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Trusting Him Who Never Fails

Our Lord is so gracious to us. We’re nothing more than poor wretched souls, wayward in our desires, inward in our passions, loving the world, others, and self more than we love Him, the Maker and Giver of life. He is patient with us far beyond anything we should expect from One so mighty, but He continues on because He is Love, He is Mercy, He is gentleness manifested. His mercy is new every morning, even on those mornings that we have trouble seeing it.

Sometimes, in a believer’s life, everything and then more will go wrong. We get on pathway from which there is no return, no U-turns, no undoing the damage constantly being done. Sometimes when we’re on such a pathway, praying, trying, doing all that we can do and more to the end of our strength, our faith can waver. It can, but it shouldn’t. The One who died for us is also the One who said He would never leave us nor forsake us–even when we are on the darkest of paths, even when we wander through desert places, even in the midst of stormy seas, He is there, loving us, protecting us, guiding us. Even when we do not see Him.

This I know, and I know it well. I know it because the Word of God tells me, and you, so. God’s Word can never fail and He who wrote it never fails, either. He is always constant and true. But I also know it on a personal level. I’ve seen God act in the midst of my fears, in the hardest of trials, in the darkest of nights, and during those times I’ve felt His comfort, experienced His healing love, seen His hand of goodness guiding, saving, and providing. Sometimes His provision isn’t actually what we seek or desire. Sometimes, in fact, in our humanness, it is the exact opposite of what we would want. We want sunny days, God provides the darkest of nights. We want a smooth pathway, God provides a stony overgrown trail. We want friends, family, fellow Christians who will love us, God provides a family such as Joseph’s and friends such as Judas. Yet, we should trust Him, for He always knows best.

Sometimes we must move out of the academic, away from what we believe to living out what we believe, to embracing our beliefs, letting them define us, even in the darkest of nights. Over the last decade, my family has known many an overgrown trail, many a dark night, much betrayal, much sorrow, and so many heart breaks that they truly aren’t calculable. Recently, we’ve entered another time of trial, one that has the potential to cause much more sorrow. Things went wrong, then another, and another, and to top it all, we’re accused by some we love of failing to act. They don’t know the endless prayers, the desperate-to-the-end-of-our-strength-effort, the trying when we were far too tired to try. But the Lord knows, and somehow, someway, He will see us through. He will either provide or He will be our Provision through times of deep want. He will be glorified by our struggles through strengthening our faith or He will be glorified as He acts wondrously to do what we cannot do ourselves. Even if the worst happens, He is worthy. So I will praise Him and, if you are in a time of deep sorrow, I encourage you to consider His innate worthiness and praise Him.

Soli Deo gloria!

6 Things Christians Should Stop Saying

Originally posted on Gospel Relevance:

We all have that one friend that consistently says cheesy Christians sayings. I think most of us would agree that this is typically very annoying. This is intensified when the sayings aren’t biblical. The motive behind saying them are usually noble, but they often simply aren’t true or helpful.

So, what are some of them?

Stop Saying

Below are six things that Christians should stop saying:

1) Let Go and let God.  This phrase is typically used when in a trial. In a sense, I adore the “letting go” part if that means resting in God’s sovereignty, but when facing trials and tribulations, there are simply a lot of things that we can actually do. We can pray, study Scripture, confess sin, repent of sin, seek help from wise counsel, weep, mediate on Scripture, serve others, etc. “Letting go” has too much of a passive feel to it; it denotes that we do…

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Is obedience in wearing headcoverings a salvation issue?

I said in a recent post that, while I believe headcoverings are mandated in Scripture and, because of that, the command for a woman to cover her head in a worship service is still in effect, that I do not believe headcoverings are a salvation issue. I stand by this because of grace.

None of us obey the Lord perfectly. All of us who are followers of the Way are on a journey towards spiritual wholeness. The more we know, the more the Lord holds us responsible for. When we are first reborn, we are mere babes in Christ needing the milk of the Word. As we grow and mature, we move on to the meat of the Word, thus the more we are responsible for in the eyes of the Lord.

Churches haven’t taught that women are required by the Lord to wear headcoverings for a long time. As women’s lib moved in, headcoverings and other forms of obedience and submission moved out. Today, only a fraction of church leaders believe headcoverings are important for women to wear in worship. It isn’t taught in most of our homes, it’s not instructed in most seminaries, it’s not addressed in pulpits, and most Christian writers, teachers or bloggers never address it. Pray tell, how are we supposed to know that we are supposed to be wearing them?

However that seems to be changing and headcoverings in worship is a growing trend. That’s good news, indeed. But if we bring headcoverings back while at the same time we ignore the poor in our midst, we continue to dress immodestly at the beach, we are arrogant, rude, selfish or lazy in our homes or in our places of business, what good is it really doing us? There is no magic pill we can swallow that will make us more holy. There also isn’t a magic practice we can add to our lives to prove to God and to the world that we are His. It’s all about the heart–loving God, His Word, His people, more than we love ourselves. If we do that, then obedience in all forms will follow.

There’s another thing: If I cover my head in worship, all the while looking around me at all of the other women who don’t cover and I feel superior to them for my supposed advanced spiritual understanding, then I’ve missed the mark entirely. It’s not about the headcovering, it’s about the heart.

Everything we do as Christians is about our heart. The more we love God, the more we will want to love Him. The more we’ll long to understand His Word, know what He desires and demands of us, know where His heart on this or any matter is. Then we’ll set about obeying joyfully. The thing is, this side of heaven, we’ll never fully arrive at our destination. No matter how much I might want to fully obey Him, I never will. There will always be some part of me that is messing up.

None of this is to say that we ought to embrace disobedience. Far from it. We ought to run from disobedience like we’re running from the devil himself. If we find ourselves toying with disobedience, we’re in big trouble somewhere and we’d better get on our knees and start repenting.

So are headcoverings mandated in Scripture? I believe so, yes. The language in 1 Corinthians 11 seems pretty straightforward to me, and the fact that the Apostle Paul ties wearing them to the creation order pretty much cements the command in my mind. There are many who disagree with me, including some bible believing pastors with whom I agree with on just about everything else. But still I believe they are mandated because of the language of the text. I don’t believe that here some 2,000 years after Christ, we just suddenly became smarter than all of our brethren who have gone before us and somehow managed to discover some meaning in the text that in nearly 2,000 years none of them ever found. That just doesn’t make sense.

But it doesn’t make sense that it alone out of everything is a salvation issue. I see one salvation issue in Scripture: believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that He died for my sins and was resurrected the third day. Everything else is growing in faith, in knowledge and in obedience. Everything that is included in “everything else” is important: the kind of person we are, the way we live, what we believe, how we act and so on. It’s all important. If you ask me if we have come to realize that something is commanded by God that we are refusing to obey, is that a salvation issue then I’d have to say that you might want to get in the Word and pray and ask God to search you to see why you are failing to desire to obey Him. Failure to want to obey the Lord in any area is pretty important and pretty telling of one’s spiritual state.

Proof of salvation is that we grow in knowledge of and obedience to His Word. The more we study and learn, we more we are required to grow in our knowledge, and the more we’ll become like Christ. If we are not doing this, then that is the most important issue of all. So we must examine ourselves constantly: Do we love the Lord more than anything? Do we love our neighbors as ourselves? If we do, we’re growing in grace. If we aren’t (and arrogance about being a headcovering woman among women who don’t is a mighty telling issue), we have problems.

What is the historic view concerning head coverings for Christian women?

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Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church of Jesus Christ which is “the pillar and ground of the truth.”” R. C. Sproul

That’s the question, really. For nearly 2,000 years, the Christian church taught and practiced headcoverings for Christian women in the worship service. Then as the feminist movement made its way into the church that changed. Either we obey God or we obey man. We cannot as Bible believing Christians look at Scripture and say “I’ll believe and practice this part but not that”. Yet, that’s exactly what has happened, not only concerning headcoverings for ladies in the worship service but also concerning a plethora of other, politically incorrect and inconvenient, teachings. For this purpose, I’m posting quotes from Christian preachers, teachers, and writers through the ages–what I post today is simply a start. I’m reformed but I’m not limiting myself to quotes from reformed brethren but, rather, have chosen to take the larger view of what has historically been taught by Christians who went before us. Some of the quotes are more modern, proving that this teaching, though it has taken a backseat in the church is, in no way, dead.

       ……….

 R. C. Sproul: “Though the many authors differ on various issues associated with headcoverings, one important issue upon which they are all agreed is that Paul was not commanding the women in Corinth either to let their hair grow long so as to use their long hair as a headcovering in worship, or to neatly place their hair upon their heads as a headcovering in worship, but rather to place upon their heads a fabric headcovering when they worship before the Lord. This conclusion is reached by scholars from various denominational backgrounds, from different geographical locations, and from many periods of church history. The wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century. What happened? Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church of Jesus Christ which is “the pillar and ground of the truth.””

……….

Watchman Nee: “The matter of head covering belongs to God’s government. For those who do not know God’s government, it is impossible to exhort them to have their heads covered. They will not be able to understand how much is involved in this matter. But those who have seen God’s government in God’s revealed Word are able to appreciate the tremendous connection between head covering and God’s government.”

……….

Watchman Nee: “God has shown us that there are three different heads: God is head, Christ is head, and man is head. This is not a matter of being brothers and sisters; it is basically a governmental arrangement. Grace is concerned with brothers and sisters, but government is different. God has sovereignly willed that the head of Christ is God Himself, so Christ must obey; the head of man is Christ, so man must obey; and the head of woman is man, and so woman should have the sign of obedience on her head.”

……….

Bob Deffinbaugh: “The solution to legalism is to continue to obey the rules, to keep God’s commands, but to always do so in the light of the principles which underlie them. Women should cover their heads because Paul commands them to, and because of the principles of headship and of God’s sovereign distinctions. Legalism is keeping the rules for the rules’ sake. Christian liberty is keeping the rules for God’s sake, and with a heart and mind which seeks most of all to be pleasing to Him by obeying His commandments.”                                                                                                        

……….

John Angel James: “If te veil were thrown aside, they might as well cut off their flowing hair, one of the woman’s distinctions from the man, the ornament, as well as the peculiarity of the sex. Constantly and completely Christianity is the parent of order, and the enemy of indecorum of every kind. Why were not the women to lay aside their veils? Because it would be forgetting their subordination and dependence, and assuming an equal rank with man. This is the gist of the apostle’s reason. It was not merely indecorous, and contrary to modesty, but it was ambitious, and violating the order of heaven.”      

……….

Charles Spurgeon: “Do you think you and I have sufficiently considered that we are always looked upon by angels, and that they desire to learn by us the wisdom of God? The reason why our sisters appear in the House of God with their heads covered is ‘because of the angels’. The apostle says that a woman is to have a covering upon her head, because of the angels, since the angels are present in the assembly and they mark every act of indecorum, and therefore everything is to be conducted with decency and order in the presence of the angelic spirits.”                                               

……….

John Bunyan: “For this cause ought the woman to have power”, that is a covering, “on her head, because of the angels” 1 Cor. 11:10… Methinks, holy and beloved sisters, you should be content to wear this power or badge…”

                                                                                                                    

Why I Believe Head Coverings In Worship Are For Today

I cover my hair when I am in a worship service. I haven’t always. I was raised in a church where older women still covered their hair, usually with a hat, but the younger women didn’t. Except for one, and she still sticks out in my memory. My mother never covered her hair, explaining to me that it’s something women used to do, did in biblical times, and that some women still believed that they ought to but that it wasn’t a commandment for Christians today.

For most of church history, it was expected that women would cover their hair in a worship service. Men didn’t, because the Bible was very explicit that they shouldn’t. Women did, also because the Bible was very explicit that they should. Or so the faithful were told in those long ago days. Then things changed, women became liberated, and the church moved away from such old-fashioned teachings. And we all know how that’s worked. Or hasn’t. We moved away from teaching women that they ought to cover their heads in worship and moved towards a more balanced view of men and women in the church. Or so I’m told. What I know is this: When women cared about such things as head coverings, they also cared about other things such as being a godly submissive wife, a gentle nurturing present-in-their-children’s-lives-mother, growing in Christ-likeness and going about doing good. One just naturally flowed into another. But we told women that they didn’t need to cover their heads and so they don’t, and they don’t do a lot of these other things, either.

1 Corinthians 11: 12-16,  For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Those few verses are part of the verses from 1 Corinthians 11 that addresses women and head coverings. For nearly 2,000 years, the church understood these verses to still be relevant to them, then, abruptly, they didn’t. Our modern views simply wouldn’t allow us to hold such old-fashioned ones. Yet, throughout church history, we’d held just such views. I can, and I will, go further into these teachings in coming days, and as part of that, I will be posting quotes from godly men throughout church history who believed, and who still believe, that God’s command for women to wear head coverings wasn’t just applicable to the Corinthians but is applicable to all Christian women no matter when they live. For now, though, I want to say this: I do not believe that head coverings are a salvation issue. I do believe it is important and that God meant it to be for all women. I do believe that it is an act of obedience to cover your hair in a worship service. I don’t think you will go to hell if you don’t.

Why cover your head in worship then? Because it honors God. Because all Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for doctrine. Because that which God has commanded, we who love Him ought to do our best to obey, and this includes women covering their heads in worship.

Romans 8: 28 things

Moments tick by as I cry out to the Lord. The room is dark as post-midnight hours waltz across the night. Soon morning will come: with it, will there be answers? Or simply more questions?

I have an amazing life, on the one hand. First and foremost, God saved me when I didn’t deserve to be saved; nothing can compare to the blessings of His grace. But there’s more: I am the mother of nine of the most wonderfully beautifully amazing children ever. And I’m here, still doing, still living, when doctors never believed I would be. I am blessed to be a homemaker and to be able to take care of my family. I enjoy endlessly trying out new recipes on my family–I love to cook, they love to eat, so it works. I homeschool my children so I have the great blessing of watching them grow up and watching them grow in grace, in truth, and in knowledge. I love truth and I love words so I write with a passion to combine the two. I have co-authored a book, and have been blessed to see that its impact on others has been a good one. I rescue animals and collect strays and I’ll keep on doing that as long as I can. Dogs and cats just make me happy. I’m blessed in so many ways. I really and truly am.

On the other hand, there’s the rest of the story, the parts few know about, parts from my childhood, torn from my parent’s choices, broken into pieces by my own bad decisions and those of others around me. There’s the painful rotting brokenness that just keeps getting more broken with each passing moment. Things I have no control over but nonetheless impacts me. Things that daily breaks my heart. Things that have forever changed who I am, who my family is, and what’s in store for us. Things that only God can change. Roman 8: 28 things. Sometimes I pull out a part and share it, but then I always feel the need to pull it back in and tuck it away. Such ugliness shouldn’t be seen–at least, that’s how it feels. But I’m compelled to share these things, at least in part. There’s so many lessons to be garnered from the pain. When the Gospel shines through the broken places, the beauty is beyond breathtaking. God’s grace, poured into the brokenness, never fails to bring me to tears.

So the questions continue but I’m crying out to God, day and night, day after day, night after night, seeking the answers. How do I proceed? How do I process such blessings when they are intricately tied together with such pain? How do I know what to share, what not to? How do I most honor the Lord for His mercy towards me?

Romans 8: 28 is one of my favorite verses. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I’m counting on that. Meanwhile, I’m still calling out for answers.

All For God’s Glory

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10: 31

If we who are Christians do that which we ought to do, the world will be blessed by our doing because we will be doing that which Christ Himself would do. Attending to little things as to big, we will act as His mouth, His hands and His feet and go out and teach, and live and do, that which He hast taught, and lived and done.

We cannot separate our lives from our beliefs. If we say we love Him, it follows that we must obey Him for He has said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6: 46) If we fail to obey that which we say we believe, we are failing to proclaim the truth about Him at all. Rather, we are blaspheming Him by showing the world that Christ, who is as He has always been, who never changes, and is always good, rather than being good, is two-faced and allows that which He has condemned.

Do you want to honor your Lord? Do you, Christian, deserve to wear the name of Little Christ? If you would deserve such honor as to wear His name, put on His life also. If you, if I, fail in this, we are blaspheming the very Lord we claim to follow. These times in which we live are hard but they provide us the very opportunity that we need to be a light shining in darkness. Where much darkness is, light shines forth the brightest. Let us set about being the light of Christ to a sin-sick world and to a weak and callous church. If we will do such, Christ will be honored, we will be blessed in the doing, and those around us will begin to see Him as He really is: as the glorious Son of God, the Bright and Morning Star, the Holy Christ of God.

May God be honored and glorified by our lives, by our words, by our thoughts, today and everyday.

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