Gratitude, Holidays (Other), Prayer, Thanks/Thanksgiving

Throwback Thursday ~ 25 Things I Forgot to Thank God For

Originally published March 13, 2015

25 things

I’ve just been in a funk, lately. Nothing out of the ordinary is wrong, but it’s been raining for eleventy two days in a row, and the constant darkness and dreariness seems to have wormed its way into my psyche and, I noticed recently, even into my prayer life.

A couple of days ago, I started out my prayer time with a huge sigh followed by a bunch of wimpering and whining about nothing of consequence. I was just moody. And I didn’t feel like praying.

And then God graciously brought a lovely little snippet of Scripture to my mind:

give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Want to know God’s will for your life? There it is: give thanks in all circumstances. When you get a new car. When you catch your spouse cheating on you. When you’re on a glorious vacation. When you get laid off from work. When you’re happy. When you’re sad. When you’re in the mood, and when you’re not in the mood.

Give thanks in – not necessarily for, but in – all circumstances.

Well, this was certainly a circumstance. Why not give gratitude a try? I was in the car headed to pick up my boys from school, and I decided to spend the entire twenty minute drive just thanking God for things.

I started with the big stuff: salvation, forgiveness for my sin, times when God has miraculously provided, specific answers to prayer…

I was starting to slow down and I still had about half the drive left. Surely there was more to be thankful for! And that’s when it struck me. How often do we forget to thank God for all the (in our eyes) tiny little unnoticed things He does for us every day? We thank Him for the miracles, but what about the mundane? What “little things” had I forgotten to thank God for?

1. Air conditioning. I live in the South. Enough said.

2. I know where my next meal is coming from.

3. Social media and e-mail. I can keep up with far off loved ones, and I’ve “met” some awfully nice people.

4. I can see. I can hear. I can think clearly. I can walk.

5. I live in a country where Christianity is not yet against the law.

6. Sunsets.

7. Cute baby animals.

8. I can read and write. That’s not the case for women, globally.

9. I was able to conceive and carry my children to term.

10. Warm quilts on cold nights.

11. The Bible is available in my native language, and I have several copies of it.

12. I have no fear of suicide bombers in my community.

13. The beach.

14. A crawfish boil with friends.

15. Reliable electricity.

16. Hearing my children sing when they think no one is listening.

17. My husband is a believer and is good to me.

18. Mountains. I miss mountains.

19. Indoor plumbing and clean drinking water.

20. Laughing hysterically with my family.

21. Level-headed discernment ministries.

22. Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.

23. A roof over my head.

24. Home schooling.

25. People who are kind (or crazy) enough to read my blog articles all the way to the end.

Well, that was my list, and I think I’ll keep looking for things to add to it. Thanking God for the “little things,” realizing they might be big things to others, and recognizing the pervasiveness of God’s blessings and provision cheered me up and was truly a worship experience.

What kinds of things would you put on your list?

Sanctification

Throwback Thursday ~ Jesus Wants You to Be a Hater

Originally published February 26, 2015

hater

Hater. It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot these days. If you disagree with someone, you’re a hater. If you believe the Bible when it says something is a sin, you’re a hater. If you vote pro-life or pro-marriage, you’re a hater. Gone are the days when a Christian could stand on her convictions without being accused of hating everyone else who does not hold those same convictions.

In fact, when you first read the title of this article, I’m betting that’s what you thought I was saying Jesus wants us to do: hate everyone who doesn’t agree with us.

And I hate that.

I hate the fact that Satan has sold the world – and even the church – the lie that those of us who love Christ with all our hearts hate the sinners He died for.

Did you know that the Bible actually tells us to hate certain things? Not people who disagree with us or people enslaved by sin- that’s the world’s definition of being a hater. Luke 6:27-28 tells us:

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

We are not to hate, but to love, do good to, bless, and pray for those who, because they are at enmity with Christ, are at enmity with us.

But as Christians, the Bible tells us there are certain things it is good and holy for us to hate. If we don’t hate them, we’re being disobedient to our Lord.

We are to hate evil:

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Proverbs 8:13

We hate evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech because God is good and holy. Evil stands in rebellion against God’s person and in opposition to God’s purposes. Pride and arrogance exalt self over God, who alone is to have preeminence in all things. Dishonest, wicked speech can damage God’s beloved children and lead them away from Him.

We are to hate opposition to God’s word:

Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way. Psalm 119:128

When we love the Lord and His ways, we will necessarily come to hate false ways and false doctrine which defy His word and lead us, and others, away from Him.

We are to hate our own sin:

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:14-15

While it is good to hate evil in the world, we must also hate the evil that lurks within us in the form of sin. Those who have been born again loathe their sin and continually and sorrowfully turn from it, flinging themselves upon the mercy of Christ for forgiveness.

We are to “hate” all things in comparison to our love for Christ:

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26

Our devotion to Christ must run so deep that we are gladly willing to sacrifice any relationship -even with our closest family members- any worldly goods, even our lives, if required to by our Lord in His word. Our love for Him should so far surpass our affections for all others that any other love relationship seems like hate in comparison.

There is a time to love, and a time to hate. When we love Christ, we will hate what is evil and cling to what is good. The hatred of the things the Lord calls us to hate is evidence that we love Him and are having our hearts and minds conformed to His.

If you’re a Christian, by God’s definition, you’re a hater. And that’s not a bad thing.


THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SATISFACTION THROUGH CHRIST.
Homosexuality, Salvation

Throwback Thursday ~ God Loves Gays

Originally published May 8, 2015god loves gays

Last week, as I was mindlessly flipping through Facebook, this picture caught my eye. It was attached to a news article about the Supreme Court’s hearing on same sex “marriage”. I was already at my saturation point with the reporting on the day’s events, but this picture just reached out and grabbed my heart.

“God loves gays,” the young man’s sign says. Rarely, perhaps never, has a statement been so beautifully true and so painfully false all at the same time.

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:7-8

It’s true. God does love gays. He doesn’t love them because He sees what they might someday become after leaving the lifestyle behind. He doesn’t love them because they’re great “fixer upper” projects. He doesn’t love them because He feels sorry for them. He just loves them. Right where they are. Not after they get cleaned up. Now.


 God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Have you ever really thought about the implications of that statement?

God loves the homosexual man while he is sodomizing his partner.

God loves the gang banger while he is pulling the trigger of his gun.

God loves the prostitute while she is servicing her client.

God loves the child molester while he is violating that precious little one.

God loves the atheist soldier in a godless country while he is torturing Christians.

In the deepest, blackest night of our sin, God loves each and every one of us. Only a profoundly, unfathomably good and kind God could, or would, do such a thing.

But the story doesn’t end there.

You see, as unbelievable as it is that God could love someone so drenched in evil, He takes things a step further. God’s love motivated Him to act.


while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Rescue. Redemption. Salvation. However you want to put it, God personally came down and sacrificed Himself so that even the most wretched sinner would have a way out. No more enslavement to evil. No more being pawns of the devil in his never-ending quest for revenge against the King. No more separation from God, now, or in eternity.

God drove a cross-shaped stake into the ground at Calvary and said, “No more.”

God does love gays. And murderers. And child rapists. And hookers. And even prideful, rebellious, good little Sunday School girls like me. But not like this young man’s sign implies. He thinks God shows love by approving of his homosexuality. But an all-powerful God who would say He loves sinners and yet leave them to rot in their sin without lifting a finger to help them isn’t loving. Isn’t all-powerful. Isn’t God.

God does love you, my young friend. You simply have no idea how much.

Gratitude, Prayer, Thanks/Thanksgiving

Throwback Thursday ~ 25 Things I Forgot to Thank God For

Originally published March 13, 2015

25 things

I’ve just been in a funk, lately. Nothing out of the ordinary is wrong, but it’s been raining for eleventy two days in a row, and the constant darkness and dreariness seems to have wormed its way into my psyche and, I noticed recently, even into my prayer life.

A couple of days ago, I started out my prayer time with a huge sigh followed by a bunch of wimpering and whining about nothing of consequence. I was just moody. And I didn’t feel like praying.

And then God graciously brought a lovely little snippet of Scripture to my mind:

give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Want to know God’s will for your life? There it is: give thanks in all circumstances. When you get a new car. When you catch your spouse cheating on you. When you’re on a glorious vacation. When you get laid off from work. When you’re happy. When you’re sad. When you’re in the mood, and when you’re not in the mood.

Give thanks in – not necessarily for, but in – all circumstances.

Well, this was certainly a circumstance. Why not give gratitude a try? I was in the car headed to pick up my boys from school, and I decided to spend the entire twenty minute drive just thanking God for things.

I started with the big stuff: salvation, forgiveness for my sin, times when God has miraculously provided, specific answers to prayer…

I was starting to slow down and I still had about half the drive left. Surely there was more to be thankful for! And that’s when it struck me. How often do we forget to thank God for all the (in our eyes) tiny little unnoticed things He does for us every day? We thank Him for the miracles, but what about the mundane? What “little things” had I forgotten to thank God for?

1. Air conditioning. I live in the South. Enough said.

2. I know where my next meal is coming from.

3. Social media and e-mail. I can keep up with far off loved ones, and I’ve “met” some awfully nice people.

4. I can see. I can hear. I can think clearly. I can walk.

5. I live in a country where Christianity is not yet against the law.

6. Sunsets.

7. Cute baby animals.

8. I can read and write. That’s not the case for women, globally.

9. I was able to conceive and carry my children to term.

10. Warm quilts on cold nights.

11. The Bible is available in my native language, and I have several copies of it.

12. I have no fear of suicide bombers in my community.

13. The beach.

14. A crawfish boil with friends.

15. Reliable electricity.

16. Hearing my children sing when they think no one is listening.

17. My husband is a believer and is good to me.

18. Mountains. I miss mountains.

19. Indoor plumbing and clean drinking water.

20. Laughing hysterically with my family.

21. Level-headed discernment ministries.

22. Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.

23. A roof over my head.

24. Home schooling.

25. People who are kind (or crazy) enough to read my blog articles all the way to the end.

Well, that was my list, and I think I’ll keep looking for things to add to it. Thanking God for the “little things,” realizing they might be big things to others, and recognizing the pervasiveness of God’s blessings and provision cheered me up and was truly a worship experience.

What kinds of things would you put on your list?

Discernment

Throwback Thursday ~ I Can’t Sit Down, Shut Up, and Play Nice

Originally published November 6, 2015

sit down shut up 2

“She’s at it again, going off the deep end about some church or Christian celebrity who does things just a little differently. She’s so nit picky, judgmental, and divisive. Why doesn’t she just shut up and be nice?”

That’s what I imagine most of my friends on my (personal) Facebook page are thinking whenever I post something about the latest false doctrine or false teacher. Maybe that’s what you think, too. “Ugh. One of those dreaded discernment bloggers.”

I don’t consider myself a discernment blogger, but rather a discipleship blogger. Discernment (warning against false teachers and false doctrine) is part of discipleship, but so is missions and evangelism, Bible study, and assorted “Christian living” topics, all of which I try to cover in balance.

Nobody seems to mind those latter topics, but a lot of people get their noses out of joint when I call attention to a false teacher, an unbiblical doctrine or practice, or an apostate “church.” I have been asked why I hate women. I’ve been told I’m what’s wrong with Christianity. And, I’ve been called every name in between for pointing out “Christian” teachers, doctrines, and “churches” that behave and teach in ways which directly contradict Scripture.

Who needs that? Who needs the hassle and emotional stress of being attacked, especially when you’re not even getting paid for it? Why don’t I just drop the discernment portion of my blog and social media and blow rainbows and unicorns up everybody’s skirt? It’s certainly a formula that works for other bloggers who choose to go that route, and everybody would be happier.

Well, let me tell you a little story.

I recently shared the gospel with someone who claimed to be a Christian. Why would I do that? If she says she’s a Christian, she must be one, right? Wrong. Before I shared the gospel with her, I asked her to explain her understanding of the gospel to me. Instead of talking about repenting of her sin and placing her faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection to save her from her sin, she gave me a laundry list of ways she was a good church member and all the activities she had ever participated in at her church. The name of Jesus did not come up once, nor did the cross, sin, nor repentance.

In case she had misunderstood my question, I then gave a very simple, biblical explanation of the gospel. She proceeded to tell me how wrong that was according to the teachings of her church. You see, all her life, this lady has belonged to an apostate church that teaches a false gospel of works righteousness (your own good works make you righteous before God, instead of Christ’s work on the cross).

This is a very real lady who really believes she’s a Christian who’s going to spend a very real eternity in Hell unless she repents and believes what the Bible says about salvation. Which is not what her so-called church is teaching her.

That’s why I do discernment work. Because real people’s eternities are at stake. False doctrine is not some trivial little difference of opinion over nothing issues in the church like pews versus chairs or what color the sanctuary carpet is. I’m not being judgmental or hateful over unimportant preferences.

People are dying and going to Hell forever
because they’ve been taught false doctrine. 

And sometimes I wonder if anybody gets that.

So, if that’s what’s so important, why don’t I limit myself to writing about “first tier” issues like works righteousness or the deity of Christ which directly affect a person’s salvation? Does it really matter if churches allow practicing homosexuals to be church leaders or allow women to preach to, teach, and exercise authority over men?

Yeah, it does. Because if you take a look at churches that have their first tier issues wrong, they took their initial steps down the road to that destination by compromising and disobeying Scripture on issues, such as homosexuality and female usurpation, which are indirectly related to salvation. In other words, by the time the cancer has metastasized, it’s too late. Early detection, early cure.

Galatians 5 and 1 Corinthians 5 put it like this:

A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

In the same way that a couple of teaspoons of yeast leaven my entire batch of dough and a few cancer cells will grow and spread throughout the whole body, so, a little false doctrine, if left unchecked, will spread throughout the local Body of Christ and eventually kill it.

I care about y’all. I care about your churches. I don’t want to see a single person damned or church turn apostate. It absolutely breaks my heart when I encounter women who don’t know the gospel or have a complete misunderstanding of Scripture simply because that’s what they’ve been taught by a so-called church or a “Christian” celebrity that they trusted. These things should not be. Christ loves you and wants you to have a right relationship with Him and a right understanding of Him and His word. And I couldn’t live with myself – or Him – if I didn’t tell you that.

My voice and my platform are small. I don’t reach the millions of people the false teachers on the shelf at your local Christian bookstore reach. I am flawed and far from perfect. But I will continue to do everything I can, as biblically as I can, where I am and with what God has given me, to reach the women God places in my path in real life an on line with the glorious truth of His word.

Eternities are at stake. The church is at stake. I can’t sit down, shut up, and play nice.