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On Modesty: a godly woman’s influence

Ladies, your example to your daughters and to the other ladies of the church is so important. Your life is observed, your profession to Christ is measured, you devotion either questioned or applauded.

Everything about you influences the younger women, and those young in faith. The way you speak, what you speak about, either leads them to Christ or away from Him. The things you love, how you spend your time, either influences younger women to be in the world but not of the world or influences them to be in the world and OF the world.

Your devotion to the Word of God, to studying it, honoring it, obeying it, memorizing it, will either point the way to the Lord or point the way to hell. The time you spend in prayer, not just interceding for others but simply praising God, either makes others hungry for His presence or makes prayer seem all the more boring. The way you serve, the way you love, the way you respect your husband and guide your children tells the younger generation what you really believe about what the Bible has to say about womanhood, about marriage, about family. Your influence cannot be underestimated.

As it is in everything else, so it is in your manner of dress: you wield such influence by the way you choose to clothe yourselves. If you go into a church service immodestly dressed, it will be noticed, and, doubt it not, it will be emulated. If you are a poor example in this, you may just be un-doing what another mother tried so hard to do. Many a young lady, not yet converted or very young in the faith, is watching you to see how you live, how you dress, how you act. They judge what Christ says, who God is, by what they see you do. If you, by your dedication to worldly fashions, to ostentatious designs, or to immodest dress, influence them for evil, you will not be held innocent by the Lord.

Immodesty crept into the church inch-by-inch because those who should have spoken up, didn’t. It’s time to change that. You can be one who helps it to change. You and I say we believe truth. Now let our words, and our actions, prove that we do.

“The Father’s Bargain” by John Flavel

There are so many things we may regret as we look back over our lives. My greatest regret is that it took me so long to realize what a great gift of love salvation is, and what a great sacrifice Jesus made for me. He died that I might live. After knowing that, how can anything this poor old world has to offer mean anything? Thinking of that, reminded me of this piece that I’m sharing with you today, The Father’s Bargain by Puritan preacher, John Flavel. Flavel imagined what the conversation between the Father and the Son might have been as they were contemplating the fate of our souls.

Here you may suppose the Father to say when driving His bargain with Christ for you:

The Father speaks. 


My Son, here is a company of poor, miserable souls that have utterly undone themselves and now lay open to my justice. Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in the eternal ruin of them.


The Son responds. 


O my Father. Such is my love to and pity for them, that rather then they shall perish eternally I will be responsible for them as their guarantee. Bring in all thy bills, that I may see what they owe thee. Bring them all in, that there be no after-reckonings with them. At my hands shall thou require it. I would rather choose to suffer the wrath that is theirs then they should suffer it. Upon me, my Father, upon me be all their debt.

The Father responds. 


But my Son, if thou undertake for them, thou must reckon to pay the last mite. Expect no abatement. Son, if I spare them… I will not spare you.

The Son responds. 


Content Father. Let it be so. Charge it all upon me. I am able to discharge it. And though it prove a kind of undoing to me, though it impoverish all my riches, empty all my treasures… I am content to take it.”


Excerpt from “The Father’s Bargain”
John Flavel

Wretched: New Math: 2+2=7

Want to know why so many think so weird these days? Watch this.

Faith, Forgiveness, and Abusers

Somewhere around 2,000 years ago, the Son of God died on a cross. Bereft of friends, beaten until unrecognizable, He climbed that hill, laid down and stretched out His arms. Lifted up on the cross, hung between two thieves, He called out to God to forgive His murderers.

Jesus did what no one else could have done. He was not only God, He was also Man. Fully both, born of a virgin so that He escaped the stain of original sin, He lived a perfect, holy, righteous life that fulfilled completely the holy Law of God. Thus, He was able to lay down His life for sinners, because He never sinned. He never failed. Not even once.

He didn’t fail on the cross, either. The cross wasn’t an afterthought of God’s. It wasn’t His second plan. It was His plan from the beginning. His Son would die so that sinful men might live. Trading His heavenly Home for our lowly earthly one, He, by dying, took on our sins, so that we, through faith, by grace, might take on His righteousness. Then, on the third day, He rose again, defeating death, and sealing Satan’s fate. There’s never been a more beautiful expression of love and sacrifice.

In agony, Jesus called out to His Father, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23: 34, KJV). He willingly forgave those who beat, tortured, and murdered Him, just as He now willingly forgives those who come to Him in faith, believing Him to be the Son of God.

He forgave them. He forgave me.

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. When God forgives, all guilt is wiped away and He chooses not to remember the sin. When God looks at the redeemed, He doesn’t see them in their sin. He doesn’t remember them as liars, thieves, adulterers, blasphemers; no, He sees them as perfect, pure, and clothed in the holy righteousness of His Son.

We forgive because we have been forgiven.

If  you are a child of God, you must forgive your enemies, just as I must forgive mine. Luke 6: 27, 28, But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. So we must, because God says so. And because He has forgiven us so much.

But we’re not God. And try as we might, we are going to remember that which has happened to us. We shouldn’t dwell on it, mull it over, and harbor bitterness. If we say we forgive, yet we do those things, we’re fooling ourselves. We’ve not forgiven anyone. But we will remember, because we’re human. And that’s alright. By remembering, but not dwelling on it, we enable ourselves to set boundaries, to protect ourselves.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you become a doormat, it doesn’t mean that what happened to you is alright, it doesn’t mean you pretend it never happened, and it doesn’t mean that your abuser shouldn’t be held accountable or that you should be quiet about what you endured. It is good to tell the truth about what you endured; it is also good to see that he can no longer hurt you. That might mean that he is arrested, or that you get away and stay away from your abuser. It is not only okay to do those things, it is good to do them.

What forgiveness means is that we give up our right to vengeance. God will deal with our abusers. If he ever fully repents, and turns back from his sin to walk in newness of life, he will be fully forgiven of God, just as all other sinners who come seeking forgiveness. That doesn’t mean you should trust a profession of faith immediately, that you should go back to him, or invite him into your life in anyway. Many abusers claim to have “found God” but most abusers will remain just that: abusers. Most abusers never really repent, never change, never even really care that they are abusers. Most of them will never really “find God”. Just because they say they’ve been saved, doesn’t mean that they have. They might be using you. Again. So forgive, give up your right to vengeance, but be wise. Don’t trust immediately, even if he claims he’s been saved. If he says he’s a Christian, wait, and watch for growth. No growth means he’s not saved, and he doesn’t deserve your trust, now or ever.

Forgiving also doesn’t mean that your abuser shouldn’t have to face the consequences of his actions in light of the law. It doesn’t mean you pretend it never happened. It doesn’t mean that the abuse is just gone, forgotten, and he’s getting off scott-free. Leave him to face his sins and failures, and you move on. Forgiving honors God, helps you heal, and gives you freedom.

You forgive, not because your abuser deserves it; he doesn’t. You forgive because of what Jesus did on that cross nearly 2,000 years ago. Because of the price the Son of God paid to rescue you. Because of the terrible guilt we all have, and because, if we are Christians, we’ve been forgiven of that guilt. You and I might have been abused, but that doesn’t make us holy. Only the blood of Christ can do that. And He offers that to us. If you know Him, rejoice in the freedom you have in Him. If you don’t, He invites you to come.

Revelation 22: 17, And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

(This article was written for my blog for those who have been abused, https://abusedchristianwife.wordpress.com/)

Soli Deo gloria!

Broken for God’s Glory

God breaks us for our own good and for His glory. Scriptures are resplendent with stories of God breaking His people in order to purify them. This breaking isn’t the kind of breaking we do to one another. Far too often, people will break us (and we might, them) for our own pleasure, betterment and so on. God is not like this. His breaking of His people is for divine purposes, purposes planned before the beginning of time.

The stories of Job, Moses, David, Jacob, Joseph, Paul, and others, teach us how our very good God works in the lives of sinful men in order to purify them for their own good, for His glory, and for His everlasting purposes. But God never breaks us to leave us broken. He breaks us to heal us. The only true healing available is through His Son, Jesus. Jesus was made sin for us, and punished for our sins, so that we could live, so that His righteousness might be ours.

Isaiah 53: 5, But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Are you hurting today? Maybe, like me, you have been hurting for a very long time. Sometimes that happens, even to the redeemed. Life isn’t rosy and perfect just because we’ve been saved. Often, in fact, once we have been redeemed and transformed through Christ, our life circumstances are transformed, too (often in ways that are painful). While we’re growing in Christ-likeness, our lives are often getting more difficult. No true Christian escapes persecution from the world, and no true Christian escapes the devil’s arrows.

For some of us, though, pain has been a way of life. From the beginning of our lives, due to circumstances of our birth, circumstances planned and executed by the Lord Himself, some of us struggle. For some, they never end. I know that kind of pain. It’s not something I like to share, not fully, because, honestly, the events of my life are so incredibly unbelievable. Spoken aloud or written down, it sounds more like a dime-store novel than truth. But truth they are. And it’s my life, planned by God, so there’s a reason. And there’s a reason for your suffering, too.

So we’re going to hurt, somehow, somewhere, someway. Sadly, we can’t always trust those around us. And, sometimes, even those we ought to be able to trust the most, end up betraying us. We certainly can’t always trust ourselves. But God? Him we can trust. The Lord is trustworthy always and in all ways, no matter what. Even when we struggle. Even when He breaks us.

Do you know Him? The God who redeems your life? The God who will, in His time, in His way, break you for your own good and for His glory, but who never leaves you broken, but heals you so His truth, His love, shines through you? Do you know Him, this Lord, who will lead you in rocky places, always protecting and guiding you, even carrying you, along the long and dusty roads? Do you know Him, this Jesus who died for sinners? If you don’t, I invite you to come, learn of Him, and repent of your sins and receive the gift of everlasting life. If you do, I invite you to trust Him, though the way might be hard, and the night might be black, for He is the true Light. He is going before you, and is ever with you, and He will, in the right way, through the right set of circumstances, redeem your life here to make you useful to yourself, to others, and to Him, and, in the end, He will lead you Home.

Soli Deo gloria!

I Stand Before the Cross

I stand before the Cross and I profess a love for this Man, this God, who has taken my place on it…

and I turn away…

and I go shopping and I buy a bikini.

I can justify it because it is so cute and anyway,

if a guy looks at me to lust, it is all his fault for not controlling himself,

and not my fault at all.

I go to church and I worship my God…

and I hear of His holiness, I sing of His truth…

then the final prayer ends

and I go home and I turn on the television,

and I fill my mind, my heart, my eyes, with things that I would be ashamed to watch

if Jesus were here…

but, He isn’t…

and I justify it, because it is a good show,

and, after all, God is a God of love and He just wants me to be happy.

I kneel before my God and I pray

Thy will be done…

and I get up

and I go about doing my will…

with everyone that I meet…

in everything that I do…

not for a moment thinking…

that I am sinning.

I open up my Bible and I read about the wonders of God

and my heart rejoices…

I read of His love, His mercy, His tenderness…

sometimes, I come to passage that shows more than that…

where His holy anger towards sinners is revealed,

and it makes me nervous, uncomfortable…

but, I turn the page,

and I read more about how very much God loves me,

and I read into it how much He longs for me to respond to Him,

and I think how cool it is that this God of the whole universe needs me…

me…

and I determine to try to find something really nice to do for Him…

sometimes.

I reach out to my God in my need…

and I can’t find Him…

and I ask Him, “Where are You?”

but, He doesn’t answer me…

and, I don’t understand His silence.

I run towards where He was but find only darkness.

I seek Him and I cry, “Why have You abandoned me?”

“Where are You, God?”, I plead…

and it’s then that I realize…

that I am alone…

and He doesn’t seem to hear me…

at all.

Then, in the echoing silence, suddenly I hear a still small voice saying,

“If you love Me, you will obey Me.”

And I am guilty.

I am ashamed.

And I fall on my face…

and I weep.

In Memory of a Boy I Never Knew

The sign in front of the school caught my attention. Just a name and two dates, one the date of birth, the other of death. A little boy, one of the students, had died just three days shy of Christmas and the school was in mourning. I went home and looked online for information about him. Who was he? How did he die? How was his family holding up? I found a photograph, his sweet smiling face showing no signs that the end was near for him. I found an online memorial with remembrances, prayers and letters of encouragement to his parents. I found out where he attended church and the hospital where the end came. How he died remains a mystery to me. This child’s death was a blow to me, though I didn’t know him. Any child’s death is a tragedy and as a mother, I realize it could be me in mourning and I hurt for his parents. But this is more personal: this precious little boy was born just eight days after my youngest child was born. He is now dead and my child is alive. But what if it had been my child? My sweet boy who finds a reason to laugh no matter what is going on around him–I can’t imagine losing him so young. It could happen, of course. It happened to these parents. And I ache for them.

No, I didn’t know this lost child and I do not know his grieving parents but I think about them, wonder how they are coping. I pray for them every time their loss comes to mind. There are many prayers…. Their loss of their precious little boy, so near my own son’s age, reminds me to hold my child a little closer, a little longer. To pray deeper prayers for him, to be more diligent to teach him the everlasting truth of God’s holy Word. It reminds me daily to simply to love him, breath in his sweetness and never lose sight of the fact that life is so very fragile. As long as God wills that we live, nothing can get in the way. But we simply don’t know how many days, how fleeting the hours, that have been appointed to us and to our loved ones.

So tonight, I am remembering this little boy that I did not know. I am thanking God for his life and wishing he were still living. I am saying a prayer in a long line of prayers for parents who are hurting. In three days, the one month anniversary of their son’s death is coming up. I can’t imagine their pain. I wish I could see them, tell them I am praying for them and simply say “I’m sorry for your loss”. I’m sorry–there’s very little else that could be said except I’m praying for you, which I’d also say. I can’t do that. I’ll probably never be able to do that. But I can remember their son’s life and praise God for it. And I can cherish my son’s life, indeed all my children’s lives, just a little bit more.

May God be praised.

In memory….

 

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