Throwback Thursday ~ Top 10 Worst Christmas Songs of All Time

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Originally published December 12, 2014christmas 10

For me, part of the reason Christmas is the “most wonderful time of the year” is the music. There are the old favorites as well as some great new songs that have come out over the years. Unfortunately, there are some stinkers out there, too. Everybody has her own taste, so the songs that give you the Christmas crazies are probably different from the ones that get on my nerves, but, here, in no particular order, are my ten picks for the worst Christmas songs of all time.

1. The Christmas Shoes– Hi, we’re going to write a song that’s a blatant attempt at emotional manipulation, and then if you say you don’t like it, people will think you’re heartless. Merry Christmas.

 

2. Last Christmas– Really? We have to listen to co-dependent whining about a break up in a Christmas song? And from Wham?

 

3. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer– This has such a catchy tune. It’s too bad the family in this song belongs on Jerry Springer.

 

4. Same Old Lang Syne– This is my pick for the absolute worst “Christmas” song (it really has nothing to do with Christmas) of all time. The only good thing I can say about this is, at least the people in the song didn’t actually have an affair. It’s bleak, it’s immoral, it’s depressing, and it’s the same four bars of melody over. and. over. and. over.

 

5. Must Have Been Old Santa Claus– “Happy ho, ho, ho to you.” Four million times. Kill me. Kill me now.

 

6. Baby, It’s Cold Outside– Because nothing says “Merry Christmas” like attempted date rape by a drink drugging lech.

 

7. Santa Baby– They could have named this song “Sugar Daddy” or “Implied Sexual Favors in Exchange for Obscenely Expensive Gifts.” Same thing.

 

8. Mistletoe– I’m just going to make a rule right here, right now: no Christmas songs that force middle-aged people to go to Urban Dictionary to understand the lyrics. My kids had to explain to me what “shawty” means. Apparently, it’s similar to a “bae.”

 

9. Do They Know It’s Christmas?– Stop having Christmasy fun RIGHT NOW. Just STOP IT. Don’t you know there are people starving in Africa, you soulless oaf? And, seriously, who puts the word “doom” in a Christmas song?

 

10. Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Canon– It pains me to list this one because I love TSO, I love children’s choirs, I love Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and I love the idea of trying to Christmas it up. But I would rather eat a ten year old fruitcake than listen to this.

 

 Agree? Disagree?
What do you think is the worst Christmas song of all time?

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The Women of Genesis: Lesson 3- Eve

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Previous Lessons: 1, 2

(By way of reminder, this study will be slightly different from our regular studies. We will be taking a more in depth look at the passages of Genesis that focus on the women we’ll be studying and a more generalized overview of the passages in between. Those “in between” passages may be somewhat lengthy, so instead of reprinting them here, I will be linking to those longer passages on Bible Gateway. Simply click on “Read Genesis X:Y-Z” to start reading.)

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Read Genesis 1:26-2:25

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Questions to Consider

1. You may wish to review Lesson 2 (link above) in preparation for today’s lesson.

2. Examine 1:26-30. What sets human beings apart from the rest of creation? What does it mean to be made in the “image” and “likeness” of God? What responsibilities and instructions did God give Adam and Eve when He created them?

3. What did God mean when He said that man was to “have dominion” (26,28) over the animals and “subdue” the earth (28)? Does God consider animals to be equal to people? How does man’s dominion over the earth reflect and point to God’s dominion over the universe? What are some ways Christians can glorify God as we exercise dominion over creation?

4. What did God instruct Adam and Eve to eat? (29) What were animals to eat? (30) Why do you think God needed to tell Adam and Eve what they and the animals were to eat? Why, at that time in history, did people and animals not eat meat? (Hint: 2:17c- In order to get meat, what do you have to do to another living creature?) Does this instruction still apply today?

5. Study 1:31-2:3. Did God create anything else after He created Adam and Eve? Why did God rest after creating humans?

6. Describe the ecology and horticulture of the earth (2:5-6) and of Eden (2:8-14).

7. Compare the method God used for creating Adam (2:7) to the method He used for creating Eve (2:21-22). What are the differences and similarities? God made man to tend (2:15) the ______ from which he had come (2:7). God made woman to tend (2:18) the ______ from which she had come (2:22).

8. In Genesis 1 (4,10,12,18,21,25,31) God brings each of His creative acts to completion with the statement, “And God saw that it was good.” What is the first thing in Creation that God said was not good? (2:18)

9. Examine 2:18-20. Describe the void in both Adam’s life and in Creation prior to God’s creation of Eve. How did the creation of woman make Adam’s life, and Creation, whole and complete?

10. What was Adam’s job? (2:15,19) What was Eve’s job? (2:18,20)

11. What can we learn about God’s design for gender, sexuality, and marriage from Genesis 1:27-28 and 2:18,20-25?

12. Describe Eve and her world, using today’s passage as your guide. What kinds of things did she see, smell, hear, taste, and feel? What are some of the things she and Adam might have spent their days doing? What did she eat? What did she wear? How would the fact that sin and death had not yet entered the world have affected her daily life, her relationship with Adam, and her relationship with God? How would your daily life, relationships with others, and your relationship with God be different if sin and death had never entered the world?


Homework

As we learned in Lesson 2, Genesis 1:26-30 and 2:5-25 are not two different accounts of the creation of man. Rather, chapter 1 is the condensed version and chapter 2 is the expanded version. Sometimes when we’re studying historical events like this, it can be confusing to our linear way of thinking when the story is not laid out in chronological order.

On a piece of paper or in your word processor, rearrange the verses of Genesis 1:26-2:25 into chronological order.


Suggested Memory Verse

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24

Movie Tuesday: Christmas Gone Viral

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One third of the world celebrates Christmas. That makes this the perfect time of year to carry out the Great Commission. What could be a more natural transition from chit chat to the gospel than talking about Christmas – the birth of Christ? Watch as Ray Comfort and ordinary folks from all over the world share the good news of Jesus with those they encounter.

If you’re looking for other easy ways to share the gospel in the coming weeks, check out my article, 10 Ways to Share the Gospel During the Holidays. You can also order some awesome Christmas-themed tracts to tuck inside your Christmas cards or share as you’re shopping at Living Waters or Bezeugen.

The Mailbag: My fiance and I don’t agree on theology.

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After struggling to find a solid local church, I finally found one that’s gospel-centered. I have been fellowshipping there for close to 6 months now and am planning to pursue membership soon. My fiancé is a godly man, but he lives in another town, so he fellowships and serves in a church which he knows has some unbiblical doctrinal issues I won’t compromise on. After our wedding, we plan to live in the town he currently resides in. There are no Bible believing churches around (all are prosperity gospel churches). I am confused because I am not ready to listen to unsound teaching and later bring up my children in a community I don’t agree with theologically.

That’s such a difficult dilemma to be caught in, and I certainly do sympathize. An engagement period should be a joyful time of planning your wedding and your subsequent life together, not agonizing over major disagreements.

That said, it is good that you recognized this problem before the wedding rather than after, and I would strongly encourage you not to move ahead with the marriage unless and until the two of you have come to a biblical agreement on the matter.

Marriage can be challenging even when you agree on all the important stuff. But when you staunchly disagree on what should be the most important issue in your marriage – Christ, His Word, and His church – it can be devastating. Even if you think you are spiritually mature enough to work through the issue and remain committed to your vows, your husband might not be, and could decide he’d rather give up on the marriage than continue to struggle.

There are a couple of Scripture passages I’d encourage you to take a look at as you continue to work through this dilemma:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18: Though verse 14 of this passage clearly says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers,” (You said your fiancé was a godly man, so I’m assuming he’s a Believer.) and though the context of this passage is more broadly about the church yoking with unbelievers than it is about marriage, there are still some important applications to your situation.

Get a good picture in your mind of two oxen being yoked together to pull a plow or wagon, because that’s the image the Holy Spirit is giving us in this passage. Even if you’re both oxen (i.e. both Believers) what’s going to happen if you’re pulling one direction and your husband is pulling the other direction? Or if you’re pulling one direction and he digs his hooves in and refuses to budge? To plow rightly, you’ve got to be pulling in the same direction together. What would happen if you yoked a full grown ox with a small calf? Even if you’re pulling the same direction, that yoke is going to rub one or both of you raw, cause blisters, etc. Prayerfully think about the words “yoked,” “partnership,” “fellowship,” “accord,” “share,” and “agreement” in this passage in light of the spiritual differences between you and your fiancé.

Ephesians 5:22-33: Examine what this passage calls you to in your role as a wife: Submit to your husband. Respect your husband. Already you have an issue because when it comes to your husband requiring you to do something ungodly (such as attend and raise your children in a heretical “church”) you, as a Believer, must obey God rather than men.”

Now examine the role this passage calls your husband to. Is he giving himself up for you as Christ did for the church in order to make sure you grow and flourish in sound doctrine in your relationship with the Lord? (v. 25-27) Is he nourishing and cherishing your sanctification? Is he loving you as his own flesh?

In addition to praying and studying the Scriptures, it would be very helpful to make an appointment with your pastor for pre-marital counseling. He can lead the two of you to talk through the issue and determine whether or not you can resolve it in a biblical way. Your fiancé’s responses should give you a clearer picture of what to do, and if he refuses pastoral counseling, that should also be an indicator about which direction your relationship should go.

Husbands and wives do not have to agree verbatim – although it’s wonderful if they do – on every teensy tinsy molecule of doctrine or the marriage is doomed. (My husband and I have a few minor theological disagreements, but we’re in agreement about 98% of the time, and certainly on all the most important tenets of doctrine.) But heresy versus sound doctrine is not a teensy tinsy molecule of doctrine. It is a major issue that will harmfully impact your marriage and your children – in more ways than you can now imagine – for the rest of your lives. I would strongly encourage you to put the wedding on hold until this issue is resolved in a biblical way. Your love for and loyalty to Christ must take precedence over your love for and loyalty to any man:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:26

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” 
Matthew 10:34-37


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

 

The Mailbag: Where should I shop for Christian gifts for Christmas?

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Originally published November 21, 2016mailbag

 

Now that Christmas is coming, I have a question about where to buy books, and/or Christian gifts. Should we patronize Christian bookstores and websites? Or would we be helping the culture become more Christian by buying from Walmart or ordering from Amazon?

It’s great to be thinking about having a Christ-like impact on the culture in everything we do. After all, the Bible does say, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Even shopping.

I think the answer to this question is largely a matter of conscience and good stewardship of the money God has blessed you with, and, of course, husbands and wives need to be on the same page if this is an issue in your home.

Christians have been buying from WalMart and Amazon for years, and the culture continues to march toward Hell at breakneck speed, so I don’t think shopping or not shopping at either of those venues is going to change society much. Amazon carries just about everything that’s in print, so they’re just as happy to sell you a Bible as a Book of Mormon as a Koran as a Richard Dawkins book. The last time I perused the “Christian” book section at my local WalMart, I literally could not find a single book by a doctrinally sound author. The half dozen shelves were laden with Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, and the like. (So, yeah, definitely don’t buy “Christian” books there!)

Some Christians don’t want to patronize Christian retailers who carry materials by false teachers. For others this isn’t an issue. This is something you (and your husband, if you’re married) will need to think and pray through and make a decision about. Check out the Popular False Teachers tab at the top of this page to make sure you’re not giving heresy for the holidays!

A few suggestions as you shop this year:

Amazon has a great program called Amazon Smile. It allows you to designate a charity that will receive a percentage of every purchase you make. There are scads of Christian organizations to choose from: churches (maybe even yours!), ministries, missions organizations, pro-life organizations, and others.

If you’re shopping at brick and mortar stores, does your town have a locally owned, doctrinally sound Christian retailer- either stand-alone or at a nearby church? Wherever you choose to shop, don’t forget to take your tracts with you to hand out along the way! That’s the best way to impact your community for Christ while buying gifts.

If you’re shopping for Christian gifts on line, you might consider “shopping small” rather than hitting one of the major Christian retailers. If you’re ordering a book or CD, try getting it directly from the author’s/publisher’s or artist’s web site. Check out some of the smaller Christian book and gift sites. And don’t forget sites like Etsy where you can order lots of Christian gifts directly from the craftsman. Here are a few awesome, doctrinally sound sites to order Christian books and gifts from:

Wretched

Grace and Truth Books

Ligonier

Wrath and Grace

Banner of Truth

Logos

Grace to You

Missional Wear

Westminster Bookstore

Seeds Family Worship

Living Waters

Scripture Type

To get the most bang for your stewardship buck, start scouting out the sites you like now. Some are already running Christmas sales. Some will have Black Friday deals, and some will offer discounts on Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving).

Happy shopping!


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Top 10 Songs for Thanksgiving

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Originally published November 18, 2016thanksgiving-songs

Isn’t Thanksgiving a wonderful holiday? It’s a whole day set aside for feasting and thanking God for all of the glorious things He has done for us. And what’s a celebration without great music? Here, in no particular order, are my top 10 picks for beautiful and joyful songs of Thanksgiving. (Click on the titles of the videos without screen lyrics for a lyric sheet in case you’d like to sing along!)

 

1. We Gather Together

It’s the iconic song of Thanksgiving, and for good reason. Now you might think it’s strange that I picked this particular rendition, but there’s just something awesome about a large group of men singing. I think they did a marvelous job.

 

2.  My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness

This was a new one for me this year, but it’s already a favorite. With its phenomenal theology and singability, this one is probably already a Thanksgiving staple in many churches.

3. Now Thank We All Our God 

“With hearts and hands and voices.” We thank God in our hearts and by singing and praying to Him, but let’s not forget to serve Him, and others, as an act of thanks as well.

 

4. Give Thanks

This song quickly became a Thanksgiving standard in the 90’s. I love the way it points us to the simple truth of being thankful for Christ.

 

5. Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Sit down and read over the lyrics of this one if you have a moment. The hymnist beautifully weaves together the idea of harvest time and God’s provision for us with the idea that we are God’s “crop,” wheat and tares sown together. And one day “the Lord our God shall come, and shall take the harvest home.”

 

6. Thank You, Lord, for Saving my Soul

Did you know this song had verses? I have to say I feel a little cheated. I’ve been singing this song all my life and never knew of the three precious verses about thankfulness in this song. We need to bring them back!

 

7. For the Beauty of the Earth

How often do we forget to thank God for the simple things? The beauty of the earth, the love of family and friends, the church, and Christ, God’s best gift of all.

 

8. I Thank You, Lord

I’m sorry, but if this song doesn’t have you dancing across the kitchen with the turkey, you’d better check your praise thang to make sure it’s not broken. “I thank you Lord. You’ve been so good to me.” Not a thing wrong with that! (Sorry, I couldn’t find a lyrics sheet.)

 

10. He Has Made Me Glad

Drawn from Psalm 100 and 118, this sweet little song reminds us of the joy of simply being in God’s presence and thanking Him for who He is.

 

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving song,
or song of thanks and praise to God?

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

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 Originally published November 26, 2008grateful

O give thanks to the LORD,
for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
1 Chronicles 16:34

Thanksgiving is upon us. It’s my favorite holiday. I get “time off” from my job (although as a stay at home mom, my “time off” looks a lot like my “time on”!); I get to go visit family; there’s no mad rush of gift shopping; and, the whole holiday is centered around eating. What could be better?

There’s only one thing I don’t look forward to about the holiday I love best. I’m not happy with the way Christmas has begun to overshadow Thanksgiving. The radio stations started playing Christmas carols before Halloween. The stores put out Christmas decorations earlier and earlier every year. The commercials for Christmas gifts and sales have been prolific since October. You almost get a sense that, aside from the good people at Butterball, retailers consider Thanksgiving to be in the way. They know that Thanksgiving is the “Gentlemen, start your engines!” rallying point for most shoppers, and without it, they could probably push Black Friday back to September and combine it with their Labor Day sales.

But more than my own personal annoyance and my desire to gather up all the retail CEOs and the media in one place and shout at them, “Nobody puts Thanksgiving in a corner!” I’m concerned for all of us as a national community. With everything that’s going on in our country and the world right now, do we really need to skip over being thankful?

We Americans are so blessed we’ve become numb and ungrateful. What a slap in the face to people all over the world for whom simply surviving another day is an almost insurmountable task. How often do we have to worry about having water to drink that’s clean enough not to make us sick? How many of us are starving to death because we have no access to food? How often do we have warring factions marching through our front yards? When was the last time we secretly huddled together to worship, afraid that at any moment we could be arrested, tortured, killed?

In the mad rush of all that is going on in our day to day lives, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to slow down and give Thanksgiving its due.

Thank you, Lord…
 …that I can see, hear, move, think clearly, and attend to my own needs.
 …that I live in a country that protects my freedoms.
 …for the family with which You’ve blessed me.
 …for the roof over my head.
 …for enough to eat.

 …for saving me.

Don’t skip Thanksgiving this year. Don’t push it over in a corner and treat it as though it’s an interruption of your Christmas plans. Relish it. Wallow in it. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

Top 10 Bible Verses on Giving Thanks

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Originally published November 22, 2016

thanks

Next to Easter and Christmas, there’s no better holiday that Christians could celebrate than Thanksgiving. Scripture reminds us over and over that we have a precious Savior and innumerable blessings to thank God for. Here are ten of my favorite Bible verses about giving thanks. Feel free to share them around on social media or print them out to use in your Thanksgiving decor.

1. Psalm 100:4

ps 100 4

 

2. 1 Corinthians 15:57

1 cor 15 57

 

3. 1 Chronicles 16:8

1 chr 16 8

 

4. Ephesians 5:20

Eph 5 20

 

5. Psalm 69:30

ps 69 30

 

6. Colossians 3:17

col 3 17

 

7. Psalm 79:13

ps 79 13

 

8. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

1 thess 5 18

 

9. Psalm 86:12

ps 86 12

 

10. Revelation 7:12

rev 7 12

 

What’s your favorite Bible verse about giving thanks?

 

10 Ways to Share the Gospel During the Holidays

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Originally published November 24, 2015share-gospel-during-holidays

With all the hustle and bustle during November and December, it’s easy for the gospel to get lost in the shuffle. But the Great Commission never takes a vacation, and the holiday season provides some unique opportunities for sharing the gospel that we don’t have during the rest of the year.

1.

If your family does the “let’s go around the table and say what we’re thankful for” thing at Thanksgiving, briefly express your thanks to Christ for His death, burial, and resurrection, and for saving you.

2.

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, place a slip of paper with a Bible verse on it about giving thanks at each place setting . Go around the table and let each person read his verse before the meal. Here are a few to get you started, or if you like it artsy, try these.

3.

Give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering of the International Mission Board. (This is an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, but anyone can donate.) The LMCO is designated to fund and equip missionaries who serve outside of North America. You can give online here or drop by your local Southern Baptist church.

4.

Invite an unchurched friend to church with you. Lots of people are more open to dropping in on a worship service or attending a special church event (like a Christmas cantata or nativity play) during the holidays than they are the rest of the year.

5.

Get a group from church together and go Christmas caroling. Choose songs whose lyrics showcase the gospel (Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World, and O Holy Night are good ones!) Take some tracts, Bibles, or small gift baskets (containing tracts or Bibles) with you to leave at each home (and don’t forget to invite them to church!).

6.

Donating to a toy drive? Tuck a tract inside your gift or consider donating a gospel-centered children’s book or Bible. The Jesus Storybook Bible  and The Biggest Story are great, doctrinally sound choices. Or how about The Mission Ball?

7.

Contact your local college campus ministry and find out how to invite an international student to spend the holidays with your family. International students can be curious about the way Americans celebrate the holidays. Additionally, dorms often close during school breaks leaving students far from home with no place to stay. Take advantage of the time with your student to take him to church with you and share the gospel with him.

8.

If Christmas parades are a thing in your area, put a float together for your church and use some awesome gospel-themed throws like The Biggest Question DVD, Pocket Testaments, or some eye catching tracts.

9.

Chat with your neighbors, even if you don’t know them well. Shoveling snow together? Exchanging baked goodies? Slow down and take the time to talk (and really listen) with your neighbors. It is amazing how people often open up if someone just takes the time to listen to them. Ask how you can pray for them, and, if the situation is conducive, do it right then. You might even find it turning into a witnessing encounter.

10.

Send out an annual Christmas newsletter? This year, instead of making it about your family’s accomplishments, how about focusing on what God accomplished through the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Christ? That’s the most important news your family could share.

What’s your favorite way to
share the gospel during the holidays?


This ARticle Was Originally published at satisfaction through Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of us in the United States, this coming Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. I hope you’ll all have a lovely day with family and friends giving thanks to God for all of the ways He has blessed you.

I am taking this week off from blogging to spend time with my family and enjoy the holiday, but I’ve got some great Thanksgiving and Black Friday (Be sure to check in here at the blog before you start your shopping!) posts lined up for you this week. Lord willing, I’ll resume my regular blog schedule next Monday, November 27.

Happy Thanksgiving!