When Life Rages At Us, What Do We Tell Our Souls?

Teardrop RoseWriting about suffering takes me out of my comfort zone. To be blunt, I don’t really think I’ve actually suffered.

It may strike you as strange that I would make such a statement.  Ironically, as I’ve tried to type this paragraph, my body locked itself in a muscle spasm, preventing me from repositioning my wheelchair so that I could reach my keyboard’s space bar without straining my back. People who have watched me go through migraines, endure folks who assume I’m intellectually disabled or know how frustrated I am with my speech defect would probably insist that I suffer quite a bit.

They forget that I Continue reading

They Taught Him To Love Jesus

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, the apostle prepares his young disciple to assume the role of pastor to the church at Ephesus. In encouraging Timothy, he makes a tender appeal reminding the young man of his spiritual heritage handed down from his mother and grandmother.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.~~2 Timothy 1:5 (ESV)

Further on in the letter, Paul specifies what Timothy learned from these women.

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~~2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)

Lois and Eunice, I believe, taught young Timothy more than a mere academic knowledge of the Old Testament. Their faith in Yahweh prepared him to receive the Gospel and to love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Whether or not you were raised by a godly mother, knowing Scripture will reveal Christ to you. The more you see Him in His Word, the more you will never love Him as Timothy’s grandmother and mother did. Truly, they taught him to love Jesus.

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Flashback Friday: It’s Just A Small Little Sin

Originally published November 29, 2017:

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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Secure — By His Grace

Isn’t it easy to make ourselves responsible for procuring and maintaining our salvation?  Something in us insists on taking at least a small portion of credit for our acceptance into heaven. Certainly, I spent years figuring out theological systems that allowed me to view myself as a contributor to my standing before God.

Thankfully, the Lord used His Word to convince me that He both initiated my salvation and will carry it to completion. He alone deserves all the glory.

This realization humbles us, which explains why so many of us fight against it. Surely, there must be some little way we cooperate with the Holy Spirit! Just a little? But no, Christ claims all the glory. His mercy takes us from start to finish.

Precisely because everything about our salvation emanates from His mercy and grace, we enjoy absolute security. Nothing can rob us of the security that He has bought us with His blood and therefore He will keep us for Himself. He will not permit anything — including ourselves — to interfere with His eternal purpose for us. We can rest secure in His grace.

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Where Is Your Mind?

To say that we live in difficult times would be stating the obvious. And even strong Christians battle with anxiety as supermarket shelves grow bare, jobs dwindle and infectious rise. Intellectually, we know God is sovereign, but we can’t seem to resist the temptation to worry.

I plead guilty. I suspect you do too, if you’re honest.

All of us need to shift our focus back to the Lord, especially in this time of uncertainty and fear. As dire as the situation is, He hasn’t lost control. In fact, He is accomplishing His purposes in this global trial. Therefore we must choose between dwelling on whatever effects COVID-19 has imposed on us and filling our minds with thoughts of Him. Will we cave in to anxiety, dear sisters, or will our minds stay on Him?

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My Obligatory Post Regarding Covid-19 And Reinventing Wheels

Experience BibleI have a couple reasons for not wanting to blog about Covid-19. Perhaps my most compelling reason is that I honestly don’t think I can bring anything new to the table. Pastors and bloggers have covered every angle that I can think of, including speculations about God’s judgment and the end times that probably shouldn’t be publicly entertained at this point in time.

Such is the nature of evangelical thinking, I suppose.

Yet, having a public blog almost necessitates saying something about the crisis. Why? Because silence would inevitably be misinterpreted as indifference in the demanding sphere of social media, thereby Continue reading

John And I Need Your Prayers

IMG_3173A couple of weeks ago, I took a vacation from blogging. At the time, it seemed like a reasonable decision — I work hard at blogging, and wanted some time for myself.

Looking back, I question whether such a self-indulgent course of action genuinely honored Christ. That point could probably be debated at some other time, and I tend to doubt that Scripture would exonerate me. Nevertheless, I took a the break, and I can’t undo the past.

But now I have another reason for wishing I hadn’t taken the break. For the next week and a half, my time will (hopefully) be taken up with Continue reading

2020 Hasn’t Started Off Very Well

Several friends of mine are suffering through major trials right now.

Some focus on the circumstances, praying exclusively for relief from their hardships. Yes, they look to the Lord, and that’s definitely a good starting place. One friend hasn’t been open to spiritual conversation in years, but her current situation compels her to ask for prayer. She knows that she needs God to intervene.

Another friend is going through trials much more serious than those of the first friend I’ve mentioned. And her trials have been relentless. Yet even as she tells me through tears about all the severe affliction she’s enduring, she hastens to proclaim God’s goodness. She even praises Him for opportunities He gives her in her circumstances to tell others about her Savior.

Pain surrounds a lot of believers right now. Perhaps this new year has also been unkind to you. If so, follow the example of my second friend. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, trusting His sovereignty. He will give you a beautiful perspective.

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I, For One, Prefer The Solid Rock

Nobody really enjoys uncertainty. At least, I don’t. Like most women, I crave security, and struggle with the sin of anxiety when circumstances become questionable. Regretfully, I all too often respond to trials by metaphorically flailing my arms as I sink into the quicksand of despair and pragmatism.

We sink into all kinds of sands in the face of uncertainty and opposition, don’t we? Sometimes we trust in politicians, believing that certain political agendas will safeguard our country from ruin. Other times we trust in popular Christian teachers, ignoring their subtle deviations from Biblical doctrine. Still other times we, like me, fall into despair and then try to fix our situations through our own efforts.

But the Lord mercifully always brings us back to Himself, reminding us that He alone is our solid rock. And as we return to Him, we find His sufficient grace protecting us from the stormy trials and the rising waters of uncertainty. Best of all, we have assurance that His righteousness enables us, despite all the times we put our foot on foundations of sand, to stand before His throne without fault.

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