Encouragement, Suffering, Tragedy

Throwback Thursday ~ Weeping with Those Who Weep

Originally published August 26, 2016



I was driving down the road one day last week, if sitting through three red light cycles per intersection due to horrendous traffic could rightfully be called “driving,” that is. Hot and sweaty, filthy, emotionally drained, and exhausted from cleaning and hauling, I was making my way from my best friend’s flooded house to help out at my ninety-five year old grandmother’s flooded house, guilt-stricken that I couldn’t be in both places at once.

And that’s when I heard it.

I was listening to one of my favorite theological podcasts, and when the host began talking about the flooding in Baton Rouge, my ears perked up. He began talking about God’s sovereignty- that, because God always does what is best for believers – for our discipline, growth in holiness, increased dependence on Christ, and the like – that this flood was good for us. He said it kindly, lovingly, and backed up with Scripture. And he was absolutely right.

Yet, three days after a life-altering catastrophe, with a heart still raw and broken for my loved ones and my community, it was exactly what I did not need to hear.

It’s crucial to bring good theology to bear on every situation we face in life. We need to apply Scripture to the situations we go through in order to help us make biblical sense of things, walk obediently, give thanks, and glorify God.

And yet, the Bible doesn’t say, “Give a theology lecture to those who weep.” It says, “Weep with those who weep.” Why? God is all about the Word, isn’t He? Why wouldn’t He want us to jump right in and exhort hurting people with scriptural principles?

Because He knows us. He created us.

People need a minute to take a breath and absorb everything that has happened to them before their hearts and minds are ready to transition into thinking theologically about the situation.

Sometimes we just need to sit and cry for a while. And maybe we need someone we love to sit and cry with us. No Romans 8:28. No talk about how God is going to use this to grow us. No discussion of whether God “caused” or “allowed” this tragedy. Just some time to grieve without having to think. And God’s word says that’s OK.


Even Job’s companions, poor theologians though they were, got this part right:

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.
Job 2:11-13

But sometimes, even with the best of intentions, maybe without even realizing it, we skip the vital step of making an appointment to sympathize with and comfort our suffering loved ones. We neglect to rend our hearts and sit on the ground and weep with those who mourn. We fail to see that their suffering is very great. And yet this is one of the very ministries Christ calls us to.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

A time to discuss theology, and a time to weep with those who weep.

Mark Bible Study

Mark: Lesson 16

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Mark 11

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesussent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’”And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”And his disciples heard it.

15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. 19 And when evening came they went out of the city.

20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, 28 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” 31 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider

1. Where had Jesus and His followers been traveling to? (1) Why was He going to Jerusalem?  

2. Compare verses 1-10 with 1 Kings 1:32-40. What are the similarities between the two events? What was the significance of Jesus entering Jerusalem (instead of another town), the way Jesus entered Jerusalem, and the people’s response? What did the people mean by, “the coming kingdom of our father David”? If you’re a Jew witnessing Jesus entering Jerusalem knowing your Old Testament history about the Davidic Covenant and how kings of Israel were coronated, what kind of king are you expecting Jesus to be? What are you expecting Him to do?

3. Considering that Mark is the gospel to the Gentiles, why is Mark’s account of the triumphal entry so Jewish-sounding, with allusions to the Davidic Covenant, Jesus riding into Israel’s capital city in the Old Testament tradition, etc.? Why would it have been important for a Gentile Christian of that time, or you as a Gentile Christian today, to understand this Old Testament Jewish history and background regarding Jesus’ kingship?

4. Examine verses 12-14. What is the main reason God created fig trees as evidenced by why Jesus approached the tree? (12-13a) Figs normally grow at the same time as the leaves, so seeing a leafy fig tree (13), was it a reasonable expectation that figs should also have been present even though the tree was in leaf early? Since figs were not present, was the tree fulfilling its purpose (of feeding people) for which God created it? Think about this fruitless tree in light of John 15:1-8. What is God’s purpose for Christians? How is our fruit evidence that we belong to Christ? Is a “fruitless tree” really a Christian? What will ultimately happen to someone who puts on the “leaves” of knowing Christ but does not bear the “fruit” of knowing Christ?

5. Consider verses 15-19 in light of Jesus’ object lesson with the fig tree. Who are the “fruitless trees” in this scenario? We have been learning a lot about Jesus’ authority in this study. What authority (27-28) does Jesus have to “clean house” in the temple? Why did Jesus refuse to answer the Jewish leaders’ questions about His authority? (27-33) As God, did Jesus have to answer to these leaders? Compare the leaders’ reaction to Jesus’ actions (18, 27-33) to the people’s reaction (18).

6. Gentile perspective on 15-19: The events of verses 15-19 took place in the temple’s court of the Gentiles, the only place in the temple where Gentiles who believed in the one true God were allowed to worship. How would the marketplace atmosphere have been a hindrance to their worship? How did Jesus’ actions make it easier for Gentiles to worship? Read Isaiah 56:6-8, from which Jesus quotes in verse 17. How does this passage shed light on one of the reasons for Jesus’ actions in the temple?

7. Jewish perspective on 15-19: Read these verses in light of Jeremiah 7:8-15 from which (11) Jesus quotes in verse 17. Shouldn’t the temple leaders have known better than to allow God’s house to be treated in such a way? Knowing the things God said through Jeremiah and observing Jesus’ actions and words in the temple, what message are the temple leaders and the people receiving from Jesus? Does “Who do You think You are?” (28) seem like a reasonable question for the leaders to ask?

8. Go back to your responses to question 4 and compare the “fruitless Christian” to the fruitful Christian Jesus reassures Peter about in 21-25. What is step one in being a fruitful Christian? (22, Hebrews 11:6) What does this passage say about belief (23), prayer (24), and forgiveness (25) being fruits of a believer?

9. We’ve seen several passages so far in Mark where Jesus uses metaphors and hyperbole. Is verse 23 another example of Jesus using a figure of speech, or does He literally mean that someone can walk up to a mountain, command it to uproot itself and jump into the sea, and that will happen if the person truly believes it will? The Word of Faith (prosperity gospel) heresy teaches that our words create reality – that we can make things so simply by declaring them to be. Why do you suppose none of them has ever proven this to be true by publicly commanding a mountain to cast itself into the sea? Review Lesson 13, question 5 (link above) regarding what it means to pray “in Jesus’ name.” Review Matthew 6:9-10 of the Lord’s Prayer. How do these concepts fit with verses 23-24?


Who is the only Being who has the authority to make the rules for God’s house and how He is to be worshiped (whether in the Old Testament or New)? When you go to worship service, Sunday School, Bible study, or other church activities this week, observe the goings on carefully in light of what Mark 11:15-17 teaches about reverence for God and His house and Jesus’ authority to rule over His house. What do you observe at your church that is in keeping with these teachings? Does anything your church does seem to conflict with these teachings? If someone brings up something unbiblical that’s happening at your church, will the leaders and the people respond more like Jesus (15-17) or more like the chief priests and scribes (18)?

Suggested Memory Verse

And He was teaching them and saying to them. “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers. Mark 11:17

Ministry, Tragedy

How Can Christians Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey?

I originally published this article on August 21, 2016, just a few days after the historic flood in my own area last year. I am re-running part of it now (along with some current tips about disaster relief) because the situation in the Houston/Galveston/Corpus Christi area in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is going to be nearly identical when it comes to flood relief efforts. If you have midweek services at your church this week, it might be a good time to get with your pastor and fellow church members to talk about how your church can help.

And just to drive home the point of how much help is going to be desperately needed in Texas, the one year anniversary of the Baton Rouge area flood was about a week ago, and we still have many people who are not yet back in their homes and need help rebuilding.

Originally published August 21, 2016

high-water-123201_1280Imagine 90% of the homes and businesses in your town destroyed by a flood. Thousands of your friends and neighbors rescued from rapidly rising deadly currents by boat, sometimes, literally, with only the clothes on their backs. Some separated from spouses or young children for days because they had to get into different boats and ended up at different shelters. No homes to go back to. No jobs to go back to because businesses flood just like homes do. No cars to drive because cars flood, too. No clothes, no food, and often, no money to rebuild and replace everything they owned.

Now try to imagine, in the aftermath, having to choose whether to scramble to clean out your own flood ravaged house before it molds and mildews or helping a loved one who desperately needs you. Or, if your home didn’t flood, feeling torn between helping your family, your best friend, your church, and other relief ministries.

This is the situation my community, and communities across south Louisiana, are facing right now. Those of us whose homes and businesses God spared are doing what we can to help friends, loved ones, and strangers, but we are spread dreadfully thin. Shelters and relief ministries are in desperate need of food, supplies, and volunteers.

In Louisiana, we take great pride in taking care of our own, and our locals are doing an astounding job of it. But the situation is so overwhelming that this time we need help.

We need your help. We need your church’s help.

How? Could you spare a few days or more to come down and volunteer with a flood relief ministry? Could your church send a team? Would you like to make a donation, or could your church collect a love offering, to help the many people whose lives have been turned upside down by the flood?

The areas of Texas hit by Hurricane Harvey are going to need tons of help, too. I am certainly no expert in disaster relief, but, having helped out in my own area last year, here are some observations and suggestions:

First, if you go to a doctrinally sound church near a hurricane damaged area that will be helping with flood relief efforts, please contact me so I can help get the word out. (This needs to be a church you have personal, solid knowledge about regarding both their theology and organized flood relief efforts.)

For those in other areas of the country who would like to help:

If you have a contact at a church near a hurricane damaged area, get with that person and find out how their church is helping or needs help.

If you don’t have a contact in the area, get with your local Southern Baptist association (you can do this even if you’re not Southern Baptist) and find out if they’re organizing help, offering disaster relief training, or collecting donations. If you don’t have a local association, contact Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and find out if they could use a team from your church or if you could make a donation.

There are two reasons I strongly recommend donating to, or volunteering with, SBDR or a local doctrinally sound church rather than a secular or governmental agency: first, SBDR or a trustworthy church will not merely help people with physical needs, they will also share the gospel with the people they’re helping, and that could make this hurricane the best thing that’s ever happened to somebody. Second, as my area witnessed with local churches, the “Cajun Navy,” and other neighbor helping neighbor relief efforts, it seems like the more grassroots the organization, the better and less expensive the help. I even heard a government official say something similar to that on the news yesterday.

Three things I would not recommend:

1. Do not just get a bunch of people together and drive to Texas with no contact person to organize your group, especially right now when the resource grid is down. That is not “stepping out on faith,” that is acting in foolishness, and possibly doing more harm than good. You need to have a confirmed place to stay, access to food, working plumbing and utilities, and somebody to put you to work where work is needed.

2. I would personally not recommend donating to Red Cross based on what I have heard from local flood victims. They have a very high overhead, and I have heard nothing but complaints about how they deal with people personally and the red tape that’s involved with getting help. Again, if you’re going to donate, I strongly recommend either donating to SBDR or directly to a church in the area that’s helping people and sharing the gospel with them.

3. This one comes from a local pastor friend who is still coordinating flood relief efforts in my area: Do not randomly send used clothing to the area.

(In fact if you want good, godly, expert, practical advice on flood relief, just go over to Todd’s Facebook page and start scrolling. He’s got lots of great resources and information over there.)

If your church can put together a team to travel to Texas to help and you can wait a few months to go, you may want to consider that. What’s going to happen is that a lot of people are going to volunteer right now while Harvey is fresh on everybody’s mind, and then people are going to forget about it and go about life as usual. But the hurricane victims will still need help months down the road from now. Start thinking about Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, 2018 winter/Easter/spring break when students and other people in your church might be off school and work. That will also give you time to start collecting monetary (and material, if needed) donations to take with you.

Don’t forget about the little guys. Something I observed with both last year’s flooding and Hurricane Katrina was that media attention was focused almost exclusively on the major cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Smaller towns and rural areas were virtually ignored (even though, during last year’s flood, it was a few smaller towns on the outskirts of Baton Rouge that received the majority of the damage) in the coverage. With the media’s current focus on Houston, it looks like the same thing is happening with Harvey. When you’re thinking about flood relief, don’t forget about the small towns and rural areas that may have received even more damage than the major cities and have fewer resources.

Pray. Tangible help is desperately needed, but spiritual help is even more important. And God is the One who coordinates that disaster relief. Pray for specific people you know. Pray for the spread of the gospel. Pray that Christians affected by the hurricane will grow in their dependence on Christ. Pray that God will provide for the needs of the people. Pray that God will give Christian disaster relief workers the right words and opportunities to share the gospel with people.

Let’s all be in prayer for those affected by this devastating hurricane.



The Mailbag: What’s your take on White-Howse/Charlottesville/Trump?


What’s your take on the James White/Brannon Howse IFD controversy? The Charlottesville tragedy and other issues of racism? Anything and everything Donald Trump says and does?

There are a lot of divisive situations going on in the world these days. It’s no longer simply, “Did you hear the news?” but, “Which side of the news are you on?” And it seems like, more and more, the evangelical public requires – demands even- that every Christian who has any sort of an audience must declare to the world whose side we’re on or what our position on the issue is. I mean, come on; if people are asking some nobody like me where I stand on various news stories, you know things have gotten out of hand. It’s not that I mind people asking my opinion, it’s just that I’m baffled as to why anyone would care what I think.

But for those of you who really want to know what I think on these issues, here ya go:

1. It doesn’t matter what I think, it matters what God’s Word says.

I’ve said this, like, at least a thousand times on this blog in relation to homosexuality, female preachers, church attendance, and any number of other biblical concepts, and it applies to current events as well. I could give you my opinion, but if it differs from what Scripture says, you’d better not listen to it. And if it’s in line with what Scripture says, well, the Bible says it far better than I ever could, so my opinion is superfluous.

2. It doesn’t matter what I think, it matters what YOU think.

When it comes to what or how to think about a certain situation, the primary source that should shape your thoughts is God’s Word. Not me, not Christian celebrities, not your family and friends: the Bible. You need to be able to think biblically for yourself, not just blindly believe the thoughts and opinions of someone you look up to. When you stand before God one day, I don’t know what all He might ask you, but I feel pretty safe in guessing that He’s not going to ask you what Michelle Lesley thought about a dewdrop on a blade of grass. If you want to know what to think about something, get your Bible out and study what it has to say on the subject.

3. It doesn’t matter what I think because voicing my opinion isn’t going to help or change the situation.

Take the White-Howse controversy for example (and if you don’t know what that is, Google it – I don’t have the energy to get into that whole can of worms). I don’t know, have access to, or closely follow either James White or Brannon Howse, so not only do I not have a dog in this hunt, but no public declaration from me is going to patch things up between them, bring about repentance wherever it might be needed, or solve the problems involved. I do, however, have friends on both sides of the issue. So the only thing a public opinion from me would do would be to alienate people on one side or the other, and, personally, I don’t think this particular controversy is worth that.

4. It’s an unnecessary distraction from the focus of my ministry.

Maybe the focus of your ministry is on racial issues within Christianity. Or rightly applying Scripture to politics. Or the proper way to evangelize Muslims. If so, it would only make sense that you’d speak out about the issues enumerated in today’s Mailbag question. The focus of my ministry is women’s discipleship: teaching Christian women how to rightly handle and apply God’s Word to your life so you can grow in Christ and better serve Him, your family, your church, and others. I’m willing to get controversial when I have to and when it furthers that ministry focus (such as my discernment articles). But to get off into the weeds of, say, the border wall, health care, and taxes (and all the questions, comments, and controversies that go with those issues), would be a distraction from what I’m trying to accomplish here.

5. Not every hill is a hill to die on.

There are a lot of hills I’m willing to die on, and virtually all of them have a chapter and verse reference. I do not like to see Scripture mishandled and false doctrine preached because people’s eternities are at stake, the health of the church is at stake, and Christian women’s sanctification is at stake. I am willing to fight those fights to the death and take the flak the Enemy and his servants hurl at me. But if I fight every fight that comes along, I’m not going to have the time or the strength to fight the battles that God has uniquely gifted and equipped me to fight. Other Christians, have a much better grasp of, and experience with, for example, the racial issues plaguing our country today. I would prefer to remain silent and learn from them. Sometimes the best contribution I can make to a discourse is to keep my mouth shut and listen.

6. It’s just annoying noise.

It makes me crazy when something happens in the news and that’s all anybody can talk about – in person or on social media. (It’s not wrong for people to talk abut these things, mind you, it just gets on my nerves hearing the same remarks and conversations over and over again.) When a scrillion people have already given their opinion on a particular issue – especially when a lot of them are saying the same thing I’d say – what is the everlovin’ point of adding my voice to the cacophony? All that does is put one more annoying opinion in your social media feed when you’d rather be seeing pictures of your friend’s new baby, reading someone’s quote of a Bible verse, or drooling over the latest recipe video.

Sometimes I comment on current events. Sometimes I don’t. When I don’t it’s usually for one of these six reasons, or because I don’t have time, or I’m not interested in the subject, or I’m not knowledgeable enough about the subject to make an intelligent comment, or because I’m not in the mood.

Or maybe I just found a really good recipe video to drool over instead :0)

If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.


Watch Your Language! 10 Christian Terms that Need to be Cleaned Up

What would you think of a surgeon who forgot to take his scalpel to work one day and decided his pocketknife would be an adequate substitute? Or a chef who ran out of vanilla and figured peppermint extract would work just fine in its place? At the very least, you’d probably think he was being a little sloppy and careless – not putting enough thought into his work. At worst, he could injure, sicken, or kill somebody.

When it comes to our Christian vernacular, we need to make sure we’re using the right word for the right task. “Well, she knows what I meant,” doesn’t cut it these days, as anyone on social media can attest. Sometimes, even as perfectly doctrinally sound Christians, we get a little sloppy with our phraseology, which can, at best, confuse people, and, at worst, defame God. We need to proactively think about the meanings of the words we use and be careful to say what we mean and mean what we say.

Let’s watch our language on these ten terms and phrases and determine to use more precise, God-exalting vocabulary instead:

1. Let or allow God to…
When the doctrinally sound Christians I know say they need to “let” or “allow” God to do something in their lives, they don’t mean: “I’m in charge here, and I call the shots. God can only do what I, as the boss, deign to permit Him to do.” What they mean is, “I need to stop doing things that are displeasing to God and obey His Word because He wants to grow me to greater Christlikeness.” Unfortunately, one of the tenets of Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation false doctrine is that Christians are the ones in authority and that God can only do what we allow Him to do. That’s blasphemy, and not something we even want to hint at with careless wording. We need to make sure our words communicate that God is in charge and we are His humble servants.

More God-exalting: “I need to submit to God’s will.” “I need to make sure I’m not standing in opposition to God’s work in my life.”

2. Accept Jesus or make Jesus Savior/Lord of your life
Again, “accept” and “make” put us in the driver’s seat and leave Jesus a puppet who moves at our whim. Jesus is King. We do not accept Him, He graciously accepts us. We do not “make” Him Savior or Lord. He already is Savior and Lord. We throw ourselves upon His mercy to save us and bow the knee to His Lordship.

More God-exalting:Ask God to save you.” “Believe the gospel.”

3. God said or told me; listen to God
Possibly the most prolific false teaching today is that God regularly speaks to individuals verbally, through dreams and visions, or through signs, outside of Scripture, about the mundane issues of life, despite the fact that God Himself tells us He doesn’t speak this way and that His written Word is sufficient for our every need. God speaks to us, and we hear Him, through His written Word, the Bible. When we talk about God speaking to us, we need to make sure we’re driving that idea home, not subtly reinforcing the false idea that God is speaking to us outside of Scripture.

More God-exalting: God tells us in Colossians 3:12…” “The Bible says in Proverbs 13:24…”

4. God showed up
No, He didn’t. God has never – in the history of all eternity, nor in eternity yet to come – “shown up.” When we say somebody “showed up,” the common understanding is that someone arrived on the scene who was not previously present. That has never been, and can never be, true of an eternal, omnipresent God. God has always been present everywhere. Sometimes what’s actually happening when people say “God showed up” at church is that they had an emotional response to the music, or experienced a temporary worldy sorrow over their sin. But when God really does seem to “show up,” what’s usually the case is that we “showed up” by prayerfully preparing our hearts for worship, by responding in repentance to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, by taking joy in praising and thanking God, or that God answered prayer or allowed us to see His hand at work in a situation.

More God-exalting: “It was a wonderful time of worship this morning!” “Thank you, God, for letting us see how You’re working!”

5. Tithes and offerings, or offerings over and above the tithe
Tithing, like making animal sacrifices or celebrating Israel’s various feasts and festivals, is an Old Testament law which Jesus fulfilled and is no longer binding on Christians. God’s instruction to Christians about giving is found in 2 Corinthians 9:7. When we try to impose Old Testament law upon New Testament Christians, we are violating God’s clear command that Christians are not to give under compulsion. On the other side of the coin (pun intended) merely plunking ten per cent of your earnings into the offering plate voluntarily and thinking you’re good to go with God isn’t right either. We are to follow Christ’s example of generosity and self-sacrifice as we minister to the church and others, giving up, if necessary, even our very lives.

More God-exalting: Offerings, gifts, generous giving, sacrificial giving

6. I have a peace about this
Often, this phrase reveals more than simple sloppy wording, it demonstrates that someone is relying more on her feelings, opinions, and experiences than on God’s Word to determine right from wrong. If there’s a Bible verse that tells us that a feeling of “peace” is what unequivocally confirms that we’re obeying God, I haven’t run across it. I’ve heard women say they have “a peace” about leaving their husbands for sinful reasons, or that they have “a peace” about opting out of church when God clearly commands the opposite. The fact of the matter is that our feelings are deceptive. We can have peaceful feelings about things that are ungodly, and anxious feelings even when carrying out the clear commands of Scripture. Scripture is our measuring stick for right and wrong, godly and ungodly, not our feelings.

More God-exalting: “I’m going to obey God’s Word and trust Him.”

7. What do you feel God would have you do?
Christians are not supposed to live our lives guided by our feelings. We are to live lives governed by the authority of God’s written Word. And it’s important that our vocabulary reflect that by being precise when we’re talking about making decisions. Our feelings are fleeting, fickle, and often false. What’s important – and what we’re to base all of our thoughts, words, and actions upon – is, “What does Scripture say about this?”

More God-exalting: What does the Bible say you should do?” “Let’s pray and ask God for wisdom to rightly apply Scripture to this situation.”

8. What is God’s will for my life?
Frequently, when Christians ask this question, it’s in the context of making a life-altering decision about which college to attend or career to choose, whom to marry, and if, when, and how many children to have. But that’s not what “God’s will” means as outlined by Scripture. God’s will is for Christians to get up every day and walk in obedience to His Word. That’s it. That’s God’s will for your life. When it comes to making decisions, we rightly apply Scripture to the situation, pray that God will give us wisdom and direction, and make the most godly decision we can, trusting that the God who’s completely aware that we’re frail and by no means omniscient, will direct our paths.

More God-exalting: “How can I walk in obedience to God today?” “God, please give me wisdom and direct my path in this situation.”

9. God can’t ____ unless we ____.
I beg your pardon, but God can do whatever He wants to do (that’s in keeping with His nature and character), and He’s not sitting around wringing His hands, hoping we’ll do the right thing so He can act. That’s a theology that makes man omnipotent and God impotent. Psalm 135:5-6 says it best: “For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the deeps.”

More God-exalting:The Bible says in 1 John 1:9, if we ____, God will ___.”

10. The Mormon church, the Roman Catholic church, a New Apostolic Reformation church, etc.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of calling these religious organizations “churches” because that’s what they call themselves. But any gathering that doesn’t preach the biblical gospel is not a church, regardless of what the sign out front says. Human beings do not get to define what the church is. Only God gets to do that. And He has defined the church as Christ’s body, whom He died for and saved, of whom He is Head, and who submits to Him. Organizations which stand in opposition to clear Scripture or preach another gospel are not churches (Galatians 1:6-9 says they are “accursed” or “damned”), and verbal opposition to this misnomer would go a long way in helping to clarify that Mormons are not Christians, that Roman Catholic soteriology is not biblical, that Lakewood teaches false doctrine, and so on.

More God-exalting: Mormons, Catholicism, apostate church, organization, religion

What are some other “Christianese” words and phrases that need some cleaning up, and what are some other more precise and God-exalting terms we could use instead?