Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

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.





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This Year’s Introductions December 29, 2009

Filed under: introductions — womenembracingfaith @ 3:15 pm
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Isn’t it nice to meet new people?  Since I live in “paradise,”  my circle of acquaintances is always in flux.  People come here from all over the world.  It enriches us; gives a new perspective.

This year I’ve  introduced you to four people who can help as you think about the meaning of scripture.  That done, you can then apply it readily to your own circumstances and also stir up your love for God (and other people!)  You’ll be amazed at how this way of reading the Bible lifts your heart and makes your life so much more enjoyable.  First, get what it says right, then get it meaning, then apply it to how you think, act, do.  Lastly, let that meaning roll around in your mind until your awe and love for God wells up.  Then your love for others will spill over.  It is mind first, then will, then emotions. Never in reverse, or worse yet, skip the mind part! These guys can help you do it.  I can too!

Walter Chantry–editor of  Banner of Truth Magazine and author of several books.  He is short and to the point.  Almost crisp.  He gives you sweeping views of biblical truth while applying it with piercing accuracy.  Look him up at http://www.banneroftruth.org      or     http://www.cvbbs.com

Roger Ellsworth–pastor of Parkview Church in Jackson, Tn.  He has written more than 30 books which in simple language explain and apply scriptures verse by verse.  His explanations make you think; his applications stir your emotions.  Find his books at rogerellsworth.com            or cvbbs.com.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones–pastor of Westminister Chapel in London 1939-1968.  His sermons continue to be published and will help you understand the particular context and general biblical principles behind that portion of scripture.  Reading him changed my world-view and my life.  Access him at www. ml-j.org    or    http://www.cvbbs.com.

Ernest C. Reisinger–my pastor and mentor.  He was on the governing board of  Banner of  Truth from 1968-1984.  His books are available at http://www.cvbbs.com.  I helped him edit some of  them.  His gift was in spotting the potential for trouble and exposing it without flinching.  http://www.cvbbs.com   or     http://www.founders.org    are the best places to find him.

Now here’s the rub.  Introductions can lead to no where.  Sometimes new people move here who have their nose up in the air, (intent on looking down it), ready to change everything about our community.  They don’t like the food; they have more money to spend than we do; they think we are stupid, lazy, and uneducated!  Ten winters are about as long as they stay around.  No one really lets them in.

Pastors Reisinger, Chantry, Lloyd-Jones, and Ellsworth are not like that.  They all have pastoral hearts.  Let them into your circle of  friends. They will enrich your spiritual life.

 

Chewing on Truth (For Teens) August 13, 2009

Filed under: Teen Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 2:21 am
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Oh, my gosh. School is about to start. All that humanism, secularism, paganism being shoved down your throat. Can you identify the difference between h/s/p and biblical Christianity? Are you able to think like a Christian in the midst of all this?

The most important thing is for you to learn to read, write, think, and do your math.

Look for someone you can help. Like sit with them at lunch so they don’t feel so bad.

Find someone who can help you during the day. Someone who loves Jesus Christ and reads their Bible. Read yours….try reading the Psalms, Proverbs, the gospels. Do you know what the gospel is?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

“For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3).

Tonight think about these two basic truths of Christianity. Dwell on them; Chew them over. I will do it too.

 

READING THRU ISAIAH March 17, 2009

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I hope you are still trying to read Isaiah. Don’t get bogged down and give up. Even reading one verse is better than just giving up. Think as you read. Look for biblical principles. Look for Jesus..

Isaiah 40 starts a whole new book. This was written by 701 BC. No one knows exactly when. But, the date is important because of all that was predicted and all that came true. My friend, Roger Ellsworth, calls chapters 40-67, “God’s Book of Comfort.” It certainly comforted the believing Judean exiles to Babylon after 586 BC and all the generations of believers since.

ISAIAH 40-43

Do you find yourself needing a little comfort now and then? How can we experience true spiritual comfort?

BACKGROUND
After promising to uphold and strengthen His people, making them strong like an eagle, God asks His people to think together with Him about who He is, who they are, and the circumstances they find themselves in. (Those circumstances were dire. Israel had been destroyed as a nation because of their becoming just like the nations around them–idolatrous and immoral. They were hauled off to North Eastern Turkey, and probably dispersed all over E. Europe and Russia, Judah had been ravaged and tormented for over a hundred years by repeated raids and taxes from Assyrian and Babylonian invaders. All this was joined with warnings to turn back to God from their idolatry and sinful lifestyle. Now they were in Iraq, exiled to live without being a nation or having their own religion, their temple destroyed, etc. This sounds very harsh to our 21st century ears, but it is nothing to the judgment of God described in chapter 34! This was corrective discipline, not judgment in the way unbelievers will be judged for their sins. After 70 years, Babylon was destroyed, invaded by Persia. The Persian king, Cyrus, not only allowed, but funded, a group of the exiles to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their nation and reestablish their religion. This took place around 500 BC).

These chapters are all about giving comfort to God’s people while they are in exile. Promises would be made specifically about Cyrus and Christ.
KEYS TO UNDERSTANDING MEANING:
Judah and Israel are tangible examples of God’s people. God does not change. His relationship with His people today is the same. The context is important. Servant can mean God’s corporate people or Christ, depending on the context. These chapters are focusing on God’s people as His servant.
THINK, REMEMBER, REASON
Idols would be challenged to put up or shut up! God asks them to think and remember some very important things:

God is all powerful, The most powerful being in existence (40)
He would strengthen them and undergird them and never leave them. (40:28-31)

He was the one who brought in invaders,(41:1-4) but they were responsible for becoming idolaters (41:5-7)

He has chosen, elected them, set His love upon them to be His friend and servant (41:8-10)

Their enemies would be destroyed (41:11-13); They would be made strong and nourished and watered (41-14-20)

WHAT HIS SERVANTS ARE TO DO; WHAT GOD WILL DO
Part of this reasoning process would be to remember and sing about the long-promised Redeemer, His justice and gentleness and righteousness. They are to give glory to God and tell the nations about Him (42:1-12.) And hear and see. God will act like a mighty man of war to straighten things out. He will be satisfied by Christ’s righteousness and will make his law very visible and honored (42:13-21). But, will His people hear? Will they realize their troubles result from their idolatry?(42:22-25) Will they tell of God’s character, power, and friendship? Will they praise Him and give Him all the glory? (43:10-12; 21)
WHERE IS THE COMFORT?
By remembering the promise of our Redeemer and God’s being satisfied by His righteousness as a cover for our sins. (Look to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved!)

By remembering that God helped His people then, and will now.

By remembering the power God has to do that–can turn king’s minds, lay waste the most powerful and advanced nations.

By remembering the power of the Holy Spirit to bring revival and stir hearts to honor God and His law.

By remembering the love God has shown by choosing you to know and praise Him. This kind of thinking comforts and warms our hearts. Help each other to think like this! (44:21-23)

I hope this helps you keep on reading and thinking about Isaiah’s message to us, and to actually know what it is to experience comfort from our LORD. As Martyn Lloyd Jones reminds us in his “Daily Readings,” it all starts with right thinking. Thinking BEFORE experiencing. And R. C. Sproule of Ligonier Ministries would remind us of that same thing.

Grace and comfort to us all!

 

Reading Isaiah 25-29 February 2, 2009

Filed under: Isaiah — womenembracingfaith @ 9:28 pm
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LISTEN
Try to read these chapters at the same time if you can–or read a little each day for a week so you are immersed in its concepts. The theme is simple: Since God is wise and excellent in how He guides us, listen to Him!

In chapter 25, we are reminded that God will defend His people. Their enemies will be destroyed! Even that great veil of death covering everyone will be swallowed up forever (25:8). The reproaches, shames, rebukes from unbelievers will be taken away.

SIGNPOSTS
Think back to those historical signposts. In the late 600’s BC, the Assyrian Empire took over every nation around Judah. Only Jerusalem escaped their oppression. Raids and tribute demands were everyday occurrences. Things did not look good for Judah as Isaiah preached these messages! It would be like having our schools or malls threatened by terrorists year after year. The dramatic rescue came in 701 BC when 180,000 Assyrian men died overnight for no apparent reason. (This historical record is found in Isaiah 36-38 and II Kings 19-20.) It should remind us that God is sovereign and will defend His people. And so His people will praise Him and be happy for His defense and their salvation.

DEATH
Of course, death is our last enemy. It separates us from those we love. It causes tears and sorrow. In I Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, Paul brings us hope and comfort with the idea we will all be with the Lord Jesus forever. So we should think right and protect our hearts and minds with faith, love and hope. The battle is for what we love and how we think. Who are your enemies? Busyness…fractured relationships…self-discipline…bad news….one problem after another?

“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (I Thessalonians 5:9-10).

 

From Visualization To Principles October 25, 2008

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You must be able to think in images to get at Isaiah’s meaning. No, it isn’t about having visions!This skill of visualization is why your English teacher kept making you work on metaphors and similes. Remember? Now we want to take visualization a step further. To let the snapshot help us understand the Biblical principle Isaiah is getting at. It is all about thinking skills. Using our heads to understand more of the Christian viewpoint.

Visualization
Scroll back to the last blog. Reread Isaiah 2:1-5. Don’t confuse this by imposing your end-times view on it! Instead, picture a crowd of diverse people going into the presence of God, seeking to learn and apply His ways. Peace prevails.

Principle
With that picture in mind, think about some foundational teachings in the Bible. Things you can easily tell stories about to pre-schoolers. Like:
We are to look to God for how to live and what to believe.(Jonah)
One day there will be a great judgment against sin.(Noah and Flood)
One day peace and righteousness will be restored to all of God’s creation. There will be no more sin!(Adam and Eve)

Application
See how easy this thinking is? The next step is to apply it to yourself:
Do I look to the Bible to show me how to live and what to believe or do I go by what others say and do?
Do I have a healthy respect for the justice of God and His intolerance for sin?
Am I looking forward and hanging in there until a time of peace and restoration?

Under my blogroll, clink Old Paths For Little Feet. Click Coaching Bible Skills, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 will give you addition help with this essential Bible Skill.