Holidays (Other)

Help me celebrate another year of the Lord’s blessings!

1969: Man landed on the moon…Woodstock…Sesame Street debuted on TV…John MacArthur began his pastorate at Grace Community Church…and I was born.

Today – just like all those other events of 1969 – I’m turning 54! And I’d like to ask you to help me celebrate by considering partnering financially with me in ministry.

I love serving the women of the body of Christ through this blog. From writing about current issues in the church that you have questions about, to researching false teachers, to helping you find a new church, to the 20 Bible studies I’ve written, and so much more, there is no way I’d rather spend my “leftover” time and energy after serving my family and my church.

I don’t draw a salary from this ministry, charge membership fees, or sell merchandise. All of my materials on the blog are available to you and your church at no charge, and I like that just fine and dandy. That being said, my family lives frugally, primarily on my husband’s modest income, and we incur financial needs from time to time.

If you, your family, or your church have been blessed by my work and you’d like to be a blessing to me and my family in return on an ongoing, occasional, or one time basis, please click on the PayPal, Patreon, or Cash App link below.

Anything from “Go buy a gallon of milk” to “Go buy a house” will be much appreciated and well stewarded by my husband and me. We ask only that you meet your own family’s and church’s needs first before considering making a gift to us.

I would be most grateful for any amount you’d like to contribute, but in celebration of my fifty-fourth birthday, how about some fun amounts like…

  • $54 (for my age)
  • $27 or $427.69 (for my birthday, April 27)
  • $19.69 or $1,969 (for the year I was born)
  • $25 or $33 or $71 (or whatever age you think I look – I promise I won’t be offended! :0)

Here’s how to donate…

Click here.

Click “send”.
Enter my e-mail address:

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(If you select “Goods and Services,” PayPal will deduct a fee, and I will not receive your whole gift.)

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(Normally, I send a thank you note to donors, but Cash App does not provide any contact information and only lets me respond to donors with an emoji. Please know that I am deeply thankful for your kindness and generosity and promise to steward your gift well.)

If you would like to donate but you’re uncomfortable giving electronically and would prefer to send a check, my suggestion would be to ask a friend or loved one who is comfortable with electronic transactions to make your donation for you via one of the apps above, and then reimburse that person with cash or a check. I’m sorry that’s kind of a hassle, but I’m sure you understand that in the world we live in, I can’t give out my mailing address to strangers on the internet.

Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity!

Discernment Bible Study

Choose What Is Right: A Study in Discernment- Lesson 4

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3,

False Teachers, God’s View, Our Response

Read Jude, 2 Peter 2

Questions to Consider

Throughout this study we will be looking at various passages of Scripture rather than working our way through a book of the Bible verse by verse. Because of that, we will need to be extra vigilant to rightly handle these passages in context. I will always attempt to provide the context you need for understanding these passages correctly, but if you need more clarity please feel free to read as much of the surrounding text as you need to – even the whole book, if necessary – in order to properly understand the passage presented.

1. Do you notice the similarities between 2 Peter 2 and Jude? Click here and read the second paragraph under “Author and Date”. What might be the reason for some of the similarities?

Make a two column chart. Examine Jude and 2 Peter 2 side by side, verse by verse. (You may want to do this with two Bibles, two devices, or a split screen on your Bible app or device.) List the verses or phrases that are strikingly similar in wording and concept. What does each mean? Why might God have emphasized a particular verse or phrase by placing it in Scripture twice?

2. To what general group of people are Jude’s (v.1) and Peter’s (1:1) letters addressed? What is Jude’s (3) appeal to the church? Why is he urging them to contend for the faith (Jude 4, 2 Peter 2:1-3)? What are some of the things that happen to a church when false teachers gain a foothold?

Do these epistles apply to you as a Christian, and to the church, today? Why? Have you (or your church) ever been urged by a pastor or teacher to contend for the faith? Why do you think that admonition is so lacking in the church and from Christian teachers today?

2. How does Jude (4a) describe false teachers entering the church? How does Peter (1) say false teachers will bring in destructive heresies? Compare this characterization to the way these passages say false teachers infiltrate the church and the home. What does this characteristic of sneakiness tell you about false teachers? Why aren’t they just open and honest with Christians and the church about what they want to teach?

3. What do Jude (4, 13) and Peter (3, 17) say is the final destiny of false teachers?

Examine 2 Peter 2:4-10. Who are the godly people mentioned in this passage and how did God deal with them? Who are the ungodly who are listed, and how did God deal with each of them? Do these ungodly people include false teachers (10, Jude 8)?

What does this tell you about how God views false teachers? How He views and protects His faithful children?

4. What are Jude (8-9) and Peter (10b-11) telling us about angels, blasphemy and the glorious ones? How does this reflect the pride and arrogance of false teachers?

What are Jude (10) and Peter (12) telling us about the ignorance of false teachers? Think about how the indwelling Holy Spirit illumines Scripture to the Christian. What might be one reason false teachers do not understand Scripture or how to properly handle it?

What is the significance of Jude’s (11) comparison of false teachers to Cain? Of Jude’s (11) and Peter’s (15-16) comparison to Balaam?

Consider the imagery in Jude’s (12-13) and Peter’s (17) comparative metaphors to false teachers. What are the characteristics of each metaphor mentioned, and how do they apply to false teachers?

5. In your own words, write a brief summary of the character of false teachers according to Peter and Jude. Do you know of any pastors or teachers who could be described this way? Who, and why?

6. What does Jude (17-23) say about how we should respond to the types of teachers he and Peter are describing?


If you’d like a little extra study on these passages, check out:

Wednesday’s Word ~ Jude

Living Stones: A Study of 1 & 2 Peter ~ Lesson 11

Suggested Memory Verse

Mailbag, Marriage

The Mailbag: What is submission?

How is biblical submission defined, with specifics?

It’s a great question that a lot of women wonder about. “Just give me a list of all of the things I need to do to be ‘doing submission,’ and I’ll do them!” Unfortunately, that’s not how this, and so many other biblical concepts, works.

“Just give me a list of all of the things I need to do to be ‘doing submission,’ and I’ll do them!” Unfortunately, that’s not how this, and so many other biblical concepts, works.

Asking “How is biblical submission defined, ‘with specifics’?” is kind of like asking someone to define “modesty” or “parenting” with specifics. A lot of those “specifics” are situation dependent and vary from family to family or person to person.

For example, you can’t make a law for Christians that a woman’s skirt must be a certain length, because the length of women’s legs vary, and the same length requirement will be modest on one woman and immodest on another. It’s the same idea with submission. It’s going to vary from marriage to marriage.

In a godly marriage1, a husband and wife come together and discuss how they’re going to handle various issues, chores, responsibilities, etc. If there’s agreement, great! But that’s not really submission because both spouses are getting what they want.

If there’s agreement, great! But that’s not really submission because both spouses are getting what they want.

When there’s an area of disagreement, both spouses offer their input. If, after discussing it, the husband comes to the conclusion that he was wrong or that it would work just as well to do things the wife’s way, then he leads the family to do things the way she has suggested.

But if, after hearing his wife out, he concludes that his way is the wisest way to do things, that’s where submission comes in. The husband is responsible before God for how he’s leading in this situation. The wife is responsible before God for maintaining a posture of heart that says, “I may think he’s wrong, but I’m going to trust God in this situation, and obey Him by putting my will aside and graciously doing things my husband’s way.” That is biblical submission whatever the specific circumstances may be.

I may think he’s wrong, but I’m going to trust *God* in this situation, and obey *Him* by putting my will aside and graciously doing things my husband’s way.

Obviously, that’s an ideal situation between a godly husband and a godly wife, but the same applies to a godly wife with an unsaved or not so godly husband. First Peter 3:1-6 and 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 are crystal clear that a wife’s godly submission can be instrumental in his salvation or sanctification.

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

2 Peter 3:1-2, 1 Corinthians 7:16

“But what if his way turns out to be the wrong way?” Sometimes you’re going to submit to your husband and he’s going to end up being wrong. He’s going to have to answer to God for that. You’re going to have to answer to God for whether or not you obeyed Him and submitted to your husband.

We don’t obey God only when we think that doing so will yield the results we want. We obey God’s commands every time, we leave the results up to Him, and we trust Him to carry us through and provide for us regardless of what happens. That’s called faith.

We don’t obey God *only* when we think that doing so will yield the results we want.

1If your knee jerk reaction to the word “submission” is to immediately reject this biblical command outright because there are men who abuse their wives (whether or not your husband is one of them), your attitude is not in line with Scripture. Abuse is a separate situation with a separate, biblical way of handling it that has nothing to do with biblical submission. Please note that this article is to be understood in the context of a godly (by definition, not abusive) marriage.

Additional Resources:

Why is submission so scary? at A Word Fitly Spoken

Toxic (Evangelical) Femininity

Imperishable Beauty Bible Study, Lesson 11- A Beautiful Wife

Godly Womanhood – Submission part 1  part 2

CBMW (type “submission” into the search bar)

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.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Women Thinking Wisely Conference

It was such a pleasure to share with the wonderful women of Greenwich, Ohio, and the surrounding area at The Ripley Church’s Women Thinking Wisely conference. TRC’s conference planning committee worked long and hard to make it a wonderful event that was enjoyed by all.

I landed in Cincinnati Friday afternoon and was whisked away to a charming little cabin by planning committee member, Jennie and her husband Bob.

The Sleepy Owl’s Nest cabin is in Shiloh, Ohio, right in the middle of Amish and Mennonite country. I’m afraid this was the best picture of a horse and buggy I was able to capture in my brief time there!

The other members of the planning committee soon arrived at the cabin, and we had a wonderful time of fellowship around a phenomenal lasagna – one of my favorites!

At the bottom right is a picture of me with Kerri Sheldon of 4 Truth Ministry. Kerri was kind enough to write a guest post for me a few years back, and I highly recommend her book Resolute: An Unwavering Stance on the Truth of God’s Word, which she co-authored with her father, David, and on which her guest post was based. She also put together the awesome hostess bag I was honored with (bottom left) containing local favorites, Amish Country popcorn and Ohio buckeyes, and she hand painted the Ohio Christmas ornament herself! What a talented lady!

I am always amazed at the Providential ways God works through the conferences I speak at. Aside from the teaching and fellowship, sisters from the various churches represented make ministry connections and form friendships, sometimes their churches end up joining together in ministry, and sometimes attendees find the doctrinally sound church home they’ve been searching for.

I was delighted to learn that this was the case for Kerri and her family. They had been looking for a solid church in their area to join, but were unaware of The Ripley Church until Kerri saw on my blog that I would be speaking at a conference there. They started attending, and by the time I got there, Kerri and her mom, Lynn (on the far left in the top left photo) were able to greet me, not only as members of TRC, but also as members of the conference planning committee. What a nifty thing God did!

Saturday morning, it was conference time!

I have a special fondness for little white country churches, and The Ripley Church did not disappoint. Founded in 1851, part of the sanctuary is still the original building.

First up- check in and an energizing breakfast and fellowship time:

Lots of informative and themed materials greeted attendees as we moved into the sanctuary for teaching time:

I love the thought and care that went into these helpful conference info packets. I would never be able to think of all of this. When you’re planning a conference, be sure to harness the brains of those detail-oriented sisters!

Folders included info on 4 Truth Ministry, a Bible study app, a card with a quote from Spurgeon from my session on discernment, a program, a conference evaluation card, a TRC brochure, and an index card for writing down questions for the Q&A session.

Pastor Eric Robinson was so kind to welcome the ladies and open in prayer.

We kicked things off with Discernment 101: Learn to Discern. We talked about what discernment is, and how to use it – identifying false teachers and false doctrine – to the glory of God.

After a brief break, we moved on to session 2, Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Emotions. Scripture is our authority as Christians, and we shouldn’t let our feelings lead us around by the nose.

When session 2 was over, it was time for lunch: salad, a choice of hearty, delicious soups, and cake.

Between sessions, I had the luxury of a few moments of quiet relaxation time in Pastor Eric’s office. You can tell a lot about a pastor from his bookshelves, and I could tell – this is my kind of pastor! 😍👏👏👏😍

With full tummies and fuller spirits we returned to teaching with Managing Media – being wise and discerning with news, social media, movies and TV, and other media we consume.

At the end of the day, we closed things out with a stimulating Q&A session. These ladies asked some challenging questions!

It’s always great to see mothers and daughters attending together!

Another oh-so-thoughtful touch to this conference: the planning committee had all of the ladies sign these lovely cards to me. I cherish their kind and encouraging comments.

Once the conference was over, it was time for an early supper (so I could catch an early bedtime for my super early flight home the next day!). One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to sample the local fare.

East of Chicago Pizza got its start right down the road from Greenwich in Willard, Ohio, and is, as you might expect, billed as “the best pizza east of Chicago”. Now, I’ve had authentic Chicago pizza, so I feel safe in saying that if EoC pizza isn’t the best, it’s awfully close. Also delectable were Ballreich’s potato chips, made in nearby Tiffin, Ohio. Lemme tell ya- Ruffles ain’t got nothin’ on these babies.

All too soon, it was time to say goodbye. My deepest thanks to Bonnie, who spearheaded the conference, and who, with her husband, Don, picked me up at an unspeakable hour of the morning to drive me to the airport for my flight home. Thanks also to Jennie and Bob, Janna, the conference planning committee, and all the men and women of The Ripley Church who worked so hard to host a fantastic conference, took care of all my needs, and made me feel so welcome. If you’re ever in the area and need a good church to visit, make plans to spend the Lord’s Day with these wonderful brothers and sisters.

If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information, or to find an upcoming event near you!

Photo Credits

Many thanks to Kerri, Bonnie, and other conference attendees who took most of the photos above. You may assume that if I’m in the picture or if it’s a good quality photo that I didn’t take it. The remaining photos were shot by me.


Throwback Thursday ~ Discernment: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Originally published January 22, 2016

You read that right. Throwback Thursday is on Wednesday this week.
Life doesn’t always follow our schedules. :0)

…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…
Ephesians 4:14-15

Christians who know what discernment is have a variety of perspectives about how it should be practiced. Should we teach about false doctrine at all or just make sure our church is teaching sound doctrine? Should we name the names of false teachers or speak about them anonymously? Should we warn people away from false teachers or just pray for those false teachers privately? What’s the biblical precedent for using a stringent tone when speaking of those who teach false doctrine?

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the phrase “speaking the truth in love” from Ephesians 4:15 as it pertains to speaking and writing about false doctrine and false teachers.

Many Christian women have the mistaken idea that “speaking the truth in love” equals being “nice.” We’re always smilingly sweet and never say anything that might hurt someone’s feelings or could rock the boat at church.

Many Christian women have the mistaken idea that “speaking the truth in love” equals being “nice.”

Are we to be kind? Yes. Are we to do our best not to hurt others? Of course. Should we be making waves over every little thing that rubs us the wrong way? Absolutely not. We are to deny ourselves, setting aside our personal preferences and, in many cases, even our own rights, to the point of laying down our lives for others.

We need to understand the distinction between personal preferences and biblical doctrine. We die *to* personal preferences. We die *for* the purity of biblical doctrine.

But we need to understand the distinction between personal preferences and biblical doctrine. And that’s where I think a lot of people get confused. We die to personal preferences. We die for the purity of biblical doctrine. The enemy is stealthily infiltrating and conquering church after church with false doctrine. We are at war. And that’s going to mean ruffling feathers, rocking the boat, and hurting feelings sometimes. Because the full armor of God doesn’t come with a white flag or a pen for signing peace treaties.

The full armor of God doesn’t come with a white flag or a pen for signing peace treaties.

But how do we war for the truth “in love”?

Well, think about the concept and practice of “love.” Love always has an object. We don’t just say, “I love.” We say, “I love my children,” or “I love peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.” Speaking the truth “in love” is not as much about our demeanor or tone of voice as it is about the object of our love. It’s our love for others that compels us to speak biblical truth. And it’s that same love for others that should drive the manner in which we speak the truth.

So when it comes to speaking the truth about false doctrine, how should we be motivated by love? And love for whom?

We love Christ– As Christians, our love for Christ should motivate everything we do. If we’re speaking truth from fleshly motives such as pride, the desire to make a name for ourselves, or the competitive drive to win an argument, everything we say can be 100% factually right and we can still be spiritually in the wrong because the motive of our heart is wrong. God isn’t a debate judge awarding us points for compelling arguments. God weighs the heart.

We love God’s word– To love Christ is to love the Bible because Scripture is literally God Himself speaking to us. Besides the cleansing of the temple, the passage in which we see Jesus’ righteous anger displayed most clearly is Matthew 23. Here, Jesus delivers a scorching rebuke to the scribes and Pharisees for twisting God’s Word and, in doing so, leading people away from the truth of Scripture. It is only natural for those of us who have the mind of Christ and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit to have that same love for God’s Word and feel righteous anger over the maligning of it.

We love the church– To love Christ is also to love His bride, the church. Christ gave his life to cleanse the church “so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Seeing Christ’s bride blemished and corrupted by false doctrine should grieve us deeply and motivate us to call the church to be cleansed “by the washing of water with the word.”

We love the captives– Paul speaks of false teachers “who creep into households and capture weak women.” Sometimes, the women who follow false teachers simply don’t know any better. Often, they’re not genuinely saved. They are casualties and prisoners of war held hostage by the enemy. We are to love them enough to show them the truth of God’s Word so that “they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

We love the enemyEvery Christian was at one time an enemy of the cross. Every last one of us. Until someone loved us enough to intervene with the truth of the gospel. False teachers – those who, despite biblical correction, unrepentantly teach doctrine which is plainly refuted by Scripture – have made themselves enemies of the cross, even if they call themselves “Christian,” even if they wear the title of “pastor,” even if they’re holding a Bible in their hands and refer to it occasionally as they “teach” us.

In the same way a loving sister would not turn a blind eye and hope for the best if her sibling began using drugs and became increasingly addicted, it is not loving to stand idly by and allow false teachers to continue to sink deeper and deeper into Satan’s clutches by doing his bidding without making every effort to stop them in order to rescue them.

*It is not loving* to stand idly by and allow false teachers to continue to sink deeper and deeper into Satan’s clutches by doing his bidding without making every effort to stop them in order to rescue them.

Sometimes – just as with the drug abuser – this can be accomplished early on with a private word of correction. And sometimes – as with the addict – more extreme measures of “tough love” and intervention must be employed. But we always love them enough to desire that they come to repentance and embrace the truth.

Our love for these also drives the manner in which we speak truth to them. A good soldier would never deal with a civilian casualty in the same way he would fight off an enemy bent on waging war. Likewise, part of discernment is knowing who the enemy is (and is not) and dealing with people in a biblically appropriate way. This requires humility, wisdom, thorough proficiency with our tools and weapons, unceasing prayer, and complete dependence on and self-crucifying love for our King. We trust in Him and His Word to guide us in the wise and loving way to humbly speak His truth.

Discernment. Speaking truth. What’s love got to do with it?


Discernment. Speaking truth. What’s love got to do with it? Everything.