Biblical Literacy: The Perfect Antidote to Postmodernism

By Dr. Michael Youssef

I read a story recently about a church who had just received a new young pastor. Intent on visiting every Sunday School class, the eager young man began his first Sunday on the job by visiting a boys' class.

While meeting with them, the young pastor asked the boys, "Would you tell me please, who knocked down the wall of Jericho?" The boys immediately fell silent and began to look at one another, saying, "I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it!"

Shocked and dismayed by their lack of biblical knowledge, the pastor called a parish council meeting the next week to discuss the incident.

After hearing what happened, an elder of the church stood up and said, "Minister, let's just get some money out of the repair and maintenance fund and fix the wall and get on with it!"

Unfortunately, this lack of biblical knowledge is more true than not! Knowledge about the Word of God has decelerated drastically among Christians, especially over the past 100 years.

We go through this life with such speed that it has isolated us from the Word of God like never before.

I will spare you a history lesson, but experts agree that our generation is in a period of time called "postmodernism." And while the term itself is relatively new, the root causes of postmodernism are as old as time itself.

Back in the Garden of Eden, Satan asked a very simple, yet damning question when he asked Adam and Eve, "Did God really say that?" With this one inquiry, Satan cast doubt on God and eventually neutralized what God had said to Adam and Eve in the Garden.

And so it goes today; Satan neutralizes the power of the Word of God by the mantras of postmodern thinking: "Truth is relative." "Morality is obsolete." "Authority as a concept is passé." "Honesty is for fools." "The pursuit of truth is meaningless."

Do any of these sound familiar? Beloved, we are dogged with postmodern thinking… with Satan’s deception… every day. It is endless, from the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed!

It's in the movies we see… the TV shows we watch… the internet we surf… the books we read… the words teachers teach… and (most sadly) even in some of the sermons we hear preached.

There is no way on God's earth that two hours of church one day a week are going to neutralize the impact our postmodern culture has upon you.

Think about it. The Bible makes it clear that Satan bombarded Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with continuous doubt about the words of God. And eventually, Eve got weary, threw in the towel and gave in.

So many in the church react to Satan’s bombardment the same way. And I desperately want you to avoid this same reaction! That’s why I want to challenge you to ingest the truth of the Word of God on a daily basis.

God tells us in Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Did you see that? Man's postmodern way of thinking leads only to death.

I want to make you a promise. It's not just a promise based upon my own experience over the course of 30 years, but upon the testimonies of thousands upon thousands of people:

If you make the decision to read, study and obey the Word of God on a daily basis, it will change you. And it will change you for good!

I pray you will make a daily commitment to spend time in God’s Word. Trust me, it will bless you in ways you never thought possible! Your life will be radically changed as you make the truth of God's Word your daily diet.


The Refusal of the Queen

By Patsy Shelton

Now, we are going to take a look at Queen Vashti, as the present day church, and us as individuals. You will recall that Vashti’s name means “beautiful woman.” She was beautiful on the outside, but she had a rebellious spirit, or attitude. I Samuel 15: 23. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry…”

Esther 1:9-12, V9,” Also Vashti, the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus. 10. On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king. 11, To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty; for she was fair to look on. 12, But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s commandment by his chamberlains; therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.”

Vashti was too busy doing her own thing. She had her own plan, and her own program, and when the king called she refused to come. That is the state of the present day church, they are doing their own thing, they have their own agenda, and they have refused to come at the King’s bidding.

She was holding her feast in the “royal house, which belonged to king Ahasuerus.” Vashti, thought it was her own to do in as she pleased, but it belonged to the king. So it is with the church, and so it is with our bodies. Nothing belongs to us, it all belongs to Him.

There were seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus. Chamberlains are eunuchs, and a eunuch, not only means that the male organs have been removed, but also their strength and vigor has been removed. That is precisely where the Lord wants his people today. A people that have no plans, agendas, or answers but that have to look to Our King for everything. Doesn’t the word say that in our weakness He will be strong? If we are strong, we have no need for God, we will do things our own way, and in our own strength.

Also, they “served in the presence of Ahasuerus.” They were his servants, and they did his bidding. He asked them to bring the queen with her royal crown, and they did as he asked. Kings in the bible represent pastors, or those in roles of leadership. In the present day church, much of the leadership sees itself as needing to be served, rather than seeing themselves as servants. Of the many reasons that David was a good king was because he saw himself, first as a servant of God, and secondly, a servant to the people. But, in the present day church, there is a spirit of pride and arrogance, needing to be served rather than serving.

So, in verse 12, it says “therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.”. That is the heart of God at the state of the present day church, and in this season we will see His hand of judgment in His house. Doesn’t the word say that “pride goeth before a fall?” But, if we humble ourselves before Him, He will exalt us in due time. It is the “acceptable year of the Lord and the year of the vengeance of our God.” It’s our choice, we can either have the Glory, or the judgment.

But what about Vashti? V. 13,”Then the king said to the wise men which knew the times, (for so was the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment: V14, And the next unto him was Carsehna, Shethar, Admatha, Tarnish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan the servant princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king’s face, and which sat the first in the kingdom:) V15, What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains? V16, And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but alls to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. V. 17, For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. V. 18, Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king’s princes which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.”

There were seven wise men that knew the times, and the law and judgment. The number seven is consistent through this first chapter. In V. 5, the feast to the great and small was held for seven days. There were seven chamberlains, and now seven wise men. You will recall that the number seven means, completion, spiritual perfection with regard to man. So, in the this season, the Holy Spirit is going to complete us, and this will be more evident as we get into the next chapter, which is the preparation of the bride.

Every leader should surround themselves with “wise men that know the times, and the law and judgment. In the present day church this is not necessarily true. Because there is a spirit of pride and arrogance, leadership tends to surround themselves with an entourage of people that are devoted to them. I believe that those that surround leadership should be loyal, but not devoted to the leader. There is a fine line here. I believe that their devotion should be the work that the Lord has called the person too. I, personally, have seen so many people in churches hurt, because they had their eyes on the pastor or leadership, and not on the Lord.

There is real wisdom in Deut. 17, with regard to Pastors (kings), and church leadership (princes). Deut. 17: 14-15, “When thou art come into the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, “I will se a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; V.15, Thou shall in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord they God choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.”

When you read the discussion that Ahasuerus had with these seven men (verses 13-18), they were knew about their communities, and the people, and how things would effect them.

This was a mandate from God according to Deut. 17 about leadership. The first requirement that we find in this passage is that God set the leadership in place. When God places “whom He chooses” in place, it will be confirmed by the Prophet. I Sam. 10:24 says, “And Samuel said to all the people, “See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen…”

How will we be able to discern if God has installed leadership? The seven spirits of God in Isaiah 11:2-5 will rest upon them. “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him) the anointing), the spirit of wisdom (that comes from knowing the word of God.), and understanding (that word means compassionate), the spirit of counsel (knowing the one that is the counselor), and might (strong in the Lord), and the spirit of knowledge (not necessarily and educated person but one taught by the Holy Spirit, and life’s experiences) And the fear of the Lord (reverence, honor, and a respect for an all powerful God.)

The second requirement is that leadership be “…one from among the brethren; thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.” Why? Because a stranger is not aware of the customs, needs, desires, tribulations, afflictions, and triumphs of the people.

Moses is a perfect example. He was raised in a palace in royal fashion. Before God could place him in a position of leadership he had to spend 40 years in the desert, so that he could relate to the people that God would place into his charge. He had to live among them, and experience their sufferings.

It was decided that Ahasuerus would have to divorce Vashti, In verses 19-22, “If it please the king, let here go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. 20, And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small. 21, And the saying pleased the king and the princes’ and kind did according to the word of Memucan: 22, For he sent letters into all the king’s provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.”

Why was the decision made to divorce Vashti? Because the anointing flows from the head down onto the body. Her rebellion would flow down onto the subjects. So, it is with leadership in the church. So, this season, we will see the Lord divorce himself from that, which is not of Him. He will divorce pastors and leaders, and He will raise up a “glorious church without spot or wrinkle.”

The really sad thing is that it was decided that Vashti’s “royal estate” would be given to another. She’s had the opportunity to live in the king’s presence, to be intimate with him, and to have access to all of his kingdom. But he divorced her, but because of her rebellion. In this season the Lord is going to divorce pastors, and leadership.


Who are You on an Ordinary Day?

By Daniel Darling

It wasn’t a special day. It wasn’t a grand occasion. It wasn’t met with great fanfare.

Instead it was an ordinary trip to the well on an ordinary day. But on this particular day, young Rebekah so impressed Abraham’s servant, the man sent by the wealthy patriarch to find a suitable mate for Isaac.

What impresses me about Rebekah—and what likely impressed Abraham’s servant—was Rebekah’s spirit of servanthood. Let’s think about this. Like most young girls, she took at least two trips to the well, one in the morning and one in the evening. It was a routine she’d carried out thousands of times. Lower the bucket deep into the well, bring it back up again, fill up the heavy clay pot, hoist it on her shoulder, and make her back to her home.

On this particular day, she was probably tired from a long day’s work. She probably wasn’t in a very talkative mood. She was probably hoping to get her pot filled and get it home.

But there was something different about Rebekah. Rebekah had the heart of a servant. Her eyes reached beyond her own circumstances and saw the needs of others. With aching arms, she lowered that bucket into the well several times, filled her pot, and fed the thirsty camels of Abraham’s servant.

This is what I wrote in my book, Teen People of the Bible:

Anyone can primp or get to looking mighty fine for a first date. Anyone can put on his or her best behavior for a teacher or coach. Anyone can freshen up for an important interview. But what about those chance encounters when you’re caught off guard? If people saw you on an ordinary day, would they be impressed? Would they see something different about you?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotten pretty good at impressing the “important people” in my life. But who am I on an ordinary day at the well? At the office? At home on a weekend? In the car on the interstate?

Does the spirit of Christ shine through me? Can people see something different? Something attractive?

It is in these nitty gritty routines of life where we are most tested. This is where God comes to us with opportunity for growth.

Rebekah was ready. Are you?

Daniel Darling is the author of Teen People of the Bible. Visit him at danieldarling.com.


God Will Finish What He Started

By Adrian Rogers
Love Worth Finding

When you were first saved, God began a new work in you; but you were certainly not a finished product. You had a lot of growing to do. God started something in you, and He is the one that will complete it. The Bible says in Philippians 1:6, “… He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it …” He wants to build character into your life, and according to Romans 5:3-5, there are four ways He does this: “… we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”


I’m sorry to begin this way, but verse three says the process begins with tribulations. The word tribulation literally means “pressure.” In that day, it was the word used to describe the crushing of grapes or olives. In order to produce wine or oil, the grapes or the olives had to go through tribulation.

God wants to bring out the wine of joy and the oil of gladness in your life, but the only way He will get it out of you is to press it out. Men throw broken things away, but God never uses anything until He first breaks it. Are bad things happening to you right now? Are you feeling pressure? Don’t think of it as an obstacle; but rather see it is an opportunity. They are things God has engineered to build character into your life.

You may say, “If that’s what it means to be a Christian, then I don’t want any part of it.” But understand, you’re going to have tribulation whether you’re a Christian or not! However, the child of God can see that God has engineered it and say, “I glory in this tribulation.”


What do you do while you’re in the wine vat being pressed? Well, the Bible says, you are to develop a character trait known as patience. You have to experience the pressure in order to have something to be patient about. The word literally means “endurance” or “constancy.”

When troubles come, some Christians just drop out. Others get cynical and shake their fist in the face of God. Is that what you do? But you must endure! God wants to develop your Christian character. And one of the greatest marks of your faith and your confidence in the Almighty is your endurance, your perseverance, and your constancy when trouble comes.


After pressure and patience comes purity. Paul used the word experience that is translated many times as character. The word was actually used to speak of gold that has been put in the fire and refined until it is pure. God wants your character to be pure because it has gone through the experience of tribulation and perseverance. So He burns the dross (the impurities,) out of your life. They say that a refiner knows the gold is pure when he can see his own face reflected in it. Likewise, our Lord wants to see His character reflected in us.

Many of us don’t want that. But when do we really grow in our spiritual lives—when everything is smooth or when we experience trouble, heartache, pressure, and pain? We grow when we have nowhere to go but to God. That’s when we are refined and made pure.


Now we come to the fourth quality used to build Christian character—hope. Hope doesn’t mean just a wish or a desire. It means rock-ribbed assurance based on the Word of God and the character of God. When we go through pressure and receive patience and purity, we come out on the other side knowing that God is faithful. When that happens, we can say with the apostle Paul in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” One descriptive definition I read is, “Hope is faith in the future tense.” Hope is one of the greatest assets we have. In fact, if you don’t have hope, you don’t have anything!

Are you trying to build character with no foundation? Once you receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, then upon that Foundation, Christian character is built. Then He can grow your Christian character by first of all pressure, then patience, after patience, purity, and finally rock-ribbed confidence in Almighty God.


Wait For the Wind

InspirationDaily iBlog

My nephew's 10 year old son came for a visit one hot, July weekend. I was enticing him to stay inside by joining him in a nintendo game. After being mercilessly defeated by a more experienced player, I suggested that we relax awhile. I collapsed into my favorite recliner to let my neck muscles relax and my ego recover from such a beating. He had slipped out of the room and I was catching a few relished moments of peace and quiet.

"Look, Alice," he said enthusiastically as he ran over to the chair where I was recovering.

"I found a kite. Could we go outside and fly it?"

Glancing out a nearby window, I noticed there was not a breeze stirring. "I'm sorry, Tripper," I said, sad to see his disappointed eyes, but thankful for the respite from more activity. "The wind is not blowing today. The kite won't fly."

The determined 10 year old replied. "I think it's windy enough. I can get it to fly," he answered, as he hurried out the back door. I peeked through the slats in the venetian blinds to watch determination in action. Up and down the yard he ran, pulling the kite attached to a small length of string. The plastic kite, proudly displaying a picture of Batman, remained about shoulder level. He ran back and forth, as hard as his ten year old legs would carry him, looking back hopefully at the kite trailing behind. After about ten minutes of unsuccessful determination, he came back in.

I asked, "How did it go?"

"Fine," he said, not wanting to admit defeat. "I got it to fly some."

As he walked past me to return the kite to the closet shelf, I heard him say under his breath, "I guess I'll have to wait for the wind."

At that moment I heard another Voice speak to my heart. "Alice. Sometimes you are just like that. You want to do it your way instead of waiting for the Wind."

And the voice was right. How easy it is to use our own efforts to accomplish what we want to do. We wait for the Wind only after we have done all we can and have exhausted our own strength. We must learn how to rely on Him in the first place!

A kite will fly only when it is set against the wind.


Do Broken Seeds Still Grow?

By Mary Southerland

I am famous for my “brown thumb”. Even though we have moved several times over the years, changing climates, states, neighborhoods and soil conditions, nothing has altered the fact that if I touch any living plant, its chances for survival are slim. My husband has fared no better in his numerous attempts to plant trees and flowers. I fear that the “brown thumb” disease is contagious. There is more. I see undeniable evidence that this gardening malady is hereditary. My son, bless his heart, has tried to rescue wilted flower after crispy plant from his mother’s clutches. Like his father, every tree or flower planted by Jered has died. But there is hope! My daughter, Danna, is not only able to keep living plants alive for an impressive amount of time, she can plant seeds and green things will actually grow! It is absolutely amazing to me!

When Danna was in kindergarten she had a very creative science teacher, Miss Kay, who constantly planned fun activities and projects for the children. Danna loved her and was always talking about what she learned in science class. While waiting for Danna in the carpool line, I spotted her standing by Miss Kay, grinning from ear to ear, jumping up and down as if she simply couldn’t wait for me to get there. As I pulled up, Danna hopped into the car, gave a huge sigh of satisfaction and stretched out her tiny hand, proudly displaying the amazing reason for her enthusiasm - a wadded up paper towel.

Now I am normally very good at being excited about the things my kids find important, but for the life of me, I couldn’t fathom why Danna would be so thrilled with a crumpled paper towel. “Honey, what is that?” I asked. She looked up at me with sparkling brown eyes and whispered, “Mom, there are seeds in here. Miss Kay gave them to me and I am going to plant them and they are going to grow. Can you believe it?”

Given my morbid experience with seeds, I declined to answer that question but instead, chose to join my daughter in her excitement – until I saw the seeds. Evidently, Danna had been carrying them around all day because when she carefully unfolded the paper towel, all I could see was a big mess of broken, mismatched, crushed and crumbled seeds. Looking into the eager eyes of my daughter I said, “Honey, if these seeds don’t grow for some reason, remember that we can go to the store and buy new ones.” Clutching the seeds tightly to her heart and safely out of my reach, Danna said, “Mama, they have to grow ‘cause I prayed and asked God to please make them grow and He said He would!” I began planning a trip to Wal-Mart.

Danna was silent all the way home but when we pulled into our driveway she jumped out of the car and darted into the house, leaving her doubting mother behind. Moments later, Danna reappeared with a small paper cup in her hand. I watched as she scooped up dirt from the front flower bed and marched confidently back into the house. I followed her, moaning my silent complaint, “Father, do you realize that your reputation is on the line here? Why did she have to pick that particular flower bed, the one we filled with rocks because nothing, not even weeds, will grow there?” Once again I tried to reason with Danna. “Honey, why don’t we just buy some new seeds?” Ignoring my faithless question, Danna stuffed the broken seeds down into the cup, marched to the kitchen sink and, placing the cup under the faucet, turned the water on full blast. Just as fast as the seeds and dirt spilled over the edge of the cup into the sink, Danna scooped them up and poked them back in, all the way to the bottom of the cup so they couldn’t escape. “Miss Kay says that they have to have sunshine to grow.” With this announcement, she placed her soggy cup of broken, mismatched seeds on the kitchen window sill that looks out over our screened-in porch; a place purposely designed to receive no sunlight at all. By this time, I knew my words were falling on deaf ears and decided to let God handle this one on His own.

Several days later, I was standing at the kitchen sink preparing dinner, when I glanced out on the porch to see my daughter’s faith on spectacular display. A small paper cup filled with green sprouts confronted my doubting heart. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Dropping the potatoes in the sink, I literally ran to Danna’s room shouting, “Danna! Danna! Your seeds are growing!” I found her calmly playing “Chutes and Ladders” with Danielle, her best friend. “Danna! Did you hear me? Your seeds are growing!” A brief glance and knowing smile from Danna said it all. “I know!” She and Danielle resumed their game, leaving me to gaze in awe and wonder at the faith of my child who dared to believe in a broken dream.

I know you are desperately clinging to the broken and mismatched remnants of your life, wondering how you can go on. Whispers of the enemy creep into your heart, soul and mind, taunting you with the lie that you are just too dirty and broken for God to love or use. It seems as if nothing and no one can change that reality, so you might as well give up.

Nothing could be further from the truth, my friend. In fact, God is drawn to broken people, choosing the most broken to do His highest work. Never underestimate the power of one, tiny broken seed. Placed in the right hands, it will surely grow into an expression of His beauty for all to see.

Psalm 51:17
The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit.
A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise. (NLT)

Mary Southerland is the author of Coming Out of the Dark, Sandpaper People, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, and Escaping the Stress Trap. Mary is the founder of Journey Ministry, member of Girlfriends in God (featured among Crosswalk.com's daily devotional offerings), and a popular international speaker for conventions, retreats, and conferences. For more information, contact Mary by emailing her at: journeyfriends@cs.com or visit her website at: www.marysoutherland.com.