Posted in Anna Wood, discernment

When Evil Triumphs, Godly Men Must Still Stand for Truth

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States chose perversion over the ways of God. Homosexuals now have the right to “marry” in all 50 states. This has been done, and it is now, at least according to our messed-up understanding of our governmental system, law. If we were to be honest, the Supreme Court, nor any other court, does not have the right to legislate from the bench, but we’re not honest, nor are we informed, so we act as if they have that right. That we bow to them when they go against God and the Constitution, shows moral cowardice on our part.

Evil has, for today, triumphed, both in our land and in the hearts of many who care not what the Lord has said. For those of us who still do care, today is your moment of decision. Will you bow to tyranny and obey this supposed law of the land? Or, will you refuse to support that which the Lord Himself has called an abomination? May the Lord, from this day forward, call this nation to repentance, no matter what that call might entail. And may He raise up many for Himself who will never bow the knee to Baal.

May God have mercy on us and on our nation.

Soli Deo gloria!

Posted in Anna Wood, Authentic Christianity, discernment, head coverings

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.

Posted in Anna Wood, Authentic Christianity

Uncomfortable Christianity

When Jesus walked this earth, most of the folks surrounding Him didn’t truly understand His mission. They came to Him for healing, they came to Him for comfort, they came to Him because they thought He was the one who would save them from the Romans. One man even came to Him to have Him settle a dispute between himself and his brother (see Luke 12: 13, 14). Few came to Him determined to obey Him and follow Him as Lord. What was true then is still true today.

Turn on a television set on any Sunday morning and you will see scores of so-called preachers teaching us that Christianity is meant to make us comfortable, healthy, wealthy and wise. Don’t you believe them. God the Father didn’t send His precious Son down to earth to be crushed by Himself as penalty for mankind’s sins just so that He could make us comfortable. Matthew 16: 24 states, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” These are not easy, comfortable words. These words would have shocked and frightened the hearers. Who ever heard such a thing? Command your followers to take up an instrument of execution and then follow You? Living in the time and place that they did, Jesus’ listeners knew all too well what crosses were for and that’s why this was such shocking teaching. They realized that He was commanding an all-out complete devotion irrespective of the survival of the follower.

Today, we see crosses as pretty little things to wear around our necks or as adornments for our churches. Even rock and rap stars wear them (although devoid of any real spiritual meaning). We put them on plaques on our walls and set them on our desks. They dangle from key-chains and decorate our tee-shirts. Seeing them all the time as we do, it’s easy to forget the real history behind them. It was bloody. It was destructive. It meant death. A cross, properly understood, still means death.

Comfortable Christianity? No, there is no such thing. Jesus died to offer salvation to His followers. His disciples died to preach the Word. Countless martyrs throughout the years have died to proclaim, protect and defend the Gospel. They are dying still. Last century saw a major upswing in the volume of martyrs. According to The New Persecuted: Inquiries Into Anti-Christian Intolerance in the New Century of Martyrs by Antonio Socci over 70,000,000 people have died as martyrs for claiming faith in Christ since the first century. That’s shocking enough. What’s even more shocking is that, according to his research, over 45,000,000 of those died in the last century. Comfortable?  Hardly.

Jesus meant it when He said that we are to take up our cross and follow Him. It isn’t comfortable. It was never meant to be comfortable. In Matthew 10: 34-36, Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be those of his own household.” Jesus then goes on to say that if we love anyone more than Him, we are not worthy of Him. He then adds, in verses 38-39, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

Following Jesus was never meant to be comfortable. It was never meant to provide you with a life of ease and luxury. It isn’t about finding a place to park in a crowded lot (via Joel Osteen), being financially secure (via many) or having great sex (as far too many preachers now are teaching). Following Jesus was and is about dying to yourself, to sin and to this world and living only unto Him. Comfortable? No. Magnificent and worth any cost? Absolutely!


Posted in To trust in God

Reasons For Praise

This past week has been one of “those weeks”; the kind of week that probably led to the invention of Murphy’s Law (all that can go wrong, will go wrong). Seen from the outside, all is pretty much lost. We’re broke. We’re dealing with physical issues…again. The car is acting up…again…but then when is it not? We need this…and that…and only God can provide it or make it happen. From a human perspective, we have many, many reasons to sit down and cry.

For instance…

  • My 18-year old son works at a well known department/discount store pushing carts. Sunday night around 10: 20, we received a call from the store. Seems they were calling the paramedics to come check him out because he was “shaking and couldn’t feel anything”. The diagnosis? Heat exhaustion.
  • On Saturday my two youngest daughters got to go with their Daddy and their oldest brother to Grandmas and have a dip in her pool. The next day the youngest one was in agony with her ears.
  • My husband woke me up at 4:00 this morning to let me know that his unemployment check hadn’t come through this week. When talking to the office about the checks just now, he was told there would be no more unemployment checks…at all (we had been told that they would last through August). He has to contact our Congressman to see if he can get them started back. If not, this spells complete and utter financial disaster for our family (as a very difficult situation becomes perilous).
  • The churches that I wrote to in the new area and practically begged to help us look for a room for my husband have been, for the most part, singularly unhelpful. Those that haven’t outright ignored me (even though I sent along a Pastor’s phone number and other contact information as a reference) have basically dismissed me without trying (“Don’t know of anything. Sorry.”). I can’t help but wonder if, instead of a rather poor family seeking to make a new start, we had been a well-known rich family if we would have been dismissed in the same fashion. Somehow, I doubt it.
  • Our car needs repairs…again. This time, it’s the fuel injector. Wonder what it will be next week?
  • My 14-year old son was bitten by a mouse last night as he attempted to save it from a cat (he was outside when this happened). Yes, a mouse. Yes, it hurts…a lot.
  • My husband has to be on the job next Thursday. That gives us one week to come up with a room for him (that we can afford) and sufficient money to send him. This is going to be fun.
  • The fridge is giving us fits.
  • Two kittens died.
  • And…so on….

Okay…please excuse my sarcasm, it’s a family trait (on both sides) and our rather strange sense of humor. Sarcasm aside, the thing is, I feel so blessed. Yes, everything that can go wrong, is, to human eyes, going wrong. Yes, we are being ignored/dismissed again (but, having been poor for several years now, we are so very used to that). Yes, money is a major, major issue and without it, Charles won’t have a room and thus won’t have a job and without lots more of it, we won’t be able to move (we aren’t just sitting around hoping for money to somehow come, we are actively trying very, very hard to sell stuff to raise it…it just keeps being needed elsewhere…like paying the bills we’re somewhat behind on (comes from living on unemployment) and fixing the car (again and again)). And, yes, to lots of other, rather stressful, things happening…like no more income (which is what the unemployment was to us).

But, so what? 

God has given my family a great gift these last few years: the gift of poverty. He’s let us see life in a way far too few American Christians get to experience it: from the point of being utterly, completely dependent upon Him for everything. When most folks pray “Give us this day our daily bread”, it’s just a rather pretty part of a rote prayer; for us, it’s fact. There have been so many, many times over this past six years (and even more over the last two years of his being unemployed) that, without God providing for us, we would not have eaten. I know what an empty cupboard (and fridge and freezer) looks like. We know what it feels like to be grateful for food that we don’t much care for. But, then again, we’ve seen God provide for us time and time again and, often, we’ve seen Him provide food that we have thoroughly enjoyed (and wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise).

God is good even when things go wrong. See, His greatest blessings aren’t things, it isn’t money, it isn’t position or power or being thought well of by others in the church. God’s greatest blessing is simply more of Himself. He is our greatest blessing: not just through salvation but through the act of knowing Him as a Father, as a Provider, as a Guide and as a Friend. My family knows that very, very well. God is good even when absolutely everything is going wrong…sometimes He is good simply because He allows every single thing to go wrong. He demonstrates His goodness by making us more and more dependent upon Him.

That’s where my family is now: completely dependent in a Red Sea moment, waiting for God to act.

A few weeks ago, when it looked like things were never going to move at all, when it looked like a job would never come for my husband and our unemployment would run out, I told the Lord, “If we are to be saved, it is You Who must save us.” He acted then and I believe He is going to act now…even though our unemployment has, in fact, run out.

I believe God delights in bringing us into Red Sea moments so that, when we are delivered, we know it was by His hand. I love watching Him act and doing the impossible: changing the night to day, providing where there is no way, bringing peace out of chaos…comfort out of pain…making right, and perfect, what is wrong. I love seeing Him get the glory by doing what few believe can be done.

Right now, by God’s grace, we are in such a position that, if we are to be saved, it is He Who must do the saving, if we are to be delivered, it is He Who must deliver us. I believe He brought us to this moment so that His glory might be revealed.

And I believe that He is very gracious and very good for having done so. May He ever be praised!

Soli Deo gloria!

Posted in Christianity, To trust in God

Packing Days

May 17th  (yesterday)

Today is packing day Number Two. Yesterday was packing day Number One. Somewhere out there is packing day Number Thirty (or Forty or Fifty). {{sigh}}

We’re moving. Two little words filled with such busyness. I regularly dejunk twice a year and I’m not a packrat by anyone’s definition yet it always seems that when a move comes along there’s just way too much stuff to go through before we can pack.

Yesterday we cleaned off the back porch which is used as a play/storage area and I started going through clothes and books. Today we have more to go through on the porch, many more clothes to sort through and many books to make decisions about:hhmmm, does this book go with us, go to the thrift store, get thrown away or can I sell it on Amazon? For a large homeschooling family books are the hardest part about moving. There’s just so many of them accumulated over so many, many years. Sometimes its hard to let them go. This time I must as they are one means of raising the money needed to accomplish this move. After all of the clothes and books and stuff on the porch, then we get to go through everything else God has granted unto us.

God has granted us so much. There’s stuff, yes, but that’s not what I mean. Not all of God’s gifts are things. Sometimes His greatest gifts come in the form of difficulties, impossibilities and trials. At times, unless you really know Him, it can be difficult to realize that you’ve been given a gift because the gift is demands so much of you: so much prayer, so much study, so much faith, so much trust, so much willingness to follow Him wherever He goes even when you cannot see the way yourself. Even when the way is terrifying.

We’ve been the recipients of these kinds of gifts for the last six years. Years that go way beyond the two years my husband spent unemployed. Back then, back about six-and-a-half years ago, I asked the Lord to give us a problem so big that only He could handle it. He did. Today we’re still dealing with it. It wasn’t just one thing but an endless series of things that just go on and on and on, like waves crashing endlessly upon the shore: during this time we’ve dealt with job losses (more than one), miscarriages (ditto), two wayward teens, betrayal by beloved friends, betrayal by close and trusted family members, character attacks in the form of lies and baseless accusations, various health problems in various family members, a cancer scare, endless moves following after jobs (this will be the fifth move) and biting poverty…among others. In light of these things, packing days are easy.

Right now packing isn’t all we’re doing: we’ve got two weeks to find my husband a room that we can afford and get him settled in. Then we’ve got to figure out how to get us all moved to where he is so that we can be a family again. We’re not quite sure how all of this is going to work out. But we do know one thing: God can be trusted. The way is dark, yes, and we still can’t see but after more than 2,000 days of not seeing and following Him anyway, I know Him; I know His character and I know Him to be both agreat God and a good God. No matter how dark the pathway, He deserves our trust: He knows the way even though we ourselves do not. So we’ll follow Him no matter where He leads because, somehow, someway, He will make a way to get my husband down there…and to have us follow Him.

Meanwhile, if you have a great idea for raising a bit of money in a hurry, I’d love to hear it!

For now, I’ve got to get packing. 

Posted in Authentic Christianity, Christianity

Zealous For Whose Glory?

It’s so easy to be zealous of our own glory when we think we are being zealous for the glory of God. Brushing aside compliments received for the work we are doing for God, it’s a natural reaction to point out that God alone deserves and gets all of the glory for anything that we might do.

And, yet, somewhere, somehow, deep down inside we realize that this particular compliment felt just a little bit too good to us for our own good.

We can easily be man-centered and even self-centered without realizing it. All it takes is taking our eyes off of the Cross of Christ and putting them on ourselves for one single second.

One second….

One second spent looking at me and what I did for Him;

One second spend thinking about how someone, somewhere benefitted from what I said, what I did, how I served;

One second centered on my own glory rather than on His.

One second to sin.

It’s so easy to do. It’s so hard to realize that we are doing it.

Paul Washer has it right in this: he doesn’t follow his own publicity. Whether someone praises him or puts him down, he doesn’t know because he doesn’t care to know. God’s glory is all-consuming to him.

That’s as it should be with us all.

So, I beg you, anyone who works for God in any way at all (that ought to be all of us), public or private, it matters not, please listen:

Let’s keep our eyes on the Cross;

Keep our heart centered on God;

Keep our focus on His glory;

Keep ourselves in the Word;

Stay on our knees in prayer;

God’s Word is all-important.

God alone is everything.

The glory of the triune God must be all-encompassing to us.

Anything else is sin.

Posted in Christianity

Review of The Dark Side of Charles Darwin: A Critical Analysis of an Icon of Science by Jerry Bergman, PhD

Both enlightening and depressing “The Dark Side of Charles Darwin: A Critical Analysis of an Icon of Science” by Jerry Bergman is a must read for anyone interested in the origins debate that has raged since the publication of “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” in 1859.

Charles Darwin has long been revered as a brilliant scientist but was he? Or was he rather a  sexist, racist, emotionally unstable husband, immature father, sadistic killer of animals, supporter of the practice of eugenics, physically and psychologically ill man who plagiarized his materials? The evidence in this book would seem to point to the latter.

The world hasn’t had a chance to know the real Charles Darwin…until now.  Dr. Jerry Bergman has opened up the private life of the darling of the evolutionary set and what he presents before us isn’t a pretty picture; it is, however, a scholarly, needful and very welcomed one. Dr. Bergman has done the world a long-needed favor and delved where many might fear to go; in doing so he has written a very thorough and well-researched book on a very troubled and deceitful man.

This book would be perfect for homeschoolers, for church libraries, for pastors or for the average Joe and Jane who are seeking to know the truth.

I received a copy of this book for free from New Leaf Press for purposes of review. I was not required to give a positive review, only a fair and truthful one. My opinions are my own.