Posts in Knowing the Word
The Everyday Woman's Guide to Revelation

Maybe we assume that by studying Revelation they will need to come to some final conclusion about where they stand on this big, confusing thing called eschatology (the study of end times). And since many of us are just trying to make it to the end of the day with a somewhat clean house and half our to-do list checked, we figure we just don’t have time for that.

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It's always a good time for truth

Truth is always good. No matter how harsh it feels. Truth always liberates. No matter how restrictive it seems. And therefore, truth is always worth embracing, celebrating, and proclaiming. It is for this reason that I am delighted to sign the Nashville Statement and proclaim it with joy!  Because it is always a good time for truth. 

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The Greatest Work You Can Do in College

For the Christian, the college years are often marked by grand desires to change the world in the name of Jesus. It is a time filled with ministry opportunities and therefore marked by busyness for many young people who don't want to waste any ministry opportunity in their path. But doing things for Jesus cannot and should not be your primary goal. If it is, you have sidelined the only work that truly matters: knowing God through Jesus, His Son.

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Leave Neediness Out of Mentoring

How can a desire to pour into someone else's life for the sake of the gospel go wrong? The desire certainly isn't wrong. But our prone-to-wander hearts and our crafty, disguised-as-an-angel-of-light enemy can distort God's good design if we aren't sober-minded and watchful. Here's how you can tell if a mentoring relationship is beginning to veer off into the ditch of neediness.

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Satan Wields Ignorance of the Word as a Weapon

Though we have more access to the Bible than any generation before us, most Christians still have never read it all. The abundance of biblical access, on smartphones and bookshelves, generally hasn't resulted in an increased personal knowledge of the Word. And yet our generation speaks very authoritatively about God and the Bible.

Lack of knowledge plus authoritative opinions: This is a dangerous combination.

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Disappointment in December

I prayed. I believed. I trusted. I hoped. And in the end, I was disappointed. This December, like many before it, God's response to my prayers is no. No, your son will not be home by Christmas. No, that baby in your womb will not live. No, that marriage will not survive. Dashed hopes and unfulfilled longings are familiar companions to my holiday celebrations. I know I am not alone. For many, this month will be as full of heartache as it is of joy. Deferred hope feels like coal under the tree, a confirmation that God has passed over you to shower His blessings on someone else this Christmas. But disappointment in December may actually be due to God's kindness.

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[Food & the Bible] Do We Give Food Too Much Glory?

Are we giving food too much glory? The Bible gives us the overarching concept that food is a symbol of a greater reality. Our need for daily sustenance, all the delightful flavors, the satisfaction of a full stomach after hunger are all pointing to Jesus, our Bread of Life, our Living Water, our New Wine, our fullness of joy and complete satisfaction.

There are two ways we can elevate the symbol above the Substance: celebrating the pleasure of food above Christ or celebrating the power of food above Christ. The former sees food as the ultimate satisfier and the latter sees food as the ultimate healer.

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Why Do We Suffer?

As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" John 9:1-2 Suffering produces an insatiable desire to blame. Surely there must be some reason why this poor man must suffer all his life without sight. We hunger and thirst for some impetus for it all.

Why are we so bent on finding fault? Partly because we hope to prevent future suffering by finding the cause. Just like you may avoid spicy food if it once gave you heartburn. Partly because if the sufferer is to blame, we can accept the hardship as a legitimate recompense to sin: "She deserved that," or "I had it coming." If someone else is to blame, we at least have someone to take our anger out on.

So how does Jesus answer the disciples inquiry about the cause of the blind man's life of suffering?

Jesus doesn't tell us of a world of needless suffering. There is a reason, but it is one that we have had no category for at all: suffering for the sake of the glory of God.

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[Food & the Bible] When Eating is Sinful

I can still feel the shame of being caught sneaking Oreos to my room as a kid. Though not the first time, it embarrassed me to know someone else had seen the grip food had on me. Over the years, I looked for ways to be alone in the kitchen to sneak more handfuls of goldfish or one more spoonful of Nutella. Gluttony became a familiar and unwelcome companion. I assumed I just had bad habits that needed to be reformed, but God made it clear that I was an idolater who needed forgiveness, a slave to sin who needed a Liberator.

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[Food & the Bible] Not by Bread Alone

To choose a knowledge of food over a knowledge of the Word of God is a catastrophic mistake. It is tempting in a world full of the threat of cancer and new diseases or ailments to look to right eating choices to sustain us, but the Bible is very clear that is not the answer. God alone gives and sustains life. Knowing and obeying His word is far better for our health than the most researched, healthy and natural diet plan.

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[Food & the Bible] Good Food, Bad Food

Whole Foods, a high end grocery store, printed this on their brown paper bags: "Buy Goods, Not Bads." A follow up design stated: "Feed your better nature." Whole Foods isn't the first company to jump on the concept of food morality, of good and bad foods. Plenty of people are seeking to eradicate the bad foods and produce more of the good. Here's the question: is the food bad or are we bad? Does bad food corrupt our bodies, or has our sin corrupt the food?

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Food & the Bible

There are a lot of opinions from a lot of people on what we should eat, why we struggle with food, and how to fix it. While observing the trends in food issues, I started to ask myself the question: what does the Bible have to say about food. The answer I found: surprisingly a lot!

This post contains link to many other articles in this series.

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A New Goal

As my life ebbs and flows, so does my definition of success.No longer trying to ace my college exam, I'm fighting to stay on top of laundry. No longer trying to be a good Christian (aware that I can't be good on my own), success equals dependency. But still, I live and die for success. But in the landscape of success and failure, Psalm 27 gives me a new frame of reference.

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The Bible is a Witness; Not a Savior

How can you know if you are using the Bible to avoid Jesus? When it becomes a self-help manual instead of a platform to showcase your Redeemer. When the Bible produces to-do lists and not worship. When your Bible reading is devoid of prayer. Proper Bible reading first exposes sin, then offers a Savior. The Bible is a witness to the need for a Savior and the presentation of Jesus as that Savior.

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Painful Pruning: An Unavoidable Season

When I consider the last decade of my life, I see a series of deaths: Death of my pride through living in the shadow of my husband's giftedness. Death of my fear of conflict through divorces in my family and among friends. Death of my fear of confrontation through difficult friendships. Death of my desires through multiple miscarriages. Death of my fear of failure through situations where I could not win. Death of my hope in myself through seeing my exposed sin in high-definition focus.

Each season of dying has felt just like that—dying. The choking out of something I have loved, desired, and clung to for hope, peace, and safety. The choking out of things in me, writhing, gasping for breath and praying, "Does it have to be this way? Can't I follow You and also keep this with me? Does it really need to die?"

In God's kingdom, pruning is caring. Jesus is the true vine, His Father the vinedresser. Every branch in Jesus that bears fruit, the Father prunes that it may bear more fruit (John 15:1–2).

God's answer to my question is yes. Yes, it does need to die. It must be pruned. Without pruning, my life will become something even I don't want—an overgrown, thorny bush with no fruit to offer.

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