Category Archives: Women’s Ministry

Saturday Sampler: November 26 — December 2

Flower mask sampler

Oh, praise the Lord for people like Elizabeth Prata who stand firmly on the Word of God! Her essay, Michael did not rebuke Satan in The End Time, needs to get into the hands of so many evangelicals and (especially) Charismatics who presume to command Satan and his demons! Once you read this superb post, I beg you to share it as widely as you possibly can.

The holiday crunch has officially begun, and Ryan Higginbottom of Knowable Word acknowledges that sometimes our time with God’s Word suffers as a result of the busy pace of the season. He writes How to Prevent a Spiritually Dry December to help ensure that we have sufficient Bible intake in the midst of our celebrating.

Doing a devotional study on Psalm 117, Josh Parsons assures us that God is Worthy of Your “Wow” in Unlocking the Bible. His piece will inspire you to worship throughout your day by reminding you how wonderful the Lord really is.

There are  certainly occasions when leaving a church becomes necessary. Yet  Eric Davis, in his post for The Cripplegate, provides suggestions for godly responses When Your Church Disappoints. And really,  every church will eventually disappoint us, no matter how faithful it is to  Scripture. Again,  however, sometimes the Lord does lead us to leave a church. Davis simply presents ideas to try before we call it quits.

Phil Newton, in an article for Founders Ministries, lists several ways that we can assist our pastors as they preach God’s Word each Sunday. The Congregation and the Pulpit encourages us to participate in this centerpiece of Christian worship.

Are you enjoying Erin Benziger’s series on acceptable sins in Do Not Be Surprised? Her latest installment, Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Worldliness, strikes a good balance between “being in the world and not of it.” The entire series challenges us towards personal holiness in areas we frequently ignore. If you haven’t been reading it, set aside time to do so.

I couldn’t agree more! Prompted by yet another firing of a celebrity for sexual misconduct, Growing 4 Life author Leslie A. lists Four Ways to Love Our Men as they struggle to remain pure in a culture saturated by sex. Ladies, we have a responsibility in helping our brothers in Christ.

Another creative and insightful blog post rolls off Michelle Lesley’s keyboard. A Pox Upon Our House: Three Chronic Diseases Plaguing Women’s Ministry all too accurately diagnoses service ailments affecting the spiritual health of women. Ladies, this article underscores my reasons for constantly calling you back to God’s Word.

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False Teachings Or Simply Disagreements?

Bible AloneWho is a false teacher? Sadly some popular “discernment” ministries are currently throwing out accusations of heresy against other well-known Christian apologists, largely over matters of how they approach their ministry.  Occasionally they also use non-essential points of doctrine as reason to anathematize people, but generally the battles boil down to pride.

A reader recently expressed her concern that “discernment ministry” types have been indiscriminately calling anyone they disagree with a false teacher.  In many instances, I must concur. The article she sent me, A Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity by Al Mohler,  certainly offers a helpful guideline in determining what issues should divide Christians and when we can disagree without breaking unity. I encourage each of you to read it.

As helpful as Mohler’s article is, however,  perhaps Scripture provides an even better measurement. Some doctrines (such as women not teaching men within a church setting) are clearly stated in Scripture. Other principles (such as women writing Bible Studies on blogs that men will read) lend themselves to more ambiguity. In the first case, I will divide. In the second, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt. The second merely violates my personal convictions; the first violates God’s Word.

Paul addresses Christian liberty in a number of passages. Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 directly speak to the necessity of avoiding judgmental postures over matters of individual conscience. Just because I believe, for instance, that I should wear hats to church doesn’t give me the right to insist that my sisters in Christ wear hats. But neither does their freedom to attend church bareheaded give them the right to judge me as being legalistic.

Suppose, however, that I devoted this entire blog to head coverings,  asserting that women who failed to cover their heads in church were in blatant rebellion against God’s Word. Suppose I wrote, in no uncertain terms, that head coverings were necessary to salvation. Ladies, if I did anything like that, I would most definitely be a false teacher. Furthermore, you would have a responsibility to contact First Baptist Church Weymouth to alert the elders that I promoted heresy. That sort of divisiveness must never be tolerated within the Body of Christ!

17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. ~~Romans 16:17-18 (ESV)

As Christians, we must know Scripture well enough to distinguish between simple disagreements with our brothers and sisters in Christ and false teachings that worm their way into the church. In our zeal for doctrinal purity, let’s take care that we divide only from those who truly pervert the Word of God.

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Perspectives In Titus: It’s A Wrap!

Titus 3 12 thru 15

Believe it or not, ladies, today we’ll finish our Bible Study in Titus. Yup, we’ll wrap it up with a pretty pink bow by looking at Paul’s four concluding verses.  Normally, I’d quote the passage in context, but in this particular instance, the context has virtually no bearing on the meaning of these verses.

12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.

Grace be with you all. ~~Titus 3:12-15 (ESV)

Paul concludes his letter with short, almost staccato, instructions that seem jarring in comparison with the eloquent writing up to this point. Commentators say nothing about this abrupt change of tone, so I probably shouldn’t speculate on the reason behind it. It needs only to be said that he has reached the end of his formal discourse and now leaves Titus quick practical directions. Yet even this passage gives us examples of godliness.

The apostle, in verse 12, announces his intent to send either Artemas or Tychicus to Crete, thus enabling Titus to join him in Nicopolis for the winter. No other Scriptures mention Artemas, Believers Bible Commentary suggests that, since 2 Timothy 4:12 states that Paul sent Tychicus to Ephesus, Artemas most likely ended up in Crete.

We do know more about Tychicus, who served with Paul and showed himself to be faithful. In Ephesians 6:21, Paul describes him as a “beloved brother and faithful minister,” and he repeated that description in Colossians 4:7 with the addition of calling him a “fellow servant in the Lord.” From these verses, we see that Tychicus was very qualified to oversee the Cretan churches in Titus’ absence.

Barnes tells us that Nicopolis was in Epirus, in Greece, lying northwest of Corinth and Athens. He believes that Paul wrote this letter to Titus from Nicopolis sometime in autumn, and had decided to stay on throughout the winter. He suggests that, although there’s no record of Paul establishing a church there, the apostle may have wanted Titus to assist him in preaching the Gospel there.

Moving to verse 13, Titus was also asked to either bring Zenas and Apollos with him to Nicopolis or to dispatch them in advance. Zenas was most likely a Jewish scribe, commonly called a lawyer (see Matthew 22:34-35 to understand this point), who converted to Christianity. His associations with Apollos strongly indicates that he devoted himself to preaching the Gospel.

Scripture first introduces Apollos in Acts 18:24-26 as someone who knew how to teach the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 1:12, 1 Corinthians 3:5-6 and 1 Corinthians 4:6 show that he had an influential ministry with Paul in Corinth. Barnes believes that, when Paul writes this letter to Titus, Zenas and Apollos have already been traveling together preaching the Gospel.

Paul wants Titus to ensure that the Cretan churches provide well for these two men, therefore allowing those churches to practice good works. This thought brings us to verse 14. Following the specific instructions to provide for Zenas and Apollos, Paul again urges Titus to teach the Christians under his care to devote themselves to good works, such as caring for these two men. Beyond serving in this particular instance, however, the believers must be prepared to serve anyone in need. Serving others gives Christians opportunity to bear fruit.

Finally, we reach verse 15!

As a conclusion to his letter, Paul departs from his usual custom of naming his companions who send greetings (as he does, for example, in Romans 16:21-23 and Colossians 4:10-14). Barnes suggests that Titus probably already knew who was with the apostle, particularly since he had traveled with them before Paul left him on Crete.

Quite simply, Paul sends greetings to “those who love us in the faith.” In other words, fellow Christians. There’s really no need to elaborate on this point.

Similarly, his closing sentence, “Grace be with you all,” needn’t be scrutinized. Many of us end emails with phrases like “God bless you,” expressing a desire for the Lord to bestow His favor on the recipients. Paul obviously cared for the well-being of the Cretan churches, and thus conveys that care with this final sentiment.

And so, my dear sisters in Christ, I pray that this study of Titus has blessed you. I’m debating what type of Bible Study (if any) we’ll do next, but that wouldn’t happen until January. In the meantime, let’s remember what we’ve learned from Titus so we can live as a people for God’s glory.

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Saturday Sampler: October 29 — November 5

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An essay by Ryan Higginbottom in Knowable Word reveals One Temptation of Digital Searching that had never occurred to me. His admonition might spare you from misinterpreting God’s Word.

I enjoy pretty much everything Candi Finch writes on Biblical Woman, but Meet Katie Luther, One of the Protestant Reformation’s Leading Ladies has to be my all-time favorite piece I’ve read of hers. Once again,  we see that history can not only inspiring, but downright fun! I dare you to get through this piece without cracking a smile.

Writing for The Cripplegate, Jordan Standridge gives us The Cry of the Reformation: Jesus is our Sufficient Savior!  His article goes to the heart of the Reformation, directing us  back to the Lord Jesus Christ as all a sinner ever needs.

What should 21st Century evangelicals learn from the Reformers’ cry of Sola Scriptura?Michael J. Krueger of Canon Fodder answers that question with What is Sola Scriptura Protecting Us Against? More Than You Think. This article taught me a few things that deepen my appreciation for this doctrine of grace.

On her blog,  The End Time, Elizabeth Prata analyzes the state of present-day evangelicalism against the backdrop of the Reformation. Reformation Day 500 and counting! affirms the sad reality that the Reformation is far from over. Her essay will enhance your conviction that we absolutely must stand on God’s Word, using it as an instrument of discernment.

Reprising an article from Tabletalk Magazine (which I read all the time), the blog from Ligonier features The Holy Spirit’s Ministry by Sinclair  Ferguson. If you struggle with the idea that some of the Spirit’s gifts ceased with the close of the apostolic era, this piece may help you.

I’ve definitely sinned in my attempts to perform discernment ministry. So Lara d’Entremont’s blog post in Renewed in Truth Discipleship, Where Discernment Goes Wrong, rightly convicted me. Please take a look at the post yourselves and see whether or not the Lord would have you reconsider your approach to discernment.

Erin Benziger once again correctly uses Scripture to expose a sin that all of us fall into — usually without realizing it. In Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Envy on Do Not Be Surprised, she illustrates the dangerous potential in this seemingly innocuous sin.

I’m including a second article from The Cripplegate because Jesse Johnson’s Semper Reformanda? addresses seven serious problems in 21st Century evangelical churches. My regular readers will notice that some of his concerns echo issues that I’ve been writing about for years. Please take a look at this thought-provoking blog post.

Commenting on events in the news, Jennifer of One Hired Late In The Day concludes that Sin makes people stupid, and explains the world we live in. Her essay matches the power of its title!

I struggle with sinful, self-centered anger.  But Michelle Lesley reminds of 6 Reasons to Recapture Righteous Anger. She makes very interesting and unexpected observations that most Christians overlook.

As someone who has been severely disabled since birth, I read Tim Challies’ essay,  No Better (Or Worse) Time To Be Disabled with tremendous interest. Although he specifies people with intellectual disabilities, don’t think for a moment that these ideas couldn’t eventually carry over to anyone with severe birth defects.

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Saturday Sampler: October 22 — October 28

Five Easter Babies

Ligonier posts R.C. Sproul’s article, What Does the Roman Catholic Church Believe About Justification? This helpful piece brings us to the core issue of the Protestant Reformation and encourages Christians to continue declaring the Gospel.

Firmly but gently, Jennifer at One Hired Late In The Day answers the question, But what if my husband isn’t a believer? by opening the Bible and examining what the Holy Spirit says through the apostle Peter on this subject. I appreciate her approach to this important topic.

With Halloween coming quickly, Michelle Lesley reprises Should Christians Participate in Halloween? 7 Scriptures to Consider (which she originally published in 2014). I really like her application of Biblical principles to this controversial question.

Writing for The Gospel Coalition Blog, Rebecca VanDoodewaard outlines 5 Lessons from Reformation Women as an encouragement to us. Women don’t have to be in pulpit ministry in order to serve the Lord mightily.

In his moving blog post for The Cripplegate, Jordan Standridge writes about The American Priest who Proved the Reformation is Not Over. Please, if you’re tempted to minimize the differences between Catholics and Protestants, make time to read this eye-opening piece.

If you like impassioned writing, don’t miss Elizabeth Prata’s The Reformation shows us why we need expository preaching in The End Time. Thankfully, Elizabeth hasn’t bought into the pervasive attitude that church history is boring and irrelevant. In fact, she applies lessons from the Reformation to current evangelical trends.

Biblical counselor Lara d’Entremont of Renewed in Truth Discipleship helps us see that Letting Go of Self-Suffiency is a necessary act of repentance. It also alleviates some pretty big burdens.

For a slightly different take on the Reformation, read David Qaoud’s piece, 5 Common Misconceptions of Reformation Day in Gospel Relevance. I learned a few things. So might you.

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Perspectives In Titus: Grace, Justification And So What?

Titus 3 7

During this week leading up to the October 31st celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we’ll be reading a lot about justification by faith and God’s  grace. Interestingly, the verse we’ll study today discusses both topics, and then shows us how to respond to them.

Before I begin, may I offer a friendly reminder? Scripture teaches that women mustn’t teach men. I’m aware that gentlemen other than my husband and elders from my church are reading these Bible Studies, therefore placing me in a position of violating God’s Word. Gentlemen, please don’t do so. While my husband and elders from my church provide spiritual oversight for me, you do not. I respectfully ask, dear brothers, that you leave me to teach my beloved sisters in good conscience. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Now, sisters, let’s begin our study of Titus 3:8 by looking at it within its immediate context.

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. ~~Titus 3:1-7 (ESV)

Again in verse 7, Paul underscores the fact that God justifies us, not on the basis of anything we do, but because of His grace. Justification is a legal term that implies acquittal. Although we are guilty in practice, the Lord judges us as being innocent on the basis of Christ’s death on the cross. For that reason, we attribute our justification solely to God’s grace, as described in verses 4-6.

The Complete WordStudy Dictionary defines grace, in part, as being “A favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver; unearned and unmerited favor.” Paul hammers home the concept of justification by grace so that the church entrusted to Titus would maintain an attitude of humility amid Cretan society. Present-day Christians likewise must keep in mind that the Lord justifies us only by grace.

Justification causes us to become heirs of God’s promises. Romans 8:17, as John MacArthur points out, calls Christians “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” He cross-references 1 Peter 1:3-4 as documentation. According to Ephesians 1:13-14, the Holy Spirit Himself acts as the guarantee of our inheritance!

In regard to the phrase, “according to the hope of eternal life,” Jamieson, Fausset and Brown state that the position of the Greek words would be better understood as “agreeably to the hope of eternal life.” The idea is that the promise of eternity should influence how we live in the present world. Not that “being good” earns salvation, but that salvation motivates how saved people behave.

You may recall Titus 1:1-2, where Paul stated that the Lord had commissioned him to minister to the elect “in the hope of eternal life.” In that passage, Paul already made the connection between teaching that accords with godliness and that hope of eternal life. Indeed, their understanding of this phrase is consistent with the overall purpose of Paul’s letter. Since the Cretan Christians were heirs of God’s kingdom, their conduct needed to reflect that hope of inheritance.

So, although we neither earn or maintain our justification as a result of good works, God’s grace causes us to behave in good manner that reflects His holiness. In that way, we stand in contrast to the non-Christians around us. Next Monday we’ll see that the Lord, through the apostle Paul, desires us to demonstrate His grace by performing good works.

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Saturday Sampler: October 15 — October 21

Wing Ding Sampler

To discover A Surprising Barrier to Personal Bible Study, check out Knowable Word for Ryan Higginbottom’s interesting challenge. I pray that you’ll then accept his challenge. Believe me, you won’t regret doing so!

Read 5 Reasons Jesus Doesn’t Want us to be Like the Good Samaritan by Jordan Standridge of The Cripplegate. Your second grade Sunday School might be shocked by this article, but I believe Standridge has a grasp on the real point of this parable. Feel free to use my comments section to tell me whether you agree or disagree with him.

Those of us who don’t always appreciate the Bible’s restrictions regarding ministries women can perform will find comfort in Women Can Trust God’s Design for the Church by Candi Finch, a regular writer for Biblical Woman. It’s interesting what one learns from assembling bookcases.

Continuing her latest series on Do Not Be Surprised, Erin Benziger writes Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Impatience. Does this woman read my diary? At any rate, she accurately handles the topic of impatience, skillfully applying Scripture as she deals with its many facets.

You moms out there might appreciate these Last Minute Reformation Day Resources for Kids courtesy of Jessica Pickowicz at Beautiful Thing. She offers a splendid selection of materials for both young children and teenagers.

Leslie A. of Growing 4 Life provides a wonderful, easily read, overview of the Reformation with her blog post, Remembering the Reformation: A Timeline. If you need help understanding the Reformation and its effects on Western Civilization, this is the article for you!

Okay, Michelle Lesley is quantitatively more conservative than Martin Luther, offering only 8 Theses for Women of the Modern Day Reformation, but her tips on how we can appropriately serve the Lord lay out a good track for us. As an added bonus, she begins her essay with an enticing book recommendation.

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