Encouragement, Edification, and Rebuke

Today, beloved friends, I want to discuss something that I actually wrote about months ago and never got to finish and post. I’m thankful I waited, there were so many different scandals and online battles within Christianity at the time, that much could have been read into what I was trying to say. It’s always frustrating when your words are taken out of context. Naturally, that’s why I write Twisted Tuesday’s, to ensure we never do that to God Himself. It’s easy to take what others say online in particular and twist it, which is an important point to why I’m writing this today.

If you’ve followed me long enough you know my goal is to bring glory to God, and to encourage and edify His elect. Our heart towards one another ought to always be love, and that love for you drives me to write. Even that love I have for the brethren is an outpouring of Gods love, mercy, and kindness, not by any great strength of ability I have. Many of you take to the blogosphere likewise, to love Gods people. Many of you have been a tremendous help to me, teaching me, correcting me, and from time to time rebuking me unintentionally through your instructive posts. I want to take a moment to thank you all for your encouragement, diligence, and edification. What a blessing it is to have met you all, and been instructed by you daily!

That’s two of the three things I wanted to speak on, the last is rebuke. The internet has, in many ways, become a bastion of infighting and snide remarks. Don’t get me wrong, many places are, like I’ve already pointed out, beautifully full of encouragement. If this was balanced out by loving rebuke, and care filled correction, it would be so much more helpful. Unfortunately we don’t see that very often, as a matter of fact it’s become the exception and not the rule. If not for many of you displaying the correct behavior for online discussion, I might have been carried away by it all. I can’t thank you all enough! There is a time and a place for everything, what do you know our parents were right.

Most often open rebuke finds its time and place within an individual church, led by leaders, elders, and the pastor. Too often, online, we misunderstand one another, and seek to rebuke for something the other doesn’t mean or believe. That can be hurtful and damaging to others, the very last thing we want to do to our brothers and sisters in Christ! This is why we need to hope all things, and if something is confusing clarify it with that person. There’s nothing wrong with correction, when done in love, which means we need to be weary of our own hearts. Why do we want to correct someone? That should be the first question, before we even ask whether or not they need to be corrected.

Several months ago I saw a Christian blogger close up shop, they couldn’t stand the arguments they were encountering any longer. That’s what got me thinking, at the time, about the importance of balancing correction with encouragement, but most importantly, edification. If your rebuke doesn’t edify it was most likely not delivered in love. Lovingly correcting our brothers and sisters, or rebuking them when they are in sin, stems from humility. When we remember what God has saved us from, and how His sanctification has worked within us, we can see others in a much more patient light. Before we address others actions, we need to stop and pray, and examine our own motives. Let caution be ever present, and love be the guiding force.

Have you, dear ones, encountered this online? How did you handle it? What advice do you have for younger bloggers or believers who are active in social media? You’re wisdom and advice is a wonderful blessing! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – Peter from Germany

As we spend the next couple months highlighting the amazing work HeartCry is doing, I want to remind you all beloved, that this is all for the glory of God. You can read Peters testimony in the link below, I pray it blesses you. As always, dear friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

http://www.heartcrymissionary.com/heartcry-magazine-archive/post/a-missionarys-testimony:-peter-schild

Twisted Tuesday – Redemption

Hello again, my friends, I pray this post has found you all doing well. Today’s Twisted Tuesday came to me in an odd way. As I clean during the day I like to keep my little one ear’d bluetooth thingy, which I like to call my earbob, tuned to preaching, teaching, or Wretched Radio. This is especially necessary as I have Cleaning ADD, where I move from room to room picking up here and there and nothing gets clean. For whatever reason, listening to something helps me focus. Anyway, yesterday I heard the strangest twisting of Scripture that I’ve heard yet! And that’s saying something, if you remember this one from Creflo Dollar. A woman twisted the whole earth groaning under the curse with verses on redemption to prove that we, as believers, must redeem Gods creation by, you guessed it, going green.

I genuinely believe some of these false teachers simply missed their calling as used car salesmen. The truth is the ‘going green’ movement is a multi billion dollar used car lot, not to mention a real crowd pleaser. People love to feel like they’re making a difference, like they’re helping change the world, in every way but the way we’re actually commanded to. So it comes as no surprise to see a leader in the ‘church’ calling for believers to redeem the creation. What was odd was her insistence that God had commanded it in His Word. Don’t get me wrong, we shouldn’t litter, and there’s nothing wrong with caring about clean air and the likes. However, we should never twist Gods Word, or claim the ability to redeem well…anything. We weren’t able to redeem ourselves, why would we be able to redeem this fallen world?

The last point I want to make, as I feel like this twisted Tuesday is really pretty obvious, is that we have a way as believers to change the world. It’s not recycling, it’s sharing the Gospel with the lost. Yes, we need to live lives that honor God and bring Him glory, but the only way to see change in a community is to see souls saved from the wrath to come. Otherwise we’re treating the symptoms and not the underlining disease. The earth does groan under the curse, and one day this fallen world will be redeemed, but not my man. That’s like the tiniest flea crafting plans to get rain to stop falling. We’re not all powerful, our words have no ability, and we most certainly are not gods on earth. God is all powerful, all knowing, and sovereign. He will redeem. Put your faith on the finished works of Christ on the cross, repent of your many sins for which He died, then go spread the Good News! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Homeschool Resources – Solar System and More

Hello beloved Brethren, I pray this post has found you all doing well this weekend. I have some exciting homeschooling lessons here for you all. First I want to say that our brother in Christ, Pastor Jim, has absolutely outdone himself with his Solar System lessons. Honestly, the way he organizes these are far beyond anything I could put together. I’ve incorporated the pattern of lessons, lecture, reading, and discussing he uses into every lesson Kayleigh does. I’ve seen a tremendous difference in her attention span!

Solar System – The Sun

Solar System – Mercury

Solar System – Venus

Solar System – Earth

Solar System – Mars

Solar System – Jupiter

Solar System – Saturn

Solar System – Uranus

Solar System – Neptune

I also wanted to point out these adorable songs from Songs for Saplings that Kk and I have been grooving to. Unlike modern music, and even modern Christian music, these songs glorify God while teaching scriptures to our little ones.

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCTVpvEnfZgqnQ1uLUlKZ1GA

What else has Kk been up to? Making butter! It was so fun, dear ones, and easy. Heavy whipping cream, a marble, a mason jar, and some muscle is all you need.

Have you and your little ones been up to anything fun this summer? Or do you know a sweet spot for resources? Feel free to let me know in the comments below. Otherwise, as always beloved, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – Huaraz, Peru

Most of you know, by now friends, I was born again after hearing brother Paul Washer preach the Gospel. His missionary society HeartCry Missionary has been posting the most amazing testimonies on instagram lately. I’d love to highlight some of them each Wednesday.

If you follow the link below you’ll see several testimonies from Huaraz, Peru specifically. I pray they bless you as much as they’ve blessed me. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study yourselves approved.

HeartCry Missionary Testimonies from Peru

Twisted Tuesday – Liberty or Sin? Smoking Cigars

It’s liberty, beloved. Shortest post ever. Be good Berean’s and…

Ok, I’m kidding. Not about the liberty part, about being done with the post. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing Scripturally prohibitive against having a cigar from time to time. That’s hard for me to say, I’m married to a Respiratory Therapist who sees first hand how bad these things are for you. I really want to do a quick mom rant here for all my Neo-Reformed friends, but we all know how bad smoking is. I’m not sure how anyone could to it to the glory of God, however that’s why we have liberty. I’m always reminded of the card Leonard Ravenhill sent to Paul Washer with a hand written note that read “Others can, you can not.”

Why are there some believers who smoke cigars and post about it on social media? Most of them point to Spurgeon, whose doctor actually encouraged him to smoke them for his health, as a ‘relaxant’. My what we’ve learned since then! Eventually he realized they weren’t helping his health, and towards the end of his life he gave them up. If I had as many health issues as he did I’d probably give it a try as well. Either way, we have liberty in this area, but should never follow someone else’s behavior. If it’s popular, if it’s not, these things do not matter so much as being able to do all things in faith.

From the beginning of this series I wanted to point to the attitude behind flaunting our liberty on social media. Rather than look at the act, drinking, cursing, and smoking, I wanted to look at the reason behind flaunting those acts. One of our sisters in Christ pointed out that it could just be immaturity rather than boastfulness, and I think she’s right. It reminded me to check my own heart when posting on social media. Am I acting out of love for my brethren? Am I pointing to God, so He gains the glory? Am I being an immature believer? Or am I being boastful? Our hearts are deceitfully wicked, beloved, we must be constantly vigilant, asking God to show us where we need to mature, and to discipline us when we’re boastful or unloving. Love for one another is how the world will know with whom we have to do. If you drink occasionally or smoke a cigar now and then, would you be willing to stop should it cause offense? That’s an important question to ask yourself, my friends, if these posts include behavior you’re prone to posting about online.

What do you think, beloved brethren? Is there a Verse I missed? Am I misunderstanding the reasons behind posting yourself surrounded in cigar smoke? I so value you’re opinions and advice, brothers and sisters, more than I can express in this post. I pray this series has been edifying, as always dear ones, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Hymns from the Past – Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare by John Newton

The writer of Amazing Grace, beloved, also wrote so many beautiful hymns that it’s difficult to pick one. This caught my eye, what a beautiful prayer! I pray it blesses you all, friends.

Come, my soul, thy suit prepare,

Jesus loves to answer pray’r.

He Himself has bid thee pray,

rise and ask without delay.

Thou art coming to a King,

large petitions with thee bring,

for his grace and pow’r are such,

none can ever ask too much.

With my burden I begin,

Lord, remove this load of sin!

Let Thy blood, for sinners spilt,

set my conscience free from guilt.

Lord! I come to Thee for rest,

take possession of my breast;

there Thy blood-bought right maintain,

and without a rival reign.

While I am a pilgrim here,

let Thy love my spirit cheer;

as my Guide, my Guard, my Friend,

lead me to my journey’s end.

Show me what I have to do;

ev’ry hour my strength renew;

let me live a life of faith;

let me die Thy people’s death.

Thursday Book Review – Institutes of the Christian Religion Book 1

Good afternoon, dear ones, I hope this post has found you all well! I’m so excited about reviewing this book today, and I can’t wait to finish the rest of the books in the Institutes. I was actually really nervous when I began reading this book, assuming from the start that there must be some sort of scandalous teaching within. I suppose to the man-centered prosperity peddling churches I spent so much time in before being born again, it would have been terribly scandalous. This is probably why I put off reading it for so long, I don’t like contention. However, recently I saw someone on social media assert that Calvinists, also known as Reformed, follow a false god. That was awfully grievous to see, I have many friends who are Calvinists, some of you are probably reading this right now. Besides that, I’ve researched Calvin’s life and read some of his other writings and held a great deal of respect for him. Did this book change my mind, or in the least explain why anyone would consider it idolatry?

The answer, simply, is no. I didn’t read anything in this book that I haven’t read in Owens, Edwards, or Spurgeons work. Throughout each chapter I found nothing scandalous whatsoever, though he rightly hits the Roman Catholic Church hard for their falsehoods. He also deals with many others who had strayed from the Bible, and refutes them with the full counsel of Gods Word. I saw no Scripture taken out of context, or a point made without Biblical backup. In short, I can see no evidence for the assertion made on social media. Also, I must say, this book is an absolute delight!

The Institute was first published by John Calvin in 1536, though he continued updating it until 1560, when it’s final edition was published. There are four books, each tackling different major theological issues, patterned after the Apostles Creed. It helped me to think more deeply about God, and His sovereign will. Calvin’s love for God, Gods Word, and Gods people are clear in his writing, and were a genuine encouragement to me. His explanations were thorough, yet easy to understand, even for someone like me! I hope that more people will read his writings before accusing him of being a false brother, and before accusing those who admire him of following a false god. I, personally, can not wait to read the other books and review them for you all.

Beloved, we should never glorify any one man, all glory goes to God, as Calvin himself would have wanted. I can’t imagine he would take to kindly to having a group named after him. In fact, woven between Scripture, he speaks of Church fathers, and believers who had come and gone long before his time. It is a blessing that we’re able to read his, and so many others writings today with a click of a button. It seems a shame not to take advantage of that wonderful opportunity. You can find all four books of the Institutes of the Christian Religion in audio, pdf download, and online here. The kindle version is only a dollar here, and a relatively cheap paperback can be purchased here. I hope this review was helpful, my friends, as always be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Liberty or Sin? Christians Drinking

My friends, I hope this post has found you all doing well. My prayer, before writing this, was that it edifies and encourages rather than tears down unity. I do covet your prayers, brethren, as I deal with difficult subjects, that I not over step any bounds. Today we’re going to discuss the popularity of Christians, mostly, I surmise, in the neo-reformed camps, taking to social media and posting pictures of themselves drinking. This trend took me off guard, as these photos were being posted by those whose accounts seemed not even to be personal, but for the purpose of ministry. Often times, between posts with Scriptures or quotes from Reformed men, there are memes with fowl language, pictures of them and company smoking, or drinking. We’ll talk about smoking next week, this week I just want to deal with the alcohol.

To be frank with you all, I have a level sensitivity towards drunkenness. With both parents having trouble with addiction, my childhood was rocked by outbursts of violence and frequent poverty due to drugs and alcohol. The sight, or smell, of strong drink tends to bring back memories I’d rather forget. So it will come as no surprise to you all that my husband and I do not drink. It didn’t come up all that often, as we were mostly in Pentecostal churches which pattern themselves after the Weslian Holiness movement, not even allowing dancing, much less drinking. That being said, while the Bible clearly calls drunkenness a sin in multiple verses, drinking in general is not. Do you have liberty to drink, so long as you don’t get drunk? I suppose so, until that liberty offends a brother or sister. Remember, dear ones, that our liberty in Christ begins and ends with love for the brethren. That we would do anything to cause another to stumble is unimaginable, it should be the furthest from or mind. That’s what I actually want to discuss, not having the drink, but the mindset about boasting in it.

Now all the cards are on the table, I have personal reasons why I don’t drink. Drunkenness is clearly a sin, and we also have to mind the image we put out to the world, that we in no ways offend one another or cause Gods name to be blasphemed. Unlike last week, where it was obviously a sin to use course language, drinking a glass of wine with dinner is not. We also need to take into account that we all have different maturity levels, so as to be careful not to cause one another to stumble. I could never drink in faith, or hold up a glass of alcohol and thank God for it, therefor to me it is a sin to drink. All that aside, why are there so many posting photos of themselves drinking? In what way does that glorify God, or edify and encourage the brethren? Sola Dio Gloria? All for the glory of God! We have liberty in Christ, should we not rather be boasting in our weakness and His strength, rather than in our ability to drink?

As far as I can see, these posts are for the pure purpose of boasting in liberty. That, dear ones, is not Biblical behavior, we do not flaunt our freedom in Christ before our weaker brethren. I’m not sure if this is being driven by immaturity, or pragmatism, but I am sure that it is in no way being driven by love. There are many ways where social media can be a wonderful place to minister, uplift, encourage, and even share the Gospel with the lost. On the other hand, there seems to be a unique opportunity to build the flesh with boastful and egotistical posts. We need to mortify that flesh! Am I missing something here, friends? I’d love to hear from you all on this, as many of you are far more mature, wise, and discerning than I am. Next Tuesday we’ll talk about the cigar photos, so stay tuned. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

*Update* For further insight into this area, our brother in Christ, Tom, over at ExCatholicforChrist has written an opinion here. I highly recommend it!

Dynamic Series – Aerodynamics Part II The Principles

Here we discuss the four principles of Aerodynamics, and how great a God we serve, who set all things in order!

Last week we discussed the laws that govern aerodynamics, dear ones, and today we’re going to outline the principles that work within those laws. Remember, friends, that my purpose in this series is to glorify God in His intricate, beautiful, design for our universe. Order does not come from disorder, chaos can not form laws, explosions do not create but destroy. Within the sciences we see a clear picture of the creation, while glimpsing the majesty of the one who created. These evidences, while fascinating, are not intended as an apologetic to the lost, rather an encouragement to the born again. If you are reading this and are lost, it’s important that you know an ascent to knowledge of God can not save you, you must repent of your sins and put your faith in Christ alone. If you have any questions about salvation, or about aerodynamics, please feel free to ask! I’m no expert in either topic, but will do my best to answer.

The four principles of aerodynamics are actually really basic and easy to understand. The application of it, on the other hand, was way over my pay grade. The four principles are weight, lift, thrust, and drag. Weight, in this equation of elevation (see what I did there?) is in reference to the gravity pulling down on whatever device is attempting to fly. Lift is the second principle, and it acts against the weight, by moving more pressure under the wings, and less pressure above. You encounter this with kits on a nice windy day. The third principle is thrust, which is the motion in energy needed to move things forward, such as planes. With kits you are the thrust as you run, on a plane the propellers are the thrust. The final principle is the drag, which is something to stop the motion of the plane, or in our example the kit. These principles combine to allow the Laws of Motion give flight to man. The order of Gods creation is truly an awe inspiring science to study!

While we can in no ways copy the magnificence of bird and insect flight, we have managed to thrust massive molds of metal through the air by controlled explosions. Without the understanding of aerodynamics we would still be enjoying trains. The men who put these principles to good use did not create them, but merely understood them. There is one Creator, whose mind far exceeds our own, and whose sovereign will put things in motion. Last Monday I explained how there are certain consequences when we attempt to break the laws of gravity. In a similar way, if the principles of aerodynamics are ignored it would mean disaster for any onboard a plane.

Likewise, God, the writer of the Laws, has set down for man the Ten Commandments. As with other laws, there are consequences to breaking these. God, the righteous and just Judge, will hold us all accountable on the day of judgement for our law breaking. Lying, stealing, lustful or hateful thoughts, idolatry, coveting, and blasphemy to name only 7 of the 10. How many times a day do we break these Laws? If God is a just Judge, and He is a just Judge, He can not let any lawbreaker go unpunished. So, the Just and the Justifier, condescended to become man, He entered His creation as Jesus Christ, completely God and completely Man. He lived a sinless life, and died in the place of us wretched sinners, to pay the debt we owed. Now we must repent of our sins and place our trust in the finished works of Christ crucified. Like I said at the beginning, please feel free to ask me any questions you might have. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.