Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Mercy of the "Helmet"

One of the sweet mercies of the Lord is to provide hope for us when we feel like there is no hope. Often in times of disappointment or discouragement it feels like God has abandoned us. When things are hard it feels like he isn't there. How could he be, right? How could a loving God be right there with us in the middle of such pain, such heartache. Love, in our finite minds, means not being able to stand the suffering of a cherished one. But the great hope, and great paradox, for a believer is that the only place to look is heavenward. Our loving Father is in control of the hard times. It's almost as if he is saying "hold on, dear child. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel that you can't see right now. But I can. I have made the light, for you." But it just feels so dark. So dark that we can't even see our feet enough to guide us towards the light.

Thankfully feelings are not reality. While God may deal the blows, he protects us from the damage. John Piper wrote an encouraging and challenging post today about our hope when these blows come. As he reflects on his brief battle with cancer, he reminds us that God's word is our "helmet" when trouble comes. It was a blessing to my soul to be reminded of these truths. He concludes by saying:

In retrospect, God covered my head with the promise that this blow was not his wrath. He positioned the helmet of hope perfectly without my even thinking of helmets. I simply thought: This is not wrath; and if I live, I live with Christ, and if I die, I also live with Christ. With that he covered my head.

So go to the arsenal of God’s word and get your armor. The blows are going to come. Without a helmet they will crush your skull. God has a helmet of hope fitted for your head. Put it on.

God's word is our light when we can't see. It is a challenge to me to learn it and study it so my helmet can be secure when these blows come. You can read the rest of the post here

Monday, July 20, 2009

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

“Be careful little eyes what you see. Be careful little eyes what you see. For the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see.”

Many of us remember singing this song in Sunday school growing up. It has a catchy beat, catchy words and enough truth in it to make a little kid understand that God cares about what he or she sees. But has this understanding carried us into adulthood? We hear a lot about men guarding their eyes from impurity, but should women exercise the same vigilance with what images they see?

In talking about movies they watched, I have heard women say “we probably couldn’t watch it if guys were around. But it’s fine if it’s just girls.” Usually this is in reference to less than appropriately dressed women. But does the Bible make distinctions regarding the images that we, as women, allow into our minds?

Ephesians 5:3 says: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.”

Guarding the eyes is not only a male problem relegated to accountability groups. It applies to women as well. What we fill our minds with matters, even if it is “just women.” God wants our minds to be free from immorality because what the culture is telling us about modesty and sexuality is never what he designed it to be. When we fill our minds with images that are contrary to God’s design we are opening the door to the sin that is already in our hearts. There are three temptations that I see rise up in my heart, and in the hearts of women I have been around, when inundated with worldly images.

  1. The temptation toward comparison. When we consciously or subconsciously allow images of immodesty into our minds we slowly begin to see that as the model. But it isn’t. And this can lead us to compare ourselves to the images we are seeing. Slowly we become discontent with how God made us and begin to wish that we looked differently.
  2. The temptation toward a false understanding of beauty. With this desire to compare comes a wrong understanding of beauty. When we compare we are saying that what we desire is the standard. God sets the standard for beauty, and the world’s understanding of beauty is very far from his. Immodesty and fakeness are not true beauty. Rather, godliness, modesty, and a quiet spirit is what God deems beautiful (1 Peter 3:3-4).
  3. The temptation toward lust. Like guarding our eyes, we often see lust as a male problem. That is far from the truth. While often in different ways, women struggle with lust just as much as men do. We see women getting attention from ungodly men when they look a certain way and we lust for that attention. We see an inappropriate scene in a commercial or movie and we lust for sexual fulfillment outside of a marriage covenant.

Images and scenes draw us in and promise the world. We lust for those promises, but will slowly find out that they are lies. Media is a good thing. But we must be discerning with what we watch. We cannot blindly watch the popular television shows and movies and expect nothing to happen to our consciences. While it may seem like we are fine, slowly our souls are being hardened until all that is left are calluses that numb us to the pain of sin. Images matter for women. Paul did not have gender distinctions when he said that we are to have “not even a hint” of sexual immorality among us. Temptations are strong. Sin is powerful. But Jesus is greater. That old children’s song is good, but not good enough. Yes, we are careful what we see because God is looking down on us. But we are also careful what see because Jesus bought us. Our eyes have been awakened to the truth that Jesus is better than those things that seem so harmless.

So be careful little eyes what you see. Be careful little eyes what you see. For the Savior up above has bought your soul in love, so be careful little eyes what you see.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Return to Gender Blog

I am sorry I haven't posted at all this week. It has been quite crazy around here! But I did get a chance to write at CBMW again. I wrote a post about leaving a legacy of godly womanhood. You can read it here. And while you are there browse around the website. They always have great stuff for free!

I will be back next week (or maybe sometime this weekend) with some new posts. They are in my head, just not in Word yet.

I hope you enjoy the post.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Life in The Good Confession

Every time I hear the song The Good Confession by Andrew Peterson I can't help but cry. No matter where I am, I just start weeping every single time. This song is my story. But really, it's everybody's story. We all "drank from the shallow well" thinking it would satisfy our thirst until Jesus came and gave us tastebuds for living water. If you haven't heard the song, you should. It will not disappoint.

The Good Confession (I Believe) by Andrew Peterson
From the album: Resurrection Letters Volume II

I was a boy, just nine years old, I heard the call and came. They buried me beneath the water, then I rose again. Well, you know my dad was a preacher man. I walked the aisle and I took his hand. He said, “Son, just do the best you can, and say the words, ‘I believe he is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Through the years I barely fell; I mostly dove right in. I drank so deep from the shallow well only to thirst again. Well, I sang the hymns at the summer camp, then I rocked and rolled with a lousy band till I heard a song that took my hand and led me home. And I believe he is the Christ, Son of the living God.

All I know is that I was blind but now I see that though I kick and scream, Love is leading me. And every step of the way his grace is making me; with every breath I breathe, he is saving me. And I believe.

So when my body’s weak and the day is long, when I feel my faith is all but gone, I’ll remember when I sing this song that I believe. I believe he is the Christ, Son of the living God, my Lord, my Savior.

Oh, hosanna, I believe.

Friday, July 3, 2009

What is Your Treasure?

Do you ever find yourself repenting of sin only to be met with another sin immediately following your act of repentance? Or do you ever wonder why you cannot shake that one particular sin that seems to rise up in you?

I can relate to that.

I hate sin. I hate that I do it. I hate when it is done against me. And I especially hate when I do it even when I know that I shouldn’t. John Piper has been preaching through the book of John for a little while now, and as I listened to part one of this sermon series on John 3:16 I was struck by this phrase:

“The reason we sin is because we have other treasures besides Jesus.”

It sounds so simple, yet it is so profound. This statement struck me immediately. I sin because I treasure other things instead of treasuring the greatest treasure of all—Jesus. Every day there are countless things beckoning me to seek my treasure in them, rather than the Savior. And the greatest force that seeks to reign in my soul is me. Ultimately I treasure Courtney over Jesus.

It is a war.

The reason we speak harshly to our husbands and family is because we see ourselves as the most important being in the universe. The reason we gossip is because we treasure acceptance and futile knowledge over Jesus.

If Jesus were my treasure then I would be freed to radically love and serve him because I would see the infinite worth of the Savior and the utter depravity of myself in light of him. I wouldn’t need to lash out at my husband or get angry at the other drivers on the freeway.

Understanding this truth about ourselves radicalizes the way we witness as well. The fundamental problem with people is not that they do bad things, although it is true that we all do bad things. It is that they treasure other things more than Jesus. People commit adultery because they treasure lust and instant gratification more than Jesus. People get high because they treasure fleeting pleasures more than Jesus. When we are giving the Good News to people we must get to the heart of the matter. You do these things because you love them. You treasure them. And you treasure them because your heart is evil and longs for them. What you need is a new heart that will make you long for the greatest Treasure of all—Jesus Christ. He is more valuable and more satisfying than any temporal pleasure can bring.

I was deeply convicted by Pastor John’s statement. I sin because I treasure other things besides Jesus. So, what are you treasuring? Is it the Christ? Or is it something else that will never satisfy your soul.

Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.—Luke 12:33-34