THE ENSLAVEMENT OF NON-GODS

Every time something bad comes out of our mouth or life, it is because we are giving in to a “non-god,” to an idol. Martin Lloyd Jones preached 66 sermons on 1 John, and his final sermon was on the last verse which he said summed up the whole book. What is that verse? Tim Keller says this sermon turned a light on for him, and Keller turned a light on for me, so that finally, in seeing the sin beneath the sin, I could be set free from the idols that were enslaving me. This summer we have been looking at Jesus and His Gospel in the Old Testament. Last week we saw how idolatry motivated Sarah to make the wrong choice in bringing her servant Hagar to Abraham’s bed. Sarah and Abraham’s choice continues to bring pain, suffering, […]

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Jesus Loves Me This I Know, For My Mama Told Me So

Jesus loves me, this I know, for my Mama told me so… This is how little Philip is singing this familiar song, and his take on it is the answer to so many prayers. Lizzy, a treasured participant on this blog, and her husband Jon traveled to China last month to adopt little Philip. They had prayed for a child with a heart tender toward God. They had prayed he would bond with them, for many children raised in orphanages have experienced so much pain, they put up a wall. They don’t bond to their new mommys or daddys. They don’t laugh or cry — and they certainly wouldn’t sing Philip’s song. But Philip is overjoyed to have a mommy and a daddy.   I will tell you Jon and Lizzy’s story this week, filled with “God Sightings,” to encourage […]

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YOU NEED ONLY TO BE STILL

“The Bible is a unity. That is, perhaps, the most amazing of all the amazing things that are true of it. Sixty-six separate units. Written over one thousand years by people who worked, for the most part, independently of one another… and yet it has an organic wholeness that is simply stunning.”    D. A. Carson from his book: (The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament) We’ve seen Jesus in Genesis, and then again in the Song of Songs. This week we will see His gospel foreshadowed in Exodus 14. We will also consider how we have seen Him move in our lives when we applied the principle of Exodus 14, a principle we need to apply every day of our lives!     Giving up control and trusting God will be a lifelong battle for me, but […]

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YouVersion of He Calls You Beautiful

One last week on  the Song, and I’ve saved something fun! We are going to use the YouVersion devotional for He Calls You Beautiful. Our summer theme is finding Jesus in unexpected places in Scripture and in life, and we’ve been seeing Jesus as our Bridegroom in the Song of Songs. YouVersion, a popular online Bible tool, has published a 5 day devotional — and you can access it by clicking right here: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/4360-he-calls-you-beautiful-by-dee-brestin   Monday through Friday read Days 1 through 5, and come back here to share thoughts, kisses you received, and prayers for your heart to believe this AMAZING LOVE. God Hunt! Answer to prayer and help to do His work in the world! I soooooo thank you so much for your prayers for my time on Janet Parshall. I did indeed sense God’s peace and presence. […]

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THE MINEFIELD OF GAY MARRIAGE

The pressure to give up God’s plan of one man and one woman for life is enormous. If you try, you are seen as a bigot. Instead of Christians being seen as loving others, we are seen as hating others. So when the topic comes up, how do we approach this minefield? VERY CAREFULLY! First and foremost we are called to be the love of Christ. We must listen with empathy, love with action, and to confess honestly our own brokenness. And in our hearts we must know why we must not turn our backs on God’s plan for one man and one woman for life. This Tuesday I will be on Janet Parshall’s program talking about He Calls You Beautiful. (Audio CD) I suspect, because Janet’s program is often political, and because The Song of Songs exalts God’s plan […]

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LOVING WELL IN A SEXUALLY BROKEN WORLD

Our world is spinning out of control wrong is seen as right and the pressure is on. We as Christians are called to hold to the truth, to love as Jesus did, and to shine as lights amidst a crooked and depraved generation. There was a time in our culture when the marriage bed was seen as sacred, and virginity before marriage respected. Now I am told that this generation of believers are often “sexual atheists,” shunning God’s standards for purity. Likewise, just ten years ago, most opposed gay marriage, but today, in America, according to John Stonestreet of World News, 6 out of 10 approve of gay marriage, and many who claim Christ are following in their steps. God’s plan is like a beautiful river bringing life and joy. But when God’s plan for sex and marriage is broken, […]

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HE CALLS YOU BEAUTIFUL RELEASED THIS TUESDAY!

This is going to be so fun to do with you! Tuesday He Calls You Beautiful will be released. AFTER FOUR YEARS OF PRAYER, SEEKING GOD, STUDYING, WRITING, TESTING, EDITING AND FINALLY: IT’S HAPPENING! I tested the waters here twice, and so you are a huge part of this and I do not take you for granted. Some of you are quoted in it. Many of you prayed. And I hope for prayers from all of you this week, for though I may be wrong, I am anticipating spiritual warfare. The lie of the enemy from the garden on is that he tells us God doesn’t love us, doesn’t want our best in hopes that we will back up from the Lover of our Soul. And we believe it, for we look at our failures and agree, “Of course He […]

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A Holiday Week of God Hunts!

For those of you who have just joined us for our summer study, let me do a brief review. We are going on a “God Hunt” in life and in Scripture. This week, because of the 4th of July week, we are going to focus on hunting God in every day life. Karen Mains had said, “The passion children bring to “hide-and-seek” is the same passion we need to bring to finding God. When our two sons, James (J. R.) and John, got older, they morphed the hide-and-seek game into “Scare Hide-and-Seek.” When the seeker got inches from the hider’s hiding place, the hider would leap out from the bushes or the broom closet with “BOO!” Or, if the seeker thought he saw that blanket move suspiciously, he would pull it off and yell “BOO!” or “GOTCHA!” to the hider. […]

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WHAT WILL HEAVEN REALLY BE LIKE?

If the early Easter sermons were like some sermons in churches today, the world would not have been turned upside down. Can you even imagine John and Peter preaching: “Easter means that just as spring follows winter, there is always hope.” Never! Instead, they plead with us about the risen Lord: We heard him, we touched him, this is no fairy tale! Rather, as Paul says, “If Christ had not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Corin. 15:17) What scriptures did the risen Christ show the two on the walk to Emmaus to help them grasp the gospel, to grasp why He really came? He must have helped them understand that He came not to deliver that generation from the Romans, but to deliver all generations who would believe from the curse […]

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DO WE REALIZE THE POWER WE HAVE?

Have you had the experience of telling an unbeliever about your joy in Christ and had him respond with something like: “I’m happy for you.“ The message? Christianity is not for me, but if it is helping you, go for it. Because “the whole world lies under the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19) the world is blinded to the fact that Jesus, and only Jesus, is the “true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20) They are also blind to the fact that in Jesus, and Jesus alone, is power.   We must daily remind our souls what we have in Jesus. When God created the first Adam, Adam was glorious, for was in the image of God. But when Adam was tempted, he fell, and the whole of humanity fell with him. The “imago dei” was […]

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Why We Crave Close Friends

Discovering Jesus in Genesis 1 can impact us in several ways. First, the light dawns on who He really is. How I remember Debbie in our Seeker’s Bible Study. We had just read the opening of John’s thundering prologue: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him was not any thing made that was made.   Debbie pressed her fingers to her temples and scrunched her eyes shut: “This is giving me a headache! I thought Jesus was born at Christmas! How could he have been there at the beginning if he was born at Christmas? I can’t wrap my head around this!” I smiled and thought, She has a headache because she is in […]

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SUMMER: THE JESUS WHO SURPRISES

WELCOME TO OUR SUMMER STUDY! I BELIEVE YOU WILL BE GREATLY REFRESHED BY THE SWEET COMMUNITY GOD HAS PROVIDED HERE. SUMMER IS A GIFT! FOR MANY OF US IT CAN MEAN BREAKING FROM THE MADDENING PACE. MORE TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS, AND IF WE ARE PURPOSEFUL, A TIME TO SLOW DOWN AND SEE OUR LORD IN UNEXPECTED PLACES! THE SCRIPTURAL SPRINGBOARD FOR THIS SUMMER STUDY IS  MY FAVORITE HISTORICAL BIBLE STORY: THE WALK TO EMMAUS. WHEN THE RISEN CHRIST WALKED BESIDE THE TWO UNSUSPECTING DISCIPLES, HE SHOWED THEM HOW HE WAS IN ALL THEIR SCRIPTURES. NEXT WEEK, FOR EXAMPLE, WE WILL LOOK AT GENESIS 1, FIND JESUS HIDDEN THERE, AND CONSIDER HOW THAT IMPACTS US, FOR IT DOES! ALSO: WE WILL KEEP OUR ANTENNAE UP TO SEE JESUS IN EVERYDAY LIFE WE WILL GET HELP IN THIS FROM A […]

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EXPERIENCING GOD’S PRESENCE (TWO WEEK EXPERIMENT!)

i THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN AND EDIFYING! THIS WEEK AND MEMORIAL DAY WEEK, TOGETHER, WE ARE GOING TO ASK GOD TO HELP US EXPERIENCE HIS PRESENCE, AND REPORT HERE. HE COMES IN MANY WAYS. PSALM 19 TELLS US THAT THE HEAVENS DECLARE HIS GLORY, AND THE FIRMAMENT HIS HANDIWORK. EVEN “UNBELIEVERS” HAVE A SENSE OF AWE. IN MY LITTLE VILLAGE THE SUMMER TOURISTS LINE THE SHORE IN THE HEART OF TOWN AND CLAP WHEN THE SUN SINKS BELOW THE HORIZON. THE SEASONS TOO ECHO HIS FAITHFULNESS. WE HERE IN NORTHERN WISCONSIN WAIT AND WAIT FOR SPRING, AND MAY BE TEMPTED TO SAY “WHERE IS THE PROMISE OF ITS COMING?” YET COME SHE ALWAYS DOES, JUST AS HE WILL SURELY COME. FORGET-ME-NOTS COVER OUR FORESTS, REMINDING ME NOT TO FORGET HIM. LIFE WHERE THERE HAD SEEMED TO BE […]

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WHEN MOTHER’S DAY IS PAINFUL

SOME WOMEN WILL STAY HOME FROM CHURCH TODAY, FOR THEY ALREADY HAVE A KNIFE IN THEIR HEART. THEY DON’T WANT TO SENSE THE EYES OF OTHERS UPON THEM, OR TO BE HANDED A ROSE AS THEY LEAVE BECAUSE THEY ARE A WOMAN, KNOWING THOSE ROSES WERE REALLY INTENDED FOR MOTHERS. THAT ONLY PUSHES THE KNIFE FURTHER IN. THEIR FRIENDS CARRY BABIES IN THEIR WOMBS OR IN THEIR ARMS, WHILE THEY FEEL SO EMPTY. WHY DOES GOD GIVE SO FREELY TO SOME WOMEN AND WITHHOLD FROM OTHERS? ** OTHER MOTHERS ARE IN PRISON, FEELING LIKE FAILURES AS MOTHERS, REMEMBERING WHEN THEY HAD TO SAY GOOD-BYE TO A CHILD WHO WAS ANGRY WITH THEM AND ANGRY WITH GOD. THOSE MOTHERS ARE ANGRY WITH THEMSELVES, ANXIOUS TO RETURN TO THEIR CHILDREN, ANXIOUS ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN’S EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, AND SPIRITUAL STATE. SOME HAVE NOT […]

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THE TRINITY, THE SHACK, AND THE GOSPEL

  You may have heard that the Father, Son, and Spirit are all the same God, but they wear different masks, have different roles, like I am a mother, sister, and friend, but am just one person. But no. God the Father is not God the Son and God the Son is not God the Spirit. If there was only one Person, Reeves explains, He could not have died for us. Neither would they be in a dance with each other! Yet, still, the Father, Son, and Spirit are one, in perfect harmony. Mike Reeves says, rather, when Jesus says that He and the Father are one, He doesn’t mean they are the same, but just taking different roles, but rather, taking an earthly and scriptural illustration, that they are like the husband and wife who become one in marriage. […]

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