What God’s Word Says Depends On What God’s Word Says

I once heard someone ask a pastor what to do when Bible reading seems dry. The pastor answered (quite seriously, I’m sorry to say), “Just keep reading until something jumps out at you.” He went on to explain that a verse that catches our attention is what the Holy Spirit has for us that particular day.

Never mind the context. Never mind the intent of the human author, or the way his original readers would have understood the verse. Above all, never mind that God spoke that verse very specifically, with a meaning that doesn’t change in order to accommodate our individual circumstances. All too often, professing Christians read the Bible with the expectation that they can arrive at a personal, subjective interpretation.

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What Should I Write?

Now that I feel better and I no longer have a Hickman catheter that requires visiting nurses to come daily, I have both energy and freedom to blog more often. After Christmas, I hope to blog every day (with occasional exceptions). Actually, I thought daily blogging would happen this week. Um, no — a couple things popped up to change that plan.

Still, I’m getting back into frequently producing blog content after five months of dealing with my illness. I lay in bed waiting for my PCA this morning with the frightening realization that I have no idea for a blog post. Yikes!

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The Person Christmas Celebrates — Hymn 3

At this time of year, we generally think of a helpless Infant wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. Now, there’s definitely wonder in the truth that God Incarnate came to earth as a Baby, dependent on His mother and her husband for His basic physical care. If that concept hasn’t filled you with awe and amazement at least once in your life, it should!

But Jesus is much more than a Baby in a Bethlehem manger. The shepherds and wise men, while they didn’t understand that this Child was the God Who rules all nature, knew that He was Israel’s promised Messiah. “Christ the Lord,” the angels had told the shepherds.

Our sentimental images of Christ’s birth often cause us to forget His power and majesty as the sovereign Lord Who governs all creation. I therefore encourage you to step back from thoughts about a Baby for a moment, and to meditate on Who this fairest of all Babies truly is. As you think about this Son of God and Son of man, you’ll remember that glory, honor praise and adoration belong — now and evermore — to Him.

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Saturday Sampler: December 6 — December 12

Clint Archer reflects on the importance of Bethlehem by writing O Little Town of Bethlehem in his weekly post for The Cripplegate. Far from a dry study of history, this piece inspires worship as we see God’s careful planning in the birthplace of Messiah.

Leslie A writes The Park is Closing in Growing 4 Life as a sobering, yet exciting reminder of our future as Christians. I love her ability to look beyond immediate circumstances to see the Lord’s sovereign hand in current events!

Addressing the controversy over Nativity Scenes and the Second Commandment that crops up this time of year, Michelle Lesley turns to Scripture. Take a few minutes to consider her perspective, and determine to hold whatever convictions you have on this matter with an attitude of charity towards Christians with different convictions. I appreciate Michelle for helping us think Biblically about the issue.

In a post for Things Above Us, George Alvarado writes An Open Letter to Afflicted Saints. If you’re going through trials right now, his words might encourage you. Then again, they might not. I’ll leave that between you and the Lord. But give it a try — maybe the Lord will minister to you through it.

Although Leslie A says that the park is closing, Elizabeth Prata assures us that It’s All OK in The End Time. Elizabeth isn’t ignoring the increasing turbulence of current events, but she knows Who has everything in His control. Please enjoy her words of comfort.

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It’s Not Too Late For Christians

John and I regularly listen to The Dividing Line webcast with Dr. James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries. Yes, people, I know James White is a controversial figure, and sometimes he aligns himself with teachers he really shouldn’t (most notably, Michael Brown). At the same time, White holds tightly to Reformed Theology, and has an excellent understanding of history in general. We value his insight and carefully consider his perspective — even when we don’t share his conclusions.

White has made various predictions about our country’s trajectory that cause many to accuse him of wearing a tin foil hat. He firmly believes that the Biden administration will plunge the United States into a dystopian society. And he thinks the damage will be irreversible.

I hope he’s wrong. I believe he’s right.

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My Fear For Evangelical Ostriches

Generally, ostriches are among my favorite animals. I love their flirtatious eyes, if you really want to know (which you probably didn’t). I love emus for the same reason, and had my husband photograph this one at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo:

But ostriches — and probably emus — have a reputation for burying their heads in the sand. Our culture has consequently turned their practice into a metaphor describing someone who tries to avoid unpleasant realities.

I’m thinking about that metaphor after a recent conversation with a Christian we know. John and I had watched a documentary about Corrie ten Boom, a Christian woman from Holland who had been imprisoned in a Nazi Concentration Camp during World War II. Corrie and her family had provided a hiding place for Jews fleeing persecution, only to be caught for doing so. Her father and her sister both died in Concentration Camps, while Corrie was unintentionally released due to a clerical error (and of course, God’s providence).

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The Person Christmas Celebrates — Hymn 2

It’s no accident that my articles on this blog tend to emphasize God’s holiness. Unlike generations before us, present-day Christians care little about fearing the Lord, preferring to see Him as a Butler, a Buddy or (worst of all) a romantic/sexual Partner. Such casual attitudes towards the Creator and Sustainer of the universe very much require a counterbalance. I have no problem helping to provide that counterbalance.

Ah, but I must guard against being unbalanced in the opposite direction!

Providentially, I spent most of last week working through Psalm 103, in which David lists the Lord’s tender qualities. This psalm brings out His beautiful sympathy towards those who fear Him, illustrated by His commitment to completely separate our sins from us “as far as the east is from the west.” Out holy God is also our compassionate Father. Jesus is our sympathetic Friend.

Our sympathetic Friend should be celebrated this Christmas. As we remember Him coming into the world as a Man Who understands our frailties, we rejoice that He is our dearest Friend.

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Saturday Sampler: November 29 — December 5

Responding to a blog post by Lauran Robinson, Elizabeth Prata wonders Where are all the discerning women? Elizabeth is known as the author of The End Time, a premiere blog for women which frequently features essays on discernment. So of course she offers good insight into the article Lauran Robinson wrote.

Those of you with little ones will appreciate Michelle Lesley for writing The Mailbag: What should we tell our kids about Santa Claus? Michelle bases her answer on Scripture while also showing us how to keep Christmas fun and use the myths about the jolly old elf to teach children spiritual truths. (Grown-ups can benefit from those lessons as well.)

If you’ve never visited Leslie A’s blog, Growing 4 Life, please start now. Her article entitled Fighting Germs demonstrates Leslie’s passion for teaching women to develop discernment. She also writes encouraging pieces challenging us to grow in Christ. Fighting Germs is a splendid introduction to her writing.

Although not the most pleasant read, Al Mohler provides helpful insight into current events with What Explains the Left’s Hostility to Religious Liberty? It’s All About the Sexual Revolution. Sure, his main point is obvious, and has been for decades. But few Christians understand the depth of investment the Left has in protecting and advancing its sexual freedoms. As persecution rises, we need to understand the root of the problem.

Reflecting on the recent death of Alex Trebek, Sharon Sampson contributes What Is…Truth? to the Gentle Reformation blog. She reminds us of basic questions and their Biblical answers as we contemplate life after death.

Sometimes what we know becomes a challenge to our faith, even as we trust the Lord’s sovereignty. Having unexpectedly lost his son Nick only a month ago, Tim Challies shares his struggle in I Fear God, and I’m Afraid of God. If you’re struggling with loss, this blog post might encourage you.

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Preaching The Gospel To Myself As I Pray

I don’t know where people get the idea that those of us with physical disabilities are especially proficient in prayer. I definitely struggle in that spiritual discipline, quite frankly. Thankfully, E-Sword, the free Bible software that I use, includes a feature that helps me organize my prayer life.

So this past year I’ve been taking time during my daily prayers to thank the Lord for saving me. In so doing, I have developed the practice of thanking each Person of the Trinity for His specific role in bringing me to that salvation. Prayers along those lines has both heightened my awareness that my salvation comes completely from God and deepened my love for the Trinity.

Writing about aspects of my prayer life makes me nervous, fearing that I come across as boastful. Believe me, I’m all too aware that I have a very long way to go before I could consider my prayer life to be exemplary! In writing this article, I most assuredly don’t mean to hold myself up as a standard to follow.

Rather, I write this article in hopes that I might honor the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit while demonstrating how each of Them has worked to save me from the due penalty of my sins. Although time doesn’t allow me to give you all the Scriptures substantiating my points, perhaps this little blog post might encourage you to study the matter for yourself.

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The Person Christmas Celebrates — Hymn 1

I purposefully didn’t watch the Macy’s Thankgiving Day Parade this year (or did the COVID-19 panic cancel it?), but I’m pretty sure it concluded with Santa ushering in the Christmas shopping season. And a society known for thumbing its nose at Christianity suddenly focuses on celebrating a Christless Christmas.

We struggle as Christians to keep our gaze on the Lord Jesus Christ amid pressures to buy everyone the perfect gift, decorate our homes and send cards. Though we sincerely desire to keep our attention on Him, we find ourselves pulled into the secular aspects of the season. It’s hard!

So in these four Sundays before Christmas I’ll post hymns reminding us of Who our Lord is. This week let’s enjoy this beautiful adaptation of Psalm 23 as it describes His function as our Shepherd.

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