My Savior Lives

We just celebrated Resurrection Day a few weeks ago. What a moment that must have been! I have thought of it many times over the years, how exhilarating it must have been to the few followers of Christ to come to the grave and find it empty! They came there saddened and confused, and then all of that vanished like fog on a sunny morning when the angel said, “He is not here, He is risen, just like He said.”

I have just come from Facebook. Most of my friends are Christians, in fact, probably all of them claim to be. Many of them have posted statuses like, “Disappointed”, “Depressed”, “sick”, “America will cease to exist”, etc. Why the widespread heartbreak? Last night Ted Cruz suspended his presidential campaign. He was the answer for us, and now he is done. Yes, that is depressing.

I have taken an interest in politics since I was quite young. I remember the fear that gripped me as young girl when Clinton took office. The night that George Bush (41) gave his concession speech, I wept. Preachers from all corners of the country had declared that life as we knew it would cease once Clinton took the oath. Amazingly, it did not. I graduated high school, got married and even had a child while Clinton was in office. I went to church, read my Bible, worked jobs, bought groceries, paid bills, and gave out gospel tracts. I talked about the Lord at work, at home, and at church.

How was this possible with such an evil man as President? How has it been possible with an even more evil man in office the last seven years? Because God is in charge, not Clinton or Obama.

And now, as so many grieve what will surely be the end of America, I want to offer some hope.

God is in control. Why didn’t He allow the Christian man to succeed? I don’t know. Maybe because too many Christians were making an idol of Mr. Cruz by placing upon his back the success or failure of the U.S. rather than placing that confidence in Christ? Maybe we are supposed to face persecution? Because, frankly, being a Christian in the U.S. has not been that difficult. I mean, really, the problems Christians face in America are nothing compared to those in China, Iran, or Iraq. When persecution comes, only those who know and hear their Shepherd’s voice will remain faithful.

But what if everyone is wrong? What if God can preserve our freedom no matter who is in the White House? Might He then get credit for it? Probably not, but such is human nature. Utterly and totally depraved.

I know many friends who love Ted Cruz will have a tough time in the days to come. I do not put much trust in any political figure. Yes, I have my opinions, I vote, and I pray, but that’s where it ends. No more tears. I suppose being duped about Clinton in ’92 is what changed me. That, and learning the Doctrines of Grace. Knowing that God rules and reigns and controls every single molecule in nature is an enormous comfort. Knowing that I will be with Him one day and all of this life will be past, is an even greater comfort.

I hope you know Him. If you do, you know He lives!

With love,

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Spring Piano Recital {2016}

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It’s a musical time of year for us! Mitchell, Leslie, and Laci had their spring piano recital on Saturday, April 30. Their teacher, Mrs. Hall, is a sweet lady who not only teaches the basics of music, but also of hymn playing. Mitchell is our standby pianist at church, and he was needing to hone his skills regarding church music.

Leslie played her piece from memory and had a moment of forgetfulness, but she didn’t quit. She started again and did her best with poise. This was Laci’s first recital, so it was an extra special evening for her. Mitchell did very well, despite a few foibles. They all did their best and we are so happy they have the opportunity to learn music from such a kind, Christian lady.

They will be playing these same pieces for a music competition next Saturday, so this recital doubled as a great practice session before they face the judges.

It was a fun evening for our family, and if you’re interested, here are the videos:

Thanks for watching!

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Theological Term of the Week: Lapsarian

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This week’s term: Lapsarian – A lapsarian is one who believes man fell from his first estate of innocence and holiness by the act of sinning. While various divisions of lapsarians are in error, this general view is Biblically accurate. The divisions of lapsarianism essentially address what they feel to be the logical (but not chronological) order of divine decree, as related to the fall of man thus:

The Supralapsarian Order of Decrees:

  1. The decree to elect some to salvation and leave others in just reprobation.
  2. The decree to create both the elect and the non-elect or the reprobate.
  3. The decree to permit the fall of all men in the person of Adam.
  4. The decree to provide salvation for the elect.
  5. The decree to apply that purposed salvation to the elect.

The Sublapsarian Order of Decrees:

  1. The decree to create both the elect and the non-elect or the reprobate.
  2. The decree to permit the fall of all men in the person of Adam.
  3. The decree to provide salvation for the elect.
  4. The decree to elect some to salvation and leave others in just reprobation.
  5. The decree to apply that purposed salvation to the elect.

The Infralapsarian Order of Decrees:

  1. The decree to create both the elect and the non-elect or the reprobate.
  2. The decree to permit the fall of all men in the person of Adam.
  3. The decree to elect some to salvation and leave others in just reprobation.
  4. The decree to provide salvation for the elect.
  5. The decree to apply that purposed salvation to the elect.

Last week’s term: Eternal Decree – All things which God has eternally purposed, which must include all things that shall ever come to pass. We should never think in terms of divine decrees, but rather decree; that is to say, all things which God purposes are part of one singular and totally unified decree. Though the following issues properly belong to soteriological philosophy, and not to divine activities, Bro. Keener places them here, because they, relative to the fall, basically address divine decree.

Wanna read past terms? Go here: Theological Terms

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The Symphonic Honor Band Concert

On February 6, 2016, Lauren took a long-shot and auditioned for Southern Nazarene University’s homeschool symphonic honor band. I say, “took a long-shot”, because she has only been playing the trumpet for a little over a year. We knew the competition would be fierce, after all, homeschoolers from all over the state were auditioning! We were thrilled – ecstatic really – to hear that she made it! She was eighth chair out of nine total, but she made it!

On Friday, April 22, she and one other girl from our regional band went to Oklahoma City to practice all day with the honor band. They spent the night and then rehearsed all morning of the 23rd, to perform that afternoon! The only drawback was that none of our family could attend this exciting event with us. I was seated near the front and center of the auditorium to get good videos for our loved ones. Actually, Terry and I were both videoing at the same time just in case something went wrong.

Lauren is near the back of the group, so she is not visible to the camera. I couldn’t help but get a lump in my throat as I heard my dad’s trumpet being played in such a grand setting. His melody, charisma, and enthusiasm can still be heard through his granddaughter.

I think he would have been proud.

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There was a slight glitch in our recordings, so the “Salvation” piece is in two parts. The second part is here:

I want to thank the wonderful people of Bethel Baptist Church for their tremendous encouragement to Lauren. They have invested in her life, in all our children’s lives, as if we were their relatives, too. But then, I guess we are family, the best kind of family, God’s family. From the bottom of this mother’s heart, I thank you.

With love,

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Theological Term of the Week: Eternal Decree

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We are beginning a new heading this week. The next seven terms will be Words and Terms Describing the General Activities of God.

This week’s term: Eternal Decree – All things which God has eternally purposed, which must include all things that shall ever come to pass. We should never think in terms of divine decrees, but rather decree; that is to say, all things which God purposes are part of one singular and totally unified decree. Though the following issues properly belong to soteriological philosophy, and not to divine activities, Bro. Keener places them here, because they, relative to the fall, basically address divine decree.

Last week’s term: Impeccability of Christ – The truth that Jesus Christ was not only innocent of sin, but incapable of sinning. That is to say, He was not, as is fallen man, a sinner by nature, making Him capable of committing the acts properly identified as sin.

Thank you for reading!

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My Book Bag: Knowing God

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I have just finished reading Knowing God by J. I. Packer. It has blessed me more than I can aptly describe. As I sit to share my thoughts, however, I am aware that the points brought out in the pages of this book go against much of the teaching I received. Because of that, I feel sure that few, if any, of my Christian-Baptist friends will read this book. I grew up being taught that if it wasn’t written by a Baptist, then it was inaccurate; if it quoted anything but the KJV, then it was of the devil. Such foolish thinking, and let me say, so very hard to change. Going against the grain of legalistic believers, most of whom I love with all my heart, has the been the greatest challenge to which God has called me. And yes, it has to be God Who has broken the stronghold of my own will, my own thoughts, and my own ideas. Until the Lord shattered my world with His own Word, I was following in lock-step with the very ones from whom I now depart. I can say sincerely that I am thankful for having been raised with a respect for God and the Bible, and I am comforted that God has used all of my life experiences to mold me according to His plan. His sovereignty over my life brings me immeasurable comfort.

If your past (or present) is like my past, I doubt you will want to this book, and yet, you are the one who will be blessed the most by it. It will draw you closer to God, or reveal to you that in fact, you do not even know Him at all. It will convict you, encourage you, and maybe even astound you.

It is divided as follows:

Know the Lord

  • The Study of God
  • The People who Know their God
  • Knowing and Being Known
  • The Only True God
  • God Incarnate
  • He Shall Testify

This first section takes you on a theological journey of sorts as you become familiar with the God of the Bible. The most gripping comment which I noted from this section was from page 42. Packer is discussing how mankind tries to think of God: “At best, they can only think of God in the image of man – as an ideal man, perhaps, or a super-man. But God is not any sort of man. We were made in His image, but we must not think of Him as existing in ours. To think of God in such terms is to be ignorant of Him, not to know Him.” These words were shocking to me. Let’s be honest, no one wants to believe that God is not like man. After all, if God is not like us, then we are quite wrong on many fronts, especially those relating to ministry. I was taught (intentionally or not, I do not know, but nevertheless, this was my perception) to view the pastor as a demigod: If I upset or displeased the pastor, then I was likewise displeasing God. As I now try to free myself from this false thinking, I find myself almost leaping too far the other way. I willingly attest that, in most cases, this proves harmless. But in its extreme, it can wreck lives. For an example, please notice First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, and Hyles-Anderson College, following the accusations of the infidelity of pastor Jack Hyles, and the immoral and illegal behavior of his son-in-law and successor, Jack Schaap. Many blindly followed these leaders, and ignored their sinful actions, believing them to be in “God’s stead”. This led to great harm and loss.

Packer continues: “All images of God, whether molten or mental, are really borrowings from the stock-in-trade of a sinful and ungodly world, and are bound therefore to be out of accord with God’s own holy Word. To make an image of God is to take one’s thoughts of Him from a human source, rather than from God himself; and this is precisely what is wrong with image-making.” (p.44)

Behold Your God!

  • God Unchanging
  • The Majesty of God
  • God Only Wise
  • God’s Wisdom and Ours
  • They Word is Truth
  • The Love of God
  • The Grace of God
  • God the Judge
  • The Wrath of God
  • Goodness and Severity
  • The Jealous God

This is a fascinating section as you can see by the chapter titles. In “God Unchanging”, I was instructed greatly. I had always thought that when the Bible said, “The Lord repented…”, it meant God changed His mind. But this goes against the attribute of God’s immutability. Packer explains these texts: “The reference in each case is to a reversal of God’s previous treatment of particular men, consequent upon their reaction to that treatment. But there is no suggestion that this reaction was not foreseen, or that it took God by surprise, and was not provided for in His eternal plan. No change in His eternal purpose is implied when He begins to deal with a man in a new way.” (p. 72) Without understanding that God is not like man, we cannot understand these passages. God is eternal – He is in eternity, above time completely! Packer comments, “Today, vast stress is laid on the thought that God is personal, but this truth is so stated as to leave the impression that God is a person of the same sort as we are – weak, inadequate, ineffective, a little pathetic. But this is not the God of the Bible!” (p. 74)

In “God’s Wisdom and Ours”, Packer makes this point: “This comforting pretence becomes part of us: we feel sure that God has enabled us to understand all His ways with us and our circle thus far, and we take it for granted that we shall be able to see at once the reason for anything that may happen to us in the future. And then something very painful and quite inexplicable comes along, and our cheerful illusion of being in God’s secret councils is shattered. Our pride is wounded; we feel that God has slighted us; and unless at this point we repent, and humble ourselves very thoroughly for our former presumption, our whole subsequent spiritual life may be blighted.” (p. 95)

There is far more to add from this section, especially from the chapters about the grace of God and the wrath of God, but I would like to leave some treasures for you to discover, should you decide to study this wonderful book.

If God Be For Us…

  • The Heart of the Gospel
  • Sons of God
  • Thou our Guide
  • These Inward Trials
  • The Adequacy of God

The chapter about the gospel shows that one cannot understand the Bible at all without understanding the Gospel. He emphasizes “propitiation” in this chapter, and explains it so clearly. He also encourages the reader to sit down and read through the book of Mark in one sitting. In “Sons of God”, Mr. Packer begins with this: “What is a Christian?” and spends the time answering just that. What a journey! He points out that we are adopted by God. But not the Santa Claus god that the world has imagined, but the Holy, wonderful, all-powerful God of the Bible! He says, “…were I asked to focus the New Testament message in three words, my proposal would be ‘adoption through propitiation’, and I do not expect ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.” (p.194)

Page 207 contains the secret to the Christian life – but I’ll let you read that for yourself.

And there is so much more. I have high-lighted and meditated on more passages than I can share here, and I shall try to go back through this book again, for I am certain it can be mined many times and great riches uncovered.

Even to the unsaved, or the one who believes he is saved by works, this book is most valuable. Mr. Packer asks more than once, “Do you know God? Are you His child?”

This book is replete with biblical passages and profound preaching, and yet written in a smooth style.

Knowing God is guaranteed to change or encourage you. Or both.

With love,

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Theological Term of the Week: Impeccability of Christ

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This week’s term: Impeccability of Christ: The truth that Jesus Christ was not only innocent of sin, but incapable of sinning. That is to say, He was not, as is fallen man, a sinner by nature, making Him capable of committing the acts properly identified as sin. 

Last week’s term: Temptation of Christ – The truth that Jesus suffered all the objective assaults that Satan ever hurls upon any man, but that He, not being a fallen creature, was never subjectively tempted. That is to say, He never felt any impulse or inclination to yield to Satan’s invitations.

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