Mission Statement

The primary purpose of this blog is to help Christian women apply the counsel of God's Word to their daily lives as it relates to their relationships, circumstances, suffering and sin; and to equip them to help others do the same. "For the Word of God is living and active." Hebrews 4:12

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

1 John Study The Test of Sound Doctrine

I listened to a sermon by Joel Beeke today on audiosermon.com and wanted to give you a recap. He is a wonderful preacher and I highly encourage you to look him up! The Scripture text is from 1 John 2:18-27.

Up to this point, John has been giving Christians the "behavioral test" of true faith but now he turns his attention to the "belief test". The Bible teaches that what you believe, you live. Lifestyle flows from beliefs; and how you live, reveals what you believe.

John warned his readers to be careful what they believed because they were living in the "last hour". Here are some thoughts from Beeke:
  • Truth is absolute: therefore, it is binding on everyone, forever!
  • We are all vulnerable to wrong doctrine and falling away from the truth. Don't ever think you are above this.
  • God has but one more appointment with mankind; there is one more event on God's theological calendar. It is the return of the King!
  • How are you living in light of Christ's return? Live everyday as if it is the last. Be on guard. Believe the truth, guard the truth, and live it!
John warned his readers to be careful because of the antichrists. Beeke notes:
  • The antichrists are ordinary people.
  • What characterizes these antichrists?  First of all, they were once in the church but were not born again. They could no longer bear or hear God's truth because it pierced their conscience. Secondly, they would not suffer the reproach of the world. Thirdly, they deny Jesus is the Messiah.
  • Many people do "good" works but  for a work to be truly Christian it must be "Word and deed in every mission".
John encourages Christians to grow in doctrine (sound teaching). Beeke says:
  • Anchor your life in the Word of God. Make it a priority. Do whatever it takes to read it, memorize it, meditate on it, study it, etc. Order your days around knowing God through His Word.
  • Take heed of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He leads you to Christ and away from everything that opposes Christ.
  • The Word plus the Spirit make you strong to resist doctrinal error.
  • The Holy Spirit is not your only teacher but He is your greatest teacher! He leads you into all truth. Apart from Him, you would certainly be deceived but with Him you can know the Truth.
Conclusion: Anything that takes you away from Jesus as He is found in the Scriptures is heresy. Note how opposition to the gospel worldwide is increasing; there are many antichrists. We don't know what we will face in our lifetime, but the only way to endure is to be anchored in His Word and guided by His Spirit.

Points to Ponder and Post:
1. What modern day heresies have you encountered, even within "Christian" circles? How do you know if they are false?
2. How would you encourage a new believer to be discerning against false heresy?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bible Study Tool-On-line Sermons

There is a wonderful sight called sermonaudio.com. You can look up sermons by speaker, topic, scripture passage and more. Most of the sermons are audio only, but you can listen to them online or download them to an mp3 or ipod. Some of them even have a video format; a select few have a transcript. Of course, you want to be discerning concerning the pastors you choose to listen too. There are many pastors I am not familiar with but here are a few I would encourage you to look up.

Jay Adams
Joele Beeke
Ligon Duncan
Sinclair Ferguson
John MacArthur
Joseph Pipa
RC Sproul
Charles Spurgeon
Jonathan Edwards
Jim Berg
CJ Mahaney
JC Ryle

There is a wonderful list of classical, reformed and puritan speakers as well. Of course, for those who have gone on to be with the Lord, there is someone reading their sermons.

I usually try to find sermons on the exact passages I am studying for the week. I stick in my ipod when I am in the car, excercising, cleaning the house, and when I lay down in bed at night. This is an incredible way to bring solid teaching and preaching right into your home! Let me know if you find a favorite sermon or preacher.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What is True Repentance?

Repentance is a grace of God's Spirit, whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed....repentance is spiritual medicine made up of six special ingredients:
1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred of sin
6. Turning from sin
If any one is left out, it loses its virtue.
From The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson

Friday, June 25, 2010

What Does It Mean to Abide?

"Abide in Me. Cling to Me. Stick fast to Me. Live the life of close and intimate communion with Me. Get nearer and nearer to Me. Roll every burden on Me. Cast your whole weight on Me. Never let go your hold on Me for a moment. Be as it were rooted and planted in Me. Do this, and I will never fail you. I will ever abide in  you. This word "abide," or "remain,"..... implies a contant remaining or continuing in one spot or place. A true Christian must always be 'In Christ', as a man dwelling always inside the walls of a fortified city." JC Ryle, Commentary on John, page 101

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lavish Love

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

I have been taken aback by this verse all week long. Think about it. God, the Creator of the Universe, has lavished His great love on me! I was once His enemy with nothing to offer Him but the sin that nailed His Son to the cross and yet He adopted me and calls me His child. This is really shocking when you think about it.  I want to understand this extravagant love which God has bestowed on me through Christ. I know I take it for granted.  I wrestle to grasp the enormity of the riches of His love for me.

I have been seeking examples of stories which demonstrate extravagant love in order to give me a better understanding, a glimpse into the Father's love for His children. This story of Rick and Dick Hoyt (video below) is a precious story of one father's lavish love for his son. There are many spiritual parallels in this story. Please share any stories you have of "lavish love" which may give us a greater understanding of God's "lavish love" of His children.

Dick & Rick Hoyt

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lessons from My Flower Garden on Confession

Yesterday I was doing some much needed sprucing up of my long neglected flower beds. As I was pulling up a million and one weeds, I was cleverly drawing parallels between  my weeding and confession. Here are a few of my profound thoughts!

  • Left unattended, weeds grow and multiply quickly! Sin grows quickly and multiplies in our lives when unattended.
  • Pulling weeds is easier when the soil is moist and pliable. Confession is easier when the soil of our hearts is soft and fertile from God's Word not stony and hardened with self and the world.
  • Weeds destroy the beauty and vitality of the flowers in the bed. Sin destroys our witness and zaps us of spiritual energy to grow and blossom in the Lord.
  • Weeding is an activity which I loathe and put off as long as possible; this can be my tendency in dealing with my sin too.
  • Because the work is so unpleasant, I am easily distracted. Go get a drink, pet the dog, check my phone for messages, go get another drink, stick my feet in the pool to cool off, go inside to check my e-mail, get another drink....you get the picture! How easily we fill our lives with so much activity that we neglect the essential need to clear our hearts before the Lord daily.
  • Weeds grow daily; everyday there are new weeds in my flower beds. I need to confess sin daily because it's there daily.
  • A weed eater is the easiest but least effective way of dealing with weeds because it does not deal with the root. My confession must deal not only with my behavior but with my heart as well.
  • Finally, you have to get low to the ground to pull weeds! Confession brings us low, and by God's grace we are lifted up again!
These are just a few of the thoughts I was having while I was weeding. Let me know if you have any more comparisons!

Happy Weeding,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Excerpts from Whiter than Snow

One of my favorite devotional books is Whiter then Snow, Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp. The devotionals are based on Psalm 51which is Kings David's confession after being confronted with his sin. Let me give you a taste....

"Rather than appealing to the meary of the Lord in the face of sin, what I actually do instead is function as my own defense lawyer and present a list of arguments for my own righteousness. The theology behind the defense is that my greatest problem is outside of me, not inside of me.....Before you can make a clean and unamended confession of your sin, you have to first begin by confessing your righteousness. It's not just your sin that separates you from God but your righteousness does as well. Because, when you are convinced you are righteous, you don't see the forgiving, rescuing, and restoring mercy that can be found only in Jesus Christ." pg. 22

"Grace is for the willing and we become willing when we confess not only the gravity of our sins, but our inablity to delivers ourselves from it." pg. 24

"True confession always results in living for something bigger." pg. 42

" 'Thy Kingdom come' is a dangerous prayer, for it means the death of your own sovereignty." pg. 62

"When your sin really does become ugly to you, when it produces pain in your heart and sickness in your stomach, you celebrate forgiveness, but you want something more. You want to be clean." pg. 66

"You know whether a house is being restored or condemned by the size of tools that are out front. If you see a crane and a wrecking ball, the house isn't being restored; it's coming down. Wrecking ball responses to the sin of another are seldom restorative." pg. 76

"The desire to be God rather than to serve God lies at the bottom of every sin that anyone has ever committed....sin is rooted in my unwillingness to find joy in living my life under authority of, and for the glory of, Another. Sin is rotted in my desire to live for me." pg. 81

"To trangress means to acknowlegde the boudaries and to step willingly over them." pg. 86

"The very fact that sin is about self-focus and self-love guarantees the fact that I'll not love you the way that I should." pg. 96

"Sin is all about foolishness. Sinners are fools who are able to convince themselves that they are wise." pg. 108

If We Confess Our Sin.....

"If we confess our sin...." Why the "if"? Why not "when"? Our natural inclination is to NOT confess our sin, why is that? Notice the reaction of a young child when asked, "Did you touch that?" "Did you eat that?" "Did you poop in your pants?" How often does the child make a good confession? His natural bent is a non-confession.

The word "confess" means "to say the same thing." Confession of sin is agreement with God about our failure to obey His commandments. Why is it so difficult to agree with God's assesment and say so?!

Confession of sin requires humility. It reminds us of our utter poverty and the need for our Savior every moment of every day. John admonishes us not to sin, but He reminds us that when we do sin we have One who speaks to the Father on our behalf! The love of our Savior should compel us not to sin, but when we do sin His unconditional love should compel us to run to Him not from Him!

What does a good confession look like?
1. It should be done quickly. As soon as you recognize you have sinned, confess and ask forgiveness from God and your neighbor. The more time that passes, the more difficult the confession.
2. It should be done thoroughly. When a person stands in court to testify he swears "to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth." This should be our intent when confessing our sin before the High Court of Heaven. We must remember that God already knows our sin; inside and out. Let us be honest to say what He already has witnessed first hand!
3. It should be ongoing. Confession should be a regular practice in our daily lives. We sin much, so we should confess much!

I suggest three steps for making a good confession:
a. "I would like to ask you to please forgive me for (and then name the sin biblically)....
b. "Is there anything else for which I have not confessed but need too? "
c. "I am committed to change and this is how I plan to demonstrate it...."

My friend, we need not run from confession. It is God's means for forgiveness and cleaning from ongoing sin. It is also His means to help retard the growth of sin in our lives. When I have struggled with ongoing sin, confession to God and the party I sinned against has been a vital tool to bring about heart change and behavior change. Is your home a place where redeemed sinners regularly confess their sins one to another? Do the words "I sinned and will you please forgive me" flow freely and regularly from your lips?  Are you modeling what it looks like to be humble and make a good confession? I pray my life will be  characterized by "when" I confess my sins, not "if". May the love of the Father motivate me to not sin, but when I do sin, may my love for Him motivate me to make a good confession.

Points to Ponder and Post:
1. Why do you think confession is so difficult for Christians?
2. What has helped you become more willing to confess your sins to God and your neighbor? How would you encourage another believer who is struggling in this area?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Consider Larger Portions of Scripture

I was talking today to a friend of mine in her early fifties. She told me a true story from a book she read last year that challenged her Scripture memory motivation. She spoke of a Chinese pastor who took a group of men into the hills of communist China to study the Bible and pray. Because of the intense persecution and shortage of Bibles, the men memorized a chapter of Matthew a day! These God-fearing brothers did this with malnourished bodies while hiding in the mountains enduring poor living conditions. My friend told me as a result of the testimony of these men, she and her husband have committed to memorizing a chapter of the Bible a month.  

I have often memorized topical Bible verses; I think it's a great way to go about Scripture memory. However, in recent years I have come to see the benefits of memorizing larger sections, or chapters, and on occasion, even a small book. There are several reasons for this. First of all, I find it easier to memorize several verses that relate to one another. I seem to retain more when the verses are interrelated. Secondly, I am horrible at memorizing addresses; larger portions minimize the need for so many different chapters and verses. Thirdly, memorizing larger portions help me to change not just a thought but my thought patterns. Finally, I  have a better understanding of the verses when they are in a greater context.

I want to challenge you to have some sort of Scripture memory goal this summer and to commit to it! It's not only the end product (memorized verses) but also the process (word for word mediation and  constant review) that make Scripture memory a means for tremendous spiritual growth! The verses don't always "stick" in my mind for the long haul, but I know they are making a lasting impression on my heart forever! Let's encourage one another to hide God's Word in our hearts.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Scripture Memory-Just Do It!

I would like to start a little discussion and encouragement on Scripture memorization. So, please add your comments and insights to this post! Here are a few questions I would like for you to weigh in on?

1. Why memorize Scripture?
2. How do you memorize Scripture?
3. What are the benefits of Scripture memorization you have seen in your own life?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lacking Assurance? Think on These Things

If you want to be totally encouraged today and feel secure and have surety, meditate on Chapter 17 of The Westminster Confession of Faith. It is astounding to think about God's grasp on those who are in the Beloved! I have taken the liberty to use the Modern English Version which you can find online. Read slowly and really think about what each point is communicating to you. Also, take the time to look up unfamiliar words.

Of the Perseverance of the Saints

1. Those whom God has accepted in his Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere in it to the end and be eternally saved.

2. The perseverance of the saints does not depend upon their own free will, but on the unchangeableness of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; on the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; on the continuing presence of the Spirit and the seed of God within them; and on the nature of the covenant of grace. These are grounds of the certainty and infallibility of their perseverance.

3. Nevertheless, they may—through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the pervasiveness of the corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means by which they are to be preserved—fall into grievous sins and for a time continue in them. In so doing they incur God's displeasure and grieve his Holy Spirit; some measure of God's graces and comforts is taken from them; they have their hearts hardened and their consciences wounded; they harm others and give them occasion to sin, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.

Does assurance really matter?

"People who do not have the assurance of salvation, and doubt whether they ever can, tend to be self-centered, focusing on how to know they are saved or how to "keep" themselves saved.....On the other hand, when a person is assured of his salvation he may get on with living, growing, showing concern for others. He doesn't have to focus upon self." Jay Adams, Commentary on 1 John, pg. 210

Ponder and Post:
1.How do you see the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints impacting your daily life?
2. What would you recommend to a person who lacks assurance of their salvation to gain assurance?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Using Confessions and Creeds in Bible Study

Along the way, I hope to encourage you in your Bible Study with additional tools for meditation. One of the most helpful tools is the use of historic Chrisitan Creeds and Reformed Confessions. Now, I know this may not sound interesting, but don't stop reading! You might be asking, "What do a bunch of old dead men have to offer me about theology and doctrine?" Alot! These confessions and creeds put sound doctrine in readable packages!  If you have a phone with applications, you can even download these right to the palm of your hand! If you are not familiar with creeds and confessions google some of these and become familiar with them...

Heidelberg Catechism (one of my favorites)
Belgic Confession
Westminster Confession of Faith, Shorter Catechism or Larger Catechism

Nicene Creed
Apostles's Creed

Thoughts to Ponder and Post:
In my study today, I used the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 17 to learn about the perserverance of the saints. The Confession gives you cross-references, so I was able to do additional scripture reading as well. Try it! Let me us know what you think!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sin is Our Choice; Forgiveness is His

"1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin." 1 John 1:1 

Sin is breaking God's law. It is first and foremost an offense against God. I don't have to sin; I  have a choice to obey or disobey God. "Grace does not eliminate the requirement to obey. It enables one to do so." (Jay Adams) What will I choose today? I will have many opportunities to "walk as Jesus walked" or to walk in my own way. What will be the pattern of my day? How will I practically flesh out love for God and my neighbor? What about you, what will you choose? We must begin our day with the reminder that our lives are not our own, we have been bought with the blood of Christ. We must desire to decrease so that He may increase. What will keep us from sinning? We must see the beauty and excellence of His commands; believing that all of His ways are true and right.

But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for[a] the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:2

I don't have to sin, but I will. Oh, how sweet is this verse to my soul! There is One who is face to face with the Father pleading on my behalf, Jesus Christ. He is the sinless attorney representing you and me in the High Court of God. He has never lost a case! "He pleads that the penalty has already been paid and He has the scars in His hands and feet as evidence. On the cross when Jesus said, 'It is finished' it can be translated 'the debt is paid'." (John Piper) What amazes me is that Jesus goes to my defense everytime I sin. I am overwhelmed when I consider all the times my Savior must plead my case before the Father in one day! I wonder how many times I would  be willing to plead a person's case before a judge, especially when that person breaks the same  laws over and over again. Why would The Righteous One continually go to bat for a sinner like me? Unlike me, he does not say "Good grief, here we go again!"  What unconditional love and mercy is demonstrated in this picture of my Savior defending me. I have nothing to offer in my own defense, I am a sinner prone to wander. He alone is my Righteousness; I run to Him.

Questions to Ponder and Post:
1. How can Christians keep from sinning?
2. How does1 John 2:2 affect your view of sin and the Savior?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Deep Relationships Depend on Shared Doctrine

What is fellowship? It is a personal experience of sharing something significant in common with others.

Fellowship with God and Jesus:
"So to say you have fellowship with the Father and his Son means that you have come to share their values. You believe what they believe and love what they love. And so you delight to spend time together. You love to include them in all that you do. You cherish the thought of spending an eternity getting to know them better." John Piper

Fellowship with others:
"There is no significant fellowship among people who do not share the same view of Jesus Christ. Shared doctrine is the basis of Christian fellowship. The deeper and stronger you want your fellowship to be, the more theology must be shared. " John Piper


1. How do you do to enjoy and deepen your fellowship with the Father and Son?
2. What do you think about Piper's statement "The deeper and stronger you want your fellowship to be, the more theology must be shared?"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Body of Christ Lives On!

Have you ever considered that the body of Christ is in heaven and yet remains on earth? God became visible through Jesus Christ as he walked among the Saints of old. His physical body was crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended into heaven. But, the body of Christ lives on! The church is also called "the body of Christ". As individual and corporate members of Christ's church, we are His eyes, ears, hands, feet and heart to a lost and dying world. We have the opportunity to demonstrate the reality of God and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ! May our witness individually and corporately accurately reflect the Jesus of the Bible!

Thoughts on the Incarnation

"1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our[a] joy complete." 1 John 1:1-4

"It is not because we lack reliable testimony to the truth of Christ that we are slow to believe. It is because to believe is to be broken and to let the blackness of our hearts be exposed by the light of God's holiness." John Piper

"This is the stumbling block of the incarnation-when God becomes man, he strips away every pretense of man to be God." John Piper


"A family of black-tailed squirrels has made its home amid the roots of the tree north of my office. We've been neighbors for three years now. They watch me peck the keyboard. I watch them store their nuts and climb the trunk. We're mutually amused. I could watch them all day. Sometimes I do.

But I've never considered becoming one of them. The squirrel world holds no appeal to me. Who wants to sleep next to a hairy rodent with beady eyes?(No comments from you wives who feel you already do.) Give up the Rocky Mountains, bass fishing, weddings and laughter for a hole in the ground and a diet of dirty nuts? Count me out.

But count Jesus in. What a world he left. Our classiest mansion would be a tree trunk to him. Earth's finest cuisine would be walnuts on heaven's table. And the idea of becoming a squirrel with claws and tiny teeth and furry tail? It's nothing compared to God becoming a one-celled embryo and entering the womb of Mary.

But he did. The God of the universe kicked against the wall of a womb, was born into the poverty of a peasant, and spent his first night in the feed trough of a cow.

Why? He loves to be with the ones he loves." (From Next Door Savior by Max Lucado)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Let's Get Started with a Summer Challenge

Summer is a great time to go deeper in the Word! I am hopeful many of you are considering the summer challenge; it's not too late to jump in. Here are some of the ideas discussed in a previous e-mail of how you can make the most out of this challenge. Send us your ideas!

Purchase the 12 week study on 1,2,3 John and Jude by John McArthur. You can also opt to use another study guide or your own study methods.

Encourage others around you, like your husband, older children, best friends, mother, sister, co-worker, to join the study. My mentor Kristi Gant would tell me, "If you want to be excited about bible study, get around other people who are excited about it." Surrounding yourself with others who are fired up about their study will light a fire under you!

Consider regularly talking to or meeting with others to discuss your study.

Consider memorizing at least one verse a week or take on a larger portion like a chapter or even an entire book! Share your goal with at least three people and ask them to hold you accountable. Write your goal in the cover of your study book.

Consider keeping a prayer journal for 12 weeks to record prayers that flow from your study.

Finally, share what you are learning with the rest of us! I hope to hear from many of you! I pray our enthusiasm this summer will fan into flame our love for Christ, His Word, His Church and the furtherance of His Kingdom!

Slow Beginnings

I apologize for my tardiness in getting this blog up and running; I hope you will grant me a little grace. I cannot begin to tell you the hours I have labored to learn how to manage this blog; not to mention the number of editing changes I have already made before the first post! This is supposed to be useful and enjoyable; but I am feeling stressed!

So why go through the trouble to set up a blog? For starters, it's easier than e-mail! I will no longer be sending out the "Mentors and Moms" e-mails which I have kept up with so poorly over the past year. Now, you can sign up to get updates on this blog, although I am not quite sure how that is done. Secondly, it's an interactive way for you and me to share with other like-minded women what God is working in and through us! I want this to be a site where we can spur one another on toward a greater love of God and our neighbor. Finally, it is means for me to share bibilcal insights, quotes, challenges, bible studies, speaking engagements and resources which I pray will help you in your quest to know God and make Him known in every sphere of your life.

I am beginning to add links to my favorite web sites and will begin to add favorite books and some book reviews too. I am learning as I go; so we will see where this ends up and how useful it is. Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me in this endeavor and for the ways you sharpen me!