A HEART TO MELT FEARS (EVAN. #3)

ON THE SIDELINES AT PICKLEBALL, I HAD THIS CONVERSATION WITH A WOMAN. Elaine: “What’s new with you, Dee?” Me: “Well, I’m part of a group that is just starting a new church — and that’s been exciting.” Elaine: “What kind of a church?” Me: “We call it ‘The Orchard,’ but it’s an Evangelical Free Church.” In response, Elaine looked a lot like this. “Evangelical?” she said. “You mean you push your religion on people?” She took me by surprise. When I recovered, I said: “Oh no — not religion! But we do talk about how Jesus has changed our lives.” Elaine was quiet, then seemed relieved when called to play pickleball, and ran. I’m praying for another chance to talk to Elaine, to see if she has been hurt by those whom were insensitive. I want to hear what is […]

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EYES TO SEE (Evangelism… #2)

IN GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY, HE HAS PLACED YOU IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, CITY, WORKPLACE… NOW YOU MUST PRAY FOR EYES TO SEE YOUR FIELD.        Jesus told the disciples to start in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. We too need to start where we are, and pray for His Spirit to open our eyes to the people right within our path. Your field changes with life circumstances. I became a Christian when Steve was going through medical school, so my first “field” was my neighborhood and the wives of other medical students. When I had children, their friends were my next “field.” Each neighborhood we moved to was a new “field,” and I have also sought to minister in what experts call the “fertile field.” (More about that soon.) Though some of you are rural, most of us have a […]

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EVANGELISM FOR INTROVERTS #1

In the increasingly hardened culture of today, it’s easy to feel like this about evangelism but by walking in the Spirit, it’s possible for this to change to this: And truly, I am so excited about sharing with you what I’ve learned, for though our methods need to change with the culture, the power of the gospel remains the same. Even if you are an introvert, as I am, you can do this. For when you move with His Spirit, you are not alone, and you will experience power from on high. If you have not yet experienced being part of the process of seeing a life changed by the gospel, I am praying this will be the year it happens. This community is one I am so proud of, for you are living your faith, and I am truly, […]

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WHAT MATTERS MOST (PS. 49)

SLOW SUMMER DAYS & SWEET SUMMER NIGHTS ARE FADING INTO FALL, AND WE CLOSE OUR SERIES ON THE PSALMS OF THE SONS OF KORAH WITH AN INTRIGUING CHANGE IN TONE: FROM WORSHIP TO WISDOM, FOR IMPORTANT THINGS ARE SAID WHEN TIME IS RUNNING OUT. PSALM 49 OPENS LIKE PROVERBS, WITH A CRY TO ALL:   WE REMEMBER THAT THE SONS OF KORAH SAW THEIR FATHERS, WHO TRUSTED IN THEMSELVES, SWALLOWED UP BY THE EARTH. NOW THEY DEDICATE THEIR LIVES TO SONGS OF WORSHIP, TO SINGING ABOUT WHAT MATTERS MOST. TO PREPARE YOUR HEART FOR A RICH STUDY, LISTEN TO THIS: On a personal note, I think you did tremendously last week with Augustine and the City of God. There were great questions, thoughtful “listening,” and together we grew. I’m so thankful for the fellowship here. On a side note, this […]

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CITY OF GOD (Augustine)

LAST WEEK I ASKED FOR PRAYER FROM YOU, DEAR SISTERS, FOR THE WINDS TO CALM, FOR WE HAD FOUR BAPTISMS SCHEDULED AT MY HOUSE.  JESUS STILLED THE WIND QUICKENED HEARTS AS FOUR NEW CHRISTIANS IN OUR CHURCH PLANT, THE ORCHARD, TOLD OF FINDING THEIR REST IN HIM. Ron  was religious, but did not find rest. But the love of God has dropped from his head to his heart, and after so many years of restlessness, he has found his rest in God. Ron is a transformed man — showing us all the power of God! RON SAYS, OFTEN WHEN HE IS WALKING HIS DOGS IN THE WOODS, HE FALLS TO HIS KNEES IN GRATITUDE. FOR HOW MUCH JESUS MEANS TO HIM FOR HOW CHANGED HE IS! A VIETNAM VET WHO WAS SO RESTLESS, TRANFORMED BY THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT. […]

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JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM! (PS. 48)

JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM! SHE IS BEAUTIFUL IN ELEVATION! ON MANY OF THE HOLY LAND TOURS, WHEN THE TOUR BUS APPROACHES JERUSALEM, THIS SONG IS PLAYED, FILLING HEARTS WITH ANTICIPATION AND AWE.   BUT THIS SONG, AND PSALM 48 ITSELF, SEEM TO SPEAK OF A DIFFERENT JERUSALEM THAN THE ONE WE KNOW.  INSTEAD OF WAR TORN, SHE IS THE “JOY OF THE WHOLE EARTH.” INSTEAD OF BEING SITUATED IN THE SOUTH, SHE IS IN “THE FAR NORTH.” INSTEAD OF RESISTING JESUS, CAUSING HIM SORROW,   SHE IS REJOICING IN HER GOD. WHAT’S GOING ON? WHO IS THIS JERUSALEM? A HINT. SHE IS A CITY, AND YET, SHE IS A BRIDE. SUCH A MIXED METAPHOR, AND YET EXACTLY THE ONE WE SAW IN THE SONG OF SONGS. REMEMBER? SOMETIMES WHEN HE DESCRIBES HER WE SEE A WOMAN’S BEAUTIFUL BODY — BUT BLINK, AND […]

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CHRIST WILL REIGN ON EARTH

IT’S FUN TO WATCH THE REACTION OF THE SHOPPERS WHEN SURPRISED BY A FLASH MOB SINGING THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS. SOME ARE DELIGHTED, SOME DISTURBED, SOME CONFUSED… WILL IT BE THE SAME ON THAT GREAT DAY WHEN JESUS RETURNS?   https://   WHEN PSALM 47 BEGINS, IT SEEMS A SIMPLE PSALM OF PRAISE, BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE GOING ON AS WE GLIMPSE IN VERSE 2. VERSE 5 TELL US: NOTICE THERE IS A SHOUT, A TRUMPET, AND THE PRESENCE OF GOD. DEREK KIDNER POINTS OUT THAT THIS IS A CLEAR ALLUSION TO 2 SAMUEL WHERE ONCE THERE WAS A SHOUT, A TRUMPET, AND THE PRESENCE OF GOD So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn. 2 Samuel 6:14-15 * BUT DO YOU SEE […]

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DOES GOD PLAN DISASTERS? (PS. 46)

RETURNING TO THE PSALM THAT INSPIRED LUTHER’S “A MIGHTY REFUGE,” THAT SUSTAINED ME WHEN MY HUSBAND RECEIVED A TERMINAL DIAGNOSIS, AND THAT KEPT OUR OWN CHRIS FROM GOING UNDER WHEN HER BELOVED SON DANIEL WAS MURDERED. THE FOLLOWING PAINTING WAS IN THE WAITING ROOM WHERE CHRIS AND HER HUSBAND WAITED AFTER DANIEL WAS ACCOSTED. PSALM 46 THOUGH THE WATERS ROAR THOUGH THE MOUNTAINS FALL INTO THE SEA, GOD IS OUR REFUGE THIS IS A PSALM WE NEED IN OUR HEARTS FOR LIFE IS HARD AND FULL OF TROUBLE. THIS TIME I WANT US TO CONSIDER IT, IN PART, IN LIGHT OF THE SONS OF KORAH, WHO WATCHED THE EARTH GIVE WAY AND SWALLOW UP THEIR REBELLIOUS FATHERS. ONE DAY THEY WOULD WRITE PSALM 46.    Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth… […]

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HEAR, O DAUGHTER (PS. 45)

I’m excited to approach Psalm 45 afresh, for this is the psalm that Jonathan Edwards said, “is the Song of Songs in a nutshell.” For those of you who are new to us (and welcome!) I have, with the help of the dear sisters on this blog, been working on a book on the Song of Songs for four years! They have prayed, tested my attempts (twice!) and encouraged me so! I am now in the editorial process with the same editor who did The God of All Comfort and Idol Lies, and I love and trust her. So when Elisa  told me I was way over peoples’ heads, I listened. I don’t want my readers to be like deer caught in the headlights. Instead, I want them to be like the child in this picture, experiencing the wonder of […]

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THE PSALMS ARE BI-POLAR

RIFE WITH THE PATHOS OF PRAISE AND THE ETHOS OF AGONY, THE BOOK OF PSALMS CAPTURES BETTER THAN ANY CORPUS OF SCRIPTURE, THE BI-POLAR NATURE OF LIFE. (William P. Brown: Seeing the Psalms) AND PSALM 44 SEEMS SPLIT IN THE MIDDLE, ABRUPTLY CHANGING FROM JOYFUL PRAISE TO HEARTBREAKING LAMENT! PSALM 44:1-8 REJOICES IN GOD’S RESCUE! PSALM 44:9-26 LAMENTS: SO HOW ARE WE TO MAKE SENSE OF THIS? GOD’S PEOPLE ARE NOT FAR FROM HIM: THEY ARE PRAISING HIS MIGHTY DEEDS IN THE PAST, THEIR HEARTS “HAVE NOT TURNED BACK,” THEY HAVE “NOT FORGOTTEN THE NAME OF THEIR GOD” OR “SPREAD OUT THEIR HANDS TO A FOREIGN GOD…” SO WHY HAS GOD “NOT GONE OUT WITH THEIR ARMIES?” “WHY ARE THEY BEING SOLD AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER?” THIS VERSE IS THE KEY THAT UNLOCKS THE MYSTERY, FOR WHENEVER AN OLD […]

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WHEN YOU’RE DESPERATE

WHAT CAUSES A FATHER TO  HAND HIS BELOVED CHILD OVER TO A STRANGER IN A RAFT, A RAFT THAT VERY WELL MIGHT NOT MAKE IT ACROSS? I LISTENED WITH TEARS TO MINDY BELZ TELL STORIES OF THE FAITH OF SYRIAN REFUGEES (AND YOU CAN HEAR HER THIS WEEK) AT THE WOMEN’S GOSPEL COALITION. I THOUGHT HOW OFTEN OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST WHO ARE FLEEING ISIS HAVE PRAYED DESPERATE PRAYERS, LIKE THE PRAYERS OF PSALMS 42-43. Psalms 42/43 (really one psalm) is one of my five favorite psalms, a psalm I often pray, and a psalm I prayed repeatedly after my husband died. God knows we will each face desperate times and so He has given this psalm to teach us how to hold on to our Rock. This psalm begins Book II of the psalms, and is the […]

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SUMMER STUDY ON THE PSALMS!

IN NORTHERN WISCONSIN THE WINTERS ARE LONG AND WE WAIT AND WAIT FOR SUMMER, AND EVEN THOUGH SHE IS SLOW TO APPEAR, LIKE A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN WHO KEEPS HER DATE WAITING, SHE IS SO ENTRANCING WHEN SHE FINALLY ARRIVES, WE FORGET OUR PETULANCE AND DANCE WITH JOY. SUMMER IS A GIFT. A TIME TO TAKE A BREAK FROM ROUTINE, SAVORING THE SWEETNESS OF CREATION, A TIME TO RENEW FRIENDSHIPS, A TIME TO PONDER LIFE, A TIME TO DRAW NEAR TO THE LOVER OF YOUR SOUL. DURING JULY AND AUGUST, JOIN US AS WE CONSIDER THE PSALMS OF THE SONS OF KORAH. BECAUSE THIS IS A HOLIDAY WEEK (AND HAPPY 4TH TO YOU!) WE WILL TAKE TWO WEEKS FOR THIS INTRO. I WANT TO GET A STRONG START, SO I’VE KEPT THIS HOLIDAY WEEK BRIEF, AND THEN WE DIG IN IN […]

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THE GIFT OF THE WILDERNESS

My dear prison ministry friend, Linda Strom, showed up at my door this week with part of her beautiful team. My house guests and I welcomed them with delight and moved to the back porch to experience the joy of God connecting His family. Linda’s pastor from Temple, Texas, Gary DeSalvo, told us of his shocking diagnosis of eye cancer in 2013. He joked with me about his glass eye. His attitude was so jovial that I joined in his banter, telling him, because I was on his blind side, that I was really beautiful. I was assuming, because of his joy, and because of his wife’s peace, that all was well now. And when I asked him to confirm that, he shocked me, telling me he has been given a thirty percent chance to live two more years. So, […]

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Habakkuk’s Prayer

This political season in America is evidencing a decadence unparalleled in American history. Lying, bullying, and boasting is the norm. Though it would be easy to blame the candidates, we must remember that politics is almost always downstream from culture. Our political front-runners are a reflection of the pollution that has flowed down to them from our culture. POLITICS IS DOWNSTREAM FROM CULTURE So should it surprise us that as in the days of Noah, and as in the days of Habakkuk, that a holy God might “shake the earth” and in so doing, sift the wheat from the chaff? We know the prophecy of Habakkuk is a double vision prophecy, with both a near and far vision. We know the near prophecy was fulfilled. We don’t know when the far prophecy will be fulfilled, but we do know that […]

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LET ALL THE EARTH KEEP SILENT

I love the women on our blog. I love the way you search the Scriptures and ask probing questions, causing the sparks to fly, like iron sharpening iron. Two weeks ago I asked: 2. What comfort does it give you personally that God is a just God and will repay? Several of you struggled with that question and said so articulately, compassionately, and winsomely. It caused me to reflect. Some of the excellent points that were made were that Scripture warns not to rejoice when our enemy falls. Another was that Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. Another is that we must judge our own hearts and not the hearts of others. Tim Keller, in his devotional on the psalms, writes: In Psalm 69:22-28 the psalmist prays his betrayers be damned. How are we to read this? This […]

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