The Internet is the greatest communication tool that has ever existed, and it has incalculable potential for broadcasting truth as well as error. U.S. President Trump has popularized the term “fake news,” and he is right. The world is full of fake information, not only fake political information, but every other type of information. The Internet is a dream come true for flat earthers and health food quacks and disinformation campaigners and heretics of every stripe. While truth barely gets a hearing in this fallen world, error resonates widely. The Bible tells God’s people how to protect themselves in any age. Technology changes, but the principles of spiritual protection are the same. The most fundamental principle of protection is to be well grounded in God’s Word (“skillful,” Hebrews 5:12-15), to test everything by God’s Word, and to avoid things that are false. This is set out in a nutshell in 2 Timothy 2:15-17. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” Every fundamental principle of protection from heresy in the Internet age is found in this passage. Protection requires being a serious student of God’s Word. You won’t be able to discern error until you are well grounded in the truth. And protection requires shunning false teachers. Shunning is the opposite of reading their blogs and visiting their social media pages and watching their YouTube channels. 2 Timothy 2:18 warns that false teaching has the power to “overthrow the faith.” It is very dangerous. Further along in the same passage, we find that false teaching engenders questions and strifes (2 Ti. 2:23). It destabilizes the Christian life. A great many people have written to me after becoming confused by things they have read on the Internet. Typically, these are people who are not skillful in God’s Word, but instead of spending their time studying the Bible by means of proper tools and staying with sound Bible teachers, they surf around the Internet and dabble with error and nuttiness and quackery. The resources for becoming a skillful Bible student are available for those who are willing to invest sufficient time and energy. There is no easy path or shortcut. I think of many people who have gone through most or all of the Advanced Bible Studies Series published by Way of Life Literature. I think of a man who has studied through the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity three times. That alone is a serious Bible education. Beware of Internet heresy!
(Friday Church News Notes, December 14, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
“ And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.”
Malaria is caused by infection by parasites called plasmodia. It is still a serious disease, killing over one million people in 1998. Malaria is most serious in developing countries where modern drugs that fight malaria are often hard to get. Now a biologist at the University of Washington may have come up with a simple, inexpensive solution.
Plasmodia live in the bloodstream of the victims of malaria. Because they feed on blood, their bodies become loaded with iron‑rich molecules. Biologist, Henry Lai, found that a weak, oscillating, magnetic field in the lab causes the iron‑rich plasmodia to begin spinning. As the magnetic field continues, the plasmodia bodies spin fast enough to burst apart and die. Lai suggests that a coil of wire on the ceiling and another on the floor of a room plugged into a power supply could set up a magnetic field strong enough to kill the plasmodia in the blood streams of infected people. He believes that malaria could be kept under control if a person spent 12 hours a day in such a room. However, his theory has not yet been tested in the field.
Malaria has been a problem since sin came into the world. It may even be the cause of some of the fevers we read about in the Bible. When our Creator made us, He gave us the intelligence to treat the diseases that would result from our sin. However, modern medicine cannot heal us spiritually. Only God’s Son, Jesus Christ, can do that when we trust in His sacrifice on the cross for us.
“And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits..”
According to the Bible, Noah’s Ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. It was built of a type of wood called “gopher wood.” This may have been laminated wood, but it was wood. However, skeptics claim that even today wooden boats cannot be made that large simply because wood is not strong enough to endure the huge stresses generated by such a large structure; they say only iron can endure these stresses.
That is, of course, not true. Ancient writers tell us of a sea battle in 280 B.C. in which the Leontifera participated. They describe the Leontifera in some detail. They tell us that she carried 1,600 rowers and 1,200 additional fighting men. From these and other details, the Leontifera has been estimated to have been between 400 and 500 feet long. Plutarch tells us of another ship built around 294 B.C. that had twice as many banks of oars as the Leontifera. In the late third century B.C., Ptolemy Philopator built a ship that took 400 sailors to run, in addition to 4,000 rowers. With additional soldiers on board, the ship carried 7,250 men. This battleship was 420 feet long, wider than Noah’s Ark and about the same height.
The Bible is trustworthy in all that it teaches, even when it talks about historical fact or the natural world that science studies.
“There is an authenticated case of a man being converted by a sermon eighty-five years after he had heard it preached. Mr. Flavel, at the close of a discourse, instead of pronouncing the usual benediction, stood up, and said, ‘How can I dismiss you with blessing, for many of you are Anathema Maranatha, because you love not the Lord Jesus Christ?’ A lad of fifteen heard that remarkable utterance; and eighty-five years afterwards, sitting under a hedge, I think in Virginia, the whole scene came vividly before him as if it had been but the day before; and it pleased God to bless Mr. Flavel’s words to his conversion, and he lived three years longer to bear good testimony that he had felt the power of the truth in his heart.”
Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students
There are many Bible verses that provide guidance for spiritual victory in the Internet age, and one of those is Ephesians 5:11 - “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” There are two simple commands and principles here. First, the child of God is to have NO fellowship with the works of darkness. This is a great protection. If I determine that I will not fellowship with darkness on Facebook, then I will not associate with, join hands with, link to, or befriend anyone or anything that pertains to spiritual and moral darkness. I will not befriend or “Like” or join in with communication threads pertaining to immodest dress or rock & roll (whether secular or “Christian”) or drinking or drugging or worldly partying or dating or vain philosophy or charismatic heresy or slandering of good churches. I refuse to have “a little fellowship” with darkness, because my God has instructed me to have “no fellowship” with it. The second command in Ephesians 5:11 is to “reprove them.” As a child of God, a pilgrim in a strange world, my responsibility is not finished when I avoid fellowship with evil and error. Separation is not enough. I must speak out against things that are wrong. This will tend to limit one’s associations and narrow one’s “tent,” but it is exactly what God’s Word commands. Godly reproof is light in the darkness, as we see in the same context: “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light” (Ephesians 5:13). If you stand up for truth and righteousness as you should, you will not get along smoothly and comfortably with the worldly crowd. You will be like the pastor who shared the following with me recently: “I felt that when someone became my friend on Facebook they [should know] they had friended a Bible preacher. There were times I’d post Scripture and comment about Bible principles. As long as I was general about salvation, no big deal. But, as soon as I was specific about sin, I was attacked personally no matter how much Scripture I would use. One time I commented on Tim Tebow. I had been to his website to get some information about him and when his website loaded, a country music song about drinking on Friday night automatically played. I commented on Facebook about the bad testimony that was. That resulted in harsh criticism of me. One man said, ‘Tim Tebow will lead more people to Christ than you ever will.’ Many times Facebook created a forum for others to gang up on me. I made a comment about people being at the kids’ baseball game on Sunday instead of Church. Several ‘Christians’ criticized me.” This reminds me of something Jesus said: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19).
(Friday Church News Notes, December 7, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
Our sun, though remarkably stable as stars go, follows an eleven‑year cycle of activity. Every eleven years the sun’s surface is torn by solar storms. These storms can send a hot blast of particles at the earth at a million miles per hour. When they hit the Earth, these particles can disrupt radio communications and electrical systems. During this peak, the sun’s magnetic field is at its strongest.
Five and one-half years later, the sun is relatively quiet. During this quiet period, the sun’s magnetic field is at its weakest. As a result, the sun’s atmosphere develops leaky holes. These openings, called coronal holes, eject protons and electrons into space at two million miles per hour. Now two climatologists have collected data that indicate that during this quiet period, the sun may actively cool the Earth. They studied 20 years of temperature data from weather satellites and found that the Earth’s temperature average was lowest when the sun had the most and largest coronal holes. In 1995, the sun’s surface was covered with coronal holes and the Earth’s lower atmosphere averaged two degrees cooler than when the sun was most active. They theorized that some of the particles ejected from the sun enter the atmosphere and serve as nuclei for water droplets, increasing cloud formation and cooling the lower atmosphere.
While we have much to learn about the sun, we can thank a loving Creator for giving us a uniquely stable sun that supports life.
“I recently did a little computer-generated test to help determine my ‘physiological age’ as compared to my ‘chronological age.’ (Thankfully, I was 8 years younger than my chronological age, 55 rather than 63.) One of the first questions I was asked was whether I was male or female. Why? It’s because--brace yourself!--men are biologically different than women. What a revolutionary concept! But if a computer program is going to determine your physiological age vs. your chronological age, it needs to know something about your biology since, to repeat, men are different than women. Medical science understands this. Genetic studies understand this. Common sense understands this. But it appears Twitter no longer understands this. So, Twitter has updated its terms of service, adding further information under the category of ‘Repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, or other content that degrades someone.’ Specifically, Twitter explains, ‘We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.’ Note carefully that last sentence, which singles out ‘misgendering’ and ‘deadnaming.’ And what, precisely, do these terms mean? To misgender would be to refer to Bruce Caitlyn Jenner as ‘he.’ To deadname him would be to call him Bruce rather than Caitlyn. Twitter now forbids this usage, meaning that Twitter forbids you from being scientifically and biologically correct. To do so is to risk being banned. ... And if you dare raise your voice in protest against this social madness, you risk being banned. Who cares about your conscience and convictions. Who cares about scientific reality. Speech that falls outside the lines of transgender political correctness is absolutely forbidden.”
“Twitter Declares War,”Christian Post, Nov. 30, 2018
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.”
There are some Christian leaders who have suggested that Genesis does not teach how old the Earth is. They argue that the main point of Genesis is to show that God created everything, and that we, as human beings, are central to His plans for the universe. Therefore, they say, the issue of the age of the Earth is not important. After all, God is described as the “Ancient of Days” in Daniel 7:9. A 6,000-year age for the Earth is not very ancient, compared to the millions and even billions of years of evolution, so surely these creationists have everything wrong at this point.
In Britain, you will often see signs for places like Stonehenge there are often labeled as “Ancient Monuments”, despite the fact that they may only be a few hundred years old. Yet, when you are inside them, you consider them to be ancient. Whether something is ancient or not depends on what you compare it with.
Six thousand years is not ancient when compared to 4.5 billion years. However, it is our contention, from Scripture, that the 4.5 billion years did not exist. So, what is the point of comparing one age with a vast age that did not exist? It is like asking a toddler what they were doing in 1983. The question is meaningless.
Six thousand years of history refers to ancient history. We do not define ourselves in comparison with millions of years that didn’t exist. Instead, we consider the eyewitness account that God gave us, and count it as just that.
“While in Israel and the West the role of political opposition is anchored in law, the governments of the Persian Gulf states tolerate no such criticism. Anyone defying the government is soon found in a cemetery or in prison or forced to travel abroad. ... The Gulf states have no real political parties, at least not as Westerners would define them. This is how countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait operate. In fact, with the exception of Kuwait, these countries have no parliament at all, and all power is vested solely in the royal families, who, we might remember, were handed the reins of rulership by the British in the early part of the 20th century. The power wielded by these families is absolute. ... The Gulf states are having trouble combatting popular opposition given voice by online social networks like Facebook and Twitter. And that only makes them more dangerous. Since the Arab Spring, many of these regimes have set up cyber units to hunt down those who criticize them online. ... Under these conditions, the Gulf monarchies are dictatorships in every respect. There is a total absence of human rights ... Acquiescing in economic considerations, the West continues to engage and do business with these monarchies, while all but ignoring their rampant violations of human rights.”
“Democracy and Civil Rights,” Israel Today, Dec. 2018
“And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
My parents did not want dandelions in our garden. They are classed as weeds, and they have a tendency to take over large areas, especially in flower beds and also among the grass in a lawn. But when we came across them in the countryside, they were much more welcome. Pretty much every part of a dandelion plant can be put to some useful purpose.
Dandelion leaves can be eaten as part of a salad. They have a mild, peppery taste. When I lived in England, I would collect together a woodland salad, with finely chopped dandelion leaves, wild garlic, and blanched nettle leaves.
An infusion of the flowers in olive oil makes a fine remedy for aching muscles. A jar can be filled with flower heads, lightly pressed down, then filled with oil, sealed, and left for two to four weeks. Alternatively, the flowers can be treated with gently melted coconut oil, then solidified to make semi-solid balm.
The roots can be cleaned and used in one of two ways. They can be finely sliced and saute as a vegetable. Or you can roast them on a very low heat. The dried roots are then put into a coffee grinder and powdered. The resultant powder is brewed like coffee, and tastes similar.
It has often struck me that God has made a lot of very useful plants for us, like the dandelion. It makes little sense to me to suppose that so many uses could all have evolved. This is an example of God’s creative power.