social justice fly in the face so often of what God says in His Word, we can be both filled with grace and embrace the truth. When it comes to abortion we should be loving the mother and her baby, not sacrificing one for the other. Whenever we can, we would take a stand for both. And we need to find our voice in the culture. We need to be able to stand for righteousness in the culture.
A week and a half ago, I was in church at our church in Canvas, Washington and Jeremy Carmichael was teaching out of Mark 3. And I want to read a little bit of it to you today because I was so encouraged. I mean, I was taking notes like a crazy woman. I was so encouraged by what he was saying. It was a different slant on this passage than I have ever heard. And this is the passage where Jesus is healing on the Sabbath, right? It really is a lesson in grace and truth. So let me read it to you. A Mark 3:1-6 — Another time Jesus went into the synagogue and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus. So they watched Him closely to see if He would heal on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand stand up in front of everyone. Then Jesus asked them—which is lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill? But they remain silent and this grieved the Savior.
It grieved Him. The Bible says He looked around at them in anger and deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts. He said to the man—stretch out your hand. He stretched it out and his hand was completely restored. Now Jesus knew that this would seal His death warrant. And in fact, it did. In verse six of chapter three it says—then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians on how they might kill Jesus. You see, Jesus knew that the Pharisees were watching so that they could accuse Him. In their minds, they thought that they were doing good. They didn’t care about the plight of the man with the shriveled hand because they were so interested in claiming the moral high ground while heralding injustice—and no place is this better seen than the arguments surrounding abortion right now.
We claim the moral high ground. It’s choice, give it to the women! And we herald injustice as we claim the moral high ground and so we need to understand why this is happening so that we can address it. And Jesus knows immediate why it’s happening. Verse five—He looked around at them in anger and deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts. He was deeply distressed at their hard-heartedness and Jesus knows that our hearts need rescuing, right? Jesus was both love and truth, both grace and truth, and He was shining a light. He was exposing their sin with both grief and a righteous indignation. You see, sin matters and God deals with sin in His Word. Interesting to me to note that Jesus so grieved at what was happening. He was even giving the Pharisees a chance to open their eyes and they were so bent on making sure that He didn’t do any kind of work on the Sabbath. They didn’t even care if it was good work, right? Completely losing sight of the heart of the Father.
And so I look at what’s happening politically around me. I look at what’s happening with the abortion industry. I just read an article the other day—Missouri’s last abortion clinic was set to lose it’s a license on Friday—and at the time of this recording, I don’t know if it if it did or not. But they had a video recording of a woman who was about seven months pregnant with her fourth baby talking about how she took the life of her third baby because her third baby might’ve been born with an abnormality—and with tears in her eyes. She defended this saying it was absolutely unthinkable to her that a woman would not have the right to take the life of her own child.
It’s amazing to me. It’s amazing that we’re even having these conversations, but fortunately, we can look at them through the eyes of the Lord Jesus and know exactly what God’s heart would be. If you want to know if God cares about the sovereignty of nations, look and see how He feels about Israel. Read Book of Nehemiah. We can be both loving and truthful. We can be both loving and truthful. And another thing that’s interesting to me about Mark chapter three is looking at the man who had the withered hand. Because here was a man who was suffering and Jesus gave him a very clear instruction. He said—stand up in front of everyone. Now when Jesus asked this man to stand up in front of everybody, he had a choice to make. Was he going to trust Jesus or the Pharisees? You see, you guys—faith is a personal thing, but it is not a private thing.
God calls us to trust Him in the midst of a cultural decline. And so if you have faith, people should know it. As I observe what’s happening in the culture around me and I’m reminded and encouraged by what my pastor said last Sunday, he said—culture is one of the most powerful things on the planet. It is so strong that churches are bending to it’s will. Theology is bending to it. But Jesus said—you are the light of the world—so let your light shine. Men and women—how do you know that your light’s going to be shining? How do you know that you’re doing what Jesus asked this man todo? He said—do you want to be healed? Stand up in front of everyone. Choose. You get to choose. Choose me and your hand will be healed, but it’s gonna take courage and it’s going to take a willingness to say—you know what, I know the Pharisees can make my life miserable, but I choose Jesus. And the man chose Jesus.
So how do you know if you’re shining? Two things are going to happen. You’re going to get appreciation from the people that you’ve blessed by taking a stand for righteousness in the culture and you’re going to get persecution from the people that you offend—both appreciation and persecution. Those are coming your way if you decide to take a stand for righteousness in the culture right now. And I just want to encourage you like I do every week here at the podcast—get off the bench, get onto the battlefield. Your voice is needed. Pray for the president of the United States. It’s interesting to me to note, and my husband and I marvel at this as we travel around the country—the leftists in our nation and indeed around the world and I know a lot of you are listening around the world right now—they want to silence discussion. They want to silence your voice because they don’t have a decent argument and there is wickedness so often behind it—behind the stripping of parental rights, behind so many of these arguments, absolutely being able to be seen in the argument for abortion right now in the culture. And I want to encourage you to be both salt and light. Matthew 5:14-16—you are the light of the world. Let your light shine. You are the salt of the earth.
It’s interesting to think about how salt is poured out of a salt shaker. And those little tiny granules of salt they can get into the areas that we may not even see, and that’s the Holy Spirit saying—be salty, be the light of the world, and you can expect persecution and appreciation. My Pastor said if you get too much of one or too much of the other—you’re probably doing it wrong. Which was encouraging to me because I get a fair amount of persecution and a whole bunch of appreciation here at the podcast. But expect that persecution. Just expect it and take a stand for righteousness in the culture today, both truth and grace. When we pray for somebody, whether it’s our president—which I hope you’ll join with me on June 2nd and really commit him to prayer. I agree with Franklin Graham. We are at a crossroad in our nation. We’re at the jumping off place. We’re going to determine right now who we are and what kind of a world we’re going to pass on to our grandchildren. And I hope you guys will join me in saying—Lord, help me to be both salt and light. Help me to be full of grace and truth. Help me to expose sin with the light of your word just like Jesus did. Because justice, according to the Lord, is good. And justice says—this is right and this is wrong. And we know what’s right and what’s wrong by studying to know God’s Word and to rightly apply it to our lives.
I want to invite you guys to join me at the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference on June 13th through 15th. I will be there in Denver, Colorado at the Crown Plaza near the Denver airport. They’re going to have a fantastic turnout. My friend Ken Ham is going to be there with me. I’m excited to see him and to hear what he has to say. He is definitely a voice for truth in the culture right now. So coming out June 13th through 15th, I will be at the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference at the Crown Plaza near the Denver airport this weekend.
This weekend I’ll be in Ohio, Columbus for the Teach Them Diligently Conference. It’s not too late to come out and join me there. I’ll be there all day today and all day tomorrow. And if you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, you can save $12 by using the code Heidi12 at the checkout. I went a little bit long today. Thank you guys for hanging in there with me and I’ll see you back here on Monday.
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