Scattering Blog Posts And Trusting God’s Sovereignty

Things hadn’t gotten back to where they had been before my back injury, but I’d gotten into a nice routine of publishing two articles a week plus a weekly Saturday Sampler. It bothered me a little (okay, maybe more than a little) that I recycled graphics so often, but I’d decided that the content of my writing outweighs the importance of a new picture.

So I contended myself with a scaled back blogging schedule, reminding myself that I’ll turn 69 at the end of this month. How many old ladies even have blogs? I accepted a reduction in my productivity, albeit reluctantly.

Then a little over a week ago, my primary Personal Care Attendant called out, suffering from extreme stomach pain. She called again as she was being admitted to the hospital for gallbladder issues. Yesterday she called to tell us that she can’t work (except to do laundry and cooking) until after she has surgery.

Because I’ve been without a consistent weekend PCA for over a year, the ladies who do backup for me are getting understandably tired. With my weekday PCA out of commission, their frustration is rising. Tomorrow, we’ll start advertising for a temporary weekday person in addition to ads we’ve been running for the weekend position. We’d appreciate prayer for that endeavor.

Between advertising, interviewing, (hopefully) training and accommodating the schedules of my backups, I don’t anticipate much blogging time for a while. Oh, never fear — I’ll blog as often as I can! It’s just that Saturday Sampler will be entirely off the table for a while, and I may post old articles more than I’d like. I hope to write some original blog posts whenever possible.

So far, the Lord is helping me resist temptation to feed feelings of anxiety. I know He has sent this trial to deepen my trust in Him and to mold my character.

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. ~~Romans 8:28-30 (NASB95)

Please pray that God will continue strengthening me against the sin of anxiety. I know I have a particular weakness in that area, but I also know that God is faithful. I want an attitude that glorifies Him. The closing hymn of our church service today encouraged me to cultivate that attitude.

Before I Throw Stones At Rick Warren

Unless the Lord builds the house,

They labor in vain who build it;

Unless the Lord guards the city,

The watchman keeps awake in vain. ~~Psalm 127:1 (NASB95)

Almost seven years ago I abandoned the blog I’d kept to showcase my writing and digital artwork, believing the Lord would be better honored with a blog focused on discipling women for discernment through doctrine. I don’t for a minute regret that decision. The Outspoken TULIP has been a wonderful experience so far, and I hope the Holy Spirit will continue to use it to minister His Word to my sisters in Christ. It’s a delight to focus on Scripture and the Lord in my blogging.

Blogs dedicated to writing for its own sake have their place, mind you — I’ve actually encouraged one or two young writers to start blogging expressly for the purpose of getting their writing into circulation. These days, publishers won’t consider manuscripts unless a writer has a blog with at least 1000 followers. So please don’t think that I’m disparaging blogs that have the purpose of displaying someone’s writing skills. If I was young, perhaps I’d blog for that reason.

But I’m no longer young, and I no longer have an interest in selling my writing. Rather, I have an interest in serving God through this little blog.

At least, I thought that’s all I wanted out of blogging until last week.

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Sometimes Matthew 7:1 Should Be Quoted: A Response To Julie Roys

Recently a few people have expressed opinions about someone close to me. They don’t know her, but they see how her actions have caused unpleasant effects on my life. As a result, they’ve judged her, and judged her pretty much harshly. Additionally, they wanted me to join in their judgment and act according to their expectations.

For a while, they almost persuaded me to make a decision that promised to alleviate my predicament at her expense. In a way, it’s a bit tempting, I admit. But then I remember all the factors involved in her situation — factors that those criticizing her don’t know about or don’t understand. And I realize that those other people have no right to pass judgment on her. In fact, since I’ve never experienced her circumstances, I have no right to pass judgment on her.

My years as a discernment blogger have conditioned me to feel a little queasy when people quote Matthew 7:1.

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After 20 Years, I’m Ready

Maybe getting married for the first time at age 48 has something to do with it, but I’ve felt uncomfortable about using this blog to teach women how to be godly wives. Writing articles on false teachers and theological matters seemed more up my alley. And there’s a place for women teaching other women such things.

Scripture also says, however, that older women should instruct younger women particularly on domestic issues. Look with me at the passage in Titus 2:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. ~~Titus 2:3-5 (NASB95)

I liked focusing on the phrase “teaching what is good,” taking it to include teaching sound doctrine, I still believe that’s a legitimate application of this phrase, and I think women sorely need such teaching because of all the false teachers that prey on women who aren’t well-grounded in the Word. But I tended to ignore the bulk of what older women should teach younger women because I felt inadequate.

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When You Shout The Same Thing Over And Over, You Add Nothing To The Conversation

Good bloggers have a specific focus. When someone starts a blog, it’s important to find her niche, and to build her posts around that niche. For instance, The Outspoken TULIP focuses on teaching women discernment through sound Biblical doctrine. Most of the blogs I read fall into that niche as well, and occasionally I interact with those women through social media or by email. We concentrate on defined areas because readers look to us for answers in those areas. God gave us this ministry so that He would be glorified.

So often, I’m tempted to veer off from the purpose of my blog for the sake of just writing. As enjoyable as such a vacation might be, it would ultimately change this blog into something I don’t believe the Lord wants it to be. I could start another blog devoted to the art of writing, and it would still honor Him. But it would need to be a separate blog. I don’t want to diffuse this blog by meandering into ideas that would distract women from discipleship. Consequently, I narrow my subject matter to select categories that contribute to my overall theme.

Even when a blog intentionally narrows its focus to a few related aspects of Christianity, however, the author should find a broad spectrum of sub-topics within that focus. One Scripture will most likely lead to more Scriptures, leading the writer to think about angles that give fresh perspectives. Too much of a focus leads to repetition that ends up annoying readers. Additionally, it can damage the writer’s credibility,

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Where’s My Statement Of Faith?

Does a Christian blogger really need to include a Statement Of Faith on his or her website? Strictly speaking, maybe not. There aren’t any actual rules or regulations for blogging — Christian or otherwise — because blogs are self-published, and therefore guided by the conscience of each author. From that perspective, one might argue that no one mandates that a Christian blog must include a Statement Of Faith, and thus one is unnecessary.

One might further argue that a blog itself is a Statement Of Faith since its individual posts over time reveal the author’s beliefs. I see merit in this supposition, particularly since a Statement Of Faith can’t possibly present every nuance of an author’s theology. Readers get to know a blogger over time, especially if articles cover a fairly wide range of subject matter. No writer possesses enough skill to condense all of his or her beliefs into a single webpage. If we want to fully understand a blogger, we have to read a good amount of that person’s work. Indeed, that commitment to read someone’s blog with a degree of thoroughness should be a priority in properly vetting that person. After all, anybody can copy-and-paste an orthodox Statement Of Faith from a website and then proceed to promulgate all kinds of error. For example, see Beth Moore’s What We Believe page and the About page for Joel Osteen’s church.

And yet, vetting a blogger (or any Christian ministry) begins with examining their stated doctrine. Look again at Beth Moore’s beliefs. Among all the points that do align with Scripture, she tucks in a crafty little item that demonstrates her lack of obedience to the very Bible that she earlier claimed to believe. She writes:

We believe we have been “baptized by one Spirit into one body” (1Corinthians 12:13) and recognize the value and equality of all members of the body of Christ. We are “all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Did you notice that subtle opening to egalitarianism? It opens a big door to justify her unbiblical practices of preaching with men in the congregation. Thus, her Statement Of Faith drops a tiny clue that she’s not a teacher we ought to follow. Similarly, Joel Osteen’s page absolutely ignores the issue of sin. In fact, neither of them mention anything about judgment, hell or God’s wrath. leaving us to wonder why Jesus died on the cross. So their Statements Of Faith, while giving the appearance of fidelity to God’s Word, offer hints of doctrinal error,

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Nothing Is New Under The Sun, So Can Any Christian Blogger Be Totally Original?

These past two weeks, I’ve been thinking about a short post that Erin Benziger wrote in Do Not Be Surprised recently, explaining her decision to pull back from blogging for a while. You can read her entire article here, as she raises more points than I can comment on in this singular essay.

God used Erin greatly as He led me to the Doctrines of Grace, and I praise Him for allowing her to influence me in those areas. At one point, I followed her around the internet like an eager puppy. As her approach to discernment ministry evolved, I reevaluated my own understanding of Biblical discernment. I reached different conclusions about discernment blogging than Erin reached, and since then she and I have diverged on other issues. Some of her thoughts in her post on her retreat from blogging differ from my thoughts on the topic. And that’s okay. Knowing Erin, I feel confident that she would agree.

But one paragraph she wrote has challenged me in a good way regarding The Outspoken TULIP. Let me quote it, and then offer some of my responses to her perspective.

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What The Ed Litton Scandal Can Teach Christian Bloggers

You don’t have to belong to the Southern Baptist Convention to have heard that its newly elected president, Ed Litton, preached a sermon almost word for word that outgoing SBC president J.D, Greear had previously preached. A simple Google search will verify this fact. Justin Peters put out a video showing both sermons, which you can view here. And this scandal most assuredly needs much discussion, especially because (in the words of the more liberal element of the SBC) the world is watching.

Although the concept of the watching world was used at the SBC meeting in June primarily to excuse a refusal to deal with Critical Race Theory directly, I believe more conservative Christians should turn it around. The world is indeed watching, and it sees a new SBC president who passed off another pastor’s sermon as his own. My educated guess is that the world will see this situation as evidence of Christian hypocrisy. But others have already written about that aspect of Litton’s actions, so I feel no need to join that echo chamber.

Instead, I want to apply this situation to Christian bloggers. I’d already been thinking about writing an article on the matter, and a recent email Justin Peters sent to me and a few others confirmed to me that such an article should be written.

Bloggers, my sisters, aren’t pastors. But because we supplement the ministry of pastors, we must hold ourselves to the moral and ethical standards that God expects of pastors, elders and teachers. James 3:1 states that teachers will incur a stricter judgment. Writing a Christian blog, regardless of how small a readership one has, demands moral integrity.

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The End Time With Elizabeth Prata

When people ask me about Beth Moore, I immediately refer them to Elizabeth Prata. In her blog, The End Time, Elizabeth has the most comprehensive collection of articles on Beth Moore that I have ever seen. A former investigative journalist, Elizabeth has carefully researched Moore from many different angles, and therefore has written and compiled critiques that cover her topic thoroughly. In my estimation, Elizabeth is the foremost authority on this false teacher.

But The End Time is about so much more than just Beth Moore. In addition to reporting on a variety of false teachers, Elizabeth also writes about Biblical prophesy and practical aspects of Christian living for women.

Elizabeth came to Christ relatively late in life (I believe she was in her 40’s), but she has grown in maturity remarkably fast. Her writing shows that maturity in both her theological knowledge and her tone. She is unapologetic in confronting error, as she should be! At the same time, she writes with grace and compassion toward women who find themselves caught in deception. To top it all off, she displays beautiful humility in her willingness to receive correction.

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Growing 4 Life With Leslie A

Several years ago, I stumbled across a blog that (to my knowledge) doesn’t get as much recognition as it deserves. Yet the lady who writes it consistently offers Biblical wisdom and discernment that challenges me to examine myself before the Lord. So I want to begin this series on recommended women bloggers and teachers by introducing you to Leslie A and her blog, Growing 4 Life.

Leslie shouldn’t be confused with Michelle Lesley, whom I plan to profile in a later article. Having said that, these two women have much in common, starting with their keen understanding of God’s Word and their desire to teach women how to apply it. Both firmly believe in the importance of Biblical discernment, and Leslie’s Learn to Discern series a few years ago provided excellent tools for developing discernment skills.

Discernment and an understanding of Scripture are essential to Christian growth. So Leslie, who runs a landscaping company with her husband, named her blog as both a homage to the landscaping industry and an encouragement to women as they grow in the Lord. As a result, she regularly challenges her readers to reject worldliness in favor of holiness.

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