The Strange Effect Of Praying

As Mom drove across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to the train station, my sister and I expressed our dread of another year-long visit from Granny. It wasn’t so much that we’d have to share a bedroom again (actually, I kind of liked that part). And I looked forward to her lemon cake.

But Granny complained. A lot. About everything. My sister and I spent that car ride telling Mom how much her complaining bothered us.

Mom validated our feelings by responding, “Granny’s not happy unless she has something to complain about.”

Lately, I’ve been struggling with the sin of complaining. I wake up complaining that it’s time to wake up. Throughout the day, I notice myself grumbling internally about various matters ranging from my assorted aches and pains to my frustrations over COVID-19 restrictions. I understand that complaining exposes a lack of trust in the Lord, not to mention an ungrateful attitude.

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Throwback Thursday: Missing The Reason That I Long For Heaven

Originally published September 6, 2016:

temple

Many evangelicals assume that my eagerness for heaven stems from a desire to escape my disability. I understand their assumption. After all, Cerebral Palsy (especially such a severe case) imposes multiple restrictions on me, and those restrictions often carry a variety of subtexts. So of course one would conclude that the promise of a new body, free of the limitations currently thrust on me, holds a significant appeal for me.

In one sense, it does. But only when I view heaven in terms of how it will benefit me. And as I grow in understanding doctrine, I become increasingly convinced that most professing Christians hold an inverted view of heaven and its purposes.

Somewhere in my past, a friend posited the idea that heaven would be different for each of us, according to our interests, tastes and desires. Using her paradigm, heaven for me would be a giant art  museum filled with works by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Monet, Sargent and Rockwell. With cheesecake for meals. Her heaven would be stables of magnificent horses for her to ride and sturdy oak trees for her to climb.

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A Pillow, My Bright Idea And An Astounding Lesson On The Effects Of Pride

There is a way which seems right to a man,

But its end is the way of death. ~~Proverbs 14:12 (NASB)

Quite appropriately, I’ve always understood the above quoted verse as a warning that pursuing human religions over the truth of God’s Word leads to eternal destruction. And I still believe that’s the intended point Solomon had in mind. If you go through life stubbornly rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ, you will suffer eternal destruction.

But this past weekend I started seeing a secondary application for this verse as I realized why I’ve been so sick lately.

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Just So You Know

Been sick lately. I’d been alternating between Motrin and Tylenol every day since my back fractures in March, so all this is a rebound effect. I’m beginning to eat again after two days. Not taking pills, so now my back hurts.-My doctor’s nurse said to resume Tylenol and taper off gradually. So no blog post until at least Sunday.

For Even Me!

It’s good to face up to the severity of our sin. Sadly, few churches these days teach much about human depravity. Efforts to bolster self-esteem minimize any mention of sin in favor of emphasizing our righteousness in Christ. We nod in agreement that Jesus died for our sins, rarely seriously thinking of ourselves as sinners.

But those of us who actually do understand the depth of our wretchedness run the danger of not speaking enough about God’s grace. This failure is ironic, since our conviction of sin should enable us to have a deeper appreciation of His grace.

What could be more joyful than knowing that the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches even me? How can I resist praising His Name when I think about His grace being broader than the scope of my transgressions, making me God’s dear child? The matchless grace of Jesus fills me with such joy that I want to magnify the precious Name of Jesus!

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Saturday Sampler: August 16 — August 22

Commenting on Modern Day Idolatry in Slave to the King, Chris Honholz examines the way some evangelicals have embraced Critical Race Theory. I appreciate his forceful writing almost as much as I appreciate his excellent application of God’s Word to the Social Justice Movement.

Would Elizabeth Prata use The End Time to write about children building sand castles? Read The surety of Christ to find out. Besides tips on two great beaches to visit, you’ll get a good reminder of how to prepare for eternity.

Reprising an article she wrote three years ago, Michelle Lesley explores Bible Backgrounds: Why You Need Them and Where to Find Them as an encouragement to women who feel inadequate about personal Bible Study. Please, ladies, read this post and start digging in to God’s Word.

In a contribution to the Grace to You blog, Jeremiah Johnson lists 7 Qualities to Look for in a Church. Please note his encouragement to be involved in a local church as soon as this pandemic allows.

Thanks to TimChallies for including Mike Leake’s What Does It Mean That People What Deeper Bible Study? in his A la Thursday Carte selection this week. I’m not entirely sure I agree with Leake, but he certainly presents a perspective worthy of consideration. He blogs at Borrowed Light.

Pastor Tedd Mathis, writing at teddmathisdotcom, shows us 13 Places Where the Bible Uses the Word ‘FOR,’ And Why It’s Important To Your Salvation. He explains why the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement has very practical and eternal implications for each of us.

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When Righteous Anger Becomes Self-Righteous

Discernment ministry often gets maligned. Sometimes the criticisms overstate the problem, causing people to think discernment is intrinsically wrong. We can overreact to the abuses, allowing ourselves to disdain everyone who dares to call out a false teacher.

Notice the acknowledgment that abuses exist within discernment ministries. Several self-proclaimed discernment ministries have degenerated into portals of gossip and slander, dedicated to ruining the reputations of anyone they deem to be in error. As a result of their sin, some people have learned to view all discernment ministries and bloggers with suspicion.

Usually, the critics of discernment ministries conclude that discernment in and of itself is intrinsically bad. Although they started out rightly challenging discernment bloggers, they now categorically dismiss any blogger who speaks out against false teaching.

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The Heart Issue Of Headcovering

Photo of me wearing a hat

The apostle Peter acknowledged in 2 Peter 3:16 that the letters of the apostle Paul had Scriptural authority. In that very same verse, he admitted that Paul sometimes wrote things so difficult to understand that unstable people could easily distort them. While Peter’s emphasis was on the false teachers that distort God’s Word, it bears noting that Paul indeed wrote things that aren’t so easily interpreted.

1 Corinthians 11:1-16 is, according to several pastors and commentators I interviewed and read, one such passage. Those supporting the Head Covering Movement of course believe that the passage is straightforward, mandating that women cover their heads in worship services. This Website offers an overwhelming amount of articles, videos and ebooks expounding on 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 to make the case that headcovering is not optional for Christian women.

Really? An entire movement dedicated to one passage of Scripture?

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Please Don’t Thank Your Lucky Stars

Moon and Stars

The conversation after church shocked me. If he had been a new Christian, perhaps I wouldn’t have been quite so taken aback. But he had been saved for several years, and church leadership apparently considered him to be spirituality mature.

When he mentioned his horoscope, I couldn’t believe my ears! And he said it so casually, as if it was all very normal for a Christian to read horoscopes and give a little credence to astrology. After all, he wasn’t overly invested in the practice. It was an amusement that maybe had enough credibility to warrant his attention.

How a Christian could hold such an opinion baffled me then and continues to baffle me 23 years later.

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Keys To Discernment: Reconciled And Immovable

Every December we sing “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing” with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. The familiar lines slide easily from our mouths — usually so easily that we barely give them serious thought.

“God and sinners reconciled” is one such line. How often do we reflect on the truth that Jesus, Who is God in human flesh, brought reconciliation between us and the Father? For that matter, how often do we reflect on the truth that we actually needed to be reconciled to the Father?

Colossians 1:21-23 helps us understand the necessity of reconciliation, as well as the wonderful effects of that reconciliation. In so doing, it also refutes errors that make people think they can accomplish reconciliation through their own efforts. As a cherry on top, it also assures believers that this reconciliation is permanent. Let’s look at this passage for a moment, and then talk about it.

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