What’s Next on Wednesday’s Word?

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Ladies-

Tomorrow we’ll be finishing up our study of the book of Ezra on Wednesday’s Word, so starting next week, September 7, it’s on to something new! What would you like to study?

A few suggestions:

1. We could continue on to Nehemiah and finish the current storyline.

2. We could do another Old Testament or New Testament book.

3. We could do a topical study on something like prayer, the Fruit of the Spirit, a particular Bible character, etc.

So, let’s hear it. What would you like to study next on Wednesday’s Word? Comment below with your thoughts.

The Mailbag: How can I be discerning about books?

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How do you evaluate a book (for instance if you know nothing about the author)? I have about half a bookshelf right now of books (both fiction and nonfiction) that I need to evaluate and I have no idea how to commence doing so. (The books range from children’s fiction to Bible study books and lots in between.)

A couple of the steps in this article would apply for any book: know your Bible and pray for wisdom as you research the book and author.

For Bible study, theology, or other non-fiction Christian books, I would vet the author pretty much the same way I described vetting teachers in the article. That will often be faster than reading the whole book. Also, go to Amazon and peruse all the other books the author has written. You might get a better idea of where the author stands, theologically, by reading all of his book titles and summaries. Many authors have an author page on Amazon, too. It’ll have a bio and customer reviews.

I don’t hold Christian fiction books to quite the same theological standard as non-fiction for discerning Christians who know their Bible really well (for example, see the section on Karen Kingsbury here). Some of them are really just clean “family friendly” fiction with the occasional cow pie of bad theology that you can “step over” as you’re reading, but some, such as The Shack are pretty egregious in their false doctrine. For Christian fiction, one quick “litmus test” that might be a possibility is to check out who’s endorsing it. If you flip to the back cover and see endorsements by a bunch of false teachers, it’s probably one to stay away from.

Asking around can help as well, especially with Christian books. Ask trusted friends if they’re familiar with the author or book and what they think of it. Join some theologically sound Facebook groups and ask about the book in the group.

For all books, another possible shortcut might be book reviews. Scads of bloggers review books. The key is finding bloggers and review sites whose opinions or theology you trust, and that may take a little time and effort. Tim Challies and Aaron Armstrong do a lot of trustworthy book reviews- mostly Christian non-fiction, but other genres on occasion. There are a lot of Christians on GoodReads that review all kinds of different genres. Finally, you might want to try a book summary web site like Books at a Glance. They’ll give you the “Cliff’s Notes” version of books.

If you go through all those “screening process” steps and still have books/authors you haven’t been able to vet, the only solution is to actually read the book and compare the concepts and statements in it to Scripture. Then you can write a review of it and post it on line for the next person who comes along wanting information about that book.

Let’s hear from you readers out there! Got a favorite book blog? A go to reviewer on GoodReads? Comment below!


If you have a question about: a well known Christian author/leader, a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Weeping with Those Who Weep

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I was driving down the road one day last week, if sitting through three red light cycles per intersection due to horrendous traffic could rightfully be called “driving,” that is. Hot and sweaty, filthy, emotionally drained, and exhausted from cleaning and hauling, I was making my way from my best friend’s flooded house to help out at my ninety-five year old grandmother’s flooded house, guilt-stricken that I couldn’t be in both places at once.

And that’s when I heard it.

I was listening to one of my favorite theological podcasts, and when the host began talking about the flooding in Baton Rouge, my ears perked up. He began talking about God’s sovereignty- that, because God always does what is best for believers – for our discipline, growth in holiness, increased dependence on Christ, and the like – that this flood was good for us. He said it kindly, lovingly, and backed up with Scripture. And he was absolutely right.

Yet, three days after a life-altering catastrophe, with a heart still raw and broken for my loved ones and my community, it was exactly what I did not need to hear.

It’s crucial to bring good theology to bear on every situation we face in life. We need to apply Scripture to the situations we go through in order to help us make biblical sense of things, walk obediently, give thanks, and glorify God.

And yet, the Bible doesn’t say, “Give a theology lecture to those who weep.” It says, “Weep with those who weep.” Why? God is all about the Word, isn’t He? Why wouldn’t He want us to jump right in and exhort hurting people with scriptural principles?

Because He knows us. He created us.

People need a minute to take a breath and absorb everything that has happened to them before their hearts and minds are ready to transition into thinking theologically about the situation.

Sometimes we just need to sit and cry for a while. And maybe we need someone we love to sit and cry with us. No Romans 8:28. No talk about how God is going to use this to grow us. No discussion of whether God “caused” or “allowed” this tragedy. Just some time to grieve without having to think. And God’s word says that’s OK.

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Even Job’s companions, poor theologians though they were, got this part right:

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.
Job 2:11-13

But sometimes, even with the best of intentions, maybe without even realizing it, we skip the vital step of making an appointment to sympathize with and comfort our suffering loved ones. We neglect to rend our hearts and sit on the ground and weep with those who mourn. We fail to see that their suffering is very great. And yet this is one of the very ministries Christ calls us to.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

A time to discuss theology, and a time to weep with those who weep.

Throwback Thursday ~ Parenting: What a Child Wants, What a Child Needs

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Originally published June 10, 2014picsart_1402192749374

It’s a funny thing about parenting articles– they’re always written by doctors or psychologists or parents, never by the people being parented: the kids. I mean, think about it, if you were a waitress and you wanted to know how to serve your customers better, would you take advice solely from other waitresses, restaurant managers, and the guys at corporate? Wouldn’t you, at some point, want to hear from the people you actually serve regarding what they want out of a waitress? So how come we never ask our kids what they want out of a parent?

Well, I decided to.

My husband and I have five boys, ages 26, 24, 14, 12, and 11, and one girl, age 18. The two oldest boys are grown and out on their own, so I interviewed the four still living at home: my daughter and the three younger boys. They’re average kids from an average, church-every-Sunday-and-Wednesday, Christian family. My husband and I are imperfect parents who make a ton of mistakes, but we’re doing our best to raise them in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

The interview consisted of one question: What advice would you give to parents?

M (18 year old daughter) has spent the year since she graduated from high school teaching pre-schoolers at a Christian day care, so much of her advice is drawn from that experience. She has learned a lot about parenting that will help her to be a great mother some day.

  • Don’t be scared to discipline your child. Children need discipline, and that’s part of your job as a parent.
  • Kids are smarter than you think they are. Take the time to work with them.You’ll be amazed at how much they can learn!
  • Giving in to tantrums will ultimately make parenting more difficult because you’re teaching your child that tantrums work when they want to get their own way about something.
  • When considering names for your baby, imagine one of your adult friends introducing himself with that name. If the name doesn’t work for an adult, consider another choice. Also be aware of any acronyms or foul words your child’s initials might spell.
  • Never lie to your children to give them a reason for telling them yes or no about something. (For example: one of my children was constantly begging to go to the park. Her mother finally told her, “No, we can’t go to the park because it’s closed.” Naturally, a few minutes later, they drove by the park and saw plenty of people there. The child said, “I thought it was closed!”)
  • Before buying your child any DVD, watch it several times to make sure it doesn’t drive you nuts.
  • No child ever died from a dog licking him in the face.
  • A little sugar from time to time isn’t going to kill your child.

J1 (14 year old son) just finished eighth grade and isn’t interested in doing anything that taxes his brain during summer break. After we got past, “Mom, you’re the perfect parent! You don’t need any parenting advice from me!” (so he could go back to watching TV), here are the few gems I was able to extract from him:

  • Teach your kids not to be aggravating to other kids.
  • Don’t let your kids date too early.
  • Don’t force foods on your kids that they have either tasted and don’t like or think they won’t like.
  • Don’t make your kids write your blog articles for you. It’s pretty boring for them!!!

B (12 year old son) is a take charge kind of guy who would have gladly written this article for me (and probably would have done a better job!) He just finished the 6th grade. B says:

  • Give a thirty minute bed time extension with every birthday. (He calculates this based on a baby from birth to one year having a bed time of 6:00 p.m. A one year old would go to bed at 6:30, a two year old at 7:00, etc.)
  • Have a large Christmas budget.
  • Buy your kids go carts.
  • Take more vacations.
  • Don’t make things sound better or worse than they actually are. (“Mom, one time I was going to get some shots and you told me it would hurt really bad. I didn’t think it hurt that much.”)
  • Set a good example for your kids.

J2 (11 year old son) just finished 5th grade and lives life wide open with his hair on fire. He had lots of great 11 year old advice for parents:

  • Spend more time with your kids.
  • More bacon. Also, more junk food and cokes.
  • Let us do good April Fool’s tricks.
  • Mud fights whenever we want.
  • Let us run around the house nekkid! (That’s “naked” if you don’t live in the South.)
  • Don’t make your kids go to school.
  • Be less demanding and don’t criticize your kids.

Awesome parenting advice, no? Maybe my husband and I should just change all our rules around to fit what the kids want. After all, going back to our waitress analogy, the customer’s always right, right?

Wrong.

The Bible says in Ephesians 6:1 (a verse every child in our family memorizes as a toddler) “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right,” not “parents obey your children.” If we decided to become the parents they wanted, we’d have a bunch of naked, bacon-snarfing, go cart riding, uneducated pranksters who stay up until midnight.

The reason God gave children parents is so that we can exercise the wisdom, experience, and discernment they don’t have but so desperately need. As godly parents, my husband and I must listen to our children and take to heart anything that is wise or biblical (“Set a good example for your children.” “Never lie to your children.”) and say a firm “no” anything that isn’t (large Christmas budgets and living room streaking).

Because God has told us to train our children up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), not the way they want to go.


THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SATISFACTION THROUGH CHRIST.

Wednesday’s Word ~ Ezra: Lesson 10

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Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Ezra 9

After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled.Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God, saying:

“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem.

10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments,11 which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness. 12 Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a remnant as this, 14 shall we break your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you consumed us, so that there should be no remnant, nor any to escape? 15 O Lord, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, for none can stand before you because of this.”


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider:

1. Ezra and the second wave of exiles had made it back to Jerusalem safely, but everything was not hunky dory. In your own words, summarize the dilemma this chapter deals with.

2. Which specific sin does this chapter address? (1-2) Which classes of Israelites had intermarried with foreigners? (1) Which class was leading the way in the sin of intermarriage? (2b) How does it affect God’s people when their leaders set a bad example by sinning? Why is it important today that pastors and elders are required to be “above reproach“?

3. What was the first thing Ezra did when he was informed of the intermarriages? (3-4) What did the people who feared God and had not sinned by intermarrying do? (4) Why do you think they did this? What was the second thing Ezra did? (5) Compare and contrast Ezra’s leadership and example with the leadership and example of the “officials and chief men” (2).

4. Why did Ezra react with such grief and repentance over the intermarriages? (7, 10-12a, 14) What are the “abominations” referred to in verses 11 and 14? Read 2 Corinthians 7:10. Does Ezra’s grief seem godly (grief over offending God) or worldly (solely afraid of sin’s consequences)? Did Ezra confess and seek forgiveness for his own sin or the people’s sin?

5. In what (spiritual) posture does Ezra approach God in prayer? (6a) Ezra’s prayer can be broken down into several smaller sections:

6-7 Admission of Israel’s G____t

8-9- Acknowledgement of God’s G___ness

10-12- Confession of Israel’s specific S_n

13-14- Recognition that Israel deserves P_____ment

15- Petition for God’s M___y

How can Ezra’s prayer serve as a model to us when we repent of our sin and ask God’s forgiveness?

6. To whom does the phrase “holy race” (2) refer? Does the word “race” in this phrase mean skin color? Some people try to use verses like this to support the fale teaching of Kinism. Considering the historical background and context of this chapter, can verse 2 be used to support banning interracial marriage and segregating worship in the church today? Why not? How does this demonstrate the importance of understanding and using Scripture in context?

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Blog Posts

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Not long ago, I read an article about overused stock photos. You know, like the one up there ↑ that we bloggers use to add visual interest to our articles. It made me laugh, because if anyone overuses certain stock photos, it’s Christian bloggers. I read articles all the time that use the same photos I’ve used for my own articles, and I’m sure other bloggers recognize a lot of the photos I use as ones they’ve used. Hmm…maybe we’re all using the same image site.

Here are seven stock photos that have made the rounds of Christian blogs (including mine). Do you recognize any of them?

1. This Little Light of Mine

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think this one might finally be in semi-retirement. For a while there you practically couldn’t read a Christian blog article without seeing this one. Articles on evangelism, marriage, baptism, cutting your toenails in church…it was used on all of them and not really related to any of them.

2. Shebrews

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This one’s usually used on articles about Bible study, so at least that fits. I kind of like it, but then I’m a big fan of both the Bible and coffee. I started to make a comment about how much this Bible is highlighted, but then I realized I have Bibles that look like they were printed on neon yellow paper.

3. Dark Shadows

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There’s a whole genre of these: silhouette lady reaching for the sky. I’m just curious as to how many women have ever actually gone out to the beach or a meadow or the mountains at dawn and thrown their arms up in the air. I haven’t. Maybe I’m missing something and should give it a try. (But I think the something I’d be missing is my nice warm bed.)

4. Miss Lonely Hearts

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I’ve used this one myself and have seen it on countless other blogs, usually in articles about women’s ministry. Guess what the title of the picture is? “Depression.” It does look pretty depressing, but doesn’t it look more like she’s fighting off morning sickness? I spent upwards of a year and a half of my life hunched over like that willing myself not to hurl, so I consider myself something of an expert.

5. Last Man Standing…er…Sitting

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This is what happens when you fall asleep in church (although I can’t imagine anybody falling asleep on those uncomfortable looking pews)- the service ends and everybody gets up and leaves your sorry self. And no, we don’t believe you’re that deep in prayer or meditation. It’s a great picture, though, a perfect fit for articles on church-related topics.

6. Cup O’ the Mornin’ to Ya!

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Mmmmm…more coffee. Look at its steamy goodness filling that bright, airy room with an awesome Arabica aroma. This hypnotic focal point almost prevents you from seeing the bed that somebody forgot to make up. What do coffee and untucked sheets have to do with anything in the Bible? I’m not sure, but I confess, I’ve used this photo before.

7. Bible Study, Baby!

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Could this photo be any more adorable? Probably only if we could see this little cutie’s face. I’ll be honest, I love this picture and I don’t care how many bloggers use it. It might not work for an article on circumcision or eternal conscious torment, but, hey, give it a try anyway. It’s too precious to pass up.

Those are the seven most used stock photos I’ve seen floating around the Christian interwebs. What about you? What are some photos you’ve seen over and over on Christian blogs and web sites? Post a link or the photo in the comments below!

Thanks for your patience…

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Hi Everybody-

Just wanted to take a moment thank you for your patience if you’ve submitted a question or comment and haven’t received a response from me. I have been helping with flood relief, plus taking care of my own family, and today is the first day of school (I home school), so, except for a few questions that required only very brief responses, I haven’t had time to answer the pile of (approved) blog comments, e-mails, and social media messages I’ve received. I promise I will get to them just as soon as I can.

Again, thanks so much for your patience and understanding.

Michelle

Baton Rouge Flood Relief- We Need Your Help

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Regular readers: This week’s edition of The Mailbag answers the question I’ve received from several readers: “How can we help with flood relief?” I’m posting it today, Sunday, in hopes you can catch your pastor or small group at church and talk to them about sending a team or a love offering. Please share this around to help us get the word out, and thank you so much for your love and desire to help.

high-water-123201_1280Imagine 90% of the homes and businesses in your town destroyed by a flood. Thousands of your friends and neighbors rescued from rapidly rising deadly currents by boat, sometimes, literally, with only the clothes on their backs. Some separated from spouses or young children for days because they had to get into different boats and ended up at different shelters. No homes to go back to. No jobs to go back to because businesses flood just like homes do. No cars to drive because cars flood, too. No clothes, no food, and often, no money to rebuild and replace everything they owned.

Now try to imagine, in the aftermath, having to choose whether to scramble to clean out your own flood ravaged house before it molds and mildews or helping a loved one who desperately needs you. Or, if your home didn’t flood, feeling torn between helping your family, your best friend, your church, and other relief ministries.

This is the situation my community, and communities across south Louisiana, are facing right now. Those of us whose homes and businesses God spared are doing what we can to help friends, loved ones, and strangers, but we are spread dreadfully thin. Shelters and relief ministries are in desperate need of food, supplies, and volunteers.

In Louisiana, we take great pride in taking care of our own, and our locals are doing an astounding job of it. But the situation is so overwhelming that this time we need help.

We need your help. We need your church’s help.

How? Could you spare a few days or more to come down and volunteer with a flood relief ministry? Could your church send a team? Would you like to make a donation, or could your church collect a love offering, to help the many people whose lives have been turned upside down by the flood?

If so, I’d like to direct you to the relief efforts at New Covenant Church. New Covenant is about 15 minutes from me in Denham Springs, Louisiana, one of the hardest hit areas. Blessedly, God spared this precious church to be a ministry to others during this difficult time.

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New Covenant is a doctrinally sound local church where several friends and loved ones of mine, including the associate pastor (who is heading up flood relief efforts there), are members. My family and I have worshiped with New Covenant numerous times. If you or your church would like to help by making a donation, I can personally assure you that your money will be handled in a godly way and will go directly to flood victims who will also hear the biblical gospel. New Covenant needs volunteers for various aspects of relief ministry, too, and would welcome you or a group from your church if you are able to come down here and help out.

You can give on line or via text. And, if you’d like to come down and help out, you can contact Pastor Todd Whirley by phone or e-mail, or (possibly more quickly- phone service is still somewhat spotty) by private message on Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you so much for your kindness, prayers, compassion, and generosity, and please share this with your friends and on social media to help us get the word out.
Same street as the one in the video above.

Same street as the one in the video above.

The Perilous Parable of Dr. Shepherd and Dr. Tickle

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Note from Michelle: Thanks so much for your prayers during the devastating flooding we’ve been having down here. My family is fine and we were blessed to be in one of those peculiar little spots in town that stayed relatively dry. However, due to helping with flood relief efforts, I did not have time to write an original article this week. I hope you’ll enjoy this “blast from the past” (January 27, 2013) article.

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mh900442249Once upon a time, there was a college student who was majoring in engineering. Let’s call her Brie. (Why? No particular reason except that I’m hungry and I happen to like cheese. But back to our story.)

One of the pre-requisite classes Brie had to take for her major was calculus. Brie had heard about the various calculus professors at her university. Some were tough. Some were boring. A few had a reputation for being easy.

MH900409045Brie knew she did not want to take calculus from Dr. Shepherd. Although she had some friends who had taken his class and really seemed to know their stuff, calculaically speaking, they had told her that he demanded excellence of his students, had a no qualms about flunking students who weren’t trying and didn’t know the material, and gave regular—and challenging— homework and tests.

MH900386222Brie was leaning more towards Dr. Tickle. Everybody said she was really nice and cared warmly for her students. She wasn’t a stickler about deadlines for assignments, taught in a funny and entertaining way, and –most importantly for Brie—didn’t believe in tests. Brie hated tests.

All of the sections of Dr. Tickle’s classes usually filled up quickly, so Brie wasted no time registering, and, happily, secured a spot. She knew she’d made the right choice when, on the first day of class, Dr. Tickle started the lesson off with a one woman skit. She filled the rest of the class period with jokes and inspiring personal stories about her own days as an engineering major. No formulas. No notes. They didn’t even crack the spines on their new text books. Brie felt completely at home and comfortable in Dr. Tickle’s class.

About half way through the semester, Brie was regaling her friend, Tess, with a joke Dr. Tickle had told in class that day. Tess giggled at the punch line, but then her brow furrowed.

“Wow, you’re really taking Dr. Tickle for calculus?” Tess asked.

“Sure,” replied Brie, “I love her class. Why?”MH900442248

“Well, I took her calculus class for a few weeks. Dr. Tickle didn’t really teach much actual math. And even when she did teach us a little bit about how to work some of the problems, I checked my notes against the book, and she had completely botched it. She had left out parts of the formulas, and some of the other things she taught us were the exact opposite of what the book said. If I had stayed in her class, I wouldn’t have a clue as to what’s going on in the upper level classes I’m taking now. In fact, I probably wouldn’t even be graduating. I’d really recommend that you drop Dr. Tickle’s class and take calculus from a good professor who knows what he’s doing. I took Dr. Shepherd’s class. He’s tough, but he’s a great teacher.”

“What?!?! How can you say that about Dr. Tickle? I leave her class every day feeling great about calculus! Not once has she ever made me feel uncomfortable or stressed about my calculations. She’s so understanding and kind, and I love the fun way she teaches. I thought you were my friend, Tess, and I thought you were a nice person, too. How could you say such mean things about Dr. Tickle?

“I am your friend, Brie! I want you to be able to understand calculus properly so you’ll do well in the tougher classes that come later. I want to see you graduate with high marks and become a great engineer. I’m trying to help you!”

“Well, I think Dr. Tickle is a great teacher, and I really enjoy her class,” Brie responded coolly, “We’ll just have to agree to disagree.”

There are Dr. Shepherds and Dr. Tickles on church campuses, too. God has not called pastors to stand in the pulpit and tickle your ears with jokes and stories. Nor has He called them to make the Bible and his sermons all about you and your self esteem, your dreams, your health, or your lust for material things. God has called pastors to:

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:2-5

If you have a Tess in your life who is warning you that a pastor, teacher, or author you’re following is a false teacher, don’t react like Brie did. What if your friend is right? Do you really want to follow a wolf in shepherd’s clothing, or do you want to follow a Dr. Shepherd who will give you the truth of God’s word even if it’s difficult? Check him out. Where? Here are some resources:

 carm_logo

 www.carm.org

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Fighting for the Faith with Chris Rosebrough
www.fightingforthefaith.com

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 www.gotquestions.org

 apprising.org

www.apprising.org

Throwback Thursday ~ My Husband Brought Me Flowers Today

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Originally published June 27, 2014

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“I’m so tired of flowers,” sighed the elderly woman in the TV commercial as my jaw hit the floor. She had just described how her husband of fifty years, seated next to her, brought her flowers on their first date, and every year since had given her the same bouquet on that day.

And she was tired of flowers.

It wasn’t enough that she had a husband who stayed with her for fifty years. Or that he actually remembered the day of their first date every year. Or that he was caring enough to send her flowers on that date. Or that he was sentimental and romantic enough to send her the same flowers every year.

No. She was tired of flowers. She wanted the product the commercial was trying to sell.

I wanted a shoe to throw at the TV.

My husband brought me flowers today. I know, in the picture they look rather more like birthday candles than flowers. That’s because, technically, my flowers were birthday candles.

I was getting ready for our youngest son’s birthday party. I had already made a trip to the store and thought I had everything I needed. Until I discovered I was nearly out of baking powder. My husband was out running errands, so I sent him a text asking if he could pick some up for me. He did. No problem. Until I remembered I didn’t have any candles for the birthday cake. And he had already left the store. And it was raining.

“And it was raining.” I say that like it’s just so pedestrian, like it’s some normal, everyday thing, which, in south Louisiana in June, I assure you, it is not. Every day, yes. Normal, no. Remember that scene in one of those ’90’s “asteroid crashes into the earth” movies where the asteroid has just hit and the man and his daughter are standing on the beach watching the huge resulting tidal wave roll in to engulf them? Well if, instead of the beach, you can imagine yourself trying to navigate a WalMart parking lot with a buggy full of groceries and four kids in tow in the middle of that tidal wave, you’ll have some idea of what monsoon season is like down here.

And you know what my husband did when I asked him to go get birthday candles in that mess? He did it gladly. No complaints. No asking, “Why didn’t you think about this sooner?” He just walked in the house, soaked and smiling, and handed me the candles.

No bouquet could have been better.

Ladies, my husband has a lot of faults. I’ll bet yours does too. Because just like us, they’re sinful human beings. Often, like the lady in the commercial, we trample over a dozen roses to plant our feet in a briar patch. We overlook the ways our husbands are a blessing to us and focus only on our complaints.

Maybe he didn’t get you exactly what you wanted for your birthday, but does he work hard every day to support your family? So, he didn’t notice your new haircut right away. Does he give the kids their bath every night? Yes, his dirty socks are constantly on the floor in front of the hamper, but didn’t he change the oil in the car yesterday?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The next time you’re tempted to complain about your husband’s shortcomings, why not praise God instead for a way that he has blessed you or done something admriable? And let’s make sure to thank our husbands for those little “flowers” they bring us every day.


THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SATISFACTION THROUGH CHRIST.
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