I thought you would want to know about an opportunity for us to get together (in person or online) and share fellowship around God’s Word. My upcoming event: “Delighting in God’s Word,” will be held on May 18-19, and I hope you’ll be able to join me.
I know that for many women reading the Bible can be like doing your algebra homework: Hoping you’ll get it done so you can get a good grade from God for the day. For others I know it’s something you know you should do but frequently struggle to find the time or even the inclination. Perhaps your lack of interest in the Bible is a great source of guilt and shame, and you’ve just given up. Or maybe you’ve read the Bible like it’s Aesop’s fables, just a morality tale that’s meant to show you how you should be like Daniel or Esther. And though you’ve tried, you just can’t get your Queen on.
I want you to know that I understand.
I mean, what do all those strange rituals and frightening stories (especially in the Old Testament!) have to do with Christianity? Aren’t they disconnected from our daily lives? And what about the way that the Bible talks about women? Should we assume from it that the Lord doesn’t really care about us as women? Should we leave the Bible reading to the guys?
I promise that the Bible is so much more. I promise to help you see it in a different way…in the way it was meant to be read…in the way Jesus taught His disciples to read it. And I’m praying that the Lord will open your heart and mind to understand the Scriptures in ways you’ve never dreamed possible and that your heart will burn within you with a new zeal for Him and reading His Word.
So, here are the particulars: If you live in the Lansing, Michigan area (or think it might be fun to take a road trip with some of your besties), you can sign up to attend the event here: http://delight.gotothehub.com. Just click on the “Attend in Person” link.
If, on the other hand, it’s not possible for you to join us in person, then here’s the link to livestream the event at any time between May 18 and July 31: http://delight.gotothehub.com. All you need to do is click on the “Purchase A Streaming License” link. There you’ll find an option to watch the event alone or with others. And remember, if you can’t watch it live in May, you’ll still have access to it for a couple of months—into the middle of summer!
I’m praying you’ll be able to join me and learn to experience His word in a whole new way: as one millennia long love letter written to you. I am,
Under the Mercy with You,
Of all the women of faith who might have been honored as part of the genealogy of Jesus, those the Spirit mentions through Matthew are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and, “the wife of Uriah”: A woman who played prostitute, a real prostitute, a Gentile widow, and a woman who was the object of sexual abuse. No matter who you are or what your background is, you’re welcome in his family. Come to him in faith–you’ll not be shut out.
Tamar was a twice-widowed woman with no children. After being sinned against by both of her husbands, she was sinned against by her father-in-law, who was supposed to provide for her. So, she responded and sinfully took matters into her own hands. She pretended to be a prostitute so that she could be a mother, a woman who had value and security.
Rahab was a Gentile prostitute who hid the Israeli spies who would conquer her country. In essence, she was a lying traitor to her nation. But Hebrews commends her and says, rather ironically, “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient (her countrymen), because she had given friendly welcome to the spies” (Heb 11:31). BTW, she also became the mother of Boaz (see below).
Ruth was a Gentile, idol-worshipping widow. She was destitute and chose to emigrate from Moab to Bethlehem with Naomi, her bitter mother-in-law, whom she loved. She didn’t have any clue how the Lord would use her, but walked on in faith. She probably thought she and Naomi would live lives of deep poverty, in isolation and shame. Instead, she ultimately married Boaz (Rahab’s son), and became the mother of Obed, the grandfather of King David.
Bathsheba, “…the wife of Uriah,” was the victim of sexual exploitation by the king. She was widowed through murder and the baby she had conceived by David’s abuse died. She was broken, abused, bereft. And yet, she’s honored as being in the family line of Jesus. She became the mother of Solomon.
What do we learn from the Spirit’s choice of these four women? We learn that Jesus loves to honor those whom the world (and church?) might claim are disqualified.
You are not disqualified by what you’ve done. You are not disqualified by what someone else has done to you. Your sin and the sin of others against you is not the most important thing about you.
You are welcomed into his family. He’s not ashamed of you. He doesn’t wish you were prettier or cleaner or had a better resume.
He’s proud to claim you as His bride. He’s made you beautiful and clean and given you the record of his perfect obedience.
All women are welcome. Including you.
So, come to him in faith and know that he loves, welcomes, and values you. And one day, you’ll be clothed in the white linen shared by all the saints.
[Photos: Unsplash.com, Tiko Giorgadze and Soroush Karimi]
If you’re anything like me, you groan when you read the headlines on your news feed every morning. Or maybe the bad news is closer to home, like when you hear your children screaming at each other again…or recognize yet again the unbelief and selfishness in your own heart. Even at its best, this world is rife with terrible, heartbreaking, evil wickedness, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.
You don’t need to be a great theologian to know that this place we’re living in is broken. By God’s common grace we don’t usually see how terrible it is…until someone decides to fire a machine gun into a crowd or mows down families celebrating a holiday. This shouldn’t happen.
This place we’re living in is broken.
It’s not like it should be.
As Christians, do we have an answer to all this brokenness? Sure, we should do everything we can to help the hurting, pass just laws, bring peace and reconciliation here. But no matter what we do, we’re not going to change this place into the place we’re longing for: A place where peace and righteousness dwells.
In our desperation and hopelessness, the only hope we have is that a day is coming when everything will finally be made right. When we step off into heaven and to live eternally on a New Earth—our Home to come–everything will be as it should be. We won’t worry about terror or crying or death or pain there. Every tear will be wiped away by His nail-scarred hand.
We need the hope of heaven right now.
I need the hope of heaven right now.
If you think it might be helpful, you can access my teaching about our heavenly Home to come here.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that our country is in a time of great turmoil. I’m nearly 70 years old and although I’ve walked through stormy times, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like the last 6 months and especially the last couple weeks.
In any case, I thought it would be a good time to remind myself (and you?) about God’s providence…a comforting doctrine in times of great uncertainty and fear.
My favorite definition of “providence” is from the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), questions 27-28. Let me encourage you to read them over and let their truths seep deeply into your souls and bring you comfort.
Q 27: What do you understand by the providence of God?
God’s providence is his almighty and ever present power whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds heaven and earth and all creatures and so governs them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, indeed, all things, come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand.
Did you get that? The men who crafted this confession weren’t living in cushie-ville, untouched by deep adversity. The political climate of their day was anything but stable and they knew they could find themselves alternately welcomed or banished at any time. But this is what they believed: Everything comes to us by God’s fatherly hand. No matter what comes, or where it seems like it comes from, it’s ultimately from His hand. Considering how powerful that hand is, we might be terrified.
But that’s where the truth that his hand is also a loving fatherly hand comforts us.
How do we know? We know because His fatherly hand is a hand that has known suffering. Remember, “for God so loved that He gave…?” He knows what it is to suffer. And he’s right there with his children in our times of trial.
Here’s their next question and answer:
Q 28: What does it benefit us to know that God has created all things and still upholds them by his providence?
We can be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity, and with a view to the future, we can have a firm confidence in our faithful God and Father that no creature shall separate us from his love and that all creatures are so completely in his hand that without his will they cannot so much as move.
Notice the verbs in their answer: patient, thankful, confident. How can that happen? It can only happen when we believe that “all creatures” are in his hand and that He’s a faithful God who is also our loving Father.
Right about now most kids across the country are grumbling (or screaming), “I hate school!” I get that. I felt that way when I was their age. School is rude. It intrudes into summer fun and ruins everything exciting. And, worst of all, it’s BORING (the new cardinal offense)!
I do understand kids’ angst and I agree that sitting in a regimented classroom with a teacher droning on and on about something I couldn’t care less about (no disrespect meant to teachers) is a cruel punishment. So, in one sense, I’m there grumbling right along with them. But in another sense, I’m eagerly anticipating school.
In fact, I think we’re going to spend eternity there.
Here’s what I mean: I think part of what we’ll be doing on the New Earth in our resurrected bodies is learning…and we’ll be doing that forever. Is that your expectation? Most believers think we’ll spend eternity worshiping God (and we will), but rather than thinking of eternity like one long worship service, why not think of it as an endless time of discovery and understanding? For instance, can you picture yourself saying to your friends, “I heard that Tolkien is offering a class on imagination up in the New Jerusalem…Wanna go?” And unlike other classes, you’ll not only be welcomed there, you’ll also have the necessary brain power to understand. After all, even if you don’t understand right away, you’ll have zillions of years to work through it. And then, when you finally do get it, think of what praises will fill your heart and mouth!
Some of the deepest joys I’ve known I’ve found in learning and heaven is filled with joy.
Think of what it will be like to talk with women and men who have deep insights. Imagine chatting with Dorothy Sayers or Mary Magdalene or Perpetua. Envision what it will be like to explore this planet in it’s reborn state, to swim or hike or look intensely at a leaf and actually see how it grows–to watch it turn light into life. Now…that’ll be anything but boring. It will be pure, unadulterated joy.
Have you ever thought about eternity in that way? Does it change your level of desire to be there? It does me.
So now…when our kids gripe about having to go to school you can agree. But you can also tell them that this kind of learning isn’t all there will ever be. This kind of learning is part of a fallen system in a fallen world where things that were meant to be joyful have taken on the shroud of death. But a new day is coming.
Read more about my perspective on eternity. “Home: How Heaven and the New Earth Satisfy Your Deepest Longings.”
And, as always, please leave your email address if you’d like to be on my mailing list.