Book Review: The Downgrade Controversy – By Charles Spurgeon

Today, dear ones, is Friday and that means I’ll be going live for the MEGA list. As you know if you are a subscriber on Youtube or follow me on social media, this is the time when I answer any of the questions that have been sent in over the week, as well as giving recommendations, suggestions, shout outs, and prayer requests. When I was considering one of the questions sent in, my mind kept going back to The Downgrade Controversy, a painful time in the Prince of Preachers life back in 1887. I wanted to do more research, and was delighted to see that there was an entire book written by Spurgeon detailing the entire situation. The book has the articles that were written in The Sword and the Trowel, responses from opposition and those in agreement, the Baptist Union’s censor, and notes discussing all of the above.

Throughout the book Spurgeon has quoted multiple Scriptures, in which he not only refutes the twisting of God’s Word that was happening, but also shows the command believers are given to stand for truth. I’m incredibly shocked to see how close that controversy can be compared to the current push of Social Justice into the church. I can see the same struggle Spurgeon had happening to all those who stand boldly in the suggestion that “Social Justice is a Gospel issue”. I’m so thankful for men like Spurgeon who stood, who offer a great example for us today, as I also thank God for those who are standing right now against the current flood of falsehood. I recommend this book for everyone, especially for those who love church history and for all leaders/elders and most importantly, pastors. You can find this book in paperback, kindle, or in PDF. I’m going to delve pretty deeply into this topic this afternoon during the live event, which should happen (Lord willing) around 3:00 pm PST. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

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How to Know Absolute Truth

Hello beloved brethren, I hope this post finds you all doing well! I’m so excited about today’s episode. We’re constantly bombarded by varies philosophical and theological ideals, how do we know what’s true and what’s not? We go to the absolute standard. So today I attempted to break down epistemology, and how we can use it to improve our apologetics. I’ve included a ton of resources for anyone who wants to do some more research. You’ll find them all in the timestamped outline below.

Also, if you didn’t get a chance to see last weeks MEGA list, I’m going to link to it here. Big news, y’all, Tulips & Honey Hub now officially has it’s own app! You can, of course, listen across all major podcasting platforms such as PodbeanAmazon Music, iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayiHeart RadioStitcher, and in video form on YouTube. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

00:01:30 – Thank you to Revived Thoughts for having me on their Church History Trivia.

Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=772235860046715&ref=watch_permalink

Check out Revived Thoughts: https://revivedthoughts.com

00:04:50 – The topic for today is Epistemology

00:07:45 – Greg Bahnsen’s resources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RBz-zAWoKk&t=6s

00:08:45 – Resources for understanding philosophy: Cave to the Cross Apologetics: https://cavetothecross.com

The Ultimate Proof of Creation: https://biblicalbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/a-book-review-of-the-ultimate-proof-of-creation/

Interviewing Dr. Jason Lisle: https://afterthoughtbybiblicalbeginnings.podbean.com/e/episode-13-interview-with-dr-jason-lisle-ultimate-proof-of-creation/

00:13:30 – Rationalism vs. Empiricism 

Rationalism (logic) vs empiricism (truth by sense perception)

R. C. Sproul lectures: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVAu19oEm_s&t=25s

00:18:25 – Correspondence Theory of Truth: states that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes that world.

00:26:45 – Humanism: outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. 

00:31:32 – Axiology: philosophical study of value. It includes questions about the nature and classification of values and about what kinds of things have value.

00:45:50 – Can We Trust the Bible episode link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeyLruvllOk&t=6s

00:47:30 – Are there contradictions in the Bible? Interview with Veritas Domain Pastor Jim: https://afterthoughtbybiblicalbeginnings.podbean.com/e/episode16-pastor-jim-co-hosts-what-about-contradictions/ Veritas Domain’s articles refuting so called contradictions: https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2019/07/05/100-alleged-bible-contradictions-answered/

00:48:30 – Presuppositional Apologetics: Episode that briefly discusses Presuppositionalism at the 45 minute mark: https://youtu.be/K5hTF77ZMkM

00:53:30 – Exposit the Word Shout OUT: https://exposittheword.com

If you’d like more information about Tulips & Honey check out my website: 5Solas.Online

My store: https://shop.spreadshirt.com/tulips-h…

or my Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/Tulipshoneyhub

For questions, comments, recommendations, prayer requests, you can contact me on social media or via my email biblicalbeginnings@outlook.com

How We Got Our Bible: Introduction – Part 1

Hello dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well! It’s been a while since I had the chance to do a series. One of my Christmas presents this year sparked the idea for this one! As you all know I have two great passions when it comes to collecting items, fossils and church history. So along side three new, beautiful, fossils, I was also gifted a piece of church history older than anything else I’ve got so far. Sitting next to another page of Spurgeon’s sermon notes in his own hand writing, for which I squealed like a little piggy, sat a beautifully preserved leaf from a 1577 Geneva Bible! My husband knows how to win Christmas.

The letters are different, the words are different, the spelling is barely legible compared to today’s English, and yet here it sits. The words so many died for, the words worth dying for, just to have the Bible in English was a fight. But fought they did, some were tortured and martyred, so that we could have access to the words we read today. Since then, of course, it’s taken brilliant minds and thousands of man hours tirelessly comparing the tens of thousands of manuscripts from antiquity. We truly are a blessed generation! Hopefully this new series will go a long way in detailing that. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Through the Narrow: Warren and Worship – By Gina Cook

Recently the well-known pastor and author, Rick Warren, had told Relevant Magazine that COVID-19 has “revealed a fundamental weakness in the Church.  Most churches only have one purpose: worship.  And if you take worship away, you’ve got nothing.  They’re in a hurry to get back to worship because that’s all they’ve got.”

He explains, “Saddleback is built not on one purpose, but on five. You take one circle out, we’ve still got four other circles. We’ve got ministry going on. We’ve got mission going on. We’ve got fellowship going on. We’ve got discipleship going on. Those all stand on their own.”

Desiring to gather to worship is to him “a fundamental weakness”.  Critically he says, “that’s all they’ve got”.

Is it true?  Are some in the Church too focused on worship?  Is that a “circle” that can be set aside?  Are there other things to rest on in the times we live in or is corporate worship really at the crux of Christian living?

Maybe we need to define worship first.  

Worship is gratitude and thanksgiving towards God for all that He has done.  Worship is a genuine spiritual service. Worship is prayer with the right heart attitude.  Worship is recognizing God as He reveals Himself to be in Scripture, understanding what all He has done, especially in the salvation of souls, and then responding with gratitude and praise.  Worship is believing, obeying, and sharing what He has said in His Word.  Worshipping the true and living God is the core of living as a Christian.  

“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”  Romans 12:1We worship in various ways, such as singing, praying, and preaching, but it’s not true worship unless it is in line with Scripture.  It’s also not true if it’s not from the heart.  We are commanded to worship God in Spirit and in Truth. 

“But a time is coming, and even now has arrived, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”” John 4:22-24

When knowing what worship means we can see that worship is not always about corporate worship, meaning the gathering with the local saints.  We most definitely can worship God alone in our closet, out in the middle of the woods, or on the moon.   

It’s corporate worship that Mr. Warren is calling worship.  With the COVID-19 outbreak, staying at home has been encouraged by many, including pastors like Rick Warren.  Many have done services via the internet.  At the beginning of the outbreak, pastors struggled to know what was the smart and obedient thing to do.  It’s understandable to stay at home for a time when serious sickness is an issue.  No one wants to spread diseases, especially potentially dangerous ones.  We are to care for others and be concerned for their well-being.  Also, we are also told to obey our governing authorities when it doesn’t go against God.  Does all of this mean we are to implement home worship as a new and necessary normal?  Are we to set aside church attendance indefinitely for the sake of public health?  Should we listen to governing authorities on this?  Who is the ultimate authority in this situation?

Really, how important is corporate worship? 

“speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father; and subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.” Ephesians 5:19-21

“and let’s consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds, not abandoning our own meeting together, as is the habit of some people, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:24-25

God says, “do not abandon meeting together, as is the habit of some people.”    This is emphasized in the context of living in an increasingly turbulent world leading up to the coming of Christ.  We are to encourage one another as we gather and worship the One Who deserves all worship, honor, and praise.  As the body of Christ worships together they are there to encourage one another through trials, temptations, and turbulent times.  Continued isolation is disastrous and depleting, it leaves the soul vulnerable.  When pandemics and disasters strike, forsaking the gathering of the church body is the opposite of what should be done.

Church attendance isn’t something we do to be saved but it’s something saved people are to do.  

Some argue that “it’s just a building, I don’t have to go to the church service to worship.  I can watch and connect with others online.”

That is not enough in the long run.  Go ahead and assemble in a tent, tunnel, or cave instead of a building, that’s fine, but you have to assemble somewhere.  You need to gather in a physical place in order to obediently carry out all the Lord has instructed for His Church to do.  

In many letters written in the New Testament, you will see phrases such as “to the churches”, “in the churches;” to the rest of the churches, “as I directed the churches”, and “they are messengers of the churches, a glory toChrist” to name just a few of many verses that mention churches, little “c”.  We see in Scripture mentions of specific local churches: “To the churches of Galatia”, and “send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea” (Revelation 1).  We see the churches in Corinth and Thessalonica being addressed.  Apostle Paul says, in Romans 16, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea.  Receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints and help her in whatever matter she may have need of you, for she herself has also been a helper of many and of myself as well.” She was on her way to the church in Rome.

These churches were bodies of local believers gathering together for the purpose of worship- worship through singing, prayer, fellowship, proclamation, and teaching of the Word and the partaking of the Lord’s Table.  Believers were never encouraged to forsake this gathering.  In times of trial, pain, loss, and persecution especially, believers need one another.  Continuing to “do church” through a screen physically separate from one another is not a solution, it’s a problem.

Think about it.  Persecuted Christians for centuries have risked livelihood, their own lives, and families’ lives to worship with one another in underground churches.  Why?  Why risk your life for something that Warren suggests isn’t needed?  Why risk your life for corporate worship?

There is no way to measure the value of it.  During hardships, it’s even more important.  Being with fellow believers and encouraging one another in the Truth is nourishment to the soul and a great source of joy.  Most importantly it honors God and gives Him glory.  

“Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing.  But we ask you, brothers and sisters, to recognize those who diligently labor among you and are in leadership over you in the Lord, and give you instruction, and that you regard them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11-15  

It’s critical that we not only gather to support and encourage one another but we must gather under biblical and God-ordained leadership.  We are to be instructed in the Word by those with the gift of preaching the Word.  They are our shepherds.  How are the shepherds supposed to shepherd when the body isn’t gathered together?  How is exercising church discipline possible?

“Now if your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that on the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, he is to be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”  Matthew 18:15-17

Leadership cannot lead, rule over, teach, and exercise church discipline if the church body is dispersed and not faithfully assembling.  The body can’t encourage the leadership either.  You can’t observe or pour into one another lives while remaining apart.  

GotQuestions.org says this about church attendance:

“We should want to attend church so we can fellowship with others who have also experienced the amazing grace of Jesus Christ. We should avoid missing church, whenever possible, because we recognize the importance of hearing God’s Word, applying it to our lives, and sharing it with others. We should attend church, not to collect spiritual bonus points, but because we love God, love His people, and love His Word. Every Christian should attempt to attend church regularly. At the same time, missing church for a good reason is in no sense a sin or something that should cause feelings of guilt.

When you miss (do not attend) church, do you miss (have a longing for) church? If so, that’s a sign you have a good connection with church. If not, that is a sign you need to re-evaluate your choice of church and/or participation in church. God knows our hearts. God is not impressed by a person simply because he attends every service. God’s desire is to build us up in Christ, and His method in this age involves the local church.”

(taken from https://www.gotquestions.org/missing-church.html )

Yes, there are good reasons to miss gathering with the rest of the local church body.  Every situation needs to be individually evaluated to see if it’s a good reason or not.  The real issue is whether or not we are desiring to regularly be a part of a church family.  If not, we need to examine our hearts.  Desiring fellowship is woven into the fabric of a Christian’s new heart; we want to fellowship with one another and praise God together.  Christians seek to worship God as a family to encourage, teach, strengthen, and pray for one another.  Assembling together is the visible expression of unity within Christ’s beloved Church.  If we don’t want to sit under the preaching of God’s Word, to serve and to worship together as a family, there’s a problem.

You certainly don’t want to be the professing Christian who fails to see this as crucial.  

Going back to Mr. Warren’s comments, where he says, “Saddleback is built not on one purpose, but on five. You take one circle out, we’ve still got four other circles. We’ve got ministry going on. We’ve got mission going on. We’ve got fellowship going on. We’ve got discipleship going on. Those all stand on their own”…. let’s dissect that a bit.

Ministry, mission, fellowship, and discipleship are all connected with the faithful gathering and leading of the local church body.  Neither one can successfully stand alone.  The teaching and preaching of God’s Word, the accountability believers have with one another, the shepherding and rule of the leadership, the monetary giving to the church and all that the church supports, etc. – it all supports and provides ministry, mission, fellowship, and discipleship.  When we look at Scripture we don’t see these things as isolated entities and disconnected from one another. 

I know I don’t want to be discipled by a person not attending and not caring to attend church who is not being fed and led regularly.  I don’t want to be a part of missions that is trying to function apart from local leadership and accountability.  Fellowship is not fully realized or glorifying if it’s kept separate from corporate worship.  When we become comfortable with not worshipping with the local church body, when we dismiss its importance, we are in trouble.

The worldly professors of faith don’t understand the vital importance of this biblical and physical fellowship.  Church gathering is an unnecessary risk to them.  To them, the gathering together to worship the Lord as the local Church body is expendable.  Perhaps they have always desired an excuse not to partake in it.  Perhaps they don’t want to be under any real leadership, they don’t want to serve weekly, they don’t want to extend themselves or they simply fear the wrong things.  Perhaps they aren’t even Christians.

“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be evident that they all are not of us.” 1 John 2:19

You are right Mr. Warren, without worship we believers have nothing.  Worship of the true God is core to the Christian faith.  He deserves our daily and devoted worship.  Assembling with other believers is so vital that God said not to forsake it.  It is so vital, that for millennia, believers have risked their own lives to have it.   

Mr. Warren, the fundamental weakness I believe COVID-19 has revealed within the church is the fact there are so many tares among the wheat.  There are far too many of those professing to be followers of Christ who truly do not desire to love God and His Church, who don’t fear God.  More of the tares are being exposed as the pressures and fear tactics of the world increase.  These sort of weaknesses will always be in the churches, most times hiding until trials come.  When trials come and Satan tests the devotion of the tares, asking them to compromise, they will most certainly compromise and not think twice.    

Through Him then, let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips praising His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  Obey your leaders and submit to them—for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account—so that they may do this with joy, not groaning; for this would be unhelpful for you.” Hebrews 13:15-17

Warren’s full interview:

https://www.relevantmagazine.com/faith/church/rick-warren-on-the-year-we-had/

Becoming a Thankful Homemaker with Marci Ferrell

Hello dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well! Today on the show I had the privilege of being joined by blogger/podcaster Marci Ferrell from The Thankful Homemaker, a podcast under The Bar Network. We talk about her testimony, her journey to writing and podcasting, teaching women theology, and so much more! I hope our conversation will be edifying and encouraging. Below I added a timestamped outline incase you’d like to skip around.

Charles-Spurgeon-Quote

Also, if you didn’t get a chance to see last weeks MEGA list, I’m going to link to it here. Y’all know that recently we’ve been made available on Amazon’s new Podcasting , but I have some more great news for you! We’re officially available on Pandora as well! You can, of course, listen across all major podcasting platforms such as PodbeaniTunesSpotifyiHeart RadioStitcher, and in video form on YouTube. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

13:00 – What came first the blog or the podcast?

15:30 – When did you start up a YouTube?

17:50 – How did you choose your name?

21:30 – Who is your favorite teacher or preacher?

25:40 – How important is it for women to learn theology and why?

31:45 – How can we practically teach theology to our children?

37:55 – Do you recommend men listen to your podcast since you teach through Scripture?

44:15 – Tell us about your new Bite Size episodes?

48:15 – You’re doing a series right now on the Sermon on the Mount, what prompted you to do this?

53:00 – After this series, do you have any plans for next?

58:00 – What kind of encouragement do you have for someone considering starting a blog/podcast/YouTube?

01:02:30 – How can the listeners be praying for you?

For more information and to find Marci online: Thankfulhomemaker.com

Links from Marci: Finding Forgiveness After an Abortion – https://thankfulhomemaker.com/finding-forgiveness-after-an-abortion/

Sermon on the Mount Podcast Series – https://thankfulhomemaker.com/category/christian-living/sermon-on-the-mount/

My Daughter’s Website – Amber Ravatsaas – https://amberravwrites.com

Links for more information about The Bar Network: http://thebarpodcast.com/index.php/the-bar-network/

Check out the other epic podcasts there! 

If you’d like more information about Tulips & Honey check out my website: 5Solas.Online

My blog over at: https://www.wordpress.com/biblicalbeg

My store: https://shop.spreadshirt.com/tulips-h

or my Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/Tulipshoneyhub  

For questions, comments, recommendations, prayer requests, you can contact me on social media or via my email biblicalbeginnings@outlook.com

Breaking Away From ARC Churches with Kristin Everett – Part 3

As you all know, last Monday I was unable to post this episode. Thankfully, this week we were able to do something very different to finish up this three part series! We went live! I’ve never done a Monday episode live, but there were no technological issues, isn’t that neat? I’m so thankful that Kristin has continued to discuss this with me, boldly exposing the inside workings of ARC while lovingly calling those inside to leave. We both hope this series was eye opening, edifying, and educational.

Also, if you didn’t get a chance to see last weeks MEGA list, I’m going to link to it here. Y’all know that recently we’ve been made available on Amazon’s new Podcasting , but I have some more great news for you! We’re officially available on Pandora as well! You can, of course, listen across all major podcasting platforms such as PodbeaniTunesSpotifyiHeart RadioStitcher, and in video form on YouTube. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Merry Christmas! Excerpt from Spurgeon

Hello dear ones, I hope this post finds you all having a very merry Christmas! Below is from today’s reading of Spurgeon’s daily devotion. It blessed me this morning as I rejoice in what the Lord has done. What love is this? While I was yet a sinner Christ died for me! Wretched, wicked, disobedient and ever wondering further and further, yet still in my hopeless state God the Son became man, bore the wrath saved up for me, died in my place, rose again, and ever lives to make intercession for His children. WOW! Praise God! Merry Christmas, beloved, as always be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

“Partakers of the divine nature.”

To be a partaker of the divine nature is not, of course, to become God. That cannot be. The essence of Deity is not to be participated in by the creature. Between the creature and the Creator there must ever be a gulf fixed in respect of essence; but as the first man Adam was made in the image of God, so we, by the renewal of the Holy Spirit, are in a yet diviner sense made in the image of the Most High, and are partakers of the divine nature. We are, by grace, made like God. “God is love”; we become love–“He that loveth is born of God.” God is truth; we become true, and we love that which is true: God is good, and he makes us good by his grace, so that we become the pure in heart who shall see God. Moreover, we become partakers of the divine nature in even a higher sense than this–in fact, in as lofty a sense as can be conceived, short of our being absolutely divine. Do we not become members of the body of the divine person of Christ? Yes, the same blood which flows in the head flows in the hand: and the same life which quickens Christ quickens his people, for “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Nay, as if this were not enough, we are married unto Christ. He hath betrothed us unto himself in righteousness and in faithfulness, and he who is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Oh! marvellous mystery! we look into it, but who shall understand it? One with Jesus–so one with him that the branch is not more one with the vine than we are a part of the Lord, our Saviour, and our Redeemer! While we rejoice in this, let us remember that those who are made partakers of the divine nature will manifest their high and holy relationship in their intercourse with others, and make it evident by their daily walk and conversation that they have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. O for more divine holiness of life!

Technical Troubles – No Episode Today

Hello dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well! I’m sad to say that there were some really odd technical issues in the final part of our current three part series. Kristin and I are planning a day to re-record the entire episode, as the current recording is unfortunately unusable. I’m so thankful that Kristin has as high of standards for quality content as I do! She understood, and also flawlessly cheered me up while I was flailing in technological confusion. I am very sorry that there will be no episode today, and I appreciate everyone’s grace! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Through the Narrow: When our Children Don’t Believe – By Gina Cook

Sadly, a child may be brought up properly in the Lord and still reject Him. The more light in one’s home; the more Jesus is glorified, the more His sword is evident.

We can often times look at other faithful Christian families and the sweet faces of their obedient and well-versed children and assume those parents must have all of their spiritual ducks in a row.  We wonder where we went wrong as our children only grow further from the Lord.  We are tempted to compare ourselves to the other parents, sometimes causing great and unnecessary discouragement in our own walk.  Although parents are called to lead their families in the Lord, and should take that responsibility seriously, I believe it’s also important to remember no matter the Christian family and what they do, their children may not respond in faith. 

Charles-Spurgeon-Quote

The family with Jesus

Joseph and Mary were faithful and humble followers of the Lord who had been chosen by God to be a part in His miraculous earthly arrival and given the blessing and honor to care for the growing Jesus.  They were people who loved and trusted God and His Word, and undoubtedly demonstrated this devotion to their entire family.  Sadly they also had to witness the rest of their children doubt Jesus as Messiah.  Their children, even into their adult years, didn’t believe.  The Savior was right there among them and still, they refused to see Him any more than just an obedient brother.  Sadly, they later came to the desperate conclusion that Jesus was insane (Mark 3:21). How heartbreaking that must have been for their devoted parents.

We know Mary and Joseph had four sons and an unknown number of daughters after Jesus was born (Matthew 13 and Mark 6).  It seems none of the siblings believed in Christ as Lord until after HIs resurrection (1 Corinthians 15, Acts 1:14).  After Joseph’s death, Mary didn’t have the spiritual support from the others in her immediate family.  Mary sat weeping at the cross where Jesus had to appoint the Apostle John as her caretaker because her actual sons were not only absent but simply not spiritually fit to care for her.  

“Now beside the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. So when Jesus 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!” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household.” John 19:25-27.  

It was obviously very difficult for the half-siblings to have a perfect older brother.  He wasn’t only perfect, He was the reason for your parent’s joy and salvation.  Joseph and Mary unquestionably had a special relationship with Jesus.  That probably caused resentment and the resentment only intensified as the years went on and as Jesus began to display His deity and preach His Word.   The level of rejection by those who were acquainted with Him the most is summed up in Mark 6:3-4: “Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are His sisters not here with us?” And they took offense at Him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not dishonored except in his hometown and among his own relatives, and in his own household.”

As believing parents with unbelieving children, there is something we can really learn from that statement and from the unbelief of Jesus’ household.

The more righteousness and perfection is displayed in a home, the more the unbelievers may fight against it.  His perfect righteousness had only magnified the reality of the unbelievers’ desperate state; of their own wickedness.  

Jesus was loved and honored by his parents. Truth was personally present amongst the entire household.  The Light was living and breathing next to them.  Perfection resided with them and constantly showcased righteous living.  That exposed them all the more.

So we must remember, the more Christ is loved and honored in our own home, the more truth we hold fast to, the more righteousness we desire and exercise, the stronger our convictions and the deeper our knowledge of God’s Word, perhaps the greater hardening and quicker turning away for those in the house who are unrepentant.  

It’s the harsh reality that we read about in Matthew 10:34-36:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to turn a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a person’s enemies will be the members of his household.”  

Sadly, a child may be brought up properly in the Lord and still reject Him.  The more light in one’s home; the more Jesus is glorified, the more His sword is evident.

As Charles Spurgeon said, “The same sun which melts wax hardens clay. And the same Gospel which melts some persons to repentance hardens others in their sins.”  In a Christian household, one child may be softened and saved and the other may be hardened and distant.  That shouldn’t cause us to hold back our love and devotion to the Lord and His Word.  We should strive harder to live for Him and share His Gospel.  We know the Gospel is the power of God for salvation.  

My own heartache

I’m going to give you a glimpse into the heartbreak of being a mother of unbelievers.  

I’m a mother of five wonderful kids and have been blessed with a stepson.  Their ages range from 6 to 23.  With a couple of adult children, a preteen, and two elementary-aged kids, we’re living in almost all phases of parenthood.  There was a time I thought I had a handle on this parenting-in-Christ thing.  It was when I only had two little ones to care for.  In our pretty little picture, we loved Jesus, talked about Jesus, prayed to Jesus, sang sweet songs to Jesus, and involved ourselves in the church activities with others like us.   As they grew, my kids were taught the serious things about God, not just the comfortable stuff.  We highly value gathering with the Church body and serving.  We pray together.  We test all things to Scripture and call out error when we see it.  We share the Gospel often.  

The point of saying all of this is to say the Truth is honored in our home- He is loved and desired- although very imperfectly. My husband and I know we are far from where we need to be as followers of Christ and parenting the way most honoring to Him, yet Christ is still central.

My kids have heard the whole Gospel countless times and each one has made a profession at one point.  Some of our kids have shown fruit.  Some have completely dropped their interest in Christ like a hot potato and have run in the opposite direction.  I have spent countless nights, tearfully praying for my children’s salvation.  I have had some very tough conversations with them.  I’ve pleaded and warned.  Seeing their resentment towards the Lord and hearing how the belief of Creation or in Christ Jesus is “not reasonable”, is devastating as a parent.  

It’s the bitter reality many of us face; no matter the upbringing, children will not always follow the way they are taught and shown. Sadly, this has been the reason for unnecessary shaming.  Parents of unbelievers may get the side-eye from others in the church.  They not only feel guilty but encouraged to feel guilty for something they can’t control. I’ve actually heard a church leader accuse a faithful family of being the cause of their children’s rebellion towards God.  They were unloving “legalists,” he said.  Looking closer, it was obvious they weren’t legalists, they were just unwavering on the Word of God and purely devoted to Him.  Their love for the Truth was solid; their love for Christ was unwavering and it caused divisions with their older children.    

Imagine going back in time and seeing Mary and Joseph’s other children as unbelievers.  Would that cause us to question Mary and Joseph’s heart with God?  Would we assume as parents they hadn’t taught God’s Word or enforced it appropriately with love?  Would we start to wonder if they were legalists?  We know Mary was a humble and submissive servant of God (Luke 1:28, 38, 48).  Joseph, called a righteous man (Matthew 1:19) was obedient to God and led his family in the instruction of God (Matthew 1:24, Matthew 2:14, 21).  They were obviously very faithful and humble people, who loved and obeyed Him.  

Would we accuse Mary and Joseph of being spiritual failures with their family?  No.  Yet these are the accusations we sometimes find ourselves spewing or receiving.  When we see faithful parents with unbelieving children who’ve gone off into the mire of the world we shouldn’t be too quick to assume the parents have failed their children.

First of all, Christ is the One Who saves.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

Christ gets all the glory.  It wasn’t Mary or Joseph who eventually opened the eyes of the other children.  It’s in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 we read, “For I handed down to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.”  In verse 7 we see Christ revealing Himself post-resurrection to his half-brother James.  It is Christ Who reveals Himself to James. Then we read in Acts 1:14, “All these were continually devoting themselves with one mind to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”  Praise God!

John 6:44 says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

No one else can open eyes or soften hearts towards God but God Himself, through His Word.  

With that said, the Scripture is clear parents have a great responsibility to honor God and His Word.  We are given charge over our children’s spiritual nurturing.  All Christian parents are to teach the Word to their children and live as godly examples.  We want to be careful to not be a source of stumbling with any unnecessary provoking, discouragements, complacency, false teachings, or lack of compassion.  Perhaps we need to evaluate our parenting as we read the Word and be prepared to make some needed changes.  Perhaps we need to be more prayerful and intentional in our family devotions.  It’s true, we can always improve!  May God reveal any sin in us as we meditate on His Word.  

We do have a great responsibility but we are not the producer of our children’s faith.  Only God gets the glory and praise for that.

There is Always Hope

As we watch our children walk in the world, we should remember there is still hope.  We never want to say that there is no hope for our lost family.  We always pray for the prodigal’s homecoming.    

Even for a child not being raised by Christian parents there is hope.  No matter their childhood, a person can be saved.  I’m proof of that. With God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26).  I know there are single mothers out there who love the Lord and grieve over the fact of the father is nowhere in the lives of their children. They see this causes the children to harden their hearts towards God even more.  The mothers do all they can but the resentment only increases in the teen years and early adulthood.  Godly fathers are extremely important and influential, the Bible is clear on that.  These single moms wonder if having no father, or no Christian father, means there’s little hope.  Timothy’s father was not a believer in the Lord.  His mother and grandmother were, and they lovingly and unwaveringly taught him the word of God.  Paul said to him, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelled in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.”  (2 Timothy 1:5).  Paul also writes to Timothy “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  (2 Timothy 3:15).  Again, it’s the work of God through His Word that is the power of salvation.  

For any parent, keep shining the love and truth of Christ in your home, even if it makes clearer the division between you and your children.  

Keep teaching His Word (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) and most importantly don’t forsake your first Love (Revelation 2:1-7).  

In Luke 18:1 the parable of persistent prayer starts out with this:  “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not become discouraged,”

Keep praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and don’t let discouragement take root.  Rest in Christ and His loving-kindness, almighty power, and willingness to hear your prayers.  Most of all, rest in His will no matter what it may be.  Several times Mary and Joseph exhibited their faith in the Lord although they endured ridicule and heartache.  They didn’t always see the fruit they desired to see.  Joseph didn’t live long enough to see his sons come to faith.  When we are at peace with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son we know, no matter what, we can trust the Lord with everything.  It’s all in His hands.  We are only His vessels.

For you parents who love the Lord and His Word, who teach their children the way they should go and yet have painfully witnessed your children’s growing disdain for the truth of God and increasing desire to live for the world, I hope this helps encourage you to remember there’s still hope for your children, don’t stop praying, and don’t beat yourself up.  God can work through impossible circumstances.  There is still hope and joy in the Lord no matter what His will is and no matter if your prayers seem unanswered.

What an amazing ending for Jesus’ half-siblings, that after years of deep resentment and jealousy and of viewing Jesus as just an insane man, they came to not only believe in Jesus as Christ but to be mightily used in their faithful service to God. 

Those who heard Him said, “And so who can be saved?” But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” Luke 18:26-27

All glory be to God!

Here are some links to check out:

https://www.gotquestions.org/godly-parenting.html

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/80-394/james-the-brother-of-our-lord

Breaking Away From ARC Churches with Kristin Everett – Part 2

Hello dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well. Today’s episode of Tulips & Honey is the second part in what will be a three part series on the ARC organization. In part two Kristin gives some more detail into the last few months of her time in the church, as well as the intimidation, and outright cult like behavior that followed her families separating from ARC. We’ve had such an outpouring from others who have had similar experiences after leaving local ARC churches, it’s encouraging in one sense, to see so many believers being led into solid churches by our good and gracious God. It’s discouraging in another sense, to see how many people have been hurt by this organization.

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Part three will drop (Lord willing) next Monday. In that episode we plan on answering your questions, and expanding any area’s we missed. I truly hope that you see, or hear, Kristins love for those lost or hurting within the ARC community and her deep desire to see them brought out of it. If you have any questions for her, please feel free to leave them in the comments or send them to us directly. Also, if you didn’t get a chance to see last weeks MEGA list, I’m going to link to it here. Y’all know that recently we’ve been made available on Amazon’s new Podcasting , but I have some more great news for you! We’re officially available on Pandora as well! You can, of course, listen across all major podcasting platforms such as PodbeaniTunesSpotifyiHeart RadioStitcher, and in video form on YouTube. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

You can find Kristin on TikTok sharing the Gospel and the truth about Gods Word here: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJVg6Vgo/

If you’d like more information about Tulips & Honey check out my website: 5Solas.Online 

My store: https://shop.spreadshirt.com/tulips-h…

or my Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/Tulipshoneyhub   

For questions, comments, recommendations, prayer requests, you can contact me on social media or via my email biblicalbeginnings@outlook.com