Most importantly I belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Secondarily, I'm married to my wonderful husband, John. We've both used wheelchairs since childhood (he from Polio and me from Cerebral Palsy). I type with a headstick because I can't control my hands. I enjoy reading, creating digital art, and exploring Boston with John.
A few days ago, someone told me that her three-year-old godson met his mother when she came to pick him up from preschool, greeting her with the words, “Look Mommy — I’m wearing a dress!” Horrified, his mother asked him why he was in a dress. He pointed to his teachers and claimed, “Them gave it to me!”
“Oh no,” the teachers argued, “we gave him a choice. We want our children to use costumes to express themselves.”
I’m known at my church for my collection of hats. One lady in her 80s looks forward to seeing how I match my hat to my outfit each Sunday. My signature look of wearing hats shifts the attention from my disability, giving me the identity as “the Hat Lady.”
Only a few friends know that I wear hats out of a personal conviction derived from 1 Corinthians 11:
Ecclesiates is a difficult little book. I grasp its main meaning, but many of its particulars leave me scratching my head. For example:
15 I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness. 16 Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? 17 Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them. ~~Ecclesiastes 7:15-18 (NASB)
I’ve been thinking about verses 16-17 lately because I’ve foolishly gotten into two arguments on Twitter lately. (Yeah, I should know better.) In both cases, I believed people were taking extreme positions, and I thought I should bring a more moderate perspective.
So I have an inflated ego. Hardly a news flash.
As I’ve reflected on my behavior, and perhaps the behavior of the women arguing with me, I noticed something about arguments that I’d forgotten. When people challenge each other, both parties tend to double down and move toward opposite extremes.
If you’ve missed my earlier articles examining The Four Spiritual Laws, you can find them here, here and here. Although I don’t consider this tract to be false doctrine, and I gratefully acknowledge that God has used it in evangelism for at least half a century, I believe it gives an inadequate explanation of the Gospel. Therefore I’ve been taking you through all four laws, encouraging you to evaluate them Biblically.
Today we look at the final Law. It reads: “We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know God personally and experience His love.” Okay, that’s probably a good starting place. The wording is technically correct. I’d even say that the writers used John 1:12 and Ephesians 2:8-9 appropriately. And I’m pleased that they recommend reading John 3:1-8.
If they had then moved into a discussion of responding to the Lord with faith and repentance (Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9), things would have been hunky-dorey. But the writers chose to quote Revelation 3:20 — a verse written to Christians who had lost their zeal for the Lord.
Are we supposed to have favorite verses or passages in the Bible? Probably not.
But I certainly do have a favorite passage, and I won’t apologize for having it! I love that passage because it shows us Jesus as God incarnate — a doctrine that has fascinated me since my first few months as a born-again Christian. 49 years later, the concept still fills me with wonder and adoration, as well it should!
Last week we looked at the first few verses of my favorite passage, exploring how Paul refuted the false teachings of both the Judaizers and the pre-gnostics by proclaiming that Jesus is God. Why don’t we look at the passage again and enjoy the reminder that Jesus Christ indeed is God Himself:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. ~~Colossians 1:15-20
About 20 years ago, I developed an interest in genealogy. A cousin on Mom’s side of the family sent me some information going back to our grandmother’s grandfather, who came to America from Ireland in the mid 1800s.
As always when someone investigates their family history, there were things about my great-great-grandfather that disturbed me. Having settled in the South, for example, he fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War (Granny tried to get me to call it The War Between The States). I feel embarrassed that he fought for the side that wanted to preserve black slavery, but I can’t change my heritage.
There are things about my personal past that I can’t change my either. The 17 years of my life before Jesus brought me to salvation may have been characterized by socially acceptable sins like my fascination with the occult (which would have pleased my great-great-grandmother, by the way), but I still rebelled against the Lord. I was headed for hell.
Thankfully, Jesus circumvented my path of self-destruction, convincing me that He took my sin on Himself. As I look back on who I was before His Holy Spirit enabled me to trust in Him as my Savior, I feel even more embarrassed than I do about my great-great-grandfather. But remembering where I came from only increases my gratitude to the Lord. I love Him most when I remember how lost I was without Him.
Writing for The Cripplegate, Clint Archer bemoans The Chimera of Cancel Culturethat has overtaken society. We should probably think through his points to decide whom we want to boycott.
Being childless (never even having been pregnant), I can’t offer you tips on Talking to Kids About Miscarriage. But Melissa at Your Mom Has a Blog sadly has been in the position of telling her children about their siblings who never experienced life outside the womb. I thought some of you might find this post helpful.
It’s good to see support for the stand John MacArthur took last Sunday. So I love Our Galvanizing Grandfather by Doug Wilson in Blog & Mablog affirming MacArthur’s stance. Too bad more people don’t admire MacArthur for his courage to obey God and not man.
Of Masks And The Weaker Brothers, which R. Scott Clark posts on The Heidelblog, pretty much reaches the same conclusions that I reached several weeks ago. You may disagree (on either side of the matter) with this conclusion, but I hope you’ll at least give it a fair hearing.
Have you read Elizabeth Prata’s essay on Prophecy and current days in The End Time yet? It may surprise you. I guarantee that it will encourage you. Or your money back!
I’ve been saying for years that teenagers need solid Bible teaching more than they need fun and games. So I love Costi Hinn’s 3 Proven Ways to “Grow” Your Youth Ministryin For the Gospel. I realize that he primarily targets youth pastors, but I think Christians as a whole should consider how we minister to our young people.
Some of my childhood memories come back as complete narratives. Every detail remains vivid, as does the progression of events. As a storyteller, I particularly enjoy recounting these memories, though John has heard all those stories so many times that I’m sure he’s sick of them.
Other childhood memories come in fragments, with both moments of sharp detail and many more moments so blurred that I can’t distinguish actual events from my guesses of what might or might not have happened. It’s one of those partial memories that I want to share with you today.
The Gospel, in and of itself, isn’t about our responsibility to love other people.
Does that statement shock you? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Traditionally, the Christian culture equates doing good to others and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves with genuine Christianity. And without argument, Jesus and His apostles taught that the command to love others is second only to the command to love God.
Many evangelicals, even within the Reformed camp, have been influenced by worldly ideas and philosophies lately. That’s not good. At the very least, the causes they embrace distract them from the Gospel. And such distraction severely weakens their effectiveness for their kingdom.
The apostle Paul spoke to this point in his first epistle to the Corinthians:
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. ~~1 Corinthians 2:3 (NASB)
Generally, these evangelicals espouse liberal ideologies: feminism, social justice, environmentalism and so forth. We do well to admonish these people (some of whom really do know Christ) that their causes usually contradict the clear teachings of Scripture. Lovingly, we should restore their focus to the Gospel, and to a proper handling of God’s Word.
In correcting liberal ideologies of other evangelicals, however, perhaps those of us with more conservative leanings should evaluate whether or not we also let our causes distract us. I know I’ve sometimes struggled with the temptation to let discernment ministry take my attention away from proclaiming the Gospel.