Thursday, February 21, 2013


Sometimes, God comes through at just the right time, reminding us of some aspect of Himself just when we need it. But today is different. Today, I'm finding that God was reminding me of an aspect of Himself before I needed it. Yet I, having the frail frame that I do, so quickly forget Who He is at times when I need to remember most of all. He's been bringing up, again and again to me this week, that He is a fortress, that His kingdom is unshakable. The thought returns, or a song goes through my head, or I read a scripture. He's been relentlessly pursuing me on this topic.

God-as-Fortress and Kingdom-as-Unshakable are wonderful, comforting things to meditate on.
But they don't mean a blessed thing if I'm not relying on those Truths when I need them.

It does me in. It just does.
It's infuriating. When I stand back and see the problem so clearly, and then watch men who campaign like they have steely spines only to  comport themselves like they have slinky spines...oh, it just gets my goat.
(I'm not bothered by Nancy Pelosi. I expect Nancy Pelosi to behave like Nancy Pelosi. But I don't expect John Boehner to behave like Nancy Pelosi. I expect people who come from the side of the aisle that champions limited government, natural law, and a free market to champion limited government, natural law and a free market. I expect people who prioritize principle over power to prioritize principle over power. I expect people who value tax cuts and budget cuts to embrace tax cuts and budget cuts--not blame the other side for them, like they're anathema. Gridlock borne of integrity is a good thing. But I can't think of anything admirable regarding compromise. This is, of course, a point at which my more politically astute friends sniff at me, "You just don't understand how politics works." Pish posh. I understand how integrity works.)

But this is how I digress. I get worked up by Capitol Hill tyrants, and I start coming unglued from my Anchor.
I forget that God, not Congress, is a my Fortress.
I forget that God's kingdom, not the United States, is unshakable.
I forget that all things, even tyranny and tyrants, work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
And I dropkick Ephesians 4:29 into the next universe.

There has got to be a way to call down wickedness and foolishness and be angry about it. The prophets did it all the time.
More importantly, there has got to be a way to stay anchored to the Author and Finisher of my faith. But I other people lose their grip? or is it just me? Do other people feel like their faith shifts like sand?

I'm reading N.D. Wilson's The Chestnut King to the kids. And God, being a relentless God, finds me even there today..
Henry...should have killed Coradin. Caleb would have. His dad would have. Anastasia would have. But Henry had run away...
I feel like Henry. Sure, it's great to think of someone you admire doing the right thing (like Caleb or his dad), but it's a bit more humbling to realize that people who are less mature than you (like Anastasia) would do the right thing with more ease than you would.


Where do I go from here? I need to go back to the Word. I need it to anchor me when the waves of bad government spatter over me and take my breath away. I need learn to speak for what is right...while simultaneously keeping my faith in the right thing: the unshakable kingdom of God.

If God's kingdom is unshakable, and I am a citizen of that kingdom, then I need to be unshakable, too.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Am I a Hater?

He wants some angry young men
Ones who can't be bought
Ones who will not run from a fight
Ones who speak the truth whether it's popular or not
Ones who'd give up anything to walk in His light
Rest assured when Jesus comes again
He'll be looking for some angry young men*

Done correctly, it is the mark of true believers. Like love, hatred is not an emotion; it is a conscious choice. And only the true believer can do it correctly, because hatred, done correctly, aligns itself with God. Hatred, done correctly, has one target: SIN. True believers hate sin. They hate it with every fiber of their beings, theirs first...
but all other sin, as well.

Apostates rationalize, hypothesize, and love sin.
Believers hate it.

Apostates rationalize. They tell themselves that God meets them where they are and extends grace in their choice to sin.
Believers hate sin.  They know that God never, never, ever, ever extends grace to sin. Never.

Apostates hypothesize. From their fictional world of Hypothetical Land--out there where Santa and Sasquatch live--they devise all kind of what-ifs that only materialize in one place: their own imaginations.
Believers hate sin.
They know there is no such place as What If.
They know that God rules in the Now and reigns in the Later.
They know He is Lord of Today and Lord of Tomorrow.

Apostates love their sin.
They are comfortable with their choices.
They call good evil and evil good.

But His grace was not intended as a place to wipe your feet.*

Believers hate sin.
They are burdened by sin's weight and grieved by God's wrath.
That weight and that wrath drive the true believer relentlessly to the foot of the Cross.
There they do business with their Redeemer and His severe mercy.
There--and only there--is their grief assuaged and their guilt forgiven.
But the true believer never, ever stops hating...

He wants some angry young men
With fire in their eyes
Ones who understand what Jesus gave
Ones who have grown weary
of the world and all its lies
Ones who won't forget they've been
delivered from the grave.
Rest assured when Jesus comes again,
He'll be looking for some angry young men.*

The true believer does not stoop to red herrings and false trajectories.
He remembers that sin handled the whip, wove the thorns, drove the nails, and killed the Lamb.
He hates sin because God hates sin.

So, if you find yourself accused of being a 'hater,' take it as a compliment.
If someones says you're 'unbending,' understand, dear lamb, that means that you have a spine like steel, a face like flint.
It means you have the courage to live by conviction.
It means you have integrity.

While the battle cry of the apostate is, "Did God actually say?" (Gen.3:1)
the battle cry of the believer is, "I hate every false way!" (Psalm 119:104)

The apostate looks disdainfully at the believer and spits, "You're a hater."
The believer kneels at the foot of his Savior, gazes at His wounds, and replies, "Yes, I am."

Well, well, the road to hell is paved with
some impressive alibis.
But unless you thirst for Jesus first,
Man, heaven will pass you by.*

(*Angry Young Men by Randy Stonehill 1985)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Woman, You Are Free

Praise God for His mercy and grace, I am a redeemed complementarian. That is evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in me because I know that without Him, I would be a raging feminist. Why feminist? Sadly, it has nothing to do with the world and everything to do with the church. It's a sad story of extremes. Feminism is the world's attempt to re-define femininity. The Church, rightly indignant about this, wrongly swings to the other extreme and responds with misogyny. Feminism engages in men-bashing blaming manhood for the world's ills. The Church simply reverses the approach and blames women, as if that extreme is more Biblical. Then I, who am saddened and angered, embarrassed and hurt, by the Church's response, swing to the other ditch. See the problem?

I am a woman.
For many years, I was exposed to a toxic attitude that communicated that there would be fewer marriage problems and fewer church problems if women would just submit. But as erroneous, ridiculous, and simplistic as that silly assertion is, when that kind of comment is made by real people, it does real damage to real women--like me. More than that, it displays an incredible lack of understanding when it comes to both headship and the Fall. I know this in my head, but it still wounds my heart. I am thankful for my loving, scripturally grounded husband. More than once, my antagonists have come dangerously close to his protective wrath because he has seen the fallout of this deep, deep wound in his otherwise sturdy wife up close.

I am a woman.
I don't fit in your box.
I despise peasant dresses and frills and anything that makes me look like the 'little woman.' (Honestly, I like smart, chic Chanel suits. But I live in the wrong income bracket for those, so I stick to my jeans and tennis shoes.)
I think Art Monk is a more inspiring Christian than Nancy Campbell.
I detest that the default menu for women's functions revolves around raw vegetables instead of red meat. (Allow me to point out that the 'Daniel fast' was named for Daniel, who was
I can't stand it when men refer to their bride as 'the wife' like she's the family pet.
I think it's nifty that you enjoy your new serger, but I'm far more impressed that you conceal and carry.

I am a woman.
But for years I have spiritually walked hunched over like the woman of Luke 13 because I did not and do not fit the assumed model of "Christian woman."
Because I've stood by and listened to the incessant berating of my gender by men who, ironically, refuse to submit to Biblical authority themselves.
Because I do not fit all of the possible implications of what Biblical womanhood might look like.
Because I cook...but I am not a nutritionist.
Because I clean...but I hate to sew.
Because I enjoy coffee with a friend...but large assemblies of females and all those hormones and uteri and tear ducts give me a headache.

Recently, I was again feeling the weight of those expectations bending me low. But my God is such an amazing, protective Father. I guess He thought that enough was enough; it was time for me to be free. As if on cue, a friend found an interview with Pastor Voddie Bauchum, who said this:
"True womanhood looks like Proverbs 31, looks like Titus 2, but it's something else. True womanhood looks like Christ. I think that's something we often forget We're so busy looking at these practical lists of the qualities that women have or the things that women do or prioritize. And we forget that true womanhood really only begins when a woman comes to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. She is transformed and conformed to the image of Christ. So true womanhood is about Christ-likeness."
In that moment, the shackles of other people's expectations, of other people's ill-informed theology, were shattered. The confirmation of something I had always secretly thought, that Christ--not the Titus 2 woman or the Proverbs 31 woman--is my Role Model, washed over me. The sledge hammer of God's Truth set me free. I wanted to leap up and cheer. Hearing a man of God declare what a tiny voice in my soul has been saying for so long...
It was as if Jesus placed His hand under my chin, looked me in the eye, and said, "Woman, you are free."

I am a woman.
I know my role in my marriage.
I know my role in the Church.
But limiting my role as a Christian woman to Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 is sexist and reductionist.
And I am deeply offended by it.
Has anyone read Titus 2?
Do we know that Titus 2 talks about men?
Do we refer to our men as Titus 2 men?
Of course not. That would leave out the other 65 books and hundreds of chapters in the Bible.

I am a woman.
And I aspire to be a Proverbs 31 woman.
I aspire to be a Titus 2 woman.
But you know what?
I also aspire to be a Proverbs 1 woman.
And a Romans 12 woman.
And a Colossians 3 woman.
And a Deuteronomy 28 woman.

I aspire to be a Genesis-to-Revelation woman.

I aspire to be like Christ.

And behold, there was a woman who had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your disability." And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. Luke 13: 11-13