Category Archives: God’s Kingdom

Resurrection Benefits

This Resurrection Sunday, I’ve chosen a lesser known hymn to present to you. Although it’s not strictly about the Lord’s resurrection, it definitely highlights some of the ways we benefit from His having risen from His grave. Please enjoy this beautiful hymn and the glorious truths it proclaims.

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Saturday Sampler: April 9 — April 15

Tulip Sampler 01Stephen Altroggie of The Blazing Center enumerates 9 Glorious Things The Resurrection Means To Us as a preparation for our Resurrection Sunday worship. Please enjoy this encouraging piece.

Having adopted New England as my  home, I’ve often felt saddened and troubled by this region’s departure from its Biblical foundation. So I appreciated Elizabeth Prata for writing New England’s mission drift in The End Time. She shows the destructive power of compromise.

While you’re on Elizabeth’s website, be sure to read O to see ourselves as others see us. Or maybe not… I think it’s one of her finest essays.

I’m not overly fond of Mortification Of Spin, and have been thinking about canceling my subscription. But Todd Pruitt’s article, Bit-O-Vinegar on his 1517 blog, has made me reconsider. He encourages people like me who tend to be less than gentle about confronting error.

Over at Biblical Woman, Dorothy Patterson writes Ms. Independence Gets Married in response to one of her readers who married later in life (although it amused me, since I married at age 48, that her reader considered the late 20s marrying late). Patterson gives Scriptural advice that any bride should read.

On her blog, Wise In His Eyes, Rebekah Womble asks, Are Reformed Christians “All Head, No Heart”? She handles this common criticism with fairness and grace.

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Filling In For His Own

At The CrossHe approached me just minutes before church stated (and therefore a scant 20 minutes before Sunday School) to inform me that he didn’t feel like teaching that day. He and I, along with another lady, rotated teaching the Junior High Sunday School class, each of us teaching every third Sunday. As lead teacher, I also served as the substitute when either of the others couldn’t (or in this instance, wouldn’t) teach.

Dictionary.com defines the word “substitute” this way:

 
noun
1.

a person or thing acting or serving in place of another.
2.

(formerly) a person who, for payment, served in an army or navy in the place of a conscript.
3.

Grammar. a word that functions as a replacement for any member of a class of words or constructions, as do in He doesn’t know but I do.
 
verb (used with object), substituted, substituting.
4.

to put (a person or thing) in the place of another.
5.

to take the place of; replace.
6.

Chemistry. to replace (one or more elements or groups in a compound) by other elements or groups.
 
verb (used without object), substituted, substituting.
7.

to act as a substitute.
adjective
8.

of or pertaining to a substitute or substitutes.

9.

composed of substitutes.
 

The Bible teaches that, in dying for the sin that would rightly condemn you and me, Jesus willingly died in our place! Scholars refer to His act as the “substitutionary atonement” to emphasize that He accepted the punishment for crimes that we (being born sinners) commit against God. This article on the GotQuestions.org website begins with the following summary of the doctrine:

The substitutionary atonement refers to Jesus Christ dying as a substitute for sinners. The Scriptures teach that all men are sinners (Romans 3:9-18, 23). The penalty for our sinfulness is death. Romans 6:23 reads, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

That verse teaches us several things. Without Christ, we are going to die and spend an eternity in hell as payment for our sins. Death in the Scriptures refers to a “separation.” Everyone will die, but some will live in heaven with the Lord for eternity, while others will live a life in hell for eternity. The death spoken of here refers to the life in hell. However, the second thing this verse teaches us is that eternal life is available through Jesus Christ. This is His substitutionary atonement.

Scripture supports the premise that Jesus died as our Substitute, as you’ll discover if you read the GotQuestions.org article for yourselves. I’d like to highlight just one of the Scriptures involved in this doctrine. I particularly like this two-verse passage because the second verse offers the practical implication of Christ dying the death that you and I deserve.

24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. ~~1 Peter 2:24-25 (ESV)

Of course, we balk at the truth that, as born sinners, we actually deserve God’s wrath. For that reason  it’s difficult for us to grasp the fact that Jesus bore the horrible judgment that rightfully belongs to you and me. If you resist the truth that you’re completely incapable of earning God’s acceptance through your own efforts, I beg you to ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the Bible.  Once He convinces you of your spiritual bankruptcy, you can rejoice that He went to the cross as your substitute!

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King Jesus

On this Palm Sunday. we remember Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. At last, He allowed the crowds to proclaim Him as King of the Jews!

As glorious as that day was, I look forward to His return to Jerusalem, when He will take His throne and reign over the earth.  Thankfully, even now we can worship Him as King. Today’s hymn gives us a good starting place.

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He Said, “Look Mommy — I’m Wearing A Dress!”

glory-cloudA 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.”

My friend said that her godson, if he’s not telling the truth about something, normally changes stories when he’s later asked again. But this time, he firmly stuck to his narrative that the teachers made him wear a dress. Therefore, his parents believe that the school pressured him into wearing the dress, perhaps letting him “choose” between two or three dresses.

It turns out, as I suspected it would, that this little boy attends a preschool that accepts state monies. I pretty much believe that the purpose of giving him a dress was to desensitize him, as well as the rest of the children, to transgender issues.

I do believe public schools have a mandate to normalize LBGTQ orientations. Since Obergefell legalized same sex marriage just over two years ago (it seems like it’s been so much longer!) and Bruce Jenner declared himself to be a woman named Caitlyn, I’ve noticed a greater push to force Americans to embrace these sexual deviations wholeheartedly. And the best way to reach this goal, obviously, is to indoctrinate young children.

And people wonder why I so strongly advocate homeschooling?

As troubling as the attack on Biblical views of gender and sexuality is, however, I have confidence that the Lord has complete control. While He hates the sin engulfing our world today (and please, I mean much more than simply sexual sin), He’s allowing a rise in lawlessness to demonstrate our need for Him.

Is His Second Corning imminent? I hope so. Actually, I really believe it’s probable. But I also believe I would be presumptuous to make a dogmatic prediction. I can, however, assert that the Lord is using our collective sin as a judgment on our culture. Please see Romans 1:18-32 as substantiation for my position.

Certainly I reject the idea of coercing a three-year-old to cross-dress. If I was his mommy, he’d never set foot in that school again! But as reprehensible as the school’s actions were, I don’t wring my hands in helpless dismay. The Lord, even though He hates such perversion, remains completely sovereign. In His perfect time, He will bring His righteousness to us so that all creation will bow before Him, confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord.

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Praise Jesus For Brutal Words

pure-in-heartIn May of 2012, a gastrointestinal surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital told us that, unless he performed surgery to remove cancer from John’s colon, my husband would die in a matter of weeks. Two months earlier, the same doctor told him he had the cancer.

I obviously didn’t like his diagnosis, and feared that (because of John’s Post-Polio) the operation would actually hasten John’s death. But thankfully, John trusted the many people who assured us that he had one of the best surgeons in the country, and based on their testimonials he trusted the surgeon.

John is alive today because he believed the bad news that he would die without surgery. The bad news caused anguish that I can’t begin to describe, and I wanted more than anything to deny its truth and behave as if nothing had happened. Yet, accepting the bad news eventually led to the inexpressibly wonderful news that I’d have more time with my marvelous husband. Looking back, I’m very grateful for the surgeon’s brutal words.

I’m even more grateful that Jesus spoke brutal words about human depravity, declaring that I could only escape eternal damnation by repenting of my sin and trusting that He alone would secure my entrance into His Father’s holy presence. I didn’t enjoy opening the Bible only to have it expose my selfish heart. But I needed to be confronted with the truth of my spiritual cancer.

Hungering for a way to have God’s blessing on my life, I scoured the Bible for wisdom. I didn’t understand much of what I read, particularly when it quoted Jesus.  But one small sentence from His Sermon on the Mount spoke to me with unmistakable clarity that cut me to the core!

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. ~~Matthew 5:8 (ESV)

I knew how dreadfully impure my heart was, so I knew how damning the Lord’s words were. They brutally condemned me to an eternity separated from the God I longed to know. They condemned me to an eternity in hell.

I’d heard about Jesus’ love all my life, but these 11 words seemed savage and unyielding. Would He really judge my sin that harshly?

On January 20, 1971, the Holy Spirit used a high school classmate to tell me that Jesus died to pay for my sins. I’d wanted, mind you, her to add that He therefore provided salvation for all people, whether or not they followed Him…but she insisted on telling me the truth that salvation comes exclusively to those who believe in Jesus.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~~John 3:16

The “bad news” of such a narrow way of salvation came as gloriously good news to me! It offered me the eternal life that my inherent sin nature would have denied me. The Gospel came as good news precisely because the Holy Spirit had first graciously spoken the bad news of my spiritual cancer and my need for the Great Physician to take radical measures. I’m eternally grateful for the Savior’s grace to speak brutal words.

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My Admittedly Delightful Quandary

Listening to Enfield’s version of There Is A Fountain puts me in an interesting, and admittedly delightful, quandary. Usually, one aspect of a hymn will grab my attention so that I write  a post emphasizing that point. This hymn, however, is so overflowing with rich content that I just plain don’t want to highlight any one part over the others.

So sit back, turn your speakers up and savor all the rich theology of hope that bursts from this glorious hymn. Honestly, could you choose any part over the others? Isn’t it all wonderful?

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