23 April 2017

Sunday Morning Praise

Our Great Savior (Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners)

21 April 2017

This 'n' That

My house sits a few doors up from a small pond, and each year there are one or two pairs of ducks that come to nest. By now they've learned that they can find food in our backyard, so I watched again last night as they waddled through the grass to munch on some corn.

I love observing these creatures. I find it so fascinating that the male stands back and waits, keeping guard while the female eats her meal. Animals act on instinct, yes, but his protection and care for his mate is nevertheless worth noting.

Now, does a female duck think extensively of her mate's care for her? Of course not; she simply knows that he is watching over her for her protection. Still, it offers us a sweet and simple picture, does it not? Just as God cares for these simple animals, so too does He care for us.

In fact, our Good Shepherd is always protectively overseeing and always lovingly guiding. How easy it is to follow such a One as this! I love the picture of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd; nothing could be more appropriate for us helpless, dependent sheep!

Well, in spite of a slightly disjointed introduction, let's get this post rolling, shall we? It's Friday, which means you are obligated to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

14 April 2017

This 'n' That

If you read last week's post, you know that I was struggling with laryngitis leading up to my speaking commitment at the Answers for Women conference last Saturday. Well, praise the Lord for His faithfulness! It was a wonderful conference, and my voice remained strong and clear throughout the talk.

Now, by the time I was leaving the venue on Saturday, my voice was starting to struggle again, but this was a good thing because it was due to having so many wonderful conversations with the ladies. The women in attendance at this year's conference were insightful, inquisitive, and were asking great questions. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to participate!

Now, one week later, we are approaching Resurrection Sunday. I hope you've had time to contemplate the meaning of this week, and have taken time to meditate upon our Lord's sacrifice for those who are His, as well as His victorious resurrection. If not, please do not let this Resurrection Sunday pass you by without doing that!

Hopefully you will find some of these articles to be helpful in that regard as well. So with that, please enjoy your week in review (kind of):

"It Is Finished"


Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. Pilate came out again and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!” So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.”

Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid; and he entered into the Praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”
Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.

They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upona branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

(John 19:1-30)

Further Reading
In the Light of the Resurrection
The Cross and the World
This Is What Matters

12 April 2017

Equipping Eve: Choice or Chance?



“Choice, not chance, determines destiny.” Do you think the writers of this church sign had verses like John 1:12-13 in mind? It seems doubtful! Let’s open our Bibles and use the example of Lydia in Acts 16 to see just who is making the choices that determine our “destiny.”

Click here to listen to this latest episode of Equipping Eve and find additional resources.

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: You Make the Choice, God Makes the Change? (Part 1)
Equipping Eve: You Make the Choice, God Makes the Change? (Part 2)
Equipping Eve: On Choosing the Good Part

09 April 2017

07 April 2017

This 'n' That


Well, it's finally here. This weekend, several hundred women will gather in Florence, Kentucky, for the Defend: Answers for Women conference. I'm honored to be a returning speaker at this event and am looking forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, and engaging in some challenging and God-honoring conversations!

God, in His grace and wisdom, gave me a little lesson in dependence on Him this week. Over a week ago, I came down with a sinus infection, which quickly led to a cough and laryngitis that persisted throughout most of this week. I am cautiously optimistic now, as my voice has strengthened and is (I think) back to normal, but would greatly appreciate any extra prayers as I prepare to speak on Saturday morning. I pray He will be glorified, whether my voice is weak or strong!

As you can imagine, it's been a busy week, so let's get right down to business, shall we? Why not sip some tea (I've been sipping a lot of tea this week!) while you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

31 March 2017

This 'n' That

It's hard to believe that it is already the end of March! That means that tomorrow is April Fool's Day, or at least it is for those who celebrate it.

I never understood the point of April Fool's Day. I mean, I understand it, I just don't understand why some people think it's a worthwhile use of their time, energy, and brain power in such a way. Although, perhaps my aversion to this day is actually due to the fact that my brother pulled some pretty good pranks on me when we were younger. It's fine, though. Someday maybe I'll get him back!
Yeah, I don't get it either.

Considering the origins of April Fool's Day remain a bit of a mystery, I suspect that many others out there share my sentiments about this bizarre and pointless day. Nevertheless, as long as it's all in good fun, a little levity is healthy for us, right?

What strikes me is how many people treat the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ as no more than a predated April Fool's joke. From the swoon theory, to the claim that His disciples stole Christ's body (Matthew 28:11-15), sinful men have long tried to convince one another that Jesus didn't die on the cross or, if He did, that He did not rise 3 days later. Thankfully, we Christians know this is not the case, for God's inerrant Word tells us exactly what happened:
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. 
(Luke 24:1-12)
Aren't we thankful that we can know without question that Christ not only died on the cross, serving as a substitute and bearing the wrath of God for all who would ever believe, but that we can also know that He rose three days later, demonstrating God's acceptance of His sacrifice (Hebrews 10:11-14)? Faith may be the conviction of things not seen, but it is also the assurance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). We know our faith is not in vain, because the truth of what we must believe is sufficiently contained within the Bible, that Word that God has been so gracious to give to us (John 20:31).

Well, that was a long and windy introduction, wasn't it? Oh well, I suppose we're all entitled to wax eloquent now and then! Now that I'm done, I hope you'll stick around and enjoy your week in review (kind of):