Category Archives: Repentance

Prone To Wander And Grateful For Grace

I doubt that my struggles with sin are unique. There have been far too many times that I’ve told God I wanted out — I wanted to live on my terms rather than His. The fool’s gold of the world seemed so much more attractive than the eternal promises of His kingdom.

Praise God that His Holy Spirit has sealed me for salvation! The Lord, being exceedingly gracious, keeps reminding me of His goodness. I remember that only He has the words of eternal life.

How I praise Him for faithfully keeping me for Himself! I know that, apart from His goodness, I certainly would have forsaken Him years ago, so I praise Him for not allowing me to leave Him. And, with tremendous joy, I look forward to an eternity of worshiping Him.

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The Amazing Love Of The Savior

So often, we take it for granted, don’t we? Yes, yes, we agree with confident nods of our heads, Jesus died to save us from sin. So, clutching our little Get Out Of Hell cards, we file away our blessed assurance and carry on with our lives.

But every now and again, the Holy Spirit reminds us of how desperately lost we were until He revealed Christ to us. He reminds us of the amazing love that caused the Second Person of the Trinity to leave His glory so that He could shed His blood in payment for our sin. He reminds us of our enslavement to sin before He shattered our chains and allowed us to follow Him.

When we remember, how can we take His amazing love for granted?

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Saturday Sampler: July 22 — July 28

3D Beads Sampler

I didn’t read Douglas Wilson’s The Facebook Penalty Box until after I published last week’s edition of Saturday Sampler, but his faithfulness to preserve Robert Gagnon’s banned Facebook post responding to the Revoice conference deserves attention. For several reasons. Wilson blogs at Blog & Mablog.

You’ve heard me say countless times that context is essential to interpreting the Bible. If you want more evidence that context makes a difference, read Do Children Need to Take Care of Their Parents? OR Another Reason Context Is Important by Mike Leake of Borrowed Light. You might even learn something about First Century Roman culture.

Hohn Cho, writing for Pyromaniacs, issues Convictions of the “Social” Justice Movement and Responses Thereto. Though this isn’t exactly light reading, it gives us a handle on this movement’s main tenants and examines those tenants through the lens of Scripture.

Reflecting on the life of a woman who greatly influenced her, Erin Benziger writes A Life Exhausted for Jesus in Do Not Be Surprised.

On her blog, The End Time, Elizabeth Prata reminds us that Taming the Tongue on Social Media is a responsibility that Christians must take seriously.  She offers an interesting perspective on silence that we typically overlook in discussions on this matter. Her essay deserves attention just for that.

We’ve all asked Where Do People Who Never Hear of Jesus Go When They Die? In his weekly contribution to The Cripplegate, Jordan Standridge answers this question from Scripture and then explains our responsibility to evangelize all nations.

Inevitably, most Christians find something about God that, to be honest, we just don’t like. Addressing that reality in his blog post for Things Above Us, Michael Coughlan writes When the Honeymoon is Over to both confront and encourage us. His observations deserve consideration.

What Is The Greatest Motivation In Your Life? asks Carol Ann Kiker in her Biblical Woman blog post. Her application of principles in Colossians 3 to various aspects of daily life is practical and honoring to the Lord.

Giving us a birds eye view of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, Peter Krol writes Context Matters: You Have Heard That it was Said…But I Say to You in Knowable Word. If the current chatter about laying aside the Old Testament intrigues you, I beg  you to read this study and consider how Jesus regarded it.

Sometimes I believe Michelle Lesley and I lead parallel lives. At least spiritually. I nodded in knowing agreement as I read When God Answers the “Wrong” Prayer. Michelle models how godly women should pray, but also how to respond when God answers the one prayer that our flesh secretly hopes He doesn’t hear.

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Shaking Off Those Guilty Fears

Guilt is a wonderful thing!

You read that correctly. God created us with the ability to feel guilt so that we would know the discomfort of violating His perfect standards. He then uses that guilt to show us how desperately we need a Savior.

Even  after we become Christians, we often feel guilt when we sin. Again, these feelings can lead us to confession and repentance, thus restoring our fellowship with the Father. So in that sense, we can also praise Him for the capacity to feel guilty. Yes, dear sisters in Christ, guilt can be a wonderful thing!

But guilt can also be a dastardly thing. It can blind us to God’s grace, convincing us that we’ve abused His mercy once too often. It turns our focus away from the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross, pulling us back to the same old lie that our salvation ultimately depends on us.

It’s reassuring,therefore, to look back to Jesus, remembering that His blood completely atoned for our sins if we are believers. We can shake off guilty fears that try to condemn us. Hallelujah!

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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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Not Judging Women On Buses And Subways

ModestyIt’s that time of year. As the bus driver secured our wheelchairs yesterday, I remembered that taking public transportation means that women will board the bus and subway wearing less clothing than they should, revealing more of their bodies than they should. I know my husband works hard to avert his eyes and keep his thoughts honoring to the Lord, and I’m very proud of him. But I also know he needs my prayers.

But I also struggle with temptation when I see young women display more of their bodies than they should. I’m tempted to judge them.

Judging Christian women with the goal of gently helping them learn to attire themselves appropriately is one thing. I pray that my articles on modesty will help Christian women think through their wardrobe choices and clothe themselves in ways that honor the Lord and their brothers in Christ. Scripture mandates that Christians warn each other about sin. So I believe mature Christian women have a responsibility to teach our younger sisters in Christ how (and why) to dress modestly.

Most of the women I see on buses and subways, on the other hand,  probably aren’t Christians. Because of this probability, they simply don’t operate under Biblical convictions. I have no reason to expect that they should. As a matter of fact, God’s Word quite clearly says that believers must restrict judgment to those within the Church.

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? ~~1 Corinthians 5:12 (ESV)

Not judging these women doesn’t require that I condone the way they dress. Their immodesty is sinful regardless of their assessment of the situation. But because they most likely don’t know the Lord and therefore feel no compunction to submit to His authority, I’m wrong to expect that they would conform to His standards.

Sitting on the bus and imagining snarky comments to write about these women on Facebook merely exposes my self-righteousness and lack of concern for their eternal souls. Yes, I feel concern for my husband, knowing that he has a responsibility to the Lord to keep his thoughts pure. I definitely need to pray for him as he fights against his responses. But these women also need prayer. More likely than not, they need to come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

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Equal Grace For Homosexual And Heterosexual Attractions

Rainbow HeartWorking for an ex-gay ministry in the 80s and 90s, I believed my superiors (as well as my peers) that homosexual orientation was morally neutral. Homosexual desires became sinful, we taught, only when acted upon. After all, we reasoned, heterosexual attractions don’t carry  sinful connotations.

Concurrent with my time in that ministry, one of the women in leadership took it upon herself to counsel me in regard to my desire for marriage and my constant romantic attractions to guys in our ministry who hadn’t yet experienced victory over their homosexuality. My attractions, she indicated, were sinful because those men simply weren’t available to me.

Despite her obvious double standard, I completely agree that romantic and/or sexual attractions are absolutely not morally neutral. As a married woman, for example, I have no right being attracted to anyone other than my husband. I may be heterosexual, but I have a responsibility to actively reject even the most fleeting thought about other men. A seemingly innocent thought, encouraged by the knowledge that I have a heterosexual orientation, constitutes adultery, according to Jesus.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. ~~Matthew 5:27-30 (ESV)

If it’s sin for me to entertain attractions to men other than John, why would same sex attractions be morally neutral? Do Christians who struggle with homosexuality have a special exemption from the principle laid out in Matthew 5:27-30 is supposedly morally neutral?

Look, after nearly 30 years of having close friends who battled same sex attractions, I’m not callous to their frustrations. Many of them genuinely hurt, hating their desires because those desires dishonor the Lord. My similar battles as a single woman continually falling for men I couldn’t have give me sympathy for them. Please realize that I honestly understand that their road isn’t easy or fun.

At the same time, we do them a great disservice by pretending that the Lord accepts their desires as morally neutral. Rather than leaving them with the false assurance that the Lord coddles them, we can assure them that He offers forgiveness and the power to walk  in repentance. He extends the same grace to them that He extends to us.

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