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Red Hot Read

Controversial and Thought-Provoking Articles for the Savvy Christian

A Firestorm for Your Mind!

Welcome to Red Hot Read. Do you have the guts to re-think old paradigms? Examine old beliefs? Consider a new way of thinking? These are some of the things that I'm examining for myself and I hope you can join in my journey.

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Crazy Faith

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Saturday

Savvy Article #1204

Has God asked you to do something ridiculous? Something illogical? Something that He says will accomplish healing, or greatness, or peace, even though you don’t see how it could?

Welcome to Crazy Faith.

Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.” ~ II Kings 5:10

In the above verse, Elisha tells an Aramaic general, Naaman, to wash in the Jordan seven times, and promises that the man will be healed of leprosy. How crazy is that?

Right now, God has been impressing on me that He wants to do bigger things in my life, and that, if I’m to follow Him to these bigger things, I need closure over a certain past occurrence. The way He is telling me to do this does not seem rational. I’ve tried something like this before, but, under normal circumstances, got nothing. Why will this action He’s been impressing on me bring me closure now?

In so many ways my response is similar to Naaman’s. When he received the instruction from the prophet Elisha to wash in the Jordan, he became angry. Elisha was not following along with Naaman’s expectations. Naaman wanted to be healed, and Elisha wasn’t going to perform the logical treatment.

Instead, Elisha told Naaman what seemed to have nothing to do with being healed. Naaman traveled a long way to get what he thought was ridiculous news.

But his servants convinced him to bathe, he did, and was healed! He performed an illogical act and got his miracle!

I’ve come to the conclusion that my understanding of how the act connects to the results doesn’t matter. In fact, the craziness of it might be the point. So, if He tells me that washing in the Jordan seven times will bring me closure, then I need to believe Him and simply do it.

This is called an act of obedience. From my past experience, acts of obedience can release great miracles.

Scripture is full of people who obeyed, did crazy things, and received miracles in return. These were times in the believer’s life when God called them to an adventure—a spiritual adventure where the believer had to go out of his comfort zone to find new and surprising treasure.

A spiritual teacher of mine once told me, “Faith is spelled R-I-S-K.”

So what adventure has God called you on? Is there something he’s told you to do that seems silly, illogical even?  I think it’s time to pack your gear, go out and face the adventure.  The worst that can happen is people will laugh at you. :D


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Contentment–More Powerful than You Think

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Tuesday

In the quest for righteous living, contentment is king.

I was reading a book by Robert Green, called The Art of Seduction, where he counsels on how to pick a victim for seduction (political and social seduction, not just sexual).

In this book, Green comments that when choosing someone to seduce, it is best to choose someone who is discontented because a contented person is impervious to seduction.

What? That needs to go in the Whoda Thunk? department. I’ve never been aware that feeling satisfied is that powerful a defense against the Enemy’s tactics to entice us to the dark side.

Let me explain.

Contentment is an emotion. I have always believed that if I am discontented, the only consequence is that I feel unsatisfied. Period. I suffer emotionally and therefore less joy of the Lord.

But in reality, contentment’s tendrils reach far. If the Enemy looks for it as a signal to either move away or pursue the seduction, then contentment is key to staying on a righteous path.

“. . . for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity . . . .” (Philippians 4:11 NASB)

Remembering I Peter 5:8–Satan “prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”–I am more motivated to pursue contentment. Paul was not saying he was satisfied and therefore it would be nice if we were too. No, he was saying that contentment is king.

How do you become content? Good question, and that is another post. But if you’re as interested as I am in becoming strong against seduction, praying and asking God to help you feel satisfied with the things He has given you is a good start.


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How NOT to Witness to an Atheist

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Wednesday

Savvy Article # 1202

Apologetics and debate are the main ways to reach an atheist, right? Wrong! Although a Christian should know why he believes and be ready to answer when asked, it is not the primary way to reach an atheist.

There is one thing that too many Christians are currently doing that makes reaching atheists difficult.

For instance, last summer, Pastor Aaron Gardner visited the Creation Museum in Petersburg Kentucky. The twist is–he visited with a group called the Secular Student Alliance (SSN), a group of atheists.

The Creation Museum’s purpose is to convince others that God is real and He created the world, and yet, the message fell on deaf ears. Why? The shabby way the atheists were treated by Christians weighed more heavily on them than any ot the exhibits at the museum.

According to Gardner, the Christians’ “hateful” looks and rudeness were shocking. The museum staff and visitors treated him and others with the nametag SSN as if they were a disease.

Gardner’s experience is revealing. Too often, we believers act like the atheist is the devil.

When asked about how Christians should treat atheists, Coloradan Senior Pastor, John Snyder, of Crossroads Community Church, Parker, said, “Jesus was called a ‘Friend of sinners.’ He gave us, as his followers, these four commands: ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.’ (Luke 6:27-28) So why do we call him Lord, and not do what he says?”

In my recent post, Is Faith the enemy? A revealing look at the tenets of New Atheism, it was clear that there is a new breed of atheist and he/she is proactive and passionate to debate and proselytize.

The Christian response to this is commonly to see the atheist as the enemy. But if you want to reach an atheist, don’t do the following:

  • Make judgmental statements to the atheist
  • Shun the atheist
  • Argue intellectually with the atheist as your only form of witnessing

The last point is controversial because the New Atheists are proactive and witness actively about their beliefs. However, loving the unbeliever is the most powerful witnessing tool. Intellectual arguments are secondary.

It is God’s kindness that leads others to repentance.

As Pastor Snyder said, “Paul gives this challenge to us as Christ’s followers, ‘Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s KINDNESS leads you to repentance?’ (Romans 2:4)

“So Jesus has sent us to save the people of our world, not condemn them. Even if they seem to be our enemies – we are to love them.”

Below is a video interview with atheist Penn Jillette, from the magical duo Penn and Teller, who describes his experience of being moved by a believer’s love. He even took the man’s Bible!


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Why Are Young Adults Exiting the Church?

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Friday

Savvy Article #1201
Complaints that our youth are leaving the church in droves started more than a decade ago and are ongoing. Experts struggle to resolve why, but no one has a complete answer—probably because it’s a complex problem with many working parts.

I have a hypothesis about one of the core reasons we are losing our youth.

I was at the house of a pastor. His son, let’s call him Rupert, was 16 and dating a nonbeliever. He asked his pastor dad, let’s call him Billy Bob, how to present the gospel to this girl.

I listened to Billy Bob’s explanation, then Rupert’s next few questions, and I realized suddenly that Rupert had no clue what the gospel was!

This child had been in Sunday school and church all his life! I know for a fact that he sat every Sunday for the last year or so and listened to his father preach. Yet, somehow, the very core of what it means to be a Christian had escaped him. How could this happen?

One thing was clear, Billy Bob knew the gospel. He was very conservative in his theology, and he taught there is no way to heaven but through forgiveness and the cross of Christ. The only thing I could figure was this dad had never had a heart-to-heart talk with his son and explained the gospel to him.

In fact, I was probably witnessing the one-and-only conversation they’d had about the subject.

This is not the only time I’ve seen a “Christian” child draw a blank at Truth. I was once asked to teach Sunday school to eight-year-olds and found that they didn’t understand prayer! This was in a church of educated adults, seasoned in Christianity, who knew their Bible well. Yet, their children did not understand that you can go to Christ with a problem and He will listen.

I stated that very thing and got blank stares. When one boy said, “I don’t understand.” I explained what prayer was. They all looked at me as if I’d come from Mars. When I asked them if their parents had taught them to go to God and ask for help, they still looked blank. Several said “no.”

Putting these two experiences together, I saw a pattern of

  • kids not knowing the gospel and
  • kids not understanding a close walk with God.

And we wonder why they lose interest in church!

You see, if a child is encouraged to play church, he will. He will go to all the events, he will sit in Sunday school, he will do what his parents do. But as he grows, this motivation weakens. If church is only entertainment or something he has to do, then he will leave as soon as he is old enough. Other, more exciting, things will come along to occupy him, and church will be viewed as old, boring, and trite.

This is at least one reason why our youth leave church when they graduate from high school, bury themselves in college or a new job, and never come back.

Don’t assume your children understand True Christianity simply because you take them to church. It isn’t so. Talking to them now will give them what they need later to have a real saving faith, and may help them stay in church after they’re grown.

You must invest time, not in lecturing, but in encouraging your children to understand that being “born again” is about a lot of things that the world is not offering. They may be a good person and behave for you and in school, but getting to heaven is not about works. And, they can have conversations with God like a friend. They can ask for help if they need it, or comfort.

Your children may not take the gospel and a true relationship with Christ to heart until they are grown or even later, but if they do not understand these two working parts, they CANNOT take it to heart because they don’t know it

Think about this. If our kids don’t understand the Truth, it’s UNFAIR to expect them to walk in it!

Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)


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What is Worldview?

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Friday

Savvy Article #1107

Many people don’t know what worldview is, and the best way to describe it is that worldview is philosophy.

Philosophy is that mental filter you wear to see the world through. We all need to make sense of this world and have a way to tell right from wrong, wise from foolish. So, as human beings, we adopt a worldview.

The Bible offers both salvation and philosophy—God’s philosophy.  God says in the Word that His thinks differently than mankind. Isaiah 55:8,9  ”’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.’”

And it is because God’s thoughts are “higher” that we are to have God’s thoughts, not man’s. “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8 NASB

There are two main benefits that come from adopting God’s worldview. When Paul wrote in Romans 10:2,  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect,” he was saying that adopting God’s thinking changes us from the inside out. And that transformation enables us to replicate God’s will on this earth.

And not only does putting on God’s philosophical filter change us, it fights a war against evil and…changes the world.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,..” 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 NASB

It is the taking of our thoughts and submitting them to God’s worldview filter that fights evil and causes true change in people. What about you, are you ready to be transformed and change the world?

Here is a great exploration of worldview by the team that brought us The Truth Project.


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My Grief and Betrayal II: Healing Through Faithful Friends

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Monday

Savvy Article #1106

Shredding another’s heart is how some people feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, I’ve been around too many people who think my heart is perfect fodder to boost their self-esteem.

In My Grief and Betrayal, I told of my one-year recovery from the greatest and most devastating rejection in my adult life. I was finding even fond memories about that person too painful to keep.

Even the authority I had gone to for solace and wisdom disbelieved my story and blamed me. (more…)


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The Day a Celebrity Commented on My Blog

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Tuesday

Savvy Article #1105

I wrote my opus, Facebook and Intimacy, with a smile on my face and a laugh in my tummy. It was meant to be funny, and I assumed that my little cadre of friends and I would get a hoot out of it and that would be the end. After all, who comes to read my blogs? Pretty much just…one…two…(I could count them on a couple hands and I might throw in a foot.)

So imagine my delight when a name I didn’t recognize appeared in the comments. Yahoo! I might actually be growing this blog, I thought.

The comment was wise. An older woman, it seemed to me. Seasoned. Definitely not a flighty girl. A good follower to have! (more…)


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Nine Sacred Pathways to Worship God, Part III

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Tuesday

Savvy Article #1104

Here are the last three Pathways from the book Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas:

7) Care Giving—Caregivers best worship God by caring for others. Some might call this the gift of helps. A Caregiver feels God’s Presence as he volunteers at a hospital, or counsels, or de-weeds an invalid’s yard.

My observation is that not every Caregiver gives care in the same way. For instance, with my Masters in Counseling, I delight in listening to others’ emotions. However, ask me to clean and I’m OUTA HERE. My husband, on the other hand, is often outside helping our neighbors cut down trees, paint, whatever is needed. (more…)


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Nine Sacred Pathways to Worship God, Part II

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Monday

Savvy Article #1103

Here are three more ways to worship and connect to God from the book Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas.

4) Activism— Activists energize themselves spiritually through confrontation. I am consistently reminded that I’m an Activist when I become irate upon hearing of an injustice. I was writing with a friend, let’s call her Lavender Minsk, who was reading mail from an email loop. A man asked the loop about using four-letter words when writing Christian fiction and what were some good guidelines. Many people on the loop verbally crucified this man, not for anything he’d done, but for something he thought. He’d only asked a question.  He wrote back, apologizing to everyone and obviously shamed. (more…)


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Nine Sacred Pathways to Worship God, Part I

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Friday

Savvy Article #1102

In the book Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas discusses nine ways we are created to worship and connect to God. Learning your particular ways of worship will enable you to both accept yourself the way God made you, and to accept others the way God made them.

I will post the sacred pathways, in a nutshell, in three parts. Here are the first three pathways to God:

1)    ThoughtIntellectuals love to serve God with their minds. I am like this. Thinking brings God close. Books and intellectual discussions cause me to rejuvenate my spirit. If you are structured like this, you can spend a long time contemplating just one Bible verse. Analytical Bible study and theology will cause the Spirit to flow. Doctrine isn’t threatening; instead, it’s liberating, and Thomas says, “They may feel closest to God when they first understand something new about Him.” (more…)


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