Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Monday, October 31, 2016

Quote of the Day

“Work should never become so all-consuming that no time is left for prayer. Prayer should not draw us away from the reality of life so that we no longer fulfill our duties and responsibilities. Prayer should no alienate us from the world. Work should not draw us away from God. Our prayer should result in work and our work should be sustained by prayer. Work without prayer can become a worldly activity. Prayer without work may become mere piety.”

Charles Ringma

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Yes, We're Different

Spiritual Lessons

Yes, We're Different

 Image result for moon and sun

Putting on make-up and wearing a dress does not make me a woman; scientifically, emotionally, physically, or spiritually. Men putting on women's clothing and make-up doesn't make them a woman anymore than it does us, either. It is an insult to womanhood to pretend it does. We were created with a different genetic code, different emotions, different body. These different attributes is in no way a slam to either gender. It's fact, and it is beautiful, and it's right.

Acknowledging the difference between the sun and moon is not ignorant, insensitive or offensive. The moon's light IS less than the sun's. Does saying so indicate the moon is less valuable? Of course not! Women ARE weaker. Don't be offended. Women are valuable. And why? Because our worth has nothing to do with our strength, our looks, our efforts. Thank goodness! Because most of us women cannot achieve men's physical strength. (The exception proves the rule – too all feminists who want to jump up and shout out their heroine). Beauty fades. Our abilities often dim. It's not what we do, but who we are. Human beings made in the image of God.

Men are the image of God in fierceness and passion. He is conquer, a lion, a champion, a victor.

Women are God's image of beauty, vulnerability, the desire to loved. We embody Christ's nurturing and gentleness. We desire to be delighted in – a characteristic of God. A.W. Tozer once said, “God waits to be wanted”. Isn't this the dream of every little girl? To be wanted, appreciated, part of someone's adventure? God also wants to be wanted, appreciated and part of our lives. He desires to unveil His majesty.

The world muddys the distinction between woman and man. Society demands men to be soft, and woman to be fierce. The Church requires men to be “good” and women to be servants.

But God already instilled in each of us the desire and ability to be who He created us to be. Men are meant to be masculine. They are meant to battle and conquer. They are meant to live an adventure. To rescue. To lead.

We women are meant to nurture. To inspire. To support. To add beauty. To be guardians.

Does that mean we aren't supposed to be strong as women? Or that it's wrong for men to be gentle? No, of course not. But a woman who is only fierce and not feminine, and a man who only can be gentle but has no back-bone – there is something wrong.

As women, we should be unashamed in our calling. We should embrace our femininity – it is our unique, God-given identity. And we should encourage our men to be men. Appreciate the wildness in our men! Be a cheerful partner in their adventure. Love their passion. Love the man who spends himself in a worthy cause. Cheer him on, and fight next to him. Admire the failure who dared to try – because he is a man, not a puppet, not a conformist, not a coward.

The next time we sigh because our brothers are being “boys” or when we are tempted to critique something in our Dad we can't relate to, when our man wants to venture on some crazy notion – maybe then would be a good time to be acknowledge our differences and be thankful for them. What would the world look like with just women? Or if all mankind was emasculated? Certainly not the world God desires.

We haven't been gypped. We too have an adventure to live, a life to conquer, a gauntlet to run. We too have passions. We also are asked to be lion-hearted. We don't have to give in to the idea that our life is to be ruled by romance novels, make-up, shopping and materialism. Being a woman of God means we are allowed to be who we were created to be, women warriors, faithful daughters, inspirations – guardians of our homes – warrior raisers. Hollywood depicts woman as the subplot where she is conquered and the adventure is over. Instead, we are to be won, but then that is only part of the story. Because then we get to start another adventure but with our dearest friend as our companion.

Embrace the difference. It's supposed to be this way. And God called it good.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Modesty -- Again.

Spiritual Lessons

This was such a good post on modesty, I had to share here.  I don't know Summer White personally, but loved what she had to say on this topic.


One time, my best friend and I decided we were going to do a podcast together. Our target audience would be women, and we made a blood oath never to discuss three things: [name redacted], modesty, and [topic redacted]. I figure this isn’t our podcast, so she’ll forgive me. And mostly, I’m only writing this because twenty-four people have inboxed me in the last two weeks and ask that we touch on the subject.

The entirety of my thoughts on modesty is this: be modest.

I know, it’s disappointing. Joy and I started Sheologians in the first place because we are convicted that there’s just so much out there, too much nuance in things that don’t require nuance, so much talk about things that don’t require half as much talk as they get. It’s simple.

But of course we’re a podcast for women! So people want us to talk about….clothes?

It’s funny, you know, how women so often want a seat at the theological table, or feel as if they aren’t even offered one to begin with, and then two women get microphones and the requests for a discussion about clothing come rolling in. Now, lest you think that I find this a lowly request, it’s not that my feelings are negative regarding the topic per se, I just can’t miss a chance to point out the irony. Further, the topic has been discussed and dissected ad nauseam. Brilliant theologians and wonderful, godly women have had much to say on the topic that is well-worth reading, thinking about, and living out. There is no gap for me to fill.

My ultimate conviction about modesty is that—and I’m willing to bet on this—the majority of women who are concerned with glorifying God in all aspects of their lives are already dressing modestly. I’m willing to cast a vote that says that women who have bothered themselves with studying, say, the Trinity, are convicted of Reformed theology, have an idea what they believe regarding eschatology, have taken the time to study baptism, can define the atonement, etc., you get the idea, are probably not the ones that feel lost when it comes to whether or not they should dress a certain way. That’s not to say that they are without flaw, but that one thing typically follows the other.

Knowing how to dress modestly is not the result of theological gymnastics or drawing a clear line from a text of Scripture. Dressing modestly is the outpouring of an understanding and commitment to honoring God. So many fudge on this topic, or feel uncomfortable with it, sometimes (or often?) because they have a bone to pick with sisters that don’t meet their personal standards or because they grew up in a setting where modesty was how many inches their skirt went past their fingertips. Frankly, if you think that’s what modesty is, then you are a part of the modesty problem in the church. If you think that modesty is only about the amount of skin you cover, even if you’re covered by today’s standards, the Puritans would still be blushing.

But we don’t like that, do we? We’re perfectly happy as Reformed folk to affirm the doctrine of the Trinity, even though the word “trinity” never appears in Scripture. We’re perfectly comfortable with plenty of systems of belief that aren’t spelled out for us in simple formulas, because the whole of Scripture testifies to their truth, but suddenly we have to determine from the whole of Scripture how we should dress and we’re lost. Some of us then do the worst thing possible, which is create our own personal standards and hold others to them—only in our heads though, because we would never walk up to a lady at church and let her know that her legging/tunic combo is unbiblical. We’ll just think it and be so thankful that at least we understand what qualifies as “respectable apparel” in 1 Timothy 2:9.

This is where you must indulge this old gal a moment to reminisce. I went to a private school once, and I distinctly remember the first time I witnessed a teacher approach a female student with a ruler. She made the student stand still while she measured how many inches were between the hem of the girl’s skirt and her knee. Now, I’m all for rules, and in case you’re unsure I am absolutely of the conviction that Christian women have a duty to dress modestly, but this student was a few centimeters short of the “two inch rule”, and she was sent to the office. I can’t help but wonder what she learned about holiness that day.

Maybe it seems a bit heavy handed to bring up serious, first-order doctrine in a discussion about clothing, but I am unsure how they can’t be related. Show me the woman who is serious about doctrine and I’ll bet she’s dressing modestly. Not all of us will like her style of dress. Maybe she has one too many ankle-length jean skirts in her closet or maybe she has a penchant for dying her hair a color you’re not a fan of. Maybe she wears too much makeup for your taste or maybe she doesn’t wear makeup at all and you’re unsure if you should have calmed down on the highlighting and contouring before you showed up to her birthday party. I don’t know. None of that matters. This woman that has honored God with her time by studying Scripture, by being a servant in her church, by loving her husband and children, by working to the glory of God, she’s not confused about her closet. Sure, she probably has moments like the rest of us when she’s frustrated at the store, because nothing seems to fit well and the way they cut clothes for women nowadays is appalling. But she’ll figure it out. Her goal will be to dress attractively, but not seductively. She’ll cover up without being frumpy (that’s the hardest part, isn’t it?).

I’m sympathetic. I’m a female, too, and yes, choosing clothes at the store can be difficult. But let’s not over-complicate the matter. Love God, love neighbor. Does that skirt you’re wearing bring honor to God? Wear it. Can you wear that shirt and love your neighbor? Wear it.

More than anything, let’s lay down our rolling pins the next time we see a sister whose clothing style we aren’t fans of. You want to encourage a sister in dressing modestly? Teach her how to love God. Come alongside her and talk about holiness. Study the Word with her. Focus on discipleship. You’ll be amazed to see just how quickly those first-order issues trickle down in to the smaller details of her life.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Quote of the Day

"There is much we can and should do for each other: encourage, challenge, support, and serve. But we cannot and should not do everything for others. This will only breed dependence. What we can always do, however, is to pray that God will bring hope, help, grace, and courage to those for whom we share concern. And it is our prayerful concern for others which may well lead us to practical actions based on discernment rather than a compulsive need to rescue others."

-Charles Ringma

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Jesus, Deliverer of my Soul

Satan's attempt to devour, while Jesus delivered my soul

A personal testimony

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Satan is a roaring lion SEEKING whom he may DEVOUR. That's what 1 Peter 5:8 says, but I don't think we really believe it. At least, not until we've been targeted. What does the Bible tell us to do? To submit ourselves. To God. (James 4:7) To others. (1 Peter 5: 5-9) To humble ourselves. To resist. To standfast. To cast all our care upon Him. To be sober. To be vigilant.

Our hearts are so deceitfully wicked. We can be so self deceived as to where we are at, why we do things, and what we need. It's truly scary when you realize it. And our only hope is Christ Jesus.

If I could describe the past few months of my life... I could probably sum it up by saying that Satan had me in his mouth and was running full speed with me. Seriously. He wanted me isolated and alone. I'm not trying to exaggerate to scare anyone. But what the Bible says about Satan and about spiritual warfare is real. It's serious. It isn't to be taken lightly. I felt like I was being devoured from the outside in. And the worst part is, I had no idea. I knew something was wrong. I knew I wasn't happy. I knew I had lost my peace. I knew I needed help. I just didn't know where to turn to. But for the grace of God!

I feel like David in Psalm 40:2, "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." Or Psalm 18:5-7,16-17: "The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me, In my distress I called upon the LORD, and I cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy...."

What can a fierce lion do compared to the strength of my great Saviour? Nothing. All the ability Satan has to work or devour us, we give him willingly or unknowingly.

I just wanted to publicly thank and praise Him. He is good to the children of men. He is good to me. A burden has fallen away, and a load has been lifted. I can physically feel it, even though not much of my life circumstances have changed. :There's peace again. There's grace for others. There's love. I can say with assurance, "nothing between my soul and the Saviour". What a blessing it is! And I'd encourage you also, Christian, to keep submitting yourself and humbling yourself before God. That's when He works. That's when He delights to deliver us. That's when Satan flees. He's waiting to restore us again.

Also, I'm thankful for faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. Where would we be without the Church? Who pray fervently. Who follow the leading of God. Who love unconditionally. Who are willing to speak truth into my life. Who are willing to just "be there", whose example is encouraging even when they don't know what words to say.

"Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me." (Psalm 142:7)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

“People shouldn't be ambivalent themselves just because everything else is, yet one constantly meets the view that, because we've been born into a world of contradictions, we must defer to it. Oddly enough, this thoroughly un-Christian attitude is especially common among self-styled Christians.

If it were so, how could one expect fate to make a just cause prevail when so few people unwaveringly sacrifice themselves for a just cause?” 

Image result for sophie schollSofie Scholl

Monday, October 17, 2016

Choosing to Fight

Choosing to Fight
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My natural tendency is to run. To hide. I don't like facing up to difficult or uncomfortable situations. I never have. I generally flee from conflict. From hardness. From danger.

But, David wasn't given this luxury. At least, he didn't claim it. I suppose he could have if he had chosen to. (I Samuel 17)

Life has giants. It just does. They are there whether we ask for them or not. We might be like David, faithfully watching over his father's sheep. Minding the business before us. But there was Goliath. And he was David's enemy. He was David's giant to overthrow. David could have hid. He could have run. But he didn't. He chose to not only overthrow his enemy, but to also overthrow his fear. God was on his side. God enabled him to stand. To fight. To overcome. 

Webster's definition of a giant is this:

1 : "an imaginary person of great size and strength."

2 : "a person or thing that is very large, successful, or powerful."

Some giants are very real and standing right in front of us. Physical things. Circumstantial. Evil oppression. Wrong doings. Wounds. While other giants, are imaginary. I think this is why Christ Jesus told us, "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ"; These could be things of our mind. As simple as, a negative thought. A wrong thought. Depression. Feelings.

Giants come in all shapes and disguises. We all have them somewhere in our lives. Whether in our past, our present, or near future. But one thing is certain. A giant must be defeated. And it must be defeated completely. And it can only be defeated by being faced boldly. David would never have defeated Goliath by running away or staying outside the camp with the sheep. In the same way, you will never defeat your giant by running or delaying or hiding either. How often I have tried to do this. But we forfeit what is meant to be our victory! And others suffer for it. David, although surrounded by an army of fellow soldiers, stood before Goliath alone. He didn't have a crowd behind him. At least, not one that was helping him. We must to be willing and ready to fight alone. Often our biggest enemy is discouragement, and often that comes from the people who are on our side of the camp. Like David's brothers. But, praise God, we are given an infallible weapon! Faith. David said, "I come in the name of the LORD". And that is the exact same name, to which we are promised, "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess". When God tells you to slay a giant, He also gives you the weapon in order to defeat it. David couldn't trust Saul's armor. We cannot just depend on what others suggest we fight with. It doesn't work. We go with God. And we go with what God gives us. We have nothing to fear from giants. We have all we need to stand strong. To stand confident. To stand ready. To stand victorious. We only have much to lose from ignoring them. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "There are two ways of dealing with adversity. One way, the easier, is to ignore it altogether. I have got about as far as that. The other and more difficult way is to face up to it and triumph over it. I can't manage that yet, but I must learn to do it." 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

Image result for bend in the roadSometimes being obedient doesn't lead us down a road of happiness – nor does it always lead us down the road of denial we've predicted. We think we're getting a promised land, or a dessert, and suddenly before us is territory we've never dreamed up before. What we've pegged as our spiritual ideal isn't necessarily what God intends for us.

Jesus is the truth. He is the Way. And He is life. He is our ultimate authority. He understands every mystery. Sometimes abandoning ourselves to Him means not knowing what's around the bend.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Quote of the Day

"All of God's revealed truths are sealed until they are opened to us through obedience. You will never open them through philosophy or thinking. But once you obey, a flash of light comes immediately. Let God's truth work into you by immersing yourself in it, not by worrying into it. The only way you can get to know the truth of God is to stop trying to find out...If you obey God in the first thing He shows you, then He instantly opens up the next truth to you. You could read volumes on the work of the Holy Spirit, when five minutes of total, uncompromising obedience would make things as clear as sunlight. Don't say, 'I suppose I will understand these things someday!' You can understand them now. And it is not study that brings understanding to you, but obedience. Even the smallest bit of obedience opens heave, and the deepest truths of God immediately become yours. Yet God will never reveal more truth about Himself to you, until you have obeyed what you know already... 'If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know...' (John 7:17)

Oswald Chambers
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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Why are there Giants?

Spiritual Lessons 

Why Are There Giants?

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Evil giants wouldn't be so hard to slay except that we won't. Why?

We go to church on Sunday: We are comfortable in our self-assigned row in church. We are content with outsourcing our Christianity to the qualified and "called". The missionaries evangelize, the CPC worker saves the babies, the Pastor studies, and we pay them. We're busy experiencing our Christianity instead of working out our religion.

Our unsaved neighbor likes us so much: We've over-valued the world's perception of us and of Jesus. We are afraid of being perceived as judgmental or narrow-minded. We are afraid of Jesus coming across as too harsh. We've failed to demand justice to the point of accepting atrocities -- all for a good presentation.

We are Purists: We Christians have started to sum up our duty as: giving the gospel. We've disengaged with our culture under the intention to remain pure and unspotted. Instead we have failed to take a stand and rebuke evil and consciously teach the nations, and practically visit the afflicted. The majority has used pietism as a cop-out for engaging in warfare. We have surrendered ourselves out of responsibility to act like a Christian.

We're afraid of man: We buy into the dangerous thought that disobedience is rebellion. That God-given authority is unlimited. That passivity and conformity are spiritual. Agitation, reproof and judgement all become negative black words, and somehow love becomes an torpid blob of meaninglessness. We are so afraid to do something wrong, we do nothing. We fail to see our inaction condemns us. For inaction is a choice. Toleration of tyrants is an act of condoning tyrants. Living in fear is being a willing slave. And closing our ears to reason is willful ignorance.

There are giants because Christians refuse to defy them.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Quote of the Day

"When I was young I had the idea (I am sure I must have heard sermons on this) that I would somehow have to annihilate my own will before I could properly pray to God for his. 'You must have absolutely no will of your own in the matter,' someone had said. This sounded alright to me, and I spent a lot of time and energy trying to follow this advice. Finally I saw that no such thing was required. The struggle Jesus had in the Garden of Gethsemane showed me this. A conflict was taking place -- not to annihilate his own will but to accept the will of the Father, which was other than his. It did not end with Jesus saying, 'My will is now thine' but with, 'Not my will but thine be done.' The act of praying, far from divesting us of human desires, enables us to lay them before God as very real and pressing and say to him, 'Not these Lord, Yours'. (If we had gotten rid of them, there would be nothing left to lay down)."
Elizabeth Elliot.
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