Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Longings Of One Physically Disabled Woman

Commonwealth Mall Sept 2012 026Being a physically disabled Christian often requires responding graciously to assumptions that my able-bodied brothers and sisters in Christ make. One friend envied all the extra time I have to study God’s Word (never mind that everything takes longer and my Personal Care Attendant schedule limits the hours I have on my computer). Countless people think of me as a prayer warrior (never mind that I struggle more with prayer than any other spiritual discipline). And almost everyone assumes I wish I could walk (believe me, I’d much rather be rid of my speech defect).

But the assumption that most bothers me is that I can’t wait for my resurrection body.

Friends often talk about having foot races with me in heaven. They envision me pushing them around in wheelbarrows (as payback for all the times they pushed me around in my manual wheelchair), and they anticipate dancing with me or wearing me out on a celestial tennis court. And I appreciate their desire to see me free of my Cerebral Palsy, with all its muscle tension,  skeleton distortions and limitations. Of course my resurrection body will be a wonderful relief after my earthly lifetime as a quadriplegic.

I am looking forward to having a glorified body, but not so that I can run and leap and dance. As wonderful as those things may be, I believe they will take a very distant second to the real joy of heaven.

Revelation 5:6-14 is my favorite description of heaven. Please click this link and read it. You’ll find no mention of healed bodies or formerly disabled people playing tennis, but you most definitely will find multitudes praising the Lord Jesus Christ, centering all their attention completely on Him. You’ll find adoring declarations of His worthiness to receive honor and glory because of His work on the cross.

Our resurrection bodies certainly will be liberated from physical weaknesses, but that liberation has a purpose far beyond our physical comfort. Ultimately, our resurrected bodies will be free from the corruption of sin.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. ~~Romans 8:18-25 (ESV)

Recently, a friend of mine remarked to me that once we have our resurrected bodies we will be able to worship the Lord without mixed motives. No more wondering if others see how spiritual we look. No more trying to manipulate Him into giving us what we want. Our glorified bodies  will enable us to worship Him in total purity, with no sin polluting our praise.

I don’t really care about being set free from my disability in heaven,  though I know I’ll praise the Lord  for that blessing as well.  I eagerly await a resurrection body no longer infected by sin. A body free to praise the Lord Jesus Christ with pure motives. A body that can stand before His glory and holiness without flinching in shame.  I long to see His face.

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It’s Just A Small Little Sin

Coffee Stained Wedding Gown

The Gospel teaches that men and women are sinners by nature and by choice, unable to stand in the presence of a holy God. But that same God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, came to earth and lived a sinless life before voluntarily suffering a painful crucifixion during which He accepted His Father’s wrath, thus atoning for the sins of all who would believe in Him. Three days later He rose from the dead, signifying that the Father accepted His sacrifice as well as assuring believers of eternal life in His presence.

The Holy Spirit regenerates Christians by enabling us to believe in Jesus Christ as the only Savior. This faith is immediately demonstrated by an attitude of repentance as an acknowledgment of Christ’s  authority over us.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.~~John 3:16-18 (ESV)

Believers know these things backwards and forwards…or at least they should. Sadly, most 21st Century evangelicals don’t readily articulate the Gospel when asked to do so. Even more tragic, many who claim to be Christians live as though Jesus exists to serve them when they ought to recognize themselves as His slaves.

As I see it, a major reason that evangelicals misunderstand and pervert the Gospel stems from difficulty accepting the fact that we actually need a Savior in the first place. Surely we aren’t that bad! And doesn’t  our good outweigh the mistakes we’ve made?

Think of it this way. It’s your wedding day, and you take your expensive white gown out of the closest. Laying it on your bed, you notice a few small spots. Coffee stains!  Your bridesmaids try to comfort you, pointing out that most of the  gown is still white. People probably won’t even notice those tiny brown stains,  they assure you with soothing voices.

But you know (and so do they) that the dress is ruined.

Even the smallest sin ruins us when we measure ourselves against God’s holy perfection. Everything else about us may be pristine, just like a wedding gown, but the yards of white linen and tulle can’t  atone for those tiny coffee spots.  And all our self-perceived goodness can’t make us acceptable to God.

That’s why Christ’s death on the cross is such good news. He paid the penalty for our sins, clothing is in His righteousness. He presents us to the Father in His purity, as though we’d never soiled ourselves.

If you haven’t yet placed your faith in Him,  I beg you to stop trusting the notion that your so-called good outweighs your sin. The stain may appear small to you, but it leaves you with damage that only Jesus can repair. Once you recognize your desperate need for the salvation that only He can accomplish, the rest of the Gospel falls easily into place.

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I Know Who Cleans My Dishes

Originally posted September 9, 2015:

The Outspoken TULIP

3D Cross Mother of PearlMy time in God’s Word this morning didn’t make me feel good. I read Matthew 23, in which Jesus blasted the scribes and the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. At first, I felt relatively comfortable with this chapter as I applied the Lord’s harsh words to present-day evangelicals who either fail to practice what they preach or deliberately tinker with Scripture so that they lead others into deception.

But the Holy Spirit began getting a bit personal with me at verse 24: “You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” (ESV). He reminded me of times I’ve displayed outward “obedience” all too fastidiously while I covered up secret sins. Like the Pharisees, I’ve leaned on my self-righteous legalism as I distracted  myself from the ways that I willfully rebelled against the Lord.

The next couple of verses intensified the indictment against me.

25 “Woe to you…

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An Uncomplicated Reason To Leave Charismatic Teaching

Out of Charismania

It may appear that I write so vigorously against the Charismatic movement with a vindictive attitude. Indeed,  one or two people have said to my face that they believe I reject Charismatic theology because of hurts I supposedly suffered during my years in Charismatic fellowships.

Fair enough, on one level. Several attempts at healing me from Cerebral Palsy probably did border on spiritual abuse, and it certainly would be understandable if I harbored bitterness over those experiences. Sure, such bitterness would be sinful, but most people would at least understand it. In a way, I suspect the friends I have in Charismatic circles might feel comforted by the thought that my current theological positions are just an overreaction to all I underwent.

But really, I turned away from Charismatic theology because, quite simply, it doesn’t line up with God’s Word.

Yes, I know all the verses Charismatics use to substantiate their teachings. I remember using those very verses in my disputes with non-Charismatics, actually. I believe that many Charismatics genuinely love God’s Word and honestly think the miracles of the four gospels and the book of Acts should be replicated today. I know why they hold such convictions. Their arguments carry a sense of plausibility that I have to respect.

But I have come to very different conclusions as I’ve studied Scripture and learned more about proper hermeneutics. Not that I’m smarter or better educated than they are. Rather, God graciously led me to more accurate teaching on the topic by His grace and for His glory.

Although I’m still far from being a Biblical scholar, the Lord has exposed me to good models of understanding His Word, consequently convincing me that the miracles of the New Testament weren’t meant as normative patterns for Christians after the First Century.

Hopefully I’ll write future articles detailing why we mustn’t apply First Century occurrences to present-day Christianity,  but that isn’t the purpose of this particular post. Today I merely want to communicate that I didn’t renounce Charismatic theology as a reaction to negative experiences, but instead because of my desire to remain faithful to the Word of God. Whatever spiritual abuse I may or may not have endured (and I’ll leave the Lord to make that determination), I only want my doctrine to line up with God’s Word.

My personal experiences are no more authoritative than the experiences of my Charismatic friends.

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In My Place Condemned He Stood

We speak so easily of Jesus dying for us, don’t we? In so doing, we run a great risk of forgetting the full impact of His atoning sacrifice for us. Case in point: we numb ourselves to the reality that each and every one of us belonged on that Roman cross, but He didn’t. He voluntarily accepted our condemnation.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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Saturday Sampler: November 19 — November 25

bible-sampler

Thanksgiving has passed, but the holiday season is just ramping up! You might want to read Michelle Lesley’s 10 Ways to Share the Gospel During the Holidays for some practical evangelism ideas. I am planning on implementing #10 myself.

For an intriguing approach to Bible reading, consider Why You Should Live in the Psalms by Scott Slayton of One Degree To Another. I’m not sure yet whether or not I’ll try his suggestions, but it definitely captures my interest. See what you think.

Obviously, bloggers this week focus quite a bit on Thanksgiving. Leslie A. of Growing 4 Life writes about the topic from an interesting angle in her blog post, Freezing Out Fear. It’s shorter than most of her posts, but it’s no less powerful.

The holidays can certainly bring out the best and the worst in us, can’t they? In her essay for The Gospel Coalition Blog, Melissa Krueger illustrates how A Beautiful Table and a Bitter Heart can dishonor the Lord.

Continuing her very convicting series on “acceptable” sins, Erin Benziger of Do Not Be Surprised gives us Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Selfishness. She makes points about this particularly damaging sin that I’d never considered, and her perspective might challenge you a little as well. The entire series is definitely worth your time!

We celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation nearly a month ago, but let’s not suppose that we can move on to other things and forget all about it. Equip, a blog out of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, features Stephen J. Wellum’s article entitled Are the Five Solas Biblical? We all need this refresher.

Pastor Gabe Hughes examines the recent #Churchtoo campaign on Twitter that intends to indict Christian churches for allowing (if not encouraging) sexual harassment and assault. His article, #Churchtoo: Confronting Sexual Abuse in the Church…And How Not To Do It, looks at the sin of sexual abuse from a Biblical perspective rather than as a reason to discredit Christianity.

Writing for Common Slaves, Joe Reed offers an extended quotation in Doctor’s Orders: Lloyd-Jones on obsession with polemics. If you can’t get enough of “discernment ministry,” you might do well to read this one.

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Not Your Typical Choice For A Thanksgiving Hymn

Thanksgiving reminds us to thank the Lord for His goodness in providing for us. In an increasingly secular culture, we certainly need that reminder. Yet the wonderful hymns usually sung at this time of year can sometimes emphasize the blessings God gives while minimizing the greatness of the Giver.

Let me be clear: the traditional Thanksgiving hymns are full of rich doctrine. We must in no way despise them, or even consider them inferior. But we can enhance them by also singing hymns that specifically exalt the Lord, especially when they use His blessings as a way of glorifying Him. Today’s hymn does just that.

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