Women's Corner

Post May 30, 2020

(please click on the picture to enlarge it. Great quote by Spurgeon!)

 

Last week, Jonathan Steingard, lead singer for a popular and successful Christian band, declared that he no longer believes in God. Marty Sampson with Hillsong declared a few months back, at first, that he denounced his faith, then came back and clarified ‘he was struggling’ with his faith’. In this past year, popular author and former pastor Joshua Harris, writer of “I kissed dating goodbye” announced that he no longer believed in God and was getting a divorce from his wife because they had moved in different directions, and then proceeded to march in a ‘Gay Pride’ parade.

 

Now these are just a few prominent people who have denounced Christ recently, but surely we all can think of someone ourselves who maybe have not renounced the Lord, but who at one time were faithful and following Christ, but walked away from Him, and now live a life apart from Him.

 

“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:19

 

When we hear these things, we wonder and are perplexed. How can people who have been saved by God’s magnificent grace, who have ‘tasted and seen that the Lord is good’, just walk away? Well, the simplest answer is that the majority of people fall into the category outlined in 1 John 2:19. (“they went out from us because they never were of us….”)

 

It is not a very popular idea in the church today, but nevertheless, it is true in most cases. The truth is that the perseverance of the saints – the reality that a person who truly knows Christ will not walk away from the faith – is a doctrine that is taught throughout Scripture.

 

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:29-30

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30

 

Those whom God saves He justifies, and He keeps. Those whom God saves He enables to live for Him, and He perfects them – He sanctifies them. Those whom God saves He ultimately glorifies and takes them to be with Him.

 

The hard truth that we must understand is that many times when people walk away from the faith, it is because they never really knew God. Certainly, there are exceptions, but the primary reason people walk away is because they never knew God to begin with.

 

While the Bible does not teach that a true believer will abandon the faith completely or apostasize, there can be those believers that never grow in the faith – those who are not taught or are discipled, even those who may struggle deeply with sin, and for a season go away, but they are in a dangerous predicament.

 

If they are true believers and who is living in open sin and rebellion, then they will be chastened by our Lord (Hebrews 12:4-11). If they are simply weak in their faith or still a baby Christian, then older mature Christians have a responsibility to come along beside them and disciple them. Only God knows their hearts. But the Bible is clear, true believers are known by their fruits.

 

So then, you will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:20

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! 2 Corinthians 13:5a

 

A true believer will look like a true believer. There may be momentary lapses – there may be immaturity – but a believer is known by their fruits, and if there is no fruit, then a person must examine themselves to see if they really are a Christian. The fruit may be tiny and underdeveloped, or shriveled and difficult to see, but there will be fruit. And the Lord will constantly be pruning, and growing them, so the evidence of that fruit will grow.

 

So, there are those who walked away from the faith – who are not living a Christian life who while professing Christ, they do not know Him. There may be others – although we need to tread carefully here – that know Christ, but are wayward. Regardless, there is a problem. And we need to understand and acknowledge that there is a problem with Christians and there is a problem in the church.

 

Our messaging is flawed somehow. Otherwise, there would not be vast numbers coming and going in the church and in Christianity, and ultimately leaving the same way they came in. And there would not be others, who attend church even walking in the faith for years – even many years – and never grow or change or mature in their faith, and who often when trials come falter deeply and even walk away. When I say our messaging is flawed, I mean the gospel that we are proclaiming as well as what it means to follow Christ.

 

Thankfully, we attend a church who has a pastor who faithfully and consistently proclaims Christ and admonishes us to examine ourselves, but there are many churches that do not. We need to be very thankful that we have a solid and biblical church. But these are now few and far between, and many professing Christians as well as churches are worldly and no longer teach the true gospel. They proclaim a weakened shallow message that leads people further down the path of destruction rather than to Christ Jesus. This same thing happened in the nation of Israel – God’s chosen people.

 

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisternsbroken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13

 

I had never heard of a cistern before moving to our first house. But we learned that in our pantry off the kitchen in our home there had been a cistern. It actually was under the floor, and the pantry floor had been built over it. I wouldn’t recommend this for various reasons, but I digress.

 

A cistern is a structure that was used in the distant past to catch rainwater to supply the builders with water. Obviously if it were cracked or broken, it was not much use.

 

MacArthur Commentary says of this passage in Jeremiah: “First, Israel had abandoned the Lord, the source of spiritual salvation and sustenance. Second, Israel turned to idolatrous object of trust; Jeremiah compared these with underground water storage devices for rainwater, which were broken and let water seep out, thus proving useless.”

1) Israel had abandoned the Lord, the source of spiritual salvation and sustenance.

2) Israel turned to idolatrous object of trust (Sound familiar?)

 

We all know that Israel was a Theocracy – they were led directly by God. They were His chosen ones. Yet, through their entire history, they rebelled, and not only did they rebel, but they created idols for themselves by worshipping a false God of their own making. They looked at the world around them, and they created a God for themselves and put their trust in those things rather than the true and living God. When people worship anything, but the true God as defined and described by God’s Word then it is an idol of their own making.

 

Remember, when Moses went up on the mountain to receive the law. What happened while he was gone? The people convinced Aaron to make a golden calf. This calf didn’t represent an idol of the culture or world, like the pagans worshipped. Rather it was an idol that they made to worship, that represented the true God. The Lord was not pleased, and many were punished for their folly.

 

We do the same thing today. We may not construct golden calves, but we construct representations or pictures of the one true God. Any representation or picture we proclaim of God that falls short of who He really is or is an incomplete message, then that is proclaiming a false god.

 

We have a gospel problem in modern Christianity. It is a profound problem, and the consequences are devastating. The contemporary church has been hit on all sides through the years with false doctrine, with cultural/worldly methodologies, and we have gotten further and further from not only biblical Christianity, but from the true, biblical gospel. It has wreaked havoc on the church and as a result a lost world.

 

I saw someone ask a question the other day about what we look for in a church. Someone wisely said that they looked for a church that proclaimed the gospel. Yet someone else interjected, yes that is a good qualifier, but make sure what gospel they proclaim because Benny Hinn and Joel Olsteen say they proclaim the gospel. And even worse, it seems like almost every day we find another leader or church who has been compromised or no longer stands on the Word, even in our own denomination.

 

Look at what is going on right now in our world. Are we moving closer to God? Is the church a light in the darkness that the Lord is using to transform individual lives thus impacting the culture?

No, we see lawlessness and anger fomenting all around us. We see men turning on each other and their Creator in record numbers. We see rioting and unmitigated hatred. We see lives of innocent children who are created in the image of God sacrificed and murdered daily, and all sorts of aberrant behavior/immorality normalized in our culture.

 

We were a nation founded on Christian principles. The majority of our founders came here because they wanted religious freedom. We are a nation who has been tremendously blessed by God, but what have we done with that freedom? Have we used it to honor God, or used it for our own pleasure and enjoyment foolishly rejecting God and dishonoring Him.

 

People need Jesus. But they need the real Jesus, not one fashioned by their humanity and the lusts of the flesh. We see people turning away from the church in multitudes today because sadly, the God of the Bible who is Holy and Just – His Son, Who is the crucified and resurrected Christ - are no longer what we proclaim in much of Christianity. We have moved so far away from what it truly means to know God and walk with Him that in many corners He is hardly recognizable.

 

The God of the Bible is not a God that winks at sin, that makes no demands of us, that we can simply mentally acknowledge (even praying a short little prayer), and then go about living our lives with little or no concern for Him. Oh, we may sing in a ‘Christian’ band, or we may say we follow Him, but there is little evidence of that in our day to day living. Remember, even the demons believe, and tremble. James 2:19

 

And He was saying to them all, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. Luke 9:23-24

because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”1 Peter 1:16

 

Salvation is a divine work of holy God. When He saves a person, their lives are no longer the same. We are not talking a works-based salvation; we are talking about a divinely worked salvation. It is a salvation where we are completely transformed by the power of holy God through His Holy Spirit. We will not live perfectly because we still have our flesh, but we will live differently, and we will look different. If we do not, then there is a big problem.

 

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. Matthew 5:13

 

Sisters, we live in dangerous times. The world around us is falling apart. We do not need to be fearful or even surprised because we know as Christians that this is what is going to happen before our Lord returns.

 

But what we must be is sober – vigilant. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

 

We have got to return to the truth that this world cannot fix problems and this world is not our home. This world cannot bring fulfillment, and in this world there will be tribulation, but we can be of good cheer, because Jesus said, “ I have overcome the world”.

 

It is imperative that we be salt and light before a lost and dying world. And we must share the true gospel of Christ. He is our only Hope. He is the greatest Hope. He is the One and only Answer. He is the only One who can fix brokenness, and He is he only One that can save.

 

The nation of Israel missed this truth. They left the God of true salvation, and turned to the fallen and lost world – broken, cracked cisterns – to build their lives on. Many of them perished because of this, and although one day the Lord will deal with them again, the Jewish nation still reject Christ Jesus today.

 

In many ways the church has done the same thing. Christians have left their first love, and others have put their trust in something other than the true God.

 

Let us ask God to search our hearts. Let us return to Him. Let us commit to bring light in the darkness, and bring the true message of hope to the lost.

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners . . 1 Timothy 1:15

 

For God so loved the world, that He gave His [a]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the [b]only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18

 

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Revelations 3:20

 

Sisters, this last verse is not a gospel invitation as is often preached, where Christ is ‘knocking on the door of the heart’. No, this is Christ, standing outside His church – knocking on the door – wanting to come inside. This was Christ seeking to enter His church because there were no believers inside. We must be vigilant.

 

We must be earnest. If not, there will come a day, when not only will people be falling away and leaving the church, many churches will not even be made up of Christians – in this verse, there were no Christians, not a single one, left in this church. Christ was on the outside knocking, saying that if just one person would turn – one person would believe – one person trust Him in salvation – then, He would come in. How tragic!

 

We know that our church loves Christ and desires to follow Him. Our pastor proclaims Christ and His Word every single Sunday. But are we committed fully to Christ? Are our lives centered on Him and His Word? Do we live out and look like Jesus Christ before our brothers and sisters as well as a dark sinful world? Do we proclaim the true gospel to the lost, praying that they will be saved?

 

Friends, we must proclaim the gospel to the lost and hurting. Christ is the only answer to the need of the human heart and soul. Our brokenness manifests itself in so many ways including the rampant anger and hatred we see in our society. We must make sure that our messaging points to a crucified and risen Redeemer and King. That true justice is found at the foot of the cross where our Lord paid it all.

Any message that does not share the sinfulness of all men, and the victory through forgiveness and surrender to the Savior, is merely a band-aid. Only the finished work of Christ Jesus our Lord can bring healing and newness of life to every man, woman and child.

Let us examine ourselves. And let us pray. Oh, let us pray. Let us pray for ourselves, our families, our church and our country. Let us pray for those who are lost that truly have no hope because this world is all there is. If ever we need to prayer, it is this day!

 

Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

Augustine

 

 

 


 

Post May 24, 2020

Tending Our Gardens

 

We decided this year to plant an above ground garden. We have planted a garden in the past, and sometimes they flourish, yielding produce, other times they produce little. I would have to say, that for the most part a lot has to do with the effort we put into it. Certainly, the rain, sunshine and condition of the soil have an impact, but our attention to it definitely contribute to the output. Gardens if they are good ones, take time and work. Our appreciation for them, and influence have a lot to do with how well they turn out. It can be frustrating work, sometimes thankless work, but when we see growth, even the tiniest little sprout that comes up, it is exciting. When we get those fresh vegetables, cook them, and get to enjoy them, it is very worthwhile.

 

As I garden, I think back to that very first garden. How lovely it must have been! It was perfect – no weeds, no decay – absolutely nothing that could interfere with its beauty. It must have been so lush and green. One of the wonderful aspects of it was it didn’t take toil and hard work to bring about the produce. It grew freely in this garden. It was a beautiful place to live and enjoy, but the best part was the fellowship. For in this garden, in the cool of the day, the Lord God moved through this garden. The man and the woman had complete and unimpeded fellowship with the Creator of everything - their Lord - because there was no sin, no fallenness, no brokenness, no sorrow, nothing to separate them from that perfect fellowship.

 

But all of that was before the enemy – the evil serpent – came in and wrought his destruction and wickedness. He found the woman in the garden, and he tempted her. He suggested that the Lord – even though He had given them perfection in every possible way – was withholding something good from them. The evil one – satan himself – came to her, and deceitfully suggested to her that God was unfairly restricting them in some way. He boldly and audaciously asked Eve that age old question, “Hast God said”.

 

That question attempted to malign, and undermine the very character of holy God. Their Creator and Provider, the One who embodied every hope and every dream – the One who represented and provided them with the truest and purest contentment and joy. Since the introduction of sin through the fall of mankind that has never been fully regained. He lied to Eve, and told her that by telling them not to eat from the Tree of Life, that God was trying to keep something from them that would make them happy – that He wanted something for them that wasn’t the best, The wicked one subtly and maniacally whispered that he could give Eve something that was better, and unfortunately she took the bait.

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10

He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:44

 

We all know what happened in the Garden that dreadful day. Eve believed the lies of the enemy, and she sinned. Not only did she sin, but she offered the fruit to her husband, and her influence resulted in the fall of mankind – sin came into the world and death was the result - spiritual death, but ultimately physical death. Adam was responsible for his sin. God had given him the commands, and he disobeyed. But Eve’s influence was critical in his disobedience, and humanity has suffered ever since.

 

As women our influence is one of our most precious gifts. God often uses our strengths to bring wisdom to those whom we love and care for - with those who we interact with. He uses those strengths to build up and encourage. But our influence as women can also be a tool that the enemy can use to do sow sin or discord, even rebellion. We can influence those around us in good ways, and we can influence in negative ways. Eve is a great example of a vulnerable woman – a woman who listened to the lies of the enemy– that was led very easily into temptation. That is the downside of our influence. While our influence can be positive, we like Eve can be mislead by our emotions. If we are not grounded in God's Word, controlled by His Spirit, prayerfully walking with Him, then we are susceptable to the enemy's deception and as a result we can negatively impact others-especially those who are close to us.

 

In our homes, families, and churches, we have an important role – a vital and crucial role. We are the hearts and often times, as we all have heard the saying “we are the glue that holds things together”. We can foster harmony, we can encourage, we can calm fears, and we can bring a sweet fragrance of love and joy into our places of influence that only we can bring. But rest assured, that the enemy would love nothing better than to use that influence to disrupt, and wreak havoc as well as turmoil.

 

We have all seen that right. A nagging and mean woman who snaps at everyone, complains and nitpicks. A woman who is not content with the life God has blessed her with, and she is always pushing for more, or she is angry because she is discontent. A woman that encourages others toward discontentment and foments discord. She may not only do this at her home, these same women can carry this type attitude into her church and other places. She is the one that whispers to the other women – and really anyone that will listen – of the latest gossip or just generally tears down her brothers and sisters in the Lord, and others. She may demand to lead or diminish the importance of others, or myriads of other negative attitudes or actions. There are many ways the evil one can use any of us if our hearts are not centered on our Lord and being guided by His influence.

 

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 4:29-5:2

 

Ladies, the Lord has given us the unique opportunity to influence the world around us. It is a tall order, and it is not an easy one. I was incredibly convicted as I wrote this because I see how I fail daily. But dear sisters, we need to apply ourselves because we can make all the difference in those areas that the Lord has specifically placed us. Those places that He wants to use our influence for good and His glory. Our sovereign God has work He wants to do through us to build up those in our homes, and He also wants to use us in our churches and others areas we have influence, to encourage and be vessels of grace to all of those arounds us. But we have to be deliberate and apply ourselves to these treasured roles.

 

And this is where a lot of the problem comes in. Remember our dear mother Eve? One of the primary things that motivated her was a lack of contentment and a lack of trust and belief in what God said and provided. He wasn’t trying to withhold something good from her. He wanted to give her the very best and the perfect. But instead of trusting Him for that, she listened to the enemy, and as we know the rest sadly, is our history.

Don’t ever be misguided or confused about the fact that satan attacks us the same way today. Perhaps women even more so than men. One of the primary ways he tempts us is the same way that he tempted Eve. He turns our attention to the world, its ways, its value system, and deters us from seeking to obey God's word and value His approval above everything else. The enemy causes us to doubt or undermine God and His word, insinuating and asking the very same question that he asked Eve, "Hast God said". He tempts us to seize control and take over the helm with our influence rather than submit to the roles that the Lord has called us. Eve stepped out of her role – she conversed with the enemy away from her husband, and she was vulnerable. Adam was responsible because he allowed the leadership role he had been given in the garden to be subverted, but Eve was the enemy's instrument.

 

As women we have many strengths and gifts. While we are created differently than men, we are just as gifted and valuable as men.  We are both of great value to the Lord, but He has different functions for us. It is critical and important that we live out those roles the way God has mandated. One of the huge problems in the church today and homes has come from women refusing to abide by the roles that the Lord ordained for them in His word, and it has sowed all kinds of chaos.

Godly contentment with the roles and our circumstances must be cultivated. Contentment where the Lord has placed us does not just come naturally, rather like any godly virtue, we must pursue it. But ‘godliness with contentment’ is a great and wonderful attitude that we need to strive for.

Our lives – our churches – are imperfect because they are made up of people. But they are huge blessings, and the Lord wants to use each of us to bring joy and grace to them. This life has heartache – this world is broken, but we all can be used by the Lord to bless others and He can work through our lives in so many ways to enrich the lives of those around us.

 

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

The Lord promised us that in this life, things will not be easy. In fact, as we all know they can often be very hard – heartbreakingly so. But we can prevail because our dear Lord has promised that He has overcome the world. But we must set our minds to it. And we can be the very tools He used to help others overcome and persevere. And as we do so we can experience a peace and contentment that transcends our circumstances.

 

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

The apostle Paul perhaps more than any other New Testament believer other than our Lord suffered incredible hardship and discouragement.

“but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing ]yet possessing all things. 2 Corinthians 6:4-10

 

Yet, he affirmed that he had learned to be content in all his circumstances. He learned that when he was weak, indeed he was strong, because in his weakness, the Lord was His strength and enabled him to do what he was called to do.

 

Remember at the start when we were talking about gardening. There is something special and exciting about seeing things grow and flourish through the labors of our hands. We may plant physical gardens through which we derive enjoyment and fruit.

 

But sisters, the greatest ‘garden’ we have is that garden where we plant, feed and give of ourselves to those that the Lord Himself has given us responsibility for. We each have our own little gardens where He has given us sweet and valuable influence. They may look different, and the fruits will be unique to our gardens. Our Lord is very interested in our gardens. Indeed, He will hold us accountable for those gardens. He will work through us to bring the fruit and the increase, but we have a huge impact on that fruit. It will require much effort – much patience – much commitment. But it is in this gift of a garden, that we will find our greatest joy and happiness. It is in this garden, that we can flourish and that we can see true fruit from our labors. Let us find our contentment and our joy there. Let us pour ourselves into these labors, and look forward to that day when our Lord rewards us for a job well done in tending our precious ‘gardens’.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates
. Proverbs 31:30-31

 

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, But the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.” Elisabeth Elliot

 

 


 

Post 5/17/2020

Titus 2:3-5

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

 

One of the consistent truths in God’s Word is that of the older modeling and instructing the younger. We see this truth lived out as Christians where we disciple and encourage younger believers in the faith. There is an established truth that we have a responsibility in the Lord’s patterning to pass on godly instruction to the younger – first by example, secondly by instruction. We are to model Christ to those newer in the faith by living out our faith before them. As for those who are physically younger, the older are to live out Christ in daily living as well as instructing them on spiritual things, and biblical roles in the home as well as the church.

 

We learn in 2 Peter 1:3, “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

 

God has given us everything we need to live this Christian life. We must pass that on to younger believers, and help them to understand that God has given us all the resources we need to live the Christian life. We need to help them understand and instruct them that He and His word are sufficient for all things, and hold the keys to successful godly living.

 

So many even in the church, look to the world to solve problems or instruction for living, child-rearing, marital instruction as well as a multitude of other issues. Rather than going to the Lord and His word, many times people look to secular instruction or methodology for problem resolution. As Christians, this is a mistake. We serve a sovereign God and He has given us His Spirit to enable us to live victoriously. When we look to His word for strength and instruction, and obey Him, we will find peace and resolution even in the most difficult of situations.

 

As Christian women, we are to instruct the younger women in what it means to be a godly woman, a godly wife, and a godly mother. We are to teach them how to live out their biblical role in their families, and in the church. We are to remind them of the truths in God’s Word that teach women that they are to submit to their husbands in the home, and godly leaders in the church.

 

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24

But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 1 Timothy 2:12

 

As godly older women, we must live out these truths ourselves, and teach them to the younger women. Feminism is alive and well in our society, and has even crept into the church. The enemy loves nothing better than to sow discord, and one of his chief goals is to destroy the foundations of the home as well as undermine God’s authority in the church. As godly women we have a huge responsibility to submit, and teach the younger women the same truth.

 

It has been said that a picture is worthy a thousand words, and we know this to be true. There is nothing more effective or powerful that when a women lives out the biblical role before her husband, children and before younger women.

 

In fact 1 Peter 3:1-4, we learn that lost husbands can even be influenced and won to Christ by the gentle and submissive spirit of a godly wife. We also learn that thatgentle and quiet spirit’ of a woman’s heart are ‘precious in the sight of God.

 

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior. but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

 

It is a wonderful blessing to have a Christian wife and mother who mirrors Christlikeness and loves her children and her husband.

 

I am so thankful for having such a mother in my own life. She lived out her faith before me, and she taught me what it meant to be a woman who followed Christ. She also selflessly gave herself to take care of her home and family. She yielded and submitted to her husband as she was directed to do in God’s word. She created a loving atmosphere in the home by loving her Lord, her husband and children with all of her heart. She raised her children in the admonition of the Lord. It had a tremendous impact on my thinking. She demonstrated to me through her example exactly what it meant to follow Christ as a woman.

As older women we too are called to do exactly that. For our own daughters, but also to instruct and teach the younger women in our churches. It is critical to the next generation and it also is commanded to us in Scripture. The following is an excerpt from Elisabeth Elliot from an article she wrote for Ligonier ministries. It is both instructive, and an example that we should not only take to heart, but seek to model in our own lives.

My own life has been blessed by having, first and foremost, a godly mother who was always there. She stayed home. She raised six children, and she set for us a holy example of femininity, self-discipline, discipline (An 18-inch switch lay on the lintel of the door of every room in the house.), humor, and love.

I have also been greatly blessed by spiritual mothers—older women who happened to be there geographically when my mother was not, women who had time for me. They would not have thought of themselves as spiritual mothers. They were simply being kind to a young woman who needed their example, their steadfastness, their godly counsel, their prayers.

It is doubtful that the apostle Paul had in mind Bible classes or seminars or books when he spoke of teaching younger women. He meant the simple things, the everyday example, the willingness to take time from one’s own concerns to pray with the anxious mother, to walk with her the way of the Cross with its tremendous demands of patience, selflessness, lovingkindness—and to show her, in the ordinariness of Monday through Saturday, how to keep a quiet heart.

 

These lessons will come perhaps most convincingly through rocking a baby, doing some mending, cooking a super, or cleaning a refrigerator. Through such an example, one young woman—single or married, Christian or not—may catch a glimpse of the mystery of charity and the glory of womanhood, so perfectly exemplified in the response of a humble village girl of long ago when she said, ‘Behold the handmaiden of the Lord. Let it happen as You say.’

 

Elisabeth Elliot was a wise and godly woman. We can learn much from her words and example.

 

Another great example is the mother of Charles Spurgeon. If there is any question as to the tremendous influence of a godly mother, read the tribute he gave to his dear mother. He was a great man of God whose influence was massive and far-reaching. Indeed, he is called the Prince of Preachers. How remarkable to consider the remarkable influence he recognized that His dear mother had on his life and ministry. He went on to marry another godly woman – Susanna (Susie) Spurgeon.

 

Certainly he saw an example of a godly woman lived out before him in the home, and he undoubtedly looked for those same qualities in a wife which he found in Susie Spurgeon. She was a great help to helpmate to him not only in the home, but in his ministry.

 

 


 

Post: 5/11/2020

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

 

In our modern society, one of the great tragedies is the minimization or devaluing of motherhood. Children are looked at by some as a burden or inconvenience, rather than a precious gift. As Christian mothers we should never be guilty of minimizing the value of our families or our roles in the home, because we understand that the gift of family and motherhood is a precious one.

 

As mothers, the Lord gives us the blessing of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren or even great-great grandchildren. Mothers have the joy of impacting generations. There are others who are given the unique blessing of being spiritual mothers who mentor and pour themselves into those that the Lord has placed in their midst. And this role cannot be minimized because their impact for Christ can be far-reaching, and Christ can multiply disciples even through one single life. Then there are some that are both – physical mothers and spiritual mothers. What a blessing motherhood is! Wherever the Lord has gifted us and allowed us to ‘mother’ whether physical, spiritual or both, we must treasure this blessing with all our hearts. It is a unique and choice blessing. As women we were created to be nurturers. We are caretakers and we love those who have been entrusted to us with all our being, and the Lord will often use us in deep ways to influence and encourage those He puts in our lives.

 

In Matthew, at the very beginning of the New Testament we find the genealogy of Christ. My eyes generally start to cross and I get swimmy headed when I start reading biblical genealogies, but I have to be honest, in Matthew Chapter one, this genealogy is particularly touching to me. To know that the Lord includes the names of the women who are in His genealogy is a blessing, especially because typically women were not valued very highly.

 

It should be very meaningful to us as women because in this genealogy we see that our Lord loves women. He does not just love women, but He loves women of different stripes and circumstance, and He shows His love for them by honoring them by memorializing their names in the biblical record. He mentions certain women specifically – Tamar, Ruth, Rahab, Bathsheba, and Mary. We know from the Bible, that each of these women have unique stories, and some are even sorted and sinful. It was considered unusual that women were named in a genealogy. They were not considered high in the social pecking order in biblical times, yet our Lord included them even though most of these women were flawed, sinful and broken from the world’s perspective. But we know that God sees the heart, and His specialty is saving and redeeming broken lives from their sins, and giving them new hearts and a new life.

 

Commentary says: ‘Each of these women is an object lesson about the workings of divine grace.” (MacArthur) Oh, amen. So, so thankful for God’s precious grace, and how He can redeem even the most sinful and unlovely.

 

And you see that is the point that is so significant. Our Lord loves! He loves us in spite of our flaws, in spite of our brokenness, in spite of what others may see as invaluable, unlovely or insignificant. He created us as unique beings and saved us by His grace, and works through us in many ways to be the caretakers of humanity. We have different backgrounds, different stories, different histories, and different testimonies. But the important thing is that we are precious works of His divine grace that He uniquely gifts to bless others, especially our families. Let us rejoice in that sweet truth today.

 

And let us remember as mothers – as women - that the Lord uses each one of us to fulfill His purposes in the lives of those around us, and He has placed us exactly where we are at in order to do that. Let us be content in that, and yield to Him understanding that we may be the very ones through whom He will work through to live out the gospel before them. Through the process He will also reveal Himself in the deepest of ways to us as we submit and humble ourselves before Him.

 

This is a quote from Elisabeth Eliott about being a physical mother.

 

“‘This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.’ —Elisabeth Elliot

 

Motherhood is not always glamorous. It is not always appreciated or even rewarded visibly at times. The mother in the home may often be the least appreciated. But let her get sick or need to be absent and very often she becomes appreciated very quickly. As a matter of fact, her stock may go up immediately. The mother is a critical part of every home.

 

Mrs. Elliot is reminding us here that when we humbly submit to the role the Lord has placed us in the home, it is an act of worship to our Lord. When we joyfully embrace the role that He has given us, we honor Him and bring glory to Him. We say to Him that we are thankful for His blessings, and we show Him our thankfulness by applying ourselves wholeheartedly to the task that He has given us. There are some that would complain or be ornery, and begrudge their work. That does not bless the heart of God, or make for a cheerful home. But when we happily go about our work, and look at it as a God-given ministry, then those around us see Him at work in our lives as well as in our homes.

 

She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Prov. 31:26-29

But look at something else, and read what was said by another that has a different perspective, but an important one.

Elisabeth Elliot was my spiritual mother.

I was raised by a wonderful earthly mother and father who were practical, down-to-earth, gracious, and hardworking. Sadly, my parents, by their own admission, were not born again. The things my parents taught me, though often right and important, were simply about developing character and strength, civility and manners, hard work and independence so that I would contribute positively to society. These lessons are good and right, and probably needed today more than ever, but after I was born again in 1982, I began to see that there was much more to learn about life and my place in it.

When I was awakened to new life in Jesus, I began to appreciate that my life was not simply about being the best person I could be or about building a happy life for myself. Quite simply, my life was not my own. It belonged to God, the one who created me and sent his Son to die for my sins so that I might have new life in him. I was to live for him — for his glory.”

 

This young woman found that while she had a physical mother, her mother was not a Christian. The Lord allowed another godly woman, Elisabeth Elliot, to help her to know and grow in Christ. This was a wonderful blessing in her life, and it is a role that a godly woman can fulfill that can often be overlooked or even minimized. Not only did Mrs. Elliot mentor this young woman spiritually, the fruit of that was likely passed on to the members of the young lady’s household. There is much honor for a godly woman in yielding to the Lord as He works through you to spiritually impact and mentor other women. Indeed Titus 2:3-5, talks about older women teaching the younger women what it means to be a godly young woman. Older women teach the younger women how to be homemakers, loving their husbands and children. But they are also to teach them how to follow the word of God and not dishonor Him.

 

“For a person to be convinced God can save from sin, one needs to see someone who lives a holy life. When Christians claim to believe God’s Word, but do not obey it, the Word is dishonored. Many have mocked God and His truth because of the sinful behavior of those who claim to be Christians.” MacArthur commentary

 

As women we have a responsibility to teach younger women what it means to follow God, obey Him, and reflect Him before the world. We must teach them how to reverence Him, conduct themselves chastely and modestly, and remind them of the biblical ways they are called to serve Him. They need godly role models in older women to live these things out before them.

 

Let us rejoice today as women that God has called us to bless those who we know and love, and let us be thankful for that great honor He has bestowed on us to be called His daughters. Let us remember that our Lord looks at the heart, and let our prayer be that we have hearts that are centered on Him, and that His love flows through us to touch the lives of those around us.

 

Your adornment must not be merely external . . . .but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4

 

 

 


 

Post: 5/8/2020

 

For any ladies that are interested, Michelle Lesley and Amy Spreeman are hosting a webinar on discernment. Both are excellent women's teachers, and this promises to be an important discussion.

"Are you a discerning woman? Whether you’re just starting to learn to discern or you’ve had your “powers of discernment trained by constant practice,” we think you’ll find this Zoom webinar edifying and informative. Join Amy Spreeman and Michelle Lesley as we examine the Scriptures that pertain to discernment, contemporary false teachings to watch out for, addressing false teaching with loved ones and leaders, and more!"

 

Date: Thursday, May 14

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. Central

Registration: To register, simply make a one time or monthly gift of $10 or more to A Word Fitly Spoken at PayPal or Patreon.

 

If you are interested, click on the link below to register for the webinar.

 

Discerning Women Learn to Discern Webinar

 


 

Post: 5/8/2020

Contentment

The quiet joy of the Christian’s heart

 

To see a wicked man merry, or a Christian sad, is alike uncomely. (William Gurnall)

When you look in your heart, those deep places and crevices where only the Lord sees, do you find contentment there? Joy? Peace?

 

“Contentment is a sweet inward heart thing, it is work of the Spirit ‘indoors’…...” (Jeremiah Burrows). This means it is a work by the Spirit that takes place deep within our hearts. It is not a superficial – external exercise.

Only He can truly produce: ‘joy, peace, love, longsuffering, gentleness, self-control.’

 

If a person is discontent, then those fruit will not be evident. For a Christian to be discontent means that their hearts are not centered on Christ – their hearts are not filled with Christ’s presence – they are not walking in the Spirit. One teacher said that a discontented Christian is an anomaly. It just cannot be, not if they are controlled by the Holy Spirit.

 

Why you may ask? It is a simple matter really. Most of it boils down to thankfulness. Do we understand that where we are and what our circumstances are, come from God? Are we a thankful people as Christians? Again, someone might ask, how can we be thankful in the middle of a pandemic? How can we be thankful when we may be struggling with sickness, financial, family trouble, disappointment, and many other difficulties that life presents? How can we be thankful when we cannot even be together in God’s house?

 

We CAN be thankful as Christians even through the incredibly hard things, because:

1) Our God is Sovereign, and He is in complete control. That means nothing touches us or our lives apart from Him.

2) Our God is not only Sovereign, but He died for our sins, and if you belong to Him that means you will live with Him for all eternity because your sins have been fully paid for.

 

Perfect love casts out fear, right? (1 John 4:17-18) Why is that? Because as Christians we live in the reality that we do not have to ever fear the wrath or judgment of God in this life or the life to come. We may experience chastisement because of sin, but never His wrath. Nor do we have to be uncertain about eternity because when we are “in Christ” our eternity is secure and when we leave this life we will go into the next life with Him where everything is perfect. It is a win-win, right? Sorry. . . I digress.

Now I know you know all these things. As Christians, we all understand these things, right? We cut our teeth on them in the church. But the reality is that many of us live as if we never heard them. It is essential if we are going to be victorious as believers and reflect Christ to the world, then we must consider these truths and they must be a reality in our lives. We live in uncertain and scary times. But we serve a God who is never caught off guard – who never slumbers or sleeps. I heard one leader on a recent podcast (Darryl Harrison-GTY) say, “that as Christians, unfortunately we are not averse to responding to difficulty just like the world, rather than the church.”

 

Read what Charles Spurgeon had to say about this matter of contentment:

 “Spurgeon knew that believers must make a conscious choice to be content. He encouraged them to “shake off the dust of discontentment and sorrow, and let us sing together unto God” because in him, “there are fathomless depths of infinite delight.” Spurgeon knew that “covetousness, discontent and murmuring, are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil.” In contrast, “contentment is one of the flowers of heaven.” Indeed, by being “specially careful and watchful” in discipline one can cultivate this God-given grace as contentment “will not grow in us by nature.” Spurgeon knew that “the new nature alone” could produce grace and contentment in the heart.”

 

Did you catch what he is saying? ‘Spurgeon knew that believers must make a conscious choice to be content.’ He knew that the natural tendency of men is to be discontent. But that does not mean that is acceptable. It is grievous to the heart of God. Christians more than anyone ought to have a spirit of thankfulness and be content. How offensive it must be to Him when we display these attitudes!

He who has blessed us with life. He who has blessed us with Himself. He to whom we completely owe our salvation. He who holds the whole of the universe in His hands and He who works all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose is our dear Lord. How can we not be content?

Remember what the Lord said: "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

 

We are going to have problems, heartache and difficulty in this world. But we have our Lord’s word that He has overcome the world. We can be of good cheer – we can take courage – we can have peace - we can be content knowing He will take care of us.

 

“Ah, you will never have enough till you get Christ; but when you have Him, you will be full to the brim. Contentment is the peculiar jewel of the beloved of the Lord Jesus. (Spurgeon)

But we need to understand – and this is important – contentment is not something we can just work up on the outside and determine to have and put up a brave front to others. We don’t just pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and paste a smile on. No, contentment must come from within or it does not really mean anything, and it surely will not last. It must involve a right heart attitude, an attitude that the Spirit produces as we live in obedience to God’s Word.

“in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:18)

 

That is not to say that we must not make a choice – a conscious choice – to be content. But external contentment is very closely tied to internal contentment.

 

“’My soul, wait thou only upon God.’ These words may also be translated as: ‘My soul, be silent to God. Hold peace, O my soul.’ Not only must the tongue hold its peace; the soul must be silent. Many, many sit silently, refraining from discontented expressions, yet inwardly they are bursting with discontent. . . Outwardly there may be great calmness and stillness, ye within amazing confusion, bitterness, disturbance and vexation. . .

Their spirits are like the raging sea, casting forth nothing but mire and dirt, and are troublesome not only to themselves but also to all with whom they live. Others, however, are able to restrain such disorders of the heart, as Judas did when he betrayed Christ with a kiss, but even so they boil inwardly and eat away like a canker. So David speaks of some whose words are sweeter than honey. . . and yet have war in their hearts. In another place he says, ‘While I kept silence my bones waxed old.’

Contentment is a soul business. First, it is inward; secondly, quiet; thirdly, it is a quiet frame of spirit. . . It is a grace that spreads itself through the whole soul.” (Jeremiah Burroughs)

 

When we allow discontentment and unthankfulness to sit in our hearts, then it can turn into all sorts of maladies of the soul. Bitterness, envy, jealousy, convetousness, anger, malice, etc. When this happens, guess what? We are NOT walking in the Spirit.

If we are not walking in the Spirit, then we will not have the joy, peace and other fruit, that the Spirit produces in our hearts as we walk with Christ. Yes, contentment is a soul business – it is a very serious business. And we must apply ourselves to it as with any other Christian virtue or attitude.

 

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

 

It is a worthwhile endeavor and an important one! We impugn our Lord when we are discontent – restless souls wandering looking for joy and peace – when our Lord has given us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness.

seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3

 

Take some time today, and consider are you practicing contentment? If not, consider what may be keeping you from being content.

 

“’Nothing so hinders us,’ said St. Francis de Sales, ‘as to be longing after something else.’ And that longing, that discontent, can be a contagious disease.” (Elisabeth Elliot)

She also gives us another important insight into contentment.

“The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.”

 

A lack of contentment is not the result of our situation or circumstances. It is a lack of understanding that true contentment comes from Christ no matter the circumstance, and a failure to embrace our circumstances, accepting our situation and knowing that wherever we are at and whatever is going on, that Christ is with us and working through it.

 

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

 

You see a different set of circumstances cannot bring us contentment. Only Christ can. The apostle Paul understood that. Perhaps more than any servant of Christ, he endured terrible hardship for the sake of Christ. Yet he came to understand that it was not a change of circumstance he needed. It was an understanding of God and His provision.

 

Do you remember what he learned?

Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.

And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

 

He asked the Lord to change his circumstances. He wanted the Lord to remove a very painful circumstance from him. But the Lord gave him something better. He showed Paul that through those difficult circumstances, He can manifest Himself in the greatest possible ways. That when we feel weak because of things that are happening to us and when life is spinning out of control, He will be strong. That is where our Lord’s power is most manifest and perfected in us. Just as it was with the apostle.

 

A different kind of life – different kinds of circumstances – a new job, a new house, a new car, health, prosperity, easy circumstances, nothing in this life can bring true contentment, only God can do that through His Spirit and our obedience. You see, we do not need our circumstances changed, we need our hearts changed! 

 

So how about it? Will you lean on your faithful Lord today? Will you submit to His Spirit, and obey Him today, in choosing to be content and thankful no matter where you find yourself, knowing that He loves you and can bring joy in the worst places of life.

 

If I become content by having my desire satisfied, that is only self-love; but when I am contented with the hand of God and am willing to be at His disposal, that comes from my love to God.”(Jeremiah Burroughs)

 

 


 

Post 5/2/2020

 

Psalm 103:13-14

Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.

 

I read the other day where someone asked, “what is your favorite attribute of God?”

 

There are so many – so many wonderful attributes that we can name about our God. His love, His holiness, His perfection, His power, His omnipresence, His omnipotence, and so many more. But for some reason, on that particular day the one that came to my mind immediately was His compassion.

 

Our God is loving, patient with us and compassionate. He knows or He remembers our frame, and He is mindful that we are dust. The Creator and King of kings and Lord of Lords condescends to love and care about us. He is so far – very far – above us, yet He doesn’t mock or disdain our frailty, He remembers and pitieth our weakness.

 

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

 

The other day I had sent a message, and looked back over it and found a silly typo. It really embarrassed me that I had not read more carefully before sending. An insignificant thing really, but it bothered me to no end. We all make little mistakes that in the grand scheme of things, other than irritating us, most of them really don’t matter.

 

But as I reflected on it, I thought of other mistakes – much bigger mistakes – sins I had committed. Times when I completely let my Father and others down, when I failed to love Him, and honor Him. But even worse when I offended His holiness, or deliberately rebelled in some area.

 

The wonder is that as His children, even when we fail, He is patient with those He loves. It doesn’t mean He just overlooks our sin. For He says, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

 

But it does mean that in Him, we will find a forgiving and loving Father. There may even be consequences because of our sin, but we can rest assured that He will walk with us through our failure, every step of the way.

 

What an amazing and loving Father that does not deal with us according to our failures, but is longsuffering with us!

 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious. Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. Psalm 103:8

 

But what about us when others fail, or even cause us pain through their failures or actions? Are we patient and longsuffering? Do we respond to them the way our gracious Father does with us?

 

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

 

At salvation, we know that we have been forgiven completely for every sin we have committed in the past, and for every sin we will ever commit in the future. Yet, from a practical perspective, the Lord expects us to confess our sin when we falter, and if we refuse to obey Him, then it impedes our fellowship until we deal with the sin and ask His forgiveness.

 

But this verse is very clear, while as believers our eternity is sealed, from a temporal perspective the Father will withhold practical forgiveness from us if we refuse to forgive others. Remember the story of the debtor. (Matt. 18:23-35)

The king gladly forgave his infinite debt that the servant could never have repaid. But when another servant wronged that very same man for a mild infraction, he refused to forgive.

 

The king said to the servant: I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you? (Matt. 18:32-33)

The Lord said of this story, “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” (Matt. 18:35)

 

As we begin a new week, let us take this to heart. Let us have thankful hearts, that our good Father is patient with us in our mistakes and weaknesses, and welcomes us back into fellowship when we confess them, and ask His forgiveness.

 

Let us show that very same mercy and compassion to those around us that may fail us or inadvertently offend or wrong us. We are all sinful and broken people that at one time or another needs forgiveness. Sometimes it is very hard to forgive when we have been wronged, particularly if it was deep hurt and wrong, but with the Lord’s help and strength, through His power and grace, we can forgive just as He forgives us.

 

One writer said this: “that we are never more like our Lord than when we forgive.”

 

Another said: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

 

Have a blessed week, and hopefully we are getting very close to the end of the Pandemic of COVID-19.

 

 


 

Post: 4/28/2020

A Word Fitly Spoken Podcast

Right now the vast majority of us are having to watch worship services online. And even though many of us miss fellowshiping with our brothers and sisters, we can get a little too used to the routine of sleeping a little later and plopping down on the couch with a good cup of coffee to watch church. We might even be tempted, once quarantine is over, to keep “going to church online.” Michelle and Amy discuss the importance of faithfully fellowshipping with the Body again once this is all over.

 

CHECK OUT this excellent podcast by Michelle Lesley and Amy Spreeman entitled:

Church was never meant to be remote: Reuniting after COVID-19

 

 


Post: 4/27/2020

From Charles Spurgeon (Morning and Evening) April 26

“It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb and have been loved with an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God, would forget their gracious Savior. Forget Him who never forgot us? Forget Him who poured His blood forth for our sins? Forget Him who loved us even to the death? Can it be possible?

Yes, it is not only possible, but conscience confesses that it is too sadly a fault with all of us, that we allow Him to be as wayfaring man tarrying for a night. He whom we should make the abiding tenant of our memories is but a visitor.

The cross where one would think that memory would linger, and unmindfulness would be an unknown intruder, is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness.

Do you find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Some creature steals away your heart, and you are unmindful of Him. Some earthly business engrosses your attention when you should fix your eye steadily on the cross. It is the incessant turmoil of the world, the constant attraction of earthly things, which takes away the soul from Christ.

We must be determined that whatever else we let slip through our fingers and from our minds, we will hold fast to Jesus.”

 

As ladies it is so easy to get bogged down by the things going on around us. Even during this peculiar time – the pandemic – it seems like we are busier than ever, with many things pulling at us. But we cannot allow ourselves to get so distracted and busy – even in ministry – even in doing the good things, necessary things – that we forget the best thing – the most important thing.

 

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.”

41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

 

Ladies, let us choose that very best part today. Let us seek our Lord while He may be found and worship His holy name this day.

 

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith . . . .Hebrews 12:1-2a

 

 


 

Post: 4/18/2020

Good day ladies! Sorry gentlemen, just in case you are reading, remember we love you, but this is for ladies only! (1 Tim. 2:12)

 

Hope this finds everyone well. Still interesting and unusual times that we find ourselves in. This situation has affected us all in difference ways, and the repercussions will be likely felt for a long time.

 

Life goes on even in the middle of a pandemic, right? Sickness not even associated with Covid-19 happens. My mom had to go to the doctor the other day for a minor issue that had nothing to do with the virus. Everyday life goes on. Young moms still have their families and babies to care for, and us older moms/wives/women have those everyday stresses and responsibilities to care for our families or others around us. For many there are the things jobs require from them or their husbands. There is heartache, and for many there are financial or other stresses that weigh heavily on them – maybe now more than any other time recently.

 

I am reminded of the verse,

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. Psalm 56:3

 

During these days of uncertainty, this is a wonderful verse to remember. Thankfully when we go through difficulties of any kind in this life – no matter the nature or how deep, how painful – we can always turn to our Father. He loves us, and as we celebrated just last week, He gave everything for us in His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will certainly not withhold any good thing from us.

 

Yes, we can call on Him, cry out to Him, and He listens.

One of the particularly hard things about the trials that we go through is trying to make sense of them. Trying to understand why? Why does a good Father allow pain – suffering? Why does He allow hardship and difficulty?

 

There are myriad reasons obviously. Sometimes it can be to correct disobedience. It can be open rebellion or sin, or it can be that we have just gotten a bit off track, and the Lord is reorienting us and turning us back to Him.

 

Hebrews 12:5-6 says this:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

 

But importantly, there does not have to be sin or disobedience in our life for us to experience pain and suffering.

 

A great example for us to consider is Job. His friends insisted to him in their counsel that there must be some sin or disobedience in his life that resulted in his terrible trial. But they were completely wrong, it was not true at all. At the end of the book, in Chapter 42 it says: indeed, the Lord rebukes them for their wrong assumptions about Him. (Job 42:7-8)

 

Job had no obvious sin or disobedience. In fact, we find in Job 1:1 that it says: “that man (Job) was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

 

We know all of us are frail and sinful, but Job as much as is possible for a human being, was upright and righteous. Job had put his trust in the Lord for redemption and lead a God-honoring life.

 

We find in Job 1:6-12, a conversation of which the outcome will rock Job’s world. It is a bit ominous and unnerving really. Beloved, we should take note because there is another realm – a spiritual realm where activity is regularly going on that we cannot see or hear, and based on this conversation it may at times concern us as humans.

 

Not getting too far into this tangent, but we do need to understand this. For instance, we see in Ephesians 3:10 that “the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in heavenly places.” The Lord is glorifying Himself in the heavenly realm through His wisdom and purposes in redeeming a people and establishing - maintaining His church. They are watching!

 

In Ephesians 6:12 it says this, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

 

This is what Job faced, this fight against the ruler of darkness. But the reality is that it was the Lord that initiated the dialogue. Now before we tread into heresy here, remember God is not the author of evil, and He does not tempt men to evil (James 1:13-14). Period.

 

The Lord was in control of the conversation, it is not as if Satan is calling the shots even though he would love to think that he was. The evil one is under the complete authority of God as is everything else in the universe. The enemy of our souls cannot touch us without the permission of the Father. So back to our story.

 

the Sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.”

 

The commentary on this says ‘The angelic host came to God’s throne to render account of their ministry throughout the earth and heaven’ (Ex.1 Kings 22:19) The evil one joined them – ‘Like a Judas with the apostles, Satan was with the holy angels.’ He was maniacally ‘roaming about the earth’ prowling about like a ‘roaring lion, seeking someone to devour’, seeking to do mischief to those that the Lord loves.

 

As he approached the throne, you can imagine him with a swagger as if he is free to do what he pleases. HE IS NOT! He is completely under God’s control, and he may do only what the Lord allows for his purposes.

 

We see this very well in the conversation laid out in Scripture. The Lord asked Satan if he had considered Job? He was not really asking. He was telling. The Lord was in complete control of what Satan could do. The Lord God knew Job’s heart and his devotion. He knew his love for Him and his commitment to righteousness. He allowed this trial to reveal the strength of Job’s faith, and to not only strengthen it further, but to reveal Himself to Job in a deeper way.

 

What is the evil one’s response? He accused Job before God. He diabolically suggested that since the Lord had built a hedge of blessing around Job, that if He removed it Job would rebel. Of course, we know that this is not true in the least. Read carefully the commentary on this.

Satan asserted that true believers are only faithful as long as they prosper. Take away their prosperity, he claims, and they will reject God.”

 

Friends, are we ever like that? Are we guilty of basking in God’s blessings and peace, yet do we ever grow angry or dissatisfied if something goes wrong or we face difficulty? None of us like trials in our humanity, we reasonably recoil from pain. But that is not an excuse to sin. We may be like Job and not understand what is happening. It may be very painful. But as believers we must always cling to the knowledge that our God is faithful and good. And while the path is hard and difficult, we should never malign His character or question His goodness.

 

The Lord God allowed the enemy to sift Job because He knew it would perfect Job, not destroy him. Let our prayer be that He finds the same faith in us. We may not understand at times what our Lord is doing in our lives, but let us not be guilty of weak and shallow faith that only holds fast when life is easy.

 

Job was a strong and godly man. But he did get to a place in his trial where he became confused about what was going on and questioned the Lord. This can happen with any of us, and surely with everything Job went through, we understand that. He did not understand what was going on because it did not fit the narrative of what he thought he knew of God.

 

Do we not do this sometimes in our pain? We may think we have a firm grasp of how the Lord works, and even be tempted to think that temporal blessing or ease indicates favor. But this just is not true. Surely our God is the giver of all good things (James 1:17) But the visible and obviously good earthly things are not the only way He blesses.

 

Sometimes His blessings take the form of trials. Sometimes His blessings are severe mercies. Does anything in your life come to mind? I can immediately recall things that fit into that category in my life or someone close to me.

 

And we would be dishonest if we did not identify with Job here. Understanding that the Lord is doing a good work through our pain and difficulties is not always easy. While God loves Job and is merciful and good to him, the trial he is encountering could well be described as severe mercy.

 

He may allow these trials to reveal to us the reality or strength of our faith. It may be that He is going to use the suffering, so that we can understand and help someone else who is suffering. It may be to wean us off the things of the world that we clutch so tightly with our hands and hold onto. But it can also be because the Lord wants to draw us closer, and reveal Himself in deeper ways, and turn our hearts to Him.

 

We can read through the book of Job and see all the horrible and debilitating things that happened to him. We would have to agree that the man endured unbelievable suffering, and it is no wonder that at some point he began to question his understanding of the Lord. That does not necessarily make it right. His faith began to wobble a bit, but the beauty is that his God was more than able to handle it.

 

When we struggle under the weight of our heartache and pain, we can go to our Lord with our questions as we struggle and hurt. As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13-14). He is patient with His children, and He welcomes us to come to Him.

 

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

 

But we need to understand, that we will not necessarily always find answers to those questions. But what we WILL always find is mercy and grace. We will find a sympathetic Father who will strengthen us, enable us to persevere, and bring good from those trials.

 

Look at what that great pastor and theologian R. C. Sproul had to say about this:  

“God answered Job’s questions not with words but with Himself. What is noteworthy in this drama, is that God never directly answers Job’s questions. He doesn’t say, ‘Job, the reason you have suffered is for this or for that.’ Rather, what God does in the mystery of the iniquity of such profound suffering, is that He answers Job with Himself. This is the wisdom that answers the question of suffering — not the answer to why I have to suffer in a particular way, in a particular time, and in a particular circumstance, but wherein does my hope rest in the midst of suffering.

 

The answer to that comes clearly from the wisdom of the book of Job that agrees with the other premises of the wisdom literature: the fear of the Lord, awe, and reverence before God, is the beginning of wisdom. And when we are befuddled and confused by things that we cannot understand in this world, we look not for specific answers always to specific questions, but we look to know God in His holiness, in His righteousness, in His justice, and in His mercy. Therein is the wisdom that is found in the book of Job.”

 

Remember what Job said at the end of the book. “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You (Job 42:5). Let us look for the Lord in our trials because surely just as with Job, we WILL find Him there.

 

 

Beloved friends. No matter what God’s purpose in our trial, one thing that is for certain, if we will stay the course – we may be clinging to Him with everything we have in us – but if we will stay the course He will reveal Himself to us. It will likely be in a way that we never understood or saw before. And just as with Job, we will glorify Him and honor Him among the heavenly hosts as we trust Him through our heartache and trial.

 

Our Lord loves us, and He is preparing us for eternity, to be with Him and reign with Him forever. In the meantime, He is perfecting and refining us. Let us close and ponder the words in 2 Corinthians chapter 4.

 

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

 

O Cross that liftest up my head,

I dare not ask to fly from thee;

I lay in dust life’s glory dead,

And from the ground there blossoms red

Life that shall endless be.

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

(George Matheson - This song was actually written during the writer’s experience of a severe trial)

 

 

 

 


 

Post: 4/18/2020

Ladies, good morning. We made it to the weekend! smileyPlease take time to listen to this podcast from Michelle Leslie and Amy Spreemen entitled: "Spurring on Each Other: Covid-19 Quarantine Encouragement. Very good, very encouraging. Click the link below to listen.

Spurring on Each Other: Covid-19 Quarantine Encouragement

 

 

 


 

 

Good morning. Ladies, can I share something this morning that I read? I was reading the supplemental Sunday School lesson for this week that was posted to the website, and I came across this.

And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus *said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me." Matthew 28:8-10

 

This is what one writer said of the passage and about these faithful women.

 

“They threw themselves prostrate at his feet, in token of reverence and humility; and they laid hold of His feet, that they might know, and be assured that he was really risen, and that it was not a spirit, or a mere phantom and appearance; and they held him in affection to him, and as desirous of his continuance with them.”

 

These women immediately upon realizing that this was their Lord, fell at His feet and began to worship.

 

Ladies, do we do this? When we consider our risen Lord, Who loves us so much that He gave everything, do we worship Him like this? When we are confronted with a truth as we read His Word – during that daily time we set aside to seek Him, or maybe through a Bible reading or sermon reading – do we fall before Him and worship Him because of Who He is? Let our prayer be that this would be our response to the Lord when He reveals Himself to us. 

He is our Lord – He is the Lord. Let us remember.

 

The life of Christianity consists very much in our love to Christ.”

“Loving the Lord Jesus Christ is what the Christian life is all about. If you are a Christian, you love Christ. Unfortunately, your love is subject to fluctuation in its intensity. It takes a focused commitment on your part to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. – John MacArthur

 

 


 

Ladies, good Friday to you!

As we consider this solemn day when our Lord gave everything for us, let our hearts be thankful. He paid a debt that we know we could never pay. Yet, it was a debt that He did not owe. He was the sinless and perfect One - He WHO knew no sin became sin on our behalf. He went to that despised and shameful cross that was reserved for criminals, to suffer and die so that we may be forgiven.

 

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed. (Is. 53:5)

 

On this day as believers we can rejoice in John 3:16-17 because it holds the greatest of all truths for us.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

 

We rejoice in what this means to us as Christians, and surely we must bow today before our Lord, thanking Him and praising Him for His incredible love and sacrifice. Yet, it is a stark reminder that there are many who do not know Him, and are on the road to hell. His sacrifice means nothing to them because they have not believed in the only One that can save them.

 

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18

 

 

It saddens me when I hear someone say that God is sending someone to hell because that is not true. Our sins separate us from the Father – our sins have already condemned us. A person without Christ is already condemned because of their sins. But they will be further condemned because of their rejection of Him – the refusal to believe in Him – the refusal to repent – the refusal to confess Him as Lord. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 tells us this.

2 Thessalonians 2:10……….for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

 

 

You see dear ones, the terrible reality – the heartbreaking reality – is that hell is the place where unsaved people will go to pay their sin debt. It is an unimaginable place of darkness and suffering. They will spend eternity there because their sin debt and ours is so vast. It is so great that it will take all of eternity and it still will not be paid. (ref. Matthew 18:21-35)

 

Our hearts should be broken over this. Remember what our Lord said when He looked out over Jerusalem and the people’s rejection of Him. How His heart broke for them.

 

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Matt. 23:37

 

As we consider the magnitude of what our dear Lord has done for us at Calvary. The sacrifice – the suffering – the weight of our sin – the wrath from His beloved Father. Let our hearts be full in gratitude and adoration for our King – our Lord. And let us be motivated to run and tell others.

 

No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like Calvary’s tragedy. Light springs from the midday-midnight of Golgotha, and every herb of the field blooms sweetly beneath the shadow of the once accursed tree. In that place of thirst, grace has dug a fountain which ever gushes with waters pure as crystal, each drop capable of alleviating the woes of mankind.”(Spurgeon)

 

Let us worship our beloved Lord for what He has done for us.

On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old Cross, where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

 

O’ that old rugged Cross, so despised by the world
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God, left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged Cross, stained with blood so divine
A wondrous beauty I see
For twas on that old Cross, Jesus suffered and died
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged Cross, I will ever be true
It's shame and reproach gladly bear
Then He'll call me some day, to my home far away
Where His glory forever I'll share.

 

(Chorus) So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

 

 


 

 

Hello friends. Let us remember to pray for one another, and encourage those around us. It is a solemn time in our country – in the church - that we begin the Passion week. There are so many around us and in our nation that are hurting and suffering. It may be through sickness – it may be economically. It is a difficult time for Christians because we cannot meet together in fellowship, hear our pastor proclaim God’s word, and lift our hearts/voices to our Lord in unison to offer our worship and our praise.

 

But sisters, while these may be difficult and stressful times, what better time to celebrate what our Lord has achieved for us as believers than this week that we celebrate His sacrifice and resurrection. To reflect on His enormous and selfless sacrifice, and the blessed hope we have because of what He has done for us. Surely as we reflect on this true hope, the cares of the world begin to fade. 

 

He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8

 

F. B. Meyer stated on this passage:

“From all eternity Christ was positionally equal with His Father, enjoying the glories of heaven. But He did not consider this position something that He had to hold on to at all costs. When a world of lost mankind needed to be redeemed, He was willing to relinquish His positional equality with God—the comforts and joys of heaven. He did not consider them something that He had to grasp forever and under all circumstances.

 

He humbled Himself.  There was no depth to which He would not stoop to save our guilty souls. Blessed be His glorious name forever!

 

Even the death of the cross. Death by crucifixion was the most shameful form of execution. It might be compared to the gallows, the electric chair, or the gas chamber—reserved only for murderers. And that was the form of death reserved for heaven's Best when He came into this world.”

 

One thing is clear. The first century executions were not like the modern ones, for they did not seek a quick, painless death nor the preservation of any measure of dignity for the criminal. On the contrary, they sought an agonizing torture which completely humiliated him. And it is important that we understand this, for it helps us realize the agony of Christ’s death.” MacArthur Comm.(E.P. Dutton)

 

Our Lord’s terrible death on the cross then, was not only physically painful and agonizing, but it was humiliating. Can you image the sovereign Lord – God Himself – stooping down to mankind from all the glories of heaven – and the heartache and shame that men levied against Him? He stooped so incredibly low, so that He might lift us up out of our sin and shame.

 

He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:5

 

Christians in the early church were reported to have regularly begged God’s forgiveness for the incomprehensible sufferings that they caused their Lord to suffer. They knew that they could not fully realize the full extent of the pain that He endured at the hands of wicked men, but they understood that it was their sins that contributed to His being there. Just as it was ours.

 

Oh, how this knowledge should crush our hearts and grieve us as well because we are just as guilty!

 

May we see our sin for what it truly is, and consider it this week. It is the thing that killed our Lord. Just as surely as these early Christians grieved over the part their sin played in placing their Lord on the tree, so too should we.

 

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

 

Yet, for all our guilt – our shame – our sin, He willingly gave His life to pay for our sins even though He Himself was sinless.

 

“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” 

Hebrews 5:7-9

 

Suffering is a very skilled teacher. Jesus had to learn certain things by suffering. Because He was God's Son, He was not exempt from suffering. As Christians, we do not need to be surprised by suffering. Just as our Lord was not exempt, we too may be called upon to suffer because that may be the tool that God uses to perfect, conform us to His image and draw us to Himself.

 

The Lord learned the full meaning of the cost of obedience, all the way to death, from the things which He suffered, and God therefore affirmed Him as a perfect High Priest. That is the kind of High Priest we need, one who knows and understands what we are going through.

 

"Christ did not need to suffer in order to conquer or correct any disobedience. In His deity (as the Son of God), He understood obedience completely. As the incarnate Lord, He humbled Himself to learn. He learned obedience for the same reasons, He bore temptation to confirm His humanity and experience its sufferings to the fullest. He perfectly fulfilled all obedience.

 

In Gethsemane before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed and agonized so intensely that He sweat great drops of blood. His heart was broken at the prospect of bearing sin. He felt the power of sin and temptation, but He did not yield.

He was not crying out against the physical suffering on the cross. He felt the horror in His humanity, and He felt the horror in sinless perfection that He would bear all the sin of the world. When He cried, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will", He was speaking of the cup of divine wrath against the sin He would bear.  He voluntarily surrendered His will to the Father's though, so there was no conflict between the divine will and His desires. 

 

This was the cup He submitted to. The one of divine wrath - divine fury - divine judgment for all the heinous and vile sin of all humanity. He knew very clearly in His omniscience what was to come, yet He yielded to His Father and perfectly fulfilled obedience. Yet, His cry of anguish as he hung on that cross reflected the terrible bitterness of the cup of wrath He was given.

 

We need to be very clear here. Our Lord was fully committed to the path to which He had been born. The path which He chose because of His great love for the Father – for us – that would achieve our redemption and bring the Father glory. He wasn’t trying to avoid that, but the Lord Jesus recoiled from and agonized over the terrible weight of our sin, that He would soon bear.

He made Him WHO knew no sin to be sin on our behalf.  

 

He would bear the wrath and punishment for OUR SIN and every other person. This is the sinless and perfect One, and He agonized over this truth. In that dark hour He would feel all of His beloved Father’s wrath - the divine fury for the sin of mankind - and in that dark moment, His Father would look away.

 

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?"

 

For the first time in all of eternity, there was a separation. It is the only time of which we have record that Jesus did not address God as Father. Because the Lord took on Himself OUR sin, the Father turned away. In some way which we cannot comprehend, the Father for a brief time looked away from His beloved Son.

 

As we begin this week, let us consider these things. Let us humble ourselves before our Lord, praising His holy name for His willingness to endure the shame, the sacrifice and the wrath for our sins.

 

Father, thank You for the glory of Christ that is manifest here. How He controlled every aspect of His life during the Passion Week. And, Lord, we pray that You will show every heart, every mind, every soul here the true Christ, the real Christ, not the Christ of our imagination. He’s not the Jesus some think they want, to make them healthy, wealthy, and prosperous; not the Jesus who many think is here to fulfill all their desires. But may we see the One who has come to confront  sin, confront false religion, confront hypocrisy, and then to die for those sins, to offer forgiveness through grace and eternal life. Reveal Christ to all of our hearts we pray, for your glory. Amen. (adapted from GTY)

 

Below is a link to a song by Krysten and Keith Getty, “In Christ Alone”. Consider listening as you reflect on our Lord, and the great thing He has done. Just click on the title.

 

In Christ Alone

 


 

 

Ladies, this is worth a listen. Michelle Lesley & Amy Spreeman are both solid ladies teachers!

 

Don't Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

It is not God’s will for us to worry. No matter how strangling our fear may feel, God wants us to trust Him in everything, from the most dire situation to the most mundane. But how can we do that? In this episode Michelle and Amy discuss some biblical and practical ways to stop worrying and start trusting God. (Click on link below to listen to the podcast)

 

Podcast: Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

 

 

 


 

 

 

Good day ladies. Hope you are all okay during these challenging days. The sunshine and springtime are a blessing, and are a great reminder of the beauty our Lord gives us through His creation. And it also encourages us as a vivid reminder that He is in complete control of our world, and nothing is spinning beyond His watchful eye. Here are a few thoughts today that our sweet Lord brought across my path.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." Romans 1:16-17

Sisters, we find ourselves in peculiar and uncertain times. In most of our lifetimes, we have not experienced a pandemic such as this, or the climate of national uncertainty. We have gone through wars, the 9-11 terrorist attack and others. But this particular situation is unique, even though those were of great concern. We have to my knowledge, not experienced the long duration in school closings, the sudden economic downturn and just the general foreboding or fear that has come about so quickly, quite like this.

This morning Karl received a call from a customer. It was regarding business, but in the call the person began to talk about fear and anxiety. This customer is still working because they are considered an essential business, so there is the stress of exposure possibly to Covid-19. He is also missing his family because of the separation/distancing, and he is worried about them. He has a grandchild due in July, and he’s fearful over their safe arrival. Certainly, we all are seeing these types of concerns all around us, and even may be experiencing many of these or others ourselves.

The woman he usually talks to retired last month. He barely knows this new person. Yet as they talked, an opportunity came up where they found that they both were believers, so they could talk together about their faith. They committed to one another that they would pray for each other and their families. They were able to encourage each other and exhort one another to continue trusting the Lord.

We have a unique chance right now. It is a hard time – even a severe mercy – but in the middle of the fear, worry, heartache, financial difficulty and sickness, we have an opportunity to seek the Lord maybe as never before. This also is a chance to pass that on to others through encouragement and share the gospel at any time that we see an opening.

BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH

We can choose faith over our fear, and we can choose to be those vessels that the Lord uses to pour out His love and His message to the lost – to the hurting.

We came across this quote from Charles Spurgeon. Let it bless your heart as you consider and look for ways to share the gospel, and the hope that can only be found in Christ our Lord and Savior!

But how much happier will be the man, when he gets to heaven, who has it said of him, “He will shine like the stars forever and ever, because he was wise and turned many to righteousness.” It is always my greatest joy to believe, that if I should enter heaven before many of you, I will see heaven’s gates open, and you will fly by me, looking at me with a smile on your face, and proceed to God’s throne, where you will worship and adore him, before flying back to me, and though I do not know you, you will grab my hand, and if there were tears in heaven, I would surely weep, as you say to me:

“Brother, it was from your lips that I heard the gospel. It was your voice that first warned me about my sin. Here I am and you are the means God used to save me.” And as the gates open again and again, more will come in. Souls redeemed and more souls redeemed. And for each one of these a star, another gem in the crown of glory. Each one another honor and another note in the song of praise. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.” “‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!

 

 


 

 

 

Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Do you ever feel yourself getting anxious? Do you fret and worry? Do you ever just feel overwhelmed by the cares of the world? If so, you are certainly not alone. At times peace can be very elusive, particularly if we are looking around us at a broken chaotic world that seems to be falling apart at the seams.

As women we can be particularly vulnerable to being anxious or worried. We are caretakers – we are homemakers – we are nurturers. When we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic or even some other stress that may threaten the harmony of our home, we can begin to feel the anxiety of the uncertainty.

But for us as Christians, our Lord tells us we do not have to be anxious - afraid. That may sound simplistic, but it is very true that if you are a believer you can go to Him, and find peace no matter the circumstance. (Matthew 6:33)

Look back to Philippians 4:5 and the end of the verse:The Lord is near;”

According to commentary this can mean nearness in space or time. But the context may suggest it is talking about space. Ever heard the saying “You are getting in my ‘space’”. Well this is the thing. The Lord is in our space – He is right beside us. We cannot move a muscle, that He is not right with us. What a comfort to undertand.

You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth. Psalm 119:151

But the LORD is near, and one with God is a majority. "No foe can harm us, no fear alarm us, on the victory side." God's word is true, and He will never forsake His own.

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. Psalm 145:18

The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him. “He does not leave praying men, and men who confess his name, to battle with the world alone, but he is ever at their side.”

Ladies, as women we are created as emotional creatures (Can anyone say hormones?) That is a huge blessing because if we weren’t that way we wouldn’t be those nurturers and those encouragers. But on the other side, the enemy can use this against us. We can be controlled by our emotions rather than our minds. It is with our minds that we understand God’s truths set forth in His word. And it is with our minds that we embrace those truths even when our feelings or emotions tell us otherwise.

One other side note is that in my opinion in talking with other women I know (remember, this is only an opinion) that because of the way we are geared, women tend to have the capacity to have strong deep faith. Faith combined with knowledge can be a wonderful tool, and it can be a formidable weapon when the enemy attacks!

The Lord tells us in each of these verses we have been looking at that He is near. That means He tells us unequivocally that He is with us – right in our sphere or space – and we do not have to be afraid. It is His promise.

We see in Philippians 4:6 something else that is valuable to consider. He tells us to ‘be anxious for nothing’.

‘Fret and worry indicate a lack of trust in God’s wisdom, sovereignty, or power. Delighting in the Lord and meditating on His Word is a great antidote for worry.” (MacArthur)

We have the Bible - God's Word - that contains all of His promises. We also have the blessing of prayer as Christians that God has given us. How we neglect this precious opportunity. Because of our Lord, we can always – any time day or night and at any place – go before the throne of grace and because we are His, receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We need to commit ourselves to spending time in His Word. Also, because of the blessing we find in prayer that we can go to our Lord confidently in knowing He hears us, can we do just that when we are worried? Can we take the time to go to Him with deep gratitude knowing that He cares about our concerns/fears. Indeed, we are told in Phil.4:6 ‘that in everything by prayer and thanksgiving we are to let your requests be made known to God.’

Gratitude to God accompanies all true prayer’. (MacArthur)

 

As we confidently rest in the truth that God is always near, be anxious for nothing, offering up our prayers with thanksgiving,  Guess what the result is: ‘And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’

‘This is an inner calm – tranquility that is promised to the believer who has a thankful attitude based on unwavering confidence that God is able and willing to do what is best for His children.

The word "guard" here is a military term which means ‘to keep watch over’. God’s peace guards a believer from anxiety, doubt, fear, and distress. Because of the believer’s union with Christ, He guards his inner being with His peace.’ (MacArthur)

 

Friend, this is truth. It does not come any more true than this. We don’t have to be anxious or fretful. God’s word promises us that if we will go to Him trusting Him with our concerns with thankful hearts - knowing that we can rest in the confidence that He is in control - that He loves us and will help us, we can experience His peace and joy.

But the choice is ours. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. He has given us His Spirit as well to help us. When our thinking is controlled by His Spirit, He produces in us: love, joy, peace, etc. (Gal.5:22-23) This peace is just like the joy. It is produced by the Spirit in our life, and has nothing at all to do with circumstances.

As we conclude, what say you? Are you going to be anxious, worried or fretful?  Or are you going to believe God and His Word, and choose to take your cares and concerns to the only One that can do anything about them -the King of Kings and Lord of all - Our good Father who sent His Son to die for us.

"Fear arises when we believe everything depends on us." (Elisabeth Elliot)

 

 

Comments

Judy Taylor on 04-06-2020 at 11:44 PM
So very good! That's so great, Carole--"God is our space!" An awesome promise that He is always near. Thanks for illuminating these often read verses with us. Blessings!
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