Pardon There Was Multiplied To Me

One of the saddest aspects of evangelicalism is that people make professions of faith without genuinely understanding why they need salvation. Evangelicals often present Jesus as an agent of life enhancement rather than the One Who bears the wrath of a holy Judge on our behalf.

But how thankful I am that the Holy Spirit confronted me with my sin 46 years ago! Knowing that I deserve eternity in hell has made me so appreciative of the Lord’s sacrificial death on the cross for my sin! Only those who see how terrible their sin is realize what a wonderful thing the Lord did for us on Calvary.

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Do You Have Time?

Life has a way of crowding out our time with the Lord. I know we all have occasional days when a prolonged Quiet Time certainly isn’t possible, and I believe the Lord doesn’t want to place us under a legalistic regimen. After all, legalism didn’t work  too well for the Pharisees, as you’ll recall.

At the same time, we can’t ignore the Lord and expect to grow spiritually. We need to invest in prayer, Bible Study and corporate worship, letting His Holy Spirit transform us through these practices. Consistency is the key to maintaining good spiritual health.

This week’s hymn reminds us, in the midst of summer activity, to keep Christ as our highest priority. While we will inevitably have days here and there when we honestly can’t engage in a full-blown Quiet Time, the overarching pattern of our lives should be one of devotion to knowing and obeying Him.

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Oceans Aren’t That Deep

Today’s hymn compares the love Jesus has for us to a mighty ocean. From our standpoint, that’s a wonderful metaphor. When I’ve been to beaches, I’ve been overwhelmed by the huge expanse of water, especially when I realize that it extends far beyond the  horizon and plummets to depths I can’t even imagine.

Yet Jesus created the oceans! In truth, from His perspective they probably represent mere microcosms of His love for us. An ocean bed would most likely contain only a fraction of His love.

Still, this hymn causes us to wonder, with an attitude of praise, at the amazing fact that the Lord of all creation loves us with a love that far surpasses our comprehension. If the metaphor of an ocean helps us to get even the slightest inkling of how deeply He loves us, then let’s embrace it with joy and gratitude.

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Summer White Isn’t Alone

Recently John and I watched a YouTube video by Pastor Jeff Short of Christian Answers, in which he very rightly commended Summer White of Sheologians for calling out Jen Hatmaker for supporting LBGTQ causes. If you want to watch the video before reading my comments, here it is:

I heartily agree with Pastor Short that women should be rebuking false teaching and warning other women against people like Ms. Hatmaker who distort Scripture. Women must speak out when popular “Christian” celebrities make statements that violate the truth, precisely because these celebrities have such a high degree of influence over evangelical women. When someone like Jen Hatmaker condones same sex marriage, calling it holy, discerning Christian women have an obligation to cry “Wolf!”

But Jeff Short is terribly mistaken in asserting that Summer White is the only woman brave enough to speak out against false teachers! Maybe I should be thankful that he’s not reading women’s blogs (it’s hard convincing men that my blog is exclusively for women), but it troubles me that he strongly implied that none of us has confronted false teachers.

Ironically, several women known as discernment bloggers have, in the past few years, felt convicted that we were calling false teachers out too much when we should have been discipling women so that they could recognize false teaching for themselves. Our blog posts on Beth Moore guaranteed us more hits, certainly, but we noticed our blogs becoming more like tabloid journalism than vehicles to disciple women. If anything, we spent more time than necessary telling our readers who the wolves are than drawing their attention to the Lord Jesus Christ.

But yes, we have denounced Jen Hatmaker. I have featured several blog posts about her acquiescence to the LBGTQ community in my Saturday Samplers. Most of these articles were written by women (including Summer White).

Pastor Short, we most assuredly have been on the front lines for years, pleading with false teachers to repent and warning our sisters about a wide number of “Christian” celebrities who lead women into doctrinal error. Summer White has merely joined our ranks, and we welcome her! But we’ve been here, and we definitely have the battle scars to prove that we’ve spoken just as courageously as Summer White has. We don’t want medals, but we do want people to know we’re here.

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A Prayer We All Should Pray

Recently I read that someone, in a critical tone, asked why so many Christian songs and hymns focus on the cross. I’m not quite sure what the point of the question was, so I’ll resist the temptation to speculate on the motives behind the question. But it saddens me that the person didn’t know how Christ’s atoning sacrifice has purchased God’s pardon, allowing wretched sinners like me to enter heaven to live eternally with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hymn writer Fanny Crosby certainly understood the value of the cross, as well as the necessity of constantly reminding ourselves that Christ’s work on it is the only basis for our salvation. In the hymn featured below, she prayed that Jesus would keep His cross always before her. Perhaps more  of us should pray that sort of prayer. And then sing hymns that remind us that we mustn’t glory in anything other than the cross.

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In Celebration Of John’s Fifth Year Since Cancer Surgery

2012 was probably the most difficult year John and I have endured in our marriage. That February, his doctors found cancer in his colon. During his recovery from a colonostomy that next month, he suffered a heart attack that delayed the colon restructuring surgery for six weeks.

John, as a Polio survivor, uses a ventilator to breathe, causing everybody tremendous concern that he might not make it through surgery. I definitely struggled to trust the Lord to protect him. Yet as WordPress publishes this post, we’re attending a party at our church to celebrate the fifth anniversary of his surgery (the actual anniversary was this past Monday).

As I thought about what hymn to post this week, this simile hymn about trusting Jesus seemed the most appropriate. As you listen, please join us in rejoicing in the extra time God has given me and John. He is so faithful!

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Learning 1 Corinthians 13

As a new believer in the early 1970s, I loved the Maranatha! Singers out of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Yes, yes — I know Calvary Chapel is Charismatic, and I know they’ve gotten wonky in recent years. But back then, much of their theology was fairly solid, and the Maranatha! Singers offered Christian teens a healthy alternative to Rock music.

More than 45 years later, I don’t remember many songs from their albums. One song, however, has stayed with me, always reminding me of 1 Corinthians 13. Even though it takes a few liberties with the text in order to conform to the melody (which, by the way, is absolutely beautiful), it stays remarkably faithful to Paul’s words.

So, instead of a hymn today, allow me to treat you to this exquisite little song that I’ve cherished throughout my Christian life. The Lord has used it often to help me learn 1 Corinthians 13. Perhaps He’ll also use it to help you.

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