WHERE IS YOUR IDENTITY, TRULY?

Years ago, I was ice skating with a new friend in Fargo. I had decided before we came it was time to find out where she really was with Jesus, for though I knew she was a church-goer, I had never heard her speak of the Lord in a personal way. As we skated around the rink, I braved what I hoped was a gentle question.  “Would you say that you are a Christian or that you are still on the way?”   Oh – how that backfired on me! She exploded in anger:   “Miss Dee, why would you think I am not a Christian? What is so bad about me?”   She was so angry she couldn’t hear me as I stuttered to explain that I was very bad — and I certainly wasn’t saying anything about her […]

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SET FREE OF RELIGION!

Martin Luther called it “the default mode of the human heart.” What is it? RELIGION   Tim Keller said that religion is just as dangerous as irreligion and the gospel calls us out of both. i Have you ever felt like God is punishing you because you failed Him? That’s religion.   Have you ever felt that if you would be better about Bible study and being pure, God would love you more? That’s religion.   Does your prayer life consist nearly exclusively of requests to control your environment? Religion again.   This summer we had a week where we saw how Galatians 4 used the story of Hagar and Sarah to illustrate the difference between the religion and the gospel. (If you missed it, you can review it here: The Enslavement of Non-Gods But in a nutshell, the birth […]

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The Gospel According to Noah

When Joni Eareckson Tada and Ken Estes wrote When God Weeps,  they made the controversial statement that it isn’t just that God allows sorrow, He appoints it. How I remember talking to our grief-struck daughter, Sally, after her dad’s death. We were swimming to our neighbor’s raft when Sally flipped on her back, looked up at the rose-colored clouds, and asked the really hard question. “Mom, I’ve been reading Ann VosKamp’s One Thousand Gifts and she says that even the hard things are planned by God. She quotes Amos, who said, ‘Does disaster come upon a city unless the Lord has done it?’ Did God plan for Dad to die?” I told her I knew God would bring good out of it, and she said, “That’s not what i’m asking. Did God plan Dad’s death?” Though it seems harsh to say, “Yes,” […]

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Let Not Many of You Become Teachers

 God warns that teachers will receive a stricter judgment, So I must come to you and tell you I shouldn’t have endorsed the “gospel sentence” that some saw in the Hebrew meanings of the ten names listed in Genesis 5. For those of you who have just joined us, this is what I found so fascinating, but now about which I have serious doubts. I’ll explain why, what I learned, and ask for your forgiveness,   For a few of you, this raised red flags, and I’m thankful, for it caused me to check with Hebrew scholars, to whom I am so grateful. I learned a lot, though I wish I had checked before I posted. I don’t know Hebrew and I certainly don’t know the finer art of Hebrew: Semantics.  I had looked up all the names in two […]

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LORD OF THE STORM

Like many of you, there are people I love who have faced the wrath of Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida. In communicating with them, I heard repeatedly that their trust was in God, for He is “The Lord of the Storm.” Indeed, Scripture clearly reveals He brings both disaster and rescue for His own good purposes. One way we have evidence of God’s sovereignty is that the whole Bible hangs together. In fact you can see the gospel truths revealed over and over again by the true stories in Genesis. Again and again we see this pattern. In fact, we see it in both the story of Adam and Noah, the bookends of this genealogy of Genesis 5. So this week we will look at Adam, and at the “first gospel,” known as the proto-evangelium. Then next week […]

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2017 A SUMMER OF WONDERS (Week Two of a Two Week Study)

We are continuing our review of our summer of God sightings, so that we will not forget God’s benefits, and so we can tell them to our children, and to our children’s children. We do not want to be like the Israelites who forgot His works, and the wonders that He had shown them. We began, this summer, by going on a God hunt. With the help of the psalms, and some of the ways the Mains helped us to see God, let us continue our review of the summer. Perhaps you will be with family or friends this holiday weekend. I challenge you to tell them about a God sighting! Sunday: 9/3: Bless the Lord, O My Soul   Prepare your heart for the week with this: 1. Have you told anyone about a God Sighting from this summer? […]

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2017: A SUMMER OF WONDERS (Week One of a Two Week Study)

We’ve been going on a God Hunt this summer, and it is time to reflect on our summer of wonders. Psalm 78:6 urges us “not to forget the works of God.” So, over the next two weeks, at summer’s end, let us reflect, each day, with the help of the psalms, “the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalm 78:4) Why? For our own hearts, for we will need to remember when God seems to be hiding His face, and remembrance of His presence is sorely needed. And for one another, to stir one another up. And to record them for the next generation. I’m praying, despite the busyness the approaching fall always brings, that you can check in each day and record, with the help of the psalms, one “God […]

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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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