The (Hopefully Temporary) Disappearance Of A Blogger

Woman's Head Profile Oval FrameBesides investing more money into The Outspoken TULIP than I care to admit (while living on a fixed income), I genuinely love blogging. Perhaps my stats indicate that I’m not that good at it, and I suppose using my own artwork has hurt me, but I love my blog. Writing exhilarates me, particularly when I do my own typing.

Now, however, my fractures severely limit the time I can be in my wheelchair, which in turn limits my time on my computer. We hired someone to come in mid-day, but I have serious doubts that she’ll work out.

Other issues  (global, national and domestic) add to my sense of despair. Okay,  I’ll admit it: I’m Continue reading

Starting Discernment Out Right

463ca-ladies2bstudy2b01Although I taught children’s Sunday School for several years,  I can’t recall once teaching the basic Bible lessons that I heard as a child (in a liberal denomination, at that). “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Evangelicals generally have an aversion to teaching children to fear the Lord. Frankly,  we don’t even teach it to ourselves. Yet the Bible explicitly states:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. ~~Proverbs 9:10 (ESV)

That standard Sunday School verse taught in the 1950s shouldn’t be downplayed, explained away or outright ignored the way it is in our postmodern evangelical culture. Perhaps a main reason that we now equate discernment strictly with polemics comes from our hesitancy to embrace the idea of fearing God.

Yet both the Old and New Testaments contain several verses urging people to fear God. Holy fear doesn’t require feeling terrorized by Him, nor does it negate His love for us. At the same time, His love for us doesn’t negate our proper response of approaching Him with an acute awareness of His holiness and our sinfulness. The apostle Paul told us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:13).

I loved my mother. Until my late teens, I pretty much thought she could do no wrong. But when I misbehaved at school, the absolute worst punishment my teacher could inflict was telling Mom what I’d done. She never treated me harshly, but that initial look of anger and disappointment always shook me to my core. Loving her compelled me to fear her.

Loving God, then, should compel Christians to fear disappointing Him. The fear of the Lord actually encourages us to love Him by keeping His commandments (John 15:10). Rather than avoiding  talk of fearing God, we should cultivate holy fear and let it teach us to live in ways that please, honor and glorify Him.

The fear of the Lord leads us to the wisdom that helps us discern His will from the pages of Scripture. Fearing Him, as an aspect of loving Him, develops discernment in our day-to-day lives.

If we desire to be women of discernment, we must begin by developing a healthy fear of the Lord. Maybe our churches and Sunday Schools need to return to teaching this basic principle.

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Discernment Isn’t Always What We Expect

3d383-ladies2bstudy2b03Let’s be honest, ladies. There’s a certain satisfaction to picking apart false teachers like Beth Moore (why is she always the first one to come to mind?), Ann Voskamp, Lysa TerKeurst and Sarah Young. Okay, we do need to show less discerning believers why such teachers shouldn’t be followed, especially when so many women’s Bible Studies use their books. But when “discernment ministries” do little else than try to discredit anyone they disagree with, they’ve abandoned true discernment in favor of cheap gossip.

Early in December, I wrote a couple articles linking Biblical discernment with wisdom. Tired of simply finding creative ways of saying that discernment involves so much more than Continue reading

Has Anybody Seen The Opportunity That I Misplaced?

Dark WisdomSo John came into the bedroom with his laptop, offering to let me dictate a blog post to him. (I am a blessed woman!) As soon as he opened it, all my brilliant ideas fluttered out of my head and refused to be retrieved. Consequently, I lie here feeling frustrated and disappointed that I can’t fully take advantage of this opportunity.

I hate missed opportunities. I especially hate having an opportunity to share the Gospel, only to sit there with the words rumbling around in my throat and not coming out of my mouth. Until recently, I would fear that the person would spend eternity in hell because I failed to tell him or her about Jesus.

Certainly, Christians have a responsibility to proclaim the Gospel to whomever we can. God has ordained evangelism as the means of bringing people to salvation. Furthermore, a failure to speak on His behalf constitutes disobedience on our part.

That said, none of us should presume to think that a person’s salvation depends solely on our obedience. If somebody is elect, He will be faithful to make sure that the person hears and responds to His Word. Trusting His sovereignty relieves us of believing that we have responsibility for a person’s eternal destiny.

So should we feel guilty if we miss (or neglect) opportunities to present the Gospel to others? Yes and no.

Any disobedience should cause us to feel guilt. Christ has blessed us in abundance with salvation and the hope of eternity with Him! The grace He has given us should motivate us to obey all of His commands, including the command to go into all the world and make disciples, teaching them everything He has taught us. Our silence is a sin against His grace.

At the same time, we should not sin by presuming that we are ultimately responsible for anyone’s salvation. Heavenly days, we can’t even take credit for our own salvation – what makes us think that we can effect salvation in somebody else’s heart? Do we really think that the Lord is totally dependent on whether or not we share the Gospel?

Please.

We must remember that all of His elect will come to salvation regardless of our obedience to witness. He has determined who will enter His Kingdom, and our disobedience (even though it is sinful) isn’t strong enough to sabotage His will.

Lost opportunities indeed frustrate and disappoint us, especially when those opportunities involve bringing the Gospel to people who need Christ. But when we lose opportunities, we need to remember that God hasn’t lost His control. He knows who belong to Him, and He will save those people regardless of our actions. Rest in this assurance.

*Thanks to John for typing this post at my dictation.

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Christmas Vacation In Boston (Well, At Mass. General Hospital)

Background July 2016 2Those who know me well are quite aware that I would love to live in downtown Boston. I have daydreamed about spending a few nights in one of the hotels, being able to wander around the city without the two hour commute back home.

My mother always told me, “be careful what you wish for – you might get it.”

On Monday, December 17, I was doubled over with severe hip pain that kept me from sitting upright in my wheelchair. We called the paramedics, who transported me to a local hospital. This local hospital (which I have never liked) diagnosed me with a pulled muscle, sending me home with instructions to see my primary care physician in a few days. By that Wednesday it was evident that I could not even get into my wheelchair, much less take the RIDE into my doctor’s office in Boston. To make a long story short, an ambulance transported me to Mass. General Hospital the next day. Continue reading