Posted in abuse, Anna Wood, Authentic Christianity, discernment

Tamar Weeps: God’s heart on domestic abuse

cryingGod’s Word teaches us that He comforts us in order to make us comforters (2 Corinthians 1: 4). As a victim of abuse, I have received the great comfort of the Lord so many times. As my heart has broken, time and again, over mistreatment by those who should have loved me but either didn’t or weren’t capable of it, He has taken me up and comforted me. It is my desire to share His comfort with others  who walk the terrible and lonely road of domestic abuse. I know this road too well. From birth onward, I’ve walked its craggy passages.

Domestic abuse is alive and sickeningly well and, too often, it makes its presence known in the church of God. The love of Christ can overcome it. Through His love, through His truth, we can help the victims in our midst. I’ve started a new blog, Tamar Weeps (see 2 Samuel 13) to do just that. Let’s learn together, so that we too can become comforters for those that need it so much. Come on over, share your thoughts, your stories, your hope. I hope to see you there.

Posted in Anna Wood, Authentic Christianity, Womanhood

Christians Standing Against Feminism

Titus 2: 2-5, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Proverbs 31: 20, She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

Mothers, are you training your daughters to love their future homes? Are you teaching your sons to value a woman who will? Or are you, like most of us, preparing your daughters to go out and lead? To compete in the world of business? To fit in in the way that society and most Christians tell us is only right?

I get that it’s hard to be the one laughed at for valuing what are considered old-fashioned ideals. When we prepare our daughters to be keepers at home, we’re preparing them for ridicule. The world no longer values women at home. It doesn’t value women or even men at all; the world values self-promotion because the world is run by Satan and Satan is and always has been a self-promoter. And self-promotion goes against everything that the Lord tells us to seek.

We lost a lot when women flocked to the work place. I’m in my early 50’s and I can remember the days when the church ladies handled just about everything that needed to be handled in the local church. Now, I’m not talking about preaching or leading but serving. When a need arose, those ladies were there. If a baby was born, someone was sick, someone died, a family had a calamity, those ladies got busy and set up a schedule for cooking, for cleaning, and for anything else that was needed. And the food they took was real food, most of it grown in their own gardens, and certainly cooked in their own kitchens. The service they rendered was exceedingly valuable but few of us would see it that way these days. In most of our eyes, we’re putting women down to suggest they go cook or clean for someone else–or even for their own family. Really, that is beyond sad.

Titus 2: 5 states that older women are to teach the younger women “… to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Are these things valued in our modern times? No, usually not even among Christians. Do we understand or even care that the Word of God is being blasphemed? Most of us don’t seem to.

Dr. John MacArthur addresses this in a sermon entitled God’s Plan for Younger Women, Part 2: “And all of that so that the Word of God may not be dishonored. It isn’t so much for you, it’s for God’s Word so that it will not be blasphemeo, blasphemed. The honor of Scripture is at stake. And as I said at the beginning, an unbeliever can read this text and know whether we’re obeying it. I mean, what do you think the unbeliever thinks of current Christianity if he knows anything about the Bible? He’d have to say, “Well, Christians certainly aren’t serious about the Bible.” It’s really amazing.”

Feminism is our new gospel, a false gospel, but it’s one that strident, loud, and determined to continue to make its mark. It’s been around in some form since the mid-1800’s. It’s changed colors, styles, and focus, a number of times. Along the way, proponents of it have learned how to promote it so as to make it as appealing as possible. And the world, and the church, bought the lie.

Feminist  Vivian Gornick, had this to say about being a homemaker: “Being a housewife is an illegitimate profession… The choice to serve and be protected and plan towards being a family-maker is a choice that shouldn’t be. The heart of radical feminism is to change that.”

Feminist Robin Morgan, author of Sisterhood Is Powerful: “I do not think I need to stress this point any further. Modern radical feminists do not care about women’s choices. They have an agenda and it is to force women into a mold of their liking and destroy any sort of family unit. Feminists: this is what is actually behind the feminist movement.

This is the voice of what we’ve believed. And we’ve helped them. We’ve raised our daughters to support their cause. The church has engaged the enemy rather than fighting him. We, as God’s people, have failed. And we must repent. I was raised believing some of the lies but God’s Word challenged and answered every single one of them. It will always do that because it, and it alone, is truth and will stand forever.

We can fight the lies but only with the Truth–God’s Word. If we’d only read it, not through our cultural lens, not in order to bend it to feminism’s agenda, just for understanding, and in order to learn and obey, we’d see the truth and the lies of feminism could, and would, be defeated.

Either we’re for God or against Him. It’s time for soul-searching and repentance. If we’re buying the lies of feminism, and know we’re buying the lies of feminism, and continue buying them anyway, we’re against Him.We must love God more than we love the lies we’ve long believed, and we must be willing to take a stand for truth. As for me, I stand for God and I’m ready for battle. Are you?

Posted in Anna Wood, Womanhood

A Woman’s High and Holy Calling

Proverbs 31: 10, Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Proverbs 14: 1, Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

What we’ve long been told about womanhood is an unmitigated lie. Because many women have believed it, their lives are filled with emptiness, a barrenness that speaks of losing their place, of misunderstanding their calling.

The Gospel is not a cultural thing, bending to society’s rules and blending in. It is the truth that sets people free. It is the truth that sets women free. There is a God-given distinctiveness to manhood and womanhood and, properly understood, it is a beautiful thing. That there is a distinctiveness, and that it is good, holy, and purposeful, is a truth that has been misrepresented, misinterpreted, misapplied for so very long.

Much more in is black or white than we have been told, indeed, than we want to believe. The truth of our identity as women, as well as the truth of all that is godly, has been twisted beyond recognition and then painted over and sold on the open market to the highest bidder.

Long ago women stepped on board the “American Success ride” and lost ourselves. Amid the clamor, the sights and sounds, we lost our understanding of truth, of reality, of womanhood, and of God. We invited our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, and our friends to come join us. Spinning round and round on the dizzying ride, as kaleidoscope colors flash in our brains, our uneasy minds are, for a time, put to rest by the sheer beauty, the excitement, the fulfillment, the fun, of it all.

“It is so beautiful, so fulfilling, it must be right.” Adam and Eve thought so, too.

Seduced by the idea that God (and our churches, husbands, and society) have withheld what is good from us, American women have plunged headlong into a boiling cauldron of excess: having more, we must have more yet. More opportunity, more success, more money, more beauty, more things, more excitement, more fulfillment, more, more, more….

As the character Sabrina in the movie of the same name said, “More isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s just more.” 

But having more doesn’t fulfill us so we strive on, content in our discontent. Something is missing but we don’t know what. If we can only do more, be more, then, one day we’ll find the elusive ‘it” that will, at last, bring our lives fulfillment. For now, our lives are exhausting, our hearts are aching, our spirits empty, and our prayers barren. Taking everything and focusing it on us only leads to emptiness. We’ve been lied to. Refusing truth, we’ve believed the lie.

Still all the me-ism goes on: “What do I want? need? deserve? What is good for me?” No talk of obedience to God or duty to parents, husband, children, or the church. All that matters is me.

What happens when, in pursuit of me and what I want, I throw away everything that could have brought me true joy?

What happens when the maddening music stops and the roller-coaster ride of our lives comes to a screeching halt? When we look around us and realize that what had appeared so bright and shiny from our brief stop at the ascent now appears as it truly is: dull, tired, in need of new paint in order to continually keep up the façade?

What happens when the façade fades? When we look around us and all are strangers? When our husbands and children are walking away from us, indifferent to our pleas to come back and be with us for one more ride? A ride, we promise, that will somehow end differently…this time.

What happens when the lights go up and the show of our lives is over and we have nothing of true value to offer to God–what then?

We’ve lived the lie long enough. We’ve listened to the world even as we were drowning in nothingness.

There is Truth and most of us have missed it. The terrible price is the destruction of our lives, our families, our souls, our churches. Husbands dishonored and disrespected. Children not had or tossed aside. Our own femininity dried up like a rose in the desert. And us women: once secure in our spiritual and cultural identities, now with nothing, no one, alone at last, reaping bountifully what we’ve sown so very, very well.

What now? What can we do when we’ve done all that we’ve been told to do and the result is nothing but carnage?

For so long we’ve interpreted our lives, our womanhood, by culture rather than by God’s Word. We must repent of lies told and believed. We must rise up, one woman at a time, and reclaim our calling, our womanly heritage, as women of the Word.

It isn’t easy. Most of what is right is not easy. But right is right even if everyone believes it is wrong. Just because our mothers believed a lie doesn’t make it true. Just because our pastors teach it, our denomination supports it, our culture demands it, doesn’t mean we have to blindly accept it. We must read God’s Word in order to find truth–about our womanhood or anything else. What we want, if it differs from what God commands, doesn’t matter. What our church, our pastor, our denomination “allows” or teaches about our place as women, if it isn’t centered in God’s Holy Word, doesn’t matter. What our culture has to say about womanhood certainly doesn’t matter. The Bible isn’t subject to our culture or to our whims. Only what God says matters.

Proverbs 14: 12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

We can search out Truth.

Men are called by God to be men and to fill the role that God Himself has laid out for them. Women, likewise, are called by Him to be women and to fill the role that God Himself has laid out for women.  A woman’s place is a high and glorious calling but, after decades of being lied to, we’ve forgotten that. We’ve bought the lies, swallowed the poison, and forgotten that our place is a truly beautiful one–not inferior at all, but special, glorious, and perfect. Our place was once cherished but we’ve despised it. Like Esau of old, we women have sold our birthright but, unlike him, if we repent, we can get it back again.

There is joy in true womanhood. Women have been honored by God Almighty in so many, many ways. We demean ourselves and dishonor our God when we ignore our calling to fulfill that of a man. True biblical womanhood is beautiful. It is a privilege given to us by God Himself. It is a high and holy calling.

Posted in Anna Wood, Authentic Christianity, discernment

Are we just another Judas?

You’d have to have your head buried in the sand to not realize that our country has gone totally insane. Actually, we’ve been heading in that direction for a long time now, but recently we’ve gone full steam ahead on insanity. We can argue the whys and wherefores, but the truth of the matter is simple: Our nation has forgotten God. They can’t, and don’t, love Him or His ways because it’s impossible for an unsaved person to care about the things of God. They just know that they want to do what they want to do and what they want seems pretty insane to those who do love God and His Word. Those two opposing forces produces conflict. Because of that conflict, we will be hated. We will be persecuted in one way or another. We will be made to care that our culture hates God with a venomous passion because hating Him will make them hate us. We shouldn’t be surprised at this because Jesus warned us that if the world hated Him, it would also hate us.

Sadly, there’s a high percentage of Americans who claim to be Christians who aren’t really Christian at all. With the insanity heating up as it is, we will find that they will hate us just as much as the culture itself because we will remind them that they aren’t what they claim to be. Followers of Christ should always follow after Christ–He is our head, we are His body–and fake Christians don’t do that. If a body is healthy, it does what the head commands it to do. So should it be with Christians. We cannot get our directions from culture, from friends, from public schools, from politicians, from what’s popular in Hollywood or from any other place; if we’re serious about our faith, our directions can only come from God alone. For many this will not be true; for us, it must be true.

It’s time for those of us who love Christ to examine ourselves according to the commands of God. Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey Him. My question for you, and for me, is this: Do we really love Him? If so, we must be obedient to Him. We cannot be obedient to our own desires, we cannot turn away when obedience gets tough, we cannot falter when we’re being laughed at or persecuted because of our faith. Jesus alone is everything. If we live for Him here, if we are faithful to Him, He will be faithful to us. But if we do what so many who claim to be Christians have done–deny Him by our words, choices, and actions–we are proving ourselves to be just another Judas. There’s many ways that the church hasn’t been fully obedient to God’s Word. We’ve loved our entertainment too much, cared too much what others have thought of us and too little what God thinks of us, we’ve given ourselves over to lust and immodesty, and so many, many, many other ways. Our culture is hedonistic in nature so it is in these ways that so many of us have failed. We’ve been more concerned about ourselves than we have been for His glory. Now we’re paying for that. Join me in seeking our country’s repentance. Join me in repenting for ourselves, our families, and our churches. If we as Christians had stood up all along and said “Here I stand” and meant it, we wouldn’t find ourselves in the spiritual morass we’re in today. We have no time to waste. The time to repent, the time to rise up for His glory, is now.

Soli Deo gloria!

Posted in Anna Wood, Authentic Christianity

Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda secundum verbum De

Rick Warren is calling the Pope “Holy Father”. Joel Osteen is calling Obama a good Christian. Do these men, men who claim to be preachers, even know what they’re saying? Do they care what the Word of God says? Doubtful. There’s a dearth of knowledge of scripture in this country (and in much of the world). We know our sports heroes, the newest TV reality stars, and the élite among celebrities but God and His Word? Who has time for that?

Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda secundum verbum De means “The church reformed and always being reformed according to the word of God.” Did you get that? “According to the word of God”? How can the church be right, teach right, do right, if the people who make up the church and the pastors who lead the church, don’t know God’s Word? Don’t even care to know it, in many cases.

A Barna study was conducted recently to find out what Americans think of the Bible. The results were telling: 88 percent of the responders said they owned a Bible yet 57 percent of those said that they read their Bibles four times a year or less. Only 26 percent said that they read the Bible regularly (which was defined as four times a week or more). How can we know that which we do not read?  How can we gain a greater understanding of God’s will if we spurn the truth He’s laid out for us? How can we have churches that are growing daily in the knowledge, understanding and wisdom of God’s Word if they aren’t spending time in it?

If you want to make this world a better place, you aren’t going to do so by hugging a tree, protesting a war or taking part in a demonstration. If you want to make the world a better place, read God’s Word long enough, thoroughly enough, so that you actually begin to understand it and teach your children to do the same. Join a church that loves the Bible and teaches the Bible rather than one that has its own little pet sections of scripture, pet doctrines, pet ideas, and ignores, twists, or misinterprets everything else. Be an example to the believers, encourage the believers, to do read and grow in knowledge of truth.

When Jesus returns, and one day, however near or far that might be, He will, He won’t be returning as “Jesus, meek and mild”, as a loving Savior seeking the lost and laying His life down for them. He’s already done that. When He returns, He’ll return as Judge. He’ll be executing judgement on those who do not know God, on those who have spurned His truth and ignored His Word. There’s still time to seek Him, to repent of your sins, to obey Him and serve Him. One day there won’t be.

For the church to honor and obey God, it has to honor and obey His Word. We need preachers who love God’s holy Word more than they love their own pet doctrines, their own denominations, their own twisted up, messed up, ideas. We need men who will repent of their waywardness and turn to the only source of truth: God’s Word. If the church is to be what it can be and what it should be, it must start by being willing to be reformed, to return to the truth, “according to the word of God”.

Soli Deo gloria!

Posted in discernment

Those Who Would Preach

I’ve sat under many a wimpy preacher. Men who cared more about their style and presentation than they did the Word of Truth. Those who carefully polished every expression, every word so as to receive a certain reaction. Men with a 100 different ties in their closet so that they never had to wear the same one on any given Sunday throughout the year (truth!). Men who didn’t understand the Father, were afraid of the Lion of Judah and unfamiliar with the Holy Spirit but who preached anyway (though not well). Those who thought it novel to use entertainment as a mode of presenting God’s Word. I’ve sat under men who cared more about the Sunday dinner waiting upstairs in the “Fellowship Hall” than they did piercing the hearts of men; those who were apt to dismiss quickly if their favorite team was playing that afternoon. I’ve listened to men who stepped up to the pulpit promising to proclaim the Word of truth only to let us know how very afraid of it they were themselves (“I never ask for wisdom. To me that is just plain dumb. You know what is going to happen: you’re going to hurt! I’m not that brave.”) but who were quick to try to hold others to standards they themselves couldn’t even begin to comprehend.

I’m tired of such preaching. I’m tired of most of what passes as preaching today. I’m tired of having my time wasted. More importantly, I’m tired of having the Word of God profaned by those who claim to know it but don’t and who twist it to their, and our, destruction. I’m sick of sitting down to worship only to have my time with my Lord invaded by frivolity, by endless stories that draw no one to holiness, by sickening attempts to tie God’s truth into modern culture (want the truth? The Word of God doesn’t need to be made relevant to modern culture; that “culture” will fade away. Only God’s Word lasts; it is IT that we bend to, not it to us.) All that such preachers are doing is feeding the flesh and that never helped anyone live a holy life here or make it to heaven in the end.

I’m not a preacher. I’m not even a man so I’m not even qualified to preach. Thus, I can’t speak to preachers man-to-man (nor would I want to try). Yet, I’ve seen these things first hand (over and over) and I must speak out. Lest you think it is a problem limited to one congregation or to one denomination, allow me to digress a moment: I’ve lived a rather vagabondish-life (not my desire) and because of that, I’ve been a member of many, many different congregations and several different denominations. Rarely have I found a church which doesn’t suffer from these problems with their preacher(s).  It is a problem that is caused by widespread ignorance of the Word of God.

I have a son who has been called to preach. It is my desire that he be as unlike the men I’ve referred to as night is from day. That is his desire, also. He immerses himself in the Word and he prays. He seeks out proven writers (frequently the older ones) and listens to the bold-for-the-truth preachers and he learns. For now, he is safe. But what will happen “out there” when he is among others who are “called” to preach? When he is sitting at the foot of men who are supposed to be teaching him to understand God’s Word? I’ve thought much about this. I’ve spent much time in prayer over it. I’ve known young men who went to seminary who came out pretty worthless and I’ve known men who have never formally studied who handled well the Word of Truth. With that in mind (and with much prayer), I offer the following advice both to my son and to others whom it might help:

Before you decide to preach, find out if you can do anything else (anything else at all) and if you can, do it for you haven’t been called by God to open His Word to His people or to the lost. If you are sure that preaching is where your heart is, get a heart check by those who know you best; perhaps they see something in you that you yourself cannot see that might disqualify you or delay you from being immediately qualified. Most importantly seek God’s will on it; if He has called you, He will prepare you and you will have no doubts and neither will anyone else.

Once you are sure, bury yourself in God’s Word and in prayer (which you ought to have been doing all along); if you don’t hunger for the Word and for time with God in prayer, now is the time that you must go to Him and ask forgiveness and seek His help. Learn to be with God in praise, in thanksgiving, in petition. Understand that intercessory prayer, while important, is the lesser of prayers; the greater is simply praising God and asking to know Him. Pray that God will bring you to the point where you simply want to be in His presence as often as you can and as long as you can (and that you come to desire to return there again and again). Beg Him to open His Word to you so that you might have knowledge of It, might understand It and have wisdom to live It, teach It and apply Its truth in all ways. Ask for spiritual eyes that you might see as God sees and a heart that loves, and hates, as His. Ask to be made holy, godly and righteous (and the wisdom to know the difference). Teach your mind to rest on the things of God. Spend the night watches meditating on His Word, meet the morning with Him in prayer.

Seek to be Spirit-led rather than seminary-taught. While seminary isn’t necessarily wrong (and can be very right if you find a God-directed one), a bad one can get in the way of you knowing and understanding God’s Truth. In that case it is far better to immerse yourself in the Word while asking that the Holy Spirit teach you (as He has many other preachers who have blessed this world). Who better to teach God’s Truth than the Author Himself? As you study, pray. As you pray, study. Pray that the prompting and probing of the Holy Spirit might be a reality to you always. Let your sins break your heart. Let the fact that you are a sinner with sinful desires continue to break your heart. Let the sins of the world, of the church, bring you to tears. Most of all, pray that your heart might be pierced through that your Lord isn’t everywhere honored (as He so richly deserves). Pray to love Truth and to hate every false way. Doing this will equip you better than those who boast far more credentials than you but who pray much less. (But if God sends you to seminary-GO!)

While preparing to study, while studying, after studying while preparing to teach, go to God and ask Him to break you and take all worldly desires from you (that of money, success, popularity, the flesh); ask that He do whatever it takes to make you a man after His own heart. Pray for spiritual discernment (for there is little among preachers today). Repent daily of not loving Him enough (for surely you don’t nor can you ever do so), repent daily of known and unknown sins; let nothing come between you and Him. Ask God to bring you to the place where He is not the number one thing that you desire but all that you desire (so that you could live without anyone or anything else if only you have Him). Let all  of your relationships bow to yours with God (for then you will be a fit son, a loving husband, a good father, a kind friend, a servant to all and an able expositor of the Word of Truth).

When the time to preach arises resist all urges to incorporate worldly ways into your message; that has long been done  and God’s people have suffered much from it. Keep the Cross central in your message always; begin there and end there. Pray before and during preparation and then pray again before you preach; ask the Lord to know His Truth and to be wise in your words, pray that hearts might be readied and be pierced, and be bold in your denunciation of sin. Pray to be kept humble. Preach only to please God. Your human listeners are not who you are ultimately preaching for; your Audience is an Audience of One. God Himself is the One Whom you must please with every single word that comes out of your mouth (and out of your heart). You will give an account of all that you have said in the pulpit (for we all will give account); preach that you might face Him having preached to honor Him.

Preach every sermon as if it will be your last to deliver or your people’s last to hear for it well may be. When your preaching is over, pray that God might use the words that you have delivered to His glory alone (and never to yours). Pray for humility as you gather words of praise from those who have been blessed; pray for wisdom and discernment as you gather criticism from those whose ears weren’t itched by your message. Then, as others go off to play and to talk of things of the world, retreat to a place where you can be alone with your Lord and seek His face and prepare for the time when you once again are used by Him to open the Word of life to those to whom He has drawn. Then, and then alone, will you be an able preacher.


Posted in Authentic Christianity, Christianity, discernment

Brothers, get serious about being a Husband and Father by Gene Long

Husbands, the chief purpose of your life is no longer for you to love God and glorify Him forever. Oh brothers it is so much deeper than that. Your chief purpose is to ensure that you and your household, your wife, your children, along with yourself, would love God and glorify Him forever. When your wife stands before the judgment seat of God she will answer for her sin. When your children stand before the throne they will answer for their sin. But when you, brother, stand before the judgment seat of God, you will answer for your sins, your wives sins, and your children’s sins. Do any of us even slightly fathom the responsibility that is upon us as husbands?

Scripture speaks nowhere of being one flesh with your children, nor with your neighbor or with God. You are pronounced to be one flesh with your wife. And you are commanded to lay down your life for your wife alone. This is your ultimate ministry.

What greater privilege could a man have? Would you dare go through your day without taking the time to study God’s Word and pray as a couple and family? Will you lazily sit watching American Idol while your children are left to find their own way? Anything in your life that displaces your role and duty to your family is an idol and it is sin. Football, hunting, cars, boats, television, politics. Do these take from the sanctification of your children and wife? What example are you setting for your sons and daughters?

Brothers, do you wake up in the morning to serve your family? To teach them, admonish them, encourage them? Do you lie down at night in prayer for the souls of your loved ones? Praying for wisdom and strength and diligence that you might be the man that God has called you to be. Think on these things. What can you do to make your home a place of sanctification?

*Perhaps you would bring your family together around the table for meals.
*Stay at the table after supper and have devotions together. Bathe your family in the Word of God. Write it on your doorposts.
*Cut the cable to the TV.
*Get you budget in order and give more to the Lord so that you may bring your wife home from work.
*Homeschool your children. Build a hedge around them as you train them to be soldiers in God’s army.
*Commit your family to gather weekly with the saints in corporate assembly and do not allow excuse.
*Honor the Lord’s Day in your home.

Deeply contemplate your commission as head of your home and cry out to God for help. Quit you like Men! Lead, provide and protect your family with authority from God, but let that authority be exercised with gentleness, grace and love.

Procreate! God tells us to be fruitful and multiply and proclaims the man blessed who has his quiver full. Give your wife children for which she can nurture and care. Pursue zealously the opportunity to create God honoring men and women from your home.

Brothers, get serious about being a husband and father. Nothing… NOTHING, in life outweighs your call to lead your home in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord. May your motto be,
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”