Category Archives: God’s Glory

Too Serious For A Blog About Roaming Around Boston In Power Wheelchairs

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Boston Public Garden May 2018

Blogs should have a definite focus. A purpose beyond merely writing for the pleasure of writing. Such vanity blogs (as I call them) do attract some followers, I admit, especially if disability features prominently in enough of the posts. But after a spell, the narcissism gets old. Christian bloggers, in particular, begin seeing the need to use their blogs as tools for advancing God’s kingdom.

Three years ago today, I abandoned a blog I’d maintained for nine years. Originally, I began that blog to showcase my digital art, chronicle day trips John and I made into Boston, and reflect on various things the Lord taught me as I transitioned toward Reformed Theology. Toward the end of that blog’s life, I wrote my first  Bible Study series.

In that final month, the Obergefell vs. Hodges decision legalizing same sex marriage gave me reason to believe that Google could shut down my blog, which they hosted on their free Blogger platform. It seemed to me that paying for a WordPress blog might prolong the time I had to blog about the Lord without censorship.

But, to be honest, I’d been contemplating starting a new blog months before Obergefell happened. As much as I delighted in having a blog which allowed me to write whatever struck my fancy, I struggled with a conviction that I needed a focus. And I knew that focus should be determined by the blogs I gravitated toward. That would be my niche.

The blogs I enjoyed most (Do Not Be Surprised, The End Time, Pyromaniacs and Michelle Lesley) all concentrated on exposing false doctrine and encouraging readers to rightly handle God’s Word. Of course, I understood that I’d need to add to their conversation rather than just echo their thoughts, but I felt confident that I could do so.

Over this past three years, the Lord has faithfully given me a unique blogging voice among the esteemed writers in this niche. Convinced the Obergefell has stepped up hostility toward the Gospel that will lead to the persecution of Christians, I’ve worked to equip women for that persecution by pointing to Scripture. I believe that only a firm grounding in the Word of God will get us through persecution, so I write about issues that either draw us away from Scripture or about the wonderful ways Scripture reveals the Lord.

Sometimes, yes, I miss my old blog. As John and I propel our power wheelchairs through the streets and parks of downtown Boston, I occasionally feel a desire to write a narration of our adventures. Boston by wheelchair is fun!

But we live  in serious times, ladies. As fun as it might be to take occasional deviations from the subject matter of The Outspoken TULIP, I remain convinced that we must stay within our boundaries. So we enter this fourth year anticipating more posts that draw us closer to Christ, honoring Him by honoring His Word.

 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. ~~Romans 1:16 (ESV)

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“In Heaven I’ll Have All The Ice Cream I Want!”

StainedGlass04I can’t remember what TV show came on after Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights when I was nine, but I definitely remember pouting when my parents firmly enforced the 9:00 bedtime. “When I grow up,” I informed them with just a hint of defiance in my voice, “I’ll stay up as late as I want!”

John and I thought of this common childhood scenario this morning when I told him about a Tweet my friend Jennifer posted on Twitter last night:

Jen's Heaven Tweet

Surely envisioning heaven as a place of eternal self-indulgence is every bit as childish as envisioning adulthood as an existence liberated from rules and regulations. Islam may depict Paradise as a place of unmitigated luxury, and less mature professing Christians might make such an inference by misconstruing Luke 16:19-31 (of course completely missing the point of Jesus’ parable).

In fact, I remember otherwise fairly Bible literate friends telling me, “Heaven will be what each of us wants it to be. If you like ice cream, God will let you have all the ice cream you want. And Deb, your mansion will have an enormous library full of Victorian novels and poetry!”

To quote Jennifer, “What a gross,  man-centric view of the eternal state.”

Even a cursory reading of Revelation will demonstrate that heaven focuses on the Lord. Yes, His redeemed saints will spend eternity rejoicing, but rather than rejoicing in selfish pleasures like fishing, ice cream and libraries, we’ll be rejoicing in the Lord, lost in worship and adoration of Him!

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” ~~Revelation 7:9-12 (ESV)

Those of you who read yesterday’s Bible Study should instantly think of 1 Corinthians 15:28. Once all things are subjected to Christ, He will in turn subject Himself to the Father “that God may be all in all.” In other words, heaven revolves completely around Him, and the pleasure we derive will come as we praise and glorify Him.

Our self-centered fantasies about heaven are just that — self-centered fantasies. They diminish heaven, ignoring its true splendor. It’s one thing for children to idealize adulthood. It’s shameful, however, for Christians to propagate such an immature, self-centered view of God’s throne room.

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According To Scripture: Study #9 On The Resurrection

According to Scripture

You’ll probably think I’m off my rocker (if you haven’t thought so already), but I can’t decide whether this week’s study of 1 Corinthians 15:25-20 was difficult and demanding or exhilarating and fun. I can tell you, however, that the Lord used it to give me greater clarity into eschatology. Even better: He left me with a sense of wonder as I anticipate an eternity of worshiping Him!

To give some context, I want to quote today’s verses within their passage. Anyway, a reminder of what we studied last Monday wouldn’t hurt, right?

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. ~~1 Corinthians 15:20-20 (ESV)

As we approach verse 25, we discover that Jesus must reign as mediator of God’s kingdom in accordance with Scripture. Psalm 2:6-10 and Psalm 110:1 clearly show that God commissioned the Messiah with the task of destroying His enemies. Jesus, in fact, quoted the latter in reference to Himself in Matthew 22:44-45. This reign reaches its completion, as Paul just explained in verse 24, when Christ fully dominates His enemies (Ephesians 1:22).

MacArthur explains that conquering kings often put their feet on the necks of enemies they subdued as a symbolic gesture of victory. Paul means, then, that Christ will ultimately show Himself to be victorious over all entities — human and demonic — that dared to rebel against Him. See Hebrews 10:12-13.

Although verse 26 is pretty straightforward, let’s unpack it just a bit. The resurrection of Jesus Christ shows that, although death exercises power over all creation, the Lord has power over death itself. Therefore, our own resurrection defeats death. In the case of believers, death loses its power because we will enjoy eternal life in His presence, gladly worshiping Him. In that sense, death has, even now, lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

Christ will conquer even death itself. In other words, He will do away with it (Revelation 20:14). This final defeat of defeat will take place at the end of Christ’s Millennial reign, as Paul already demonstrated in verse 24.

Commentators offer some fairly complex explanations of verse 27, much of which goes well beyond the limitations of this blog post. But let me offer a couple observations I’ve made from studying this verse.

In declaring that “God has put all things in subjection under His feet,” Paul indicates that its as good as done (see Matthew 28:18, John 17:2 and Ephesians 1:22).

Barnes suggests three possible reasons that Paul might clarify that God the Father will not be in subjection to the Son. Firstly, to distinguish Christian truth from pagan myths of gods overthrowing their fathers. Secondly, to dispel any notions that Jesus is greater than the Father. And thirdly, to exalt God’s absolute dominion. We must remember that the Son has authority because the Father gave it to Him (John 5:26-27).

I love the way Paul ties this passage together in verse 28! The Son, unlike created beings who will bow the knee at that time (Philippians 2:10), voluntarily subjects Himself to the Father. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown correctly point out that in His subjection Christ retains equal honor to the Father (John 5:22-23, Hebrews 1:6). Notice Paul’s reciprocal writing in saying that “the Son Himself will be subjected to Him Who put all things in subjection to Him.”

MacArthur clarifies that Christ will continue His eternal reign (Revelation 11:15) in His place within the Trinity. He will not eclipse either the Father or the Holy Spirit as He will (from our perspective) in the Millennial kingdom. Thus, His subjection to the Father by no means should be conflated as meaning that His reign will end.

Paul reaches the climax of this passage with the idea of God being all in all. Zechariah 14:9 intimates that the Lord has always purposed to reign as one King. I don’t know about you, but this absolutely thrills me! Although my limited human mind can’t quite comprehend an environment totally given over to the undistracted worship of God, I long for that blessing. Don’t you?

Next Monday we’ll attempt to tackle one of the toughest verses in the Bible.  I’ve been dreading this verse until recently, when I bought a commentary that shed light on Paul’s writing. Now I actually look forward to taking you ladies through it. Who would have thought?

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“Woke” Or A Nightmare?

Three Little Angels

Who doesn’t want a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect regardless of ethnic background or gender?

And who denies that the United States of America has a track record of treating black people horribly and sexually abusing women? In some respects, the proponents of the “woke” movement address real issues that most white evangelicals pretty much ignore. On one level, we need reminders that real people have endured real suffering simply because of being black or female. Racism and misogyny exist.

So do reverse racism and male bashing. I’ve personally experienced one and practiced the other. These attitudes, just like racism and misogyny, offend the Lord as they wrongly elevate some people over others rather than emphasizing our common bond as believers in Jesus Christ.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, interestingly, addresses the racial divisions between Jews and gentiles, teaches husbands and wives to embrace their gender roles and promotes attitudes of love, compassion and forgiveness among Christians. Paul’s first letter to Timothy, the pastor of the Ephesians, instructs us to observe gender distinctions in ministry, but makes no mention of ethnic differences between Jews and gentiles. Look at his plea to this beloved church:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ~~Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)

Where is that humility in the “woke” movement? Frankly, all I’ve seen are demands that white evangelicals perform perpetual acts of repentance for the sins of our ancestors and a determination to jettison gender roles in both marriage and church life? I see anger and unforgiveness that threatens the very unity it purposes to advance.

Again, I agree that both racism and misogyny have polluted the visible church. But so have reverse racism and male bashing. All parties involved have their share of repentance to do. But the “woke” movement, by pointing fingers and denying that the Lord calls them to the same humility and repentance that they expect from others, only makes unity that much harder.

I don’t believe this animosity honors Christ.

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Something To Look Forward To

Tomorrow, in our study of 1 Corinthians 15, we’ll see a connection between Christ’s resurrection and His Second Corning. I can’t tell you how excited I am about the two verses we’ll cover!

To whet your appetite, enjoy this lesser known hymn celebrating the Lord’s return and anticipate that glorious day.

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A Break From Internet Squabbles

The evangelical world, and indeed the world at large, has been engulfed in all sorts of controversies and internet squabbles these past few months, and I see no sign that the arguing will ease up. Some of the matters are, admittedly, silly and trivial. Others, however, call Scripture’s authority into question, and therefore Christians absolutely must take an uncompromising stand.

But all too often even the legitimately necessary controversies can inadvertently distract us from the beautiful Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even in attempting to serve God, we often forget to marvel at Who He is and what He’s done for us. Worse, we forget that everything is for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to Him.

Praise God for hymn writers who faithfully draw our attention back that Gospel, and in doing so remind us of our wonderful Savior. The hymn I selected to feature today turns my attention away from all the disputes and back to Him. Perhaps it will give you the same refreshing outlook.

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Starbuck’s Date Or Matchless King?

Jesus. We think of Him so casually much of the time, even imagining Him taking us on dates and sipping Starbuck’s coffee with us. Reverence for Him has all but vanished in contemporary evangelical churches.

Reverence doesn’t forbid updated musical arrangements, but it certainly calls us to focus on Jesus as our King. We owe Him respect, obedience and honor as we worship Him as King of all. And, in worshiping Him as King, we marvel that He died and rose on our behalf. Why would He do such a loving thing?

As today’s hymn shows, we have many reasons to crown Jesus with many crowns. Don’t let Enfield’s musical arrangement throw you; they’ve chosen time-honored lyrics that celebrate many facets of Christ’s majesty, reminding us of a wide variety of reasons He deserves our praise. Rather than diminish our glorious King to a dating partner, let’s hail Him as our matchless King through all eternity.

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