28 April 2017

This 'n' That

I've been thinking a lot lately about grace. And law. Grace and law and the required balance between the two. A gospel without grace is no gospel at all (Acts 20:24). And without a proper presentation of the law, we cannot understand our need for the gospel of grace (Romans 3:20). Both are necessary. Both are good. Both are true.

Unfortunately, both are not always presented rightly.

On one hand, we have the antinomian mindset: "Let us sin so that grace may abound!" May it never be. Grace without law leads to lawlessness.

On the other hand, we have the legalistic mindset: "Do this. Think that. Feel this way." May it never be. Law without grace cannot save.

With these thoughts, I've been pondering the subtleties of legalism and how it can creep in, unnoticed, until it has slowly but deftly suffocated its unwitting victims.

Such error leads to spiritual stagnation and spiritual depression. It is just as dangerous as antinomianism, perhaps even more so. Satan would love nothing more than to render the saints impotent, after all, too busy wallowing in their own sin and failure to measure up to be of any service to Christ's kingdom.

Anyway, those are just a few things I've been thinking about. I've also been thinking about something else very important: it is Friday, and you know what that means! Time to relax for a bit and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

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):