Thursday, May 5, 2011


Be faithful to me, O God! Keep me near to You, clinging to Your Word and Your promises. Remind me when I forget, that You are with me and for me, and that You will not leave me or forsake me. Draw me to rest on Your hand, Lord, knowing that all things are held together by Your great power. Assure me of Your goodness, act on my behalf. Be merciful to me in my doubts and fears - cast out all unbelief, that I may rest confidently in Your perfect purposes. Keep me from an anxious or troubled mind, that I may be a testimony of Your transforming grace. Help me, O God, for I am a lost cause apart from You!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Word for the Unmarried...

In recent days, there has been an explosion of writing, discussion and even disagreement on the topic of Christian singleness. Publishers seem to be cranking out book upon book addressing the rising frequency of delayed marriage among Christian young adults. Such conversations about singleness and having a biblical view toward marriage can be challenging and even burdensome at times. As we see our own sin revealed more and more, and experience the effects of simply living in a world that has pushed unbiblical thoughts about biblical manhood/womanhood and marriage upon us (even penetrating the doors of the church), we can become discouraged and feel hopeless at times - IF we are not diligent to stay near the Word and remember that it is Christ who possesses our minds as believers. We must persevere through these things, because we know that God ordains all things for our good as well as for the benefit of the whole body. Think of how much better prepared our younger sisters in Christ will be if we can learn, apply, and love the truths that are being knit in our hearts and minds.

As women, we often want a "to-do" list or a set of clear principles to show us how to fix a problem - I know I have desired that in studying out how to come to an understanding of singleness and marriage. But there is nowhere we can look for solutions except God's Word. Everything we think, read, and especially feel must be measured according to Scriptures. Particularly our feelings are quick to deceive us and to overcome us, as even biblical truth gets mingled with the sinful fluctuations of our feelings. A dear friend reminded me just today that when the Bible speaks of a "gentle and quiet spirit", it means a calm and settled spirit, one that is not swayed to and fro by our wayward and deceitful hearts. This is the kind of women we must strive to be right now, disciplining our spirits to be quiet, to be faithfully trusting in the promises of God every moment.

Being a part of a local church where the Word of God is boldly and accurately preached, and church discipline is practiced faithfully must be the primary objective for today's young single adult. Without the safeguards of such a fellowship, the single person will undoubtedly be "tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine". And it is a doctrinal issue - because the ways in which we think about and approach our singleness reveal much about what we believe about marriage. As we study and read, we must be careful about our intake of extrabiblical resources. While we do have to read authors with discernment, they can be a source of great encouragement of thoughtfulness. Please read this link and remember that while we may not have all the answers in front of us right now, we know who holds the answers.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I know my blog has been silent for over a month now. I honestly don't care to share much about why, other than to say that I have been sidetracked with many things, and also contemplating much about my desires for writing. I love writing. I have for many years. I think I have known for a long time that it was a natural inclination that allows me to work through my thoughts, emotions and especially analyzing biblical truths. I often write my prayers. And I greatly enjoy writing letters to others. But in recent months I have been writing a lot for graduate school, and in the midst of that, reading a plethora of books for various assignments. I have been challenged to consider what it is that makes someone a "voice" on a subject. Since we are all sinners, and will most certainly never have a perfect interpretation or viewpoint on everything, then what makes it OK to "publicize" those thoughts at all? Everyone is an expert nowadays. We all think our opinion is right. I don't want to be perceived in such a way, and I certainly don't want to allow myself to become prideful either. Yet, I am reminded of the many great writers who I have so benefited from over the years...encouraging words from Elisabeth Elliott, Susan Hunt, Elizabeth Prentiss - just to name a few. I am thankful someone saw fit to share their work with others. So as I consider these things, and prayerfully contemplate my pursuits, it may be silent here for a time. I don't know what the future holds, or what my intentions are about writing. So I wait for clear direction from the Lord, and until it's clear, I am just not comfortable writing something for the sake of filling the page.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


We often tend to think that the cross is all about our salvation and about acquiring heaven. And it is, but it is even more about being transformed and restored to the image of God (which is how we were created) day by day. The “new man” Paul speaks of putting on in his letters is Christ – Christ is the new man! We are putting on Christ every day. We know the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others. That should be your priority at all times. And when you evaluate your life and how you are progressing, it should be in regards to those two commands. In causing you to be dissatisfied with some of what you see when you examine your life, God is giving you an opportunity to find your complete satisfaction in Him. When you wish that you could be more diligent or have more time to minister to various friends and to teach specific things to your children – He is showing you that it is only in Christ that you can minister effectively at all. Take heart, you are ministering when you simply love others, even if you can’t give them all the particular time or attention that you would like. These are opportunities for us both to be saturated in the Word, because that is truly the only comfort we can give to others. Reason with your friends and your children from the Word. May it be on the tip of our tongue in every conversation we have with these dear ones.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:8-11

Jesus had truly become the Satisfier of Paul’s soul. Embrace Him as your Satisfier – teach your friends and your children to find Him most satisfying! All men will sacrifice most willingly for that which they find most satisfying. Ask your friends, ask your children – what are you zealous for? What do you value most? What are you living for? (and don’t let people get away with the cliché response of “for God’s glory”) Get practical, especially with your kids. For instance, you could ask if they are finding more value in their friends or a certain toy than in Christ. Obviously as lost souls right now, they can’t find Him most satisfying. But by pointing those things out to them, Lord-willing they will begin to see that nothing else can satisfy them permanently, and so they will cry out in need of a Savior. We are so well taught with doctrine that we can recite these answers flippantly without dealing with our hearts. Asking ourselves these questions is how you and I can see our own sin more clearly and flee from it. And we aren’t just fleeing from it; we are fleeing to Christ, the Satisfier!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I am a Christian - my identity is in Christ, and a woman - created as such by God, specifically intended to fulfill my role as such, and lastly, a single. My marital status has very little to do with my identity, just as it does for a married woman, a widowed woman, a divorced woman, a single mother. One’s identity is whether or not they are in Christ, and then they live out that Christ-focused identity either as a man or a woman – because being such demands that life be lived a particular way. I live my life in the light of Christ in a manner that is unique from that of a Christian man. However, my marital status does not impact the fact that I am in Christ or the fact that I am a woman. Those two things do not fluctuate with time or circumstance. A woman is always a woman, no matter what situations arise in her life and no matter what her perspective is on them – she never ceases being a woman. And once in Christ, she never stops being in Christ – there is no possibility of her salvation being rescinded. It is guaranteed once it has been granted.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Love of Friendship

I have been reading (off and on) C.S. Lewis' book, The Four Loves. In it, he says:
"For a Christian, there are no chances. A secret Master has been at
work. Christ, who said to the disciples, 'Ye have not chosen me, but I
have chosen you,' can truly say to every group of Christian friends,
'You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one
another'. Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good
taste in finding one another. It is the instrument by which God
reveals to each the beauties of all the others. They are, like all
beauties, derived from Him, and then - in a good friendship -
increased by Him through the friendship itself, so that it is His
instrument for creating as well as revealing. At this feast it is He
who has spread the board and it is He who has chosen the guests. Let
us not reckon without our Host."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Personal Testimony

I was recently asked to share a personal testimony on the other blog for which I write ( - the blog for the singles ministry at Riverbend Community Church). With my recent posts here on having a troubled mind and how our sins are often initiated by dark and distressing thoughts, I wanted to share here how God has granted me understanding of this in my own life:

I grew up in a home where I was taught much about God, Jesus and His death on the cross and the work of the Church. I had very caring grandparents who instilled much of God’s Word into my life. My parents were committed to a local church and sent me to a good Christian school. After seeing my sister be saved and hearing her admonishments to me to seek God for repentance, I began to understand my sin in a personal way. As my parents and teachers pointed me to God’s Word, I came to know of God’s provision of sacrifice in His Son. It was then that I confessed my sin and prayed for Christ to be my Savior.

Looking back on my junior high and high school years, I see the fruits of my salvation, both in the actions I had, as well as the desires and motivations of my heart. However, my understanding of God’s authority and sovereignty was very limited. I did not attend a church like the one I attend now. The Christian school I attended was very casual in terms of theology, and focused more on the rigidities of the Law, mostly by having many rules and expectations that were required of students, but lacking the foundation of Christ as the motivation for obedience. I did not understand the character of God or the deep mysteries of His Word.

When I look back on these years of growing up, I see God’s faithfulness in growing me through the limited understanding I had of His Word, as well as through the means of the Christian people around me who encouraged me in my faith. I see now that one of my greatest temptations was failing to maintain a mind that was self-controlled and set upon Christ. My emotions were easily swayed by the circumstances around me, and I know now that this can probably be attributed to a weak understanding of God’s providence and sovereignty over all things. I would cling to Him and His Word in difficult days, but this was always coupled with discouraging thoughts and accusations against God for allowing such trials. In essence, I was conflicted by the emotional fluctuations of a sinful heart.

When I graduated high school, in my immature faith, I chose to follow the ways of this world for a season. I rebelled against most of what I had been taught. It began “innocently,” with a rekindled childhood friendship. I began to spend more and more time with worldly friends. I soon even pursued a dating relationship with a young man who was not a believer. This man had absolutely no interest in things of the Lord, but yet praised me for my “good” behavior. During this time, I slowly began to move away from the church, oftentimes lied to my parents, and further distanced myself from the ways of righteousness I had once engaged in.

There is one distinct thing I remember about this wayward season of my youth: my conscience was deeply troubled. When I would come home from being out with my friends, and after sneaking quietly up to my room, my thoughts were tormented by the knowledge of how I was disobeying all that I knew to be true about God and His Word. I was miserable and filled with guilt. In God’s gracious mercy, He soon caused this young man to break off our relationship – abruptly and painfully. I was devastated! I spent weeks grieving this loss and even sought out ways to win him back. My entire world had become defined by this relationship.

But in God’s sweet providence, He had orchestrated this event as a turning point. He only allows His children to go so far in their sin, and thankfully, He did not leave me to myself. He rescued me from my sin and restored me unto Himself. He left me with nowhere to turn but back to Him. I started attending a new church in the area where I was introduced to God’s sovereignty, the teachings of Calvinism, and began to hear theological teaching like I had never been exposed to before. These truths brought great comfort and assurance to my mind and heart.

A couple of years later, the Lord moved my family to Florida very unexpectedly to care for my dying grandfather. This was one of the most pivotal events of my life and has come to be remembered as one of the most precious. It is here where God has taught me what it means to be a Biblical woman. Through the means of Riverbend Community Church, I have learned (and am definitely still learning!) what God’s Word has to say about authority and submission, manhood and womanhood, service in the church, practicing the “one another’s” of the Bible, pursuing Biblically-informed emotions, discipling and mentoring younger believers, caring for the weak, coming to love and value the call to singleness (for however long that may be) and gaining a scripturally sound view of my own sinfulness.

It is here that I have learned to study my heart – to recognize the evil and deceitful machinations that are always at work in it. It has brought many days of discouragement, frustration, sorrow, and confusion. But most importantly, it has brought days of gratitude – for it is God’s proven faithfulness to restore me in the midst of revealed sin and the consequent repentance that comes with it. I have learned things I never would have learned had I stayed in the places I once was.

One of my greatest sinful tendencies is to be controlled and even paralyzed by what others think of me, to the point that my imagination runs uncontrolled. These sinful emotional struggles have been revealed and refined (and continue to be) by the means of the leadership and friendships God has blessed me with throughout my years at Riverbend. It has been God’s particular goodness and mercy upon my life to bring me here for this season. I have done nothing to earn this goodness, and I am amazed by His abundant provisions. My life’s ambition is to please God, and I want to do this by learning how to live out His Word.

“…Set the believers an example if speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching…Practice these things, immerse yourself I them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by doing so you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (I Timothy 4:6-16)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Troubled Mind (continued)...

In my previous post, I shared some helpful words from Timothy Rogers (from his book, Trouble of Mind and the Disease of Melancholy). He has much to say regarding the purposes and designs of our great God in afflicting us. And when we speak of affliction, it is not merely physical ailments or even weighty life circumstances. We actually should think of the deep and sometimes tormenting afflictions of the soul, whether as a result of sin, or a predatory influence of the enemy on our inner man. Whatever the cause of our affliction, God's purposes and intended outcomes are what we should be looking toward, instead of our own personal reprieve and temporary comfort. By turning to HIm in all things, we will be comforted and sustained, even if our afflictions are not removed or lightened in severity.

So, let's look again at the divine purposes that build on the four mentioned a few days ago:

5. Another end that God may have in the continuance of long and sore affliction, and great inward troubles, is to reveal more clearly to us the corruption and defilement of our nature. In a calm, the waters of the sea appear to be clear enough; but when the storm comes, it throws up the mire and the dirt. In prosperity and health, we think we have very good hearts and considerable degrees of sanctification; but when sin is set upon us, the spiritual law of God begins to show its purity. And oh, what multitudes of iniquities then appear! What unbelief, what impatience, what murmuring, what unbecoming thoughts of God, such hideous and strange thoughts we have as we have never had before! And oh, what a ghastly sight this is, to see such a numerous brood of transgressions, when we imagined that all had been very well with us!

6. Another end that God has in the continuance of spiritual troubles and afflictions, and the sense of His wrath long upon us, is that from our experience Christ may be forever precious to us. When we are at ease and think ourselves whole, we seldom think of Him. But our pain, our smart, our guilt and our fears, the sight of our present danger and of approaching wrath, all cause us to run to this Physician and beg His help when we are sinking. They will make us stretch out our hands and say, 'Master, save us or else we perish!' Having fallen among lions, having been the slaves of fear and having been held in captivity by the temptations of Satan, we shall most gladly shake off our chains and embrace liberty and salvation when our Lord comes to set us free. Oh, how our hearts will melt with love when we remember that, as we have been distressed for our sins against Him, so He was in greater agonies for us! Surely, such a Friend, such a Physician, as He has been to us, we must be ever valued.

7. God also does this so that we may put a high value on the Scriptures, that we may search and look into them with more earnestness and frequency, to see if there are any promises in them that are reviving, and place in them that may afford hope and comfort to souls so miserable and so guilty. For when our consciences are awakened and pierced with the sense of wrath from God, if His Word would speak to us, we could have ease.

8. Another end of God in continuing afflictions and a long, remaining sense of His wrath upon us is that we may be everlasting admirers of the freeness of His grace when we are delivered. Oh, with what wonder should we behold His condescension and His care for us, that when our wounds were very deep, He poured in wine and oil; when we were inwardly bleeding, and no creature or friend on earth could help us, He did not allow us to bleed to death. The hand of God is so strong, and His wisdom is so admirable, that He turns to our profit and advantage not only the evils which are caused by cross events, or by the world, but those which we commit ourselves, and that seem contrary to our salvation, even those sins which we are guilty of. He changes these poisons into medicine, these scandals into edification, and from the thickest darkness He brings out light.

9. Another end why God suffers His servants so long to remain under the impressions of His wrath is that they may learn to be merciful and helpful to such as are in the same case, and to such as are sinning, and have not yet felt the displeasure of God for their sins. We must not grieve others by a sharp or unseasobale discourse; when they are in the furnace, we must not make it hotter by imprudent bitterness. They are wounded in their souls, and those wounds require a gentle, skillful, and tender hand. Every one of us should say, 'They are troubled on every side, and so was I. They are afraid that He has departed, and so was I. Those arrows of the Almighty that stick in them only a little while ago stuck in me. When others have fallen into the same pit that we have just gotten out of, let us strive to draw them up. Let us put on the bowels of compassion; let us patiently hear what they say, and not rebuke them for complaining; let us not be weary of their discourse because it is doleful and troublesome. Let us remember all that speech and usage that made us worse when we were ill and avoid all such with them. Let us remember what it was that gave us some support, and let us minister the same to them.

When any of our friends are very sick, if we know anything that has been beneficial to us under the like case, we make all the speed we can to fetch it, and we cannot see them faint without finding at the same time a very sensible commotion in our own hearts. No outward affliction, though never so painful, is as terrible as these spiritual troubles are. Let us therefore be more affectionately concerned for such distressed persons than for any others when we see the anger of God beginning to kindle in their consciences. Let us use all the methods that are most likely to quench the beginning flame, let us be very kind and pitiful to all who are in distress, since we have been so ourselves. Let us take all opportunities to visit, to exhort, and to direct them. Let us wrestle with the God of Jacob on their behalf; let them see that we sympathize most heartily with them, and that, though the grace of God has wiped away our tears, we can still weep with those who weep. Let us take all the ways we can to make them believe that we are afflicted with their affliction and are sincerely concerned for the sadness of their case

Oh, how I have personally benefited from the ministry of a dear friend when going through similar afflictions of soul! Be encouraged, my friends, and let us all use such careful means with one another, that we may persevere together!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Troubled Mind...

In recent months I have spoken to or heard of so many who are experiencing difficulties and troubles in their walk on this earth. Life is hard. And sometimes we forget that God has not promised an easy and painless road. In fact, when we thoroughly examine the Scriptures, we find that those who are faithful often experience the most challenging circumstances this life can bring. Even just in recent days, as I was talking with a dear friend, we were discussing how we are sometimes fearful to admit just how dark our minds are in the midst of trouble. We think that by honestly admitting our struggles, we will somehow offend another because maybe they have experience far worse. We think, "I can't possibly confess to having bouts of joylessness or cloudy thoughts because others have lost a child or experienced the death of a lifetime spouse. Who am I to compare my circumstances?" The danger in this type of thinking is that it denies the power of our own depravity. Being sinful people who live in a world that is consumed by sin and its all-encompassing effects, we cannot deny that Satan would love nothing more than to pull us into utter misery, bringing us to a point where we choose to merely go through the motions and remain paralyzed by despair.

Typically when we meet the darkest of days in heart and mind, we are often quick to think as Job's friends did and begin accusing ourselves, thinking there must be some form of twisted punishment for unrepented sins. And while we must attend to self-examination and be certain to resolve any identifiable sins - as well as imploring God to reveal unknown sins from the depths of our hearts - we must also receive these inner turmoils of spirit as a further proof of the Savior's love for us in bringing about greater sanctification.

During such dark moments, particularly if they persist for many days, weeks and months - even years, we are eager to be consoled by the soothing comforts of a friend or loved one, even a pastor or spiritual mentor. We go searching for their assuring presence, and yet oftentimes are disappointed. While God has provided such relationships within the covenant community, it is tempting to be unrealistic in our expectations. When we are disappointed by mortals, we forget our own tendency to disappoint. We become so consumed with how we are "feeling" and how we are not being tended to, that we overlook our own selfish inclinations. We think much too highly of ourselves and so very little of others. We want mercy poured out upon us, and yet refuse to extend it to others.

I have been reading a book by Timothy Rogers (late 1600's), entitled Trouble of Mind and the Disease of Melancholy. He has brought so much clarity to my own understanding of this topic, and so instead of wasting my words trying to come up with some fresh angle, I think it would be most helpful to simply share some of my favorite passages from my readings:

Who can tell the very cause why God allows one religious man to be in affliction for several years, while another, who is perhaps no better than he, scarcely knows what affliction means? One shall be crossed and disappointed in all that he goes about; he meets with losses in his estate and in his family, and his health is damaged, while another prospers, is well, and dies an easy death. In what a smooth path do some good people go to heaven, while others are torn with thorns and briars, and go mourning and weeping all the way! Who dares to presume to say why this is so, and not otherwise?

When we say that God does this or that for such and such a reason, we must do it with great humility, and only so far as the Scripture is our guide. And from that we may learn that God suffers His people to be under the apprehensions of His wrath, and under long afflictions, for such ends as these:

1. It is certainly good for the universe, for God does nothing in vain. And when any part suffers, it is for the good of the whole.

2. He does this so that others may be convinced by their very senses what a dreadful God He is, and how terrible a thing it is to sin. Sometimes, in the extraordinary joys which His love produces in the hearts of His people, He shows heaven upon earth; and sometimes, in the fears, amazements, and terrors of awakened consciences, He shows hell upon earth - and both are designed for the good of others by His wise and holy providence.

3. God does it to keep us from carnal security all our lives. This will make us humble and walk softly all our days, remembering that we are not, every hour, any more than what God makes us to be. If He ever left us for but one poor moment, where would we be?

4. God does this to convince us of His own all-sufficiency, and the nothingness of ourselves and of all other creatures. In our prosperity, we are apt to think that this or that creature, this or that person, will yield us relief; but in spiritual troubles God shows us that all men, even the best of men, are vanity, and those from whom we expect the greatest help do us the least good. Nay, those watchmen of whose skill and kindness we have the greatest opinion are frequently allowed to smite us by their imprudent or harsh speeches and censures, so that we may not look to those cisterns which we find to be broken ones, but to that heaven whence all consolation flows. When we go to created things with the most raised expectations, we meet with the most unlooked-for disappointments. And indeed, while we look only to them, we are like people who go begging to the doors of the poor. Our fellow creatures have nothing but what they receive; unless God helps us, they cannot help either. Unless the wind blows, neither all the skill of the pilot nor all the industry of the mariner can make the ship sail forward to the port. We think that if our friend was sick, we would hasten to his help and immediately relieve him; but our best Friend stays a long while before He delivers us, not from any pleasure that He takes in our sorrows, but that He may render His power and His wisdom more illustrious. He wants us to see that all other things are inconsiderable, but that He is all-sufficient.

There are several more purposes that I will post here in the next couple of days as I continue to contemplate God's ever-present hand of providence flowing in the lives of His people. May we ponder such truths that are offered from the greatest depths of His treasures. It is in His life-giving words that we can find peace...and only there! Praise Him for His faithfulness in using mere men to reveal such things to our stubborn hearts!

"Master save us, lest we perish!" (Matthew 8)

Monday, August 16, 2010


Recent weeks and months have brought a new appreciation and gratitude in my heart for the dear friendships God has so graciously blessed me with. There are more blessings than I can even number here that have come as a direct result of the loving investment some of my closest friends have made in my life. I was reminded again of this treasure, when reading this blog today:

Check it out and consider...what kind of friend are you? And what kind of friendships are you busy cultivating?