Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

The Best Wedding Dress Of All May 2, 2011

Filed under: applications,Galatians,Isaiah — womenembracingfaith @ 11:38 pm
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The Bible is written, like all good literature, with lots of similes and metaphors. Visual images to help us remember spiritual principles. As you think about The Royal Wedding of Kate and William, think about this:

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations (Isaiah 61:10-11).

Galatians has taught us that the gospel dispels all our notions of being good enough to be accepted by God. Paul’s argument is that noone can keep the law perfectly enough. Princess Catherine and Prince William can never have a perfect enough life together to earn salvation in the end. Even royalty must relay on faith in Christ Jesus. No one’s deeds will ever cut it. The history recorded in the Old Testament vividly shows this. Salvation is by “hearing with faith–just as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Galatians 3:5-6).

It is important to your spiritual health to realize this righteousness is “counted” to you. You have been dressed up in pure deeds, thought, desires just as Kate and William were attired in such beautiful clothes for their wedding. Paul explains this as “imputed righteousness.” It is “alien” to us; foreign to our human nature. It is something we must put on. The clothes are all laid out before you. They are the perfect life, motive, desires of Jesus. In Romans 4, Paul even quotes a Psalm to explain this “covering:”

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blesssed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin” (Psalm 32:1-2 quoted in Romans 4:5-8).

So remind yourself of this principle when your conscience condemns you, sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly. When you’ve lied about your mother-in-law; snapped your husband’s head off; blew up at the kids again; failed to train your children. Turn from your sin and rejoice in the righteousness of Christ Jesus. The rejoicing is important. What you rejoice about is crucial. It is not all about you. It is not your being perfect that saves you. Isaiah wrote that God takes delight in his people who are so dressed up (see chapter 62).

Of course, these clothes do not give you a license to sin, to do whatever you wish, to be self-absorpted. Instead, thinking about the righteousness and sacrifice of Jesus is to lead to praise and thankfulness–to a song in your heart. What are you singing today?

Or are you seeking to dress yourself in doing better than some do, not lying TOO much, staying sexually pure except for those little thoughts every now and then, etc etc. Paul tried all that, you know. Working himself into heaven by keeping laws. He was tripped up by his covetous thoughts, and then realized he really did need a Savior and these clothes.

As you remember this principle, the focus becomes more on God than on you. It is Jesus who has bought these beautiful clothes for you. God will even cause you to praise Him….to be thankful He delights in you. Your responsibility is to rejoice in Him. Here is where knowing the doctrine and thinking about it affects how we feel, as well as what we do. Jesus’ purity and perfect fulfilling of the law is the best wedding dress of all. Even more exquisite than Kate’s.

 

The Importance of Context To Application April 25, 2011

Filed under: applications,Galatians — womenembracingfaith @ 2:19 pm
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READING GALATIANS
Please read Galatians 5-6

It’s hard to take a fresh look at familar passages that have been misused and misinterpreted. This is certainly one of those. I’m writing this blog chiefly for women who want to think as they read the Bible. Not to toss out feelings, behavior, life and heart issues but to figure out the doctrine first and then apply it to all those areas. Doctrine first; then experience.

Doctrine simply means “teachings.” This includes looking for what the Bible says about its major themes of redemption and God’s gracious sovereignty. Over the last thirty years, I’ve heard a lot of things taught from these chapters that violate looking at the theme of Galatians and that of the Bible as a whole. This omission has resulted in jumping into subjects that are not covered in this letter. It has been said that John Calvin had the ability to go as far as a passage allowed, and remain quiet on what was not clear. To be silent where the scripture was silent. Failure to do that has led many into applying “stretches of the truth,” leading to mistakes in application to the heart and life. It is hard to put those teachings out of our mind when we study a passage for ourselves.

This is our eighth lesson on Galatians. By now, saying that Justification by Faith Alone is the theme of this book is redundant. It’s clear, isn’t it? So any application made here must relate to this theme. In chapter 5, Paul does get into application. He is telling them to be careful how they stand up to false teachers. To watch their own attitudes and words and actions. He wanted them to be led by the Holy Spirit and to note the difference between Christian behavior and that of the person who doesn’t have the hope and promise of the Spirit’s presence (Galatians 5:15-26). The promise of the Holy Spirit’s work in their life has been a sub-topic all along, and he gets into the Spirit’s work in our lives toward the end of chapter five. But, this is not a treatise on sanctification or how we are made more holy in this life. It is in the context of how to act and be while standing firmly on the doctrine of justification.

Taking verses out of context, isolating them so to speak, can lead to major error. “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14). This is a classic one to take out of this context on justification. It has been used over the years by those who sever the Old Testament from the New. “You’re not under the law,” they say. “You are freed from all that. We live in a different time, a new dispensation. Just listen to the Spirit; he will lead you to do what is right.” Now you know this passage is about not adding one little thing to what Christ Jesus has done on the cross for us, not about whether the Old Testament is useful for today or not. In fact, Paul uses the Old Testament examples to prove his points about Justification by Faith. To tell us to belittle the Old Testament into just a historical book of the Jews violates even using it like Paul did here. But, to say you can do what you feel like is also way out of context.

Another frequently mis-used verse is, “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Gal. 5:18). His point is to encourage us not to gratify our own desires while standing firm on the gospel. He is not counseling us to toss out the Old and do what we wish in a new era. But, if you take that verse out of the chapter and quote it, you could conclude that all you need now for life and Godliness is the Spirit’s leading disregarding the Old Testament or even the Ten Commandments.

Paul tried to make the point here that in standing up to false teachings we need to be very careful and watchful of ourselves. Not to seek gratification of our own desires (such as a desire to look smart), but to think of others and to remain kind, gracious, providing for gospel teachers, doing what is good. Christians have the hope of being gradually renewed by the Spirit, but these warnings about sin are very real. The Bible’s themes of Renewal and Redemption are a backdrop to Galatians’ theme of justification through faith alone. One day the universe would be renewed back to how He created it in the first place. But, in the meantime, we need to be carefui how we act, think, and what we desire–even when opposing wrong teaching. He acknowledged how the need for grace remains even though we have the promise and hope of the Spirit. Paul ended this letter on that note: “Grace …be with your spirit..”

My reason for bringing all this up is I want you to think as you read the Bible. To reconnect with historical Christianity and the faith of the Apostles. Don’t take a verse out of its context, memorize it, and then use it as a sword against others or yourself. Instead, do your best to grasp the meaning of the writer before you apply the passage to how you feel, think, act, worship, live. Spiritual experience follows right thinking, not the other way around.

Paul wrote Galatians five to seven years before he wrote to the Romans. His theme in Romans is the same as Galatians, and just as clear. That is why Martin Luther was so struck by the contrast between his works-oriented Catholicism and Justification by Faith Alone as he read Romans. There is more detail in Romans, and a careful study of it would benefit you now after this Galatian study. May I recommend Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ multi-volume set or one book from it?

I hope these lessons on Galatians profited you. Perhaps a reading of Matthew Henry’s commentary on Galatians would help you with your applications. He died before getting to Galatians, but a group of like-minded men followed his technique and finished the New Testament for him. It has been widely used since the early 1700’s.

My belief is that we, as Christians, do best when we study a specfic book while we are reading other portions of Scripture. That is why I like the system of Bible reading put out by Banner of Truth. You have to adapt it to your current lifestyle and pressures and do what you can. But, this system works to help you think and feel and apply as you read.

 

Profiting From Biographies January 20, 2011

Filed under: applications,Teen Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 6:03 am

LOOKING AT A MODEL HELPS US BUILD OUR HOUSE

I begin my new year reading a Christian biography. What I’m after is an example of how someone in a different era applied the scriptures within their culture and to their everyday life at the time. Right now I’m reading the life of J. Graham Miller, “One Step Nearer Home.” It is about his work in New Zealand and New Hebrides. He was just a few years older than my father, so I’ve enjoyed that. Banner of Truth published it. Hope this will help you.

“Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.” (I Corinthians 10:6)

“I not only sinned with a high hand myself, but made it my
study to tempt and seduce others upon every occasion.
I eagerly sought occasion, sometimes to my own hazard
and hurt. One natural consequence of this was a loss of
favor with my new captain…. Besides, I had a little of that
unlucky wit which can multiply troubles and enemies to its
possessor….But let me not fail to praise that grace which
could pardon, that blood which could expiate, such sins as
mine… I, who was the willing slave of every evil, possessed
with a legion of unclean spirits, have been spared and saved,
and changed, to stand as a monument of His almighty power
forever.”1

His sinful attitude not only led to a bad relationship with his ship’s captain but eventually landed John Newton into virtual slavery to a slave-trader in Africa where even his deliverance from that did not turn him to God! He went on to become a commercial ship’s captain making his money transporting people from Africa to be sold as slaves. But, eventually, he could write, “Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me!” a hymn still popular today. His life has indeed become a memorial to God’s unmerited favor in saving sinners. After all, the Holy Spirit does not come to bring the pure and right to repentance, but sinners like John Newton or you or I. These are the kind of stories weneed to hear, don’t you think?

OUR HEROES BECOME ROLE MODELS

Christian biography is helpful to us. It shows how people of the past applied biblical principles. We all need role models and heroes. Knowledge of how people in the past worked out the Bible can help us work it out for ourselves. If Christians become our heroes, we are more likely to follow in their footsteps. William Carey could inspire us to missionary zeal, John Newton to turning to causes of justice, William Pierce to hard work and kindness, Ann Judson to helping our husband, Charles and Susie Spurgeon to having a romantic marriage. Have you teen ever heard of any of these people? Our Christian heritage has often been sadly overlooked.

There are a lot of ways to get into biographical material. I love letters and journals with just a quick outline of the life enclosed. These give you a more intimate look into the person than a formal biography. Autobiographies give you opinions tucked in among the life story. They add color and a “real person” ambiance to the read. In our computer age, everyone likes short quotes instead of digging through the lengthy biography. That might be a way to perk up a story but isolated quotes don’t compare to an up-close look at the person. But, since you are doing what you can, let the teen chose his preference. Getting them into this process of looking at how others lived out their Christian values is what counts.

Remember, all of this coaching of skills and building a spiritual house is for the purpose of godliness. Speaking of my friend and pastor, Ernest Reisinger, his biographer says,
“I have been edified by his life story, in seeing what God has
been pleased to do through an imperfect man. I long for others
to know it too. Let the facts speak for themselves,” said Geoff Thomas.
Being built up– made stronger by another’s example and acknowledging God’s grace to them– is what reading biography is all about. That is the skill you are trying to develop in yourself and your teen. This tool is especially good for constructing your roof and planting your landscaping. It is all very personal–this observable life and good deeds. Others see it and know that you have built some devotional “walls” and they may even wonder about those doctrinal foundations. Helping you to see how someone else has applied the scripture to how they act toward others or what they do with the opportunities before them, biographies give you a different perspective.

SOME IMPORTANT LESSONS

There are always lessons to learn as well as thinking skills. For instance, Ernie Reisinger tells how the Sunday School he attended had him memorize some Christian facts, but forgot to point him to Christ or tell him of the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. He went on to be a “20th century pagan!”3 That might influence a teen to teach Sunday School or help out in Bible School with an evangelistic message.

Another lesson might be the way they approach work and Christian duty. The following is from William Carey by Mary Drewery:

Everyone who ever worked alongside William Carey pays tribute
to his dogged persistence… Certainly the young shoemaker must have required all the doggedness of which his character was capable during the years he spent in Piddington. He admitted that though he could cope with shoe-making, he was not successful at running a business. Under-nourished and constantly struggling against the persistent cough and fever that plagued him, Carey endeavoured not only to scrape a living for seven people, but also to preach and study.4

How a person turns out is sometimes a big surprise. William Carey developed into a Bible translator, college professor, and missionary who took the gospel to India. His persistence and hard work are renown. “Why not find out by reading about him?” you could ask.

“Amazing Grace” is the most recorded song in history so far or at least that what I’ve been told. John Newton’s autobiography stirred his generation and made his ministry of letter writing and preaching accessible and effective. His sailing career, his slave trading, and his dramatic conversion all attested to the grace and mercy of God.

“The Lord had now to all appearances given me up to
judicial hardness; I was capable of anything. I had not the least fear of God before my eyes, nor, so far as I
remember, the least sensibility of conscience. I was
possessed of so strong a spirit of delusion that I believed
my own lie, and was firmly persuaded that after death I
should cease to be. Yet the Lord preserved me!”5

He wrote this in 1764, twelve years before Thomas Jefferson and John Adams formulated America’s plea for independence. See how it points to the biblical principle of God’s all-powerful grace in our salvation, bringing hope to your teen who might be into all kinds of sin? You could “casually” mention Newton’s experience when your teen’s classmate or friend gets addicted to drugs or alcohol or sexual impurity.

A lot has been written on the lives of Christian men, but not much has been done for us feminine minds. Mrs. Robert E. Lee by John Perry is a very valuable book because the author investigates her spiritual life. If you visit Washington, D. C., you can stand in the rooms where Robert E. and Mary Lee were engaged, raised their family, where daughter Agnes came to know the mercies of Christ. Seeing Mary Lee’s garden and her slave’s quarters and then reading of her Christian perseverance under great loss during the War Between the States personalizes the emotional side of Mary Lee’s life. Mary put aside her grievances and personal losses to keep on believing and serving Christ. Mary wrote during the 1860’s to her daughter, Mildred, about turning to Christ,
“Do not be discouraged because you see so much in yourself
that is vile and sinful. That is the sure work of the Holy Spirit.
Before His influence was shed into your heart, you could see
none of your faults. It was like coming into the parlor some
cloudy morning. All the dust & litter of the room would not be visible. But let a bright ray of sunshine gleam in & how you would see every particle of dust! So the Holy Spirit has shined into your heart & you are astonished at what you see there. He shows all these defilements to you that He may cleanse them & daily you must pray for his purifying influence…
Do not doubt for a moment His power & His willingness to receive you…He will keep you safe. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will give you peace & joy the world knows not of.”6
This could make a trip to Washington even more profitable!

Remember the goal of all of these skills is to stretch ourselves toward godliness. You might believe it was wrong of this family to own another human being, but part of profiting from history and biography is to walk in another time and another’s shoes. The mark of Christ is clearly on the Lee family.

ESPECIALLY FOR GIRLS

Since so many biographies are about men, girls need to learn to pull out the spiritual lessons from the male stories. Do this again through your casual questions; your goal is to teach them to think. Ask the right questions to do this. For instance, What were the difficulties of his life? How did he overcome them? Was his wife or mother mentioned? How did she influence him? What could you learn from their relationship?

Girls are always interested in romance. So lead them into reading about marriages of famous Christians. Teach them to scan a biography, looking through the table of contents or the index for pages revealing these intimate relationships. (Scanning is a reading skill they should have been introduced to by their sophomore year in high school.) Scanning for this information might pique their interest in the whole story. Be sure to have them do this with George Whitefield by Dallimore! Scanning through men’s lives can teach girls valuable lessons.

Edna Gerstner does this for us in Jonathan and Sarah. She gives family stories in novel form, based on the life of this foremost leader of American theology.
Sarah promoted the wise building of her home by respecting her
husband’s nearly thirteen hours a day of study time and managing
her eight children through the running of a disciplined household.7
Now that is a good lesson for today’s young women to grasp! Mrs. Gerstner has also scanned the life of John Calvin for us and has written another novel about his wife, Idelette. This reading skill of scanning is very useful for us ladies!

Perhaps my favorite biography from the 1990’s is Sharon James’ My Heart In His Hands illustrating through practical stories the doctrine of God’s providence in the life of Ann Judson, America’s first foreign missionary.
The intensity of the spirituality of Ann Judson was matched
only by the compelling drama of her story. Her courage in
leaving America, her dedication in insisting that her husband
remain with the young church while she sought medical help
abroad, her loyalty during Adoniram’s imprisonment and her
disregard of personal risk seem almost superhuman. Yet
she was only too human in that she suffered greatly; she was
not hard, insensitive or cold. She was a woman who loved
intensely, loved her husband, loved her children, loved the
people of Burma, but above all loved her God.8

Another good source is Broadman Press’s accounts of Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon. Some of these are written with the pre-teen girl in mind. But, you get the idea. Find the story that will capture the imagination of your teen, ask the right questions to promote the right lessons and the right thinking.

BOYS NEED MEN

Besides John Newton’s autobiography, another young man that might capture the imagination of your son is that of George Whitefield by Arnold Dallimore. Between 1737 and 1770, Whitefield made seven trips to the American colonies, preaching up and down the eastern seaboard riding horseback to do it. Boys love adventure and need models of zeal, hard work, and sacrifice. Ask the questions that will show the hardship of travel in America in those days. Why was he willing to endure such stresses? The following quote from Dallimore shows one impact of Whitefield’s zeal:

When the present author is stirring at 7 in the morning, he
frequently reminds himself that Whitefield had been active
since 4. Arising at that early time, he spent the first hour in
communion with God, reading and praying over a portion of the
Scriptures, praising God and also interceding with Him for lost
souls in general and for several in particular. At 5 he preached,
and virtually always to a host of men and women. John Newton,
the converted slavetrader, stated, ‘I have seen Moorfields as full
of torches at 5 in the morning as the Haymarket is on a threatre
night.’ And by 7 Whitefield had often set out on an evangelistic
journey or was writing letters or meeting the first of the number
who came seeking spiritual advice.9

Besides exposing the pre-teens/teens to quality biographies, using Bible study material to focus on a person is a good way to show them how to ask the right questions and look for character traits they could emulate. Whether you study these as a family or encourage them to study them on their own is open to your family habits. Roger Ellsworth has divided the life of David into manageable chapters with easy to pick up on biblical principles and practical lessons. For instance,

Mercy is the grandest thing in this tired old world. Mercy is
showing kindness and compassion. It may be directed to
those who are in desperate need and cannot help themselves.
It may be directed to those who have offended us in some way.
It is always directed to those who have no right to expect anything
from us….In this passage, we have a marvelous display of mercy.
Here is Mephibosheth, the grandson of King Saul and the son of
Jonathan. What a miserable figure he cuts in these verses!…
But, David, in great, generous mercy, showed kindness to him.10
He then goes on to compare David’s mercy with Christ’s mercy to to himself, using his own experience to make real the biblical principle. This is the kind of biographical lesson our teens need to here. All in two double spaced pages!

Another book to help do this with girls is William Jay’s Lectures on Female Scripture Characters, written in the 1850’s but republished in 2004 by Sprinkle Publications. He wrote this after many years of studying and preaching with the aim of helping women to apply biblical principles by examples. He relates the story of fourteen women in the Bible, pulls out the spiritual principles and applies it. For instance, he carefully notes that any conjecture as to Mary Magdalene’s being a former prostitute is just that–conjecture with no biblical basis. Then he goes on to point out her deliverance from dreadful suffering and peril. His application is that we have also been delivered and we, like Mary, should use all we have for the glory of Christ.11 (William Jay, Lectures on Female Scripture Characters, (Sprinkle Publications, Harrisonburg, Va., 2004), p. 53-56.) You would probably need to use this as a commentary, pulling out the lessons to then teach during family Bible study or pass on to your teen in a more casual setting. His warm application of biblical principles and his high regard for women make it worth your efforts. Always remember the power of examples to illustrate biblical principles.

“We must not, therefore, make the experience of others, in all respects, a rule to ourselves, nor our own a rule to others. These are common mistakes, and productive of many more. My case has been extraordinary; I have hardly met a single one resembling it.”12

Look at the quote from John Newton above. Experiences of others, whether from church history or biblical examples, can make biblical principles more clear for us. But, we should never use our own experiences or those of others as a club to force people into one mold. John Newton said in 1764 that his deliverance from a state of hardened willful sin was a magnification of God’s mercy toward sinners, but was no guarantee of deliverance to another. Overriding his own experience was the sovereignty of God to show mercy to whom He wished.13 A good example of this is to look at the relative smooth road American Christians have experienced since World War II contrasted to the British Puritans of the late 1600’s who were persecuted for their faith, had high infant mortality rates, suffered plagues etc. It would be a gross misapplication of biblical principles to claim that since Americans have been prosperous and their children healthy, they obviously were more favored by God than the Puritans. To give another example, William Jay preached in the same church for more than sixty years and his life story illustrates the fruitfulness of a long ministry in one place reaping what you sow. But, it would be a mistake to make that a “rule” for all pastors, saying to leave one church for another is wrong. The pastor who moves is still going to reap what he sows, but Jay’s long ministry should not become a club to whip him into guilt or make him stay where he is!

I see this happening frequently in the area of child rearing and discipline. One person finds a method that works for them. That method then becomes a “rule” for other parents. “We must all adopt this approach for successful kids!” is the cry. Don’t bet on it–even with methods Christians currently approve. That is making a life experience a rule for others. What does this have to do with you? Your goal is to train your teen to think correctly and to profit from the examples of others. Ask the right questions, coach. For example:

What is the general foundational principle you see in this life story (or incident)?
What biblical theme does John Newton’s salvation illustrate?
What lessons can you learn from Mary Lee’s life?

(Not every wife has to knit socks for the army like Mary Lee. But, keeping on believing in God’s faithfulness, trusting in His promises to never leave them and remaining faithful in performing duties are principles Mary Lee’s life makes crystal clear. And those principles would apply to every woman whether black or white, Hispanic or European or Asian.)

So do what you can. Expose them to the best. Model before them. Keep asking the right questions until their thinking is habitual. You are helping them put the roof on and landscaping their spiritual house so they can have fuller assurance they are the Lord’s redeemed. And don’t try to put an old head on a young body! They might not respond positively now, but, who knows, maybe as adults they will fly to biographies in their pursuit of holy and wise living.

READ BIOGRAPHIES FOR MODELS OF HOW TO BUILD YOUR SPIRITUAL HOUSE

 

A Father’s Smile, Hand, and Heart January 26, 2010

Filed under: applications — womenembracingfaith @ 8:58 am
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I often quote Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a London pastor who was Reformed and believed in applying the Bible to everyday experiences.  He used to read the Puritans.  I’m sure he must have read the following quote from Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish Puritan.  I hope it helps you see our Father’s smile of understanding and compassion on whatever your circumstances are right now . (See blog for Jan. 5, 2010.)

“I pray you learn to be worthy of his pains who correcteth; and let him wring, and be ye washed; for he hath a Father’s heart, and a Father’s hand, who is training you up, and making you meet for the high hall.”

 

A Father’s Love January 5, 2010

Filed under: applications,Romans,Teen Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 5:22 am
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Sometimes we all need help to apply:  “For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” (Romans 8:28). What losses are you grieving  this January day?

We need to make sense of  this verse first, fit it into the sovereignty of God.  I don’t mean figuring out “Why is this happening to me?….” but seeing that a Father’s love is always back of our life’s events.  A father who is kind, patient, full of mercy, and good will.  One who smiles…Your circumstances are tugging at your heart, at a cross with what you desire…revealing discontent, bitterness, anger.  You are blocked in, there’s not much you can do about things. The key is to see the sovereign God as your loving Father.  He is your Father because you are “in Christ.”  You have been declared perfect.  Everything is all right between you and God. You are covered by Jesus’ perfect life and His sacrifice on the cross (Romans 3-5).  God cares about you even though what is happening to you is not what you want right now.

WORKING IT OUT

Getting hold of these biblical teachings helps change our attitude about what is happening to us.  You have to think those concepts out, work them like kneading bread.  That “attitude adjustment” makes all the difference.  After this understanding and change, we will feel it in our hearts when the Holy Spirit comforts and consoles us, and our love for the Lord Jesus wells up within us.

The following is my paraphrase from several letters written by Samuel Rutherford in the 1630’s.  His circumstances weren’t what he wanted either.  He was in prison for his refusal to go along with all the Anglican Church’s demands.

Let God make of you what he wants.  He will end all with comfort,and shall make glory out of your sufferings.


Let not the Lord’s dealing seem harsh, rough,or unfatherly just because it is unpleasant for you right now.


When what the Lord wants crosses with what you want, it is best, in humility, to strike sail to him and to be willing to go any way He pleases.  It is a point of denial of yourself, to be as if you didn’t have a will,to sail along with him.


You don’t know right now what the Lord is working out of this, but you will know one day.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones put it like this,

“Behind a frowning providence, is a Father’s face.

Be a good first mate.  Tend the sails to the course the captain has determined.  Don’t forget to express your concerns and to make requests of  Him along the way, but don’t  buck against His headings.  It makes for a much happier ship.





 

October 21, 2009

Filed under: applications — womenembracingfaith @ 12:50 am

Which Proverb did you decide to make your own today?  To chew on…to meditate about…to apply to your life today?

What about:

“Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”  Proverbs 20:1

or….

“The lazy man will not plow because it is winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing.”  20:4

or….

“It is honorable for a man to stop striving, Since any fool can start a quarrel.”  20:3

or a political statement:

“Mercy and truth preserve the King, And by lovingkindness he upholds his throne.” 20:28

Are you drinking too much, not working enough, braced for a fight, or failing to expect honesty, mercy, and tenderness in your leaders?

 

Chewing on A Proverb October 18, 2009

Filed under: applications,Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 2:58 am

The Proverbs are simple and short.  But, they require us to think about the Bible’s themes in order to get their meaning right.  You have to have those themes firmly in your mind or you’ll miss the point of the proverb–and therefore, apply it wrongly to your life.

By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.”  Proverbs 16:6
The LORD referred to here is the God of  all Creation who keeps his promises, and is in personal relationship with individuals He has known intimately and loved from eternity past.  You must get this biblical theme right or you will misunderstand this proverb.  It is all over the Bible–from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Moses to David to Isaiah to Jeremiah to Peter to Paul to you and I.  Ephesians 1 sums it up.  Romans 1-8 explains it in detail.

Since salvation is never about our doing or being good enough to qualify for God’s love, the steadfast love and faithfulness is that of Jesus Christ.  He fulfilled His promise to die for those whom His father had given Him.  So our sins were paid for, blotted out, made irrelevant.  They no longer block our relating to God!  John 3:16 says it all.  Someone might even die for a good man, but Christ Jesus died for us who are always missing the mark and going astray.  That is why its all about grace–favor we have not merited or earned in any way.

But, the other side of the coin–man’s responsibility–is here contrasted with God’s choice and rule.   “…by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.”

Who wants to ruin a great relationship?  Fear of offending this ONE who has sought us out, set His love upon us, died for us causes us to clean up our act.  To repent, to turn aside from doing or saying or being something that would cause Him shame or that He would disapprove.

Read the rest of chapter 16 and pick out what most applies to you right now.  Turn aside from it, practice what is good.  For me, it is:

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb…”

Which verses most hit you today?  Your responsibility is to turn aside from evil because of  how faithful and loving God is to you.

See how you think and chew something over?  You must keep coming back to biblical themes.

You and your children and your grandchildren need to be taught how to do this for their good and for God’s glory. How would you teach this to a six year old?  More about that later.