“Self-Righteousness, ‘The Shack’ & Cosmic Over-Reactions” March 24


Self-Righteousness & "The Shack" & Cosmic Over-Reactions" - Self-Righteousness, 'The Shack' & Cosmic Over-Reactions: What on earth do they have to do with one another? Why should those of us who know Christ be concerned about something that is "just a movie"?Self-Righteousness, ‘The Shack’ & Cosmic Over-Reactions: What on earth do they have to do with one another? Why should those of us who know Christ be concerned about something that is “just a movie”?


Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 9 & 10
Psalm 37.12-17
Proverbs 12.11
Luke 1.57-80


Self-Righteousness, ‘The Shack’ & Cosmic Over-Reactions


Deuteronomy 9 & 10:

Righteousness versus Self-Righteousness


In today’s reading, God, through Moses, emphasized that He would bless the Israelites, not because of their righteousness, not because they deserved it, but because of His mercy.

C.J. Mahaney says in his book, The Cross Centered Life:

“Everything in the Old Testament points toward Jesus Christ and enriches our understanding of the cross (see Luke 24.27). The drama of redemption begins in the Garden in Genesis 3 and continues to unfold throughout the Old Testament until it reaches its climax at the cross. All along the way the Divine Author prepares us for Calvary. The symbolism of the sacrificial system, the strictness of the law, the repeated failures of man, the steadfast faithfulness of God—all this and more deepens our amazement at the cross.”


Thankfully, like the Israelites, our position with God does not depend upon our own righteousness. As Paul Tripp says, in his book Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, we cannot boast in our righteousness because we don’t have any (Phil. 3.9)! We are all sinners saved by grace alone (Eph. 2.8-9) and have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3.21-23). His righteousness was imputed to us on the basis of His sacrificial death on the cross on our behalf.

But like the Israelites we need to remind ourselves of that fact, because in our pride and self-sufficiency, we see ourselves as basically good (Prov. 20.6). If we are basically good, perhaps with some minor character flaws, then, as someone has said, the cross was “a cosmic over-reaction for a people who only had a case of spiritual sniffles.” That kind of thinking is not only wrong, but it keeps many from seeing their need for Christ.

Many people expect to spend eternity in heaven because they don’t believe they’re all that bad. They have some vague idea that God will weigh their misdeeds against all the good things they’ve done and they’ll manage to “get in.”

A friend told me last night about a quote he’d read. The writer said that Adam and Eve’s sin was basically “petty theft.” Of course, we know they weren’t condemned because they stole fruit. They were condemned because of their disobedience. They broke God’s law, His direct command. But the Apostle John said, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness (1 Jn. 3.4).

I grew up believing that pretty much everyone went to heaven. We believed “in” God, but sadly, a god of our own creation, like those in the popular book and movie The Shack, who loves everyone and who wouldn’t let anyone go to hell.

Perhaps you say, come on, Donna, it’s just a movie! That’s true. But how many of us who grew up watching the movie The 10 Commandments would admit that our conception of those events has been colored by images from the movie or that watching The Passion of the Christ impacted our understanding of the events of the crucifixion.  Continue reading

“Parenting by ‘The Book'” January 27


Parenting by "The Book"Parenting by the book: parenting books abound today and most of us have probably read one or more of them at some time. But when was the last time you read the parenting book? All of God’s Word is written from the perspective of a Father to His children. Proverbs, in particular, contains a lifetime of wisdom for parenting and for sharing with our children.


Today’s Readings:
Exodus 3 & 4
Psalm 16.1-6
Proverbs 5.1-6
Matthew 18.1-20


Parenting by the Book


Proverbs 5.1-6:

Parenting & Proverbs


Verse 1 starts out “My son, …” Solomon was teaching his son and, of course, God is teaching His children.

Proverbs is full of instruction for us in all of our daily living, but it also gives us lots of wisdom to help us be godly parents. In today’s reading we find some strong warnings about sexual issues:

1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
Lend your ear to my understanding,
2 That you may preserve discretion,
And your lips may keep knowledge.
3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,
And her mouth is smoother than oil;
4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death,
Her steps lay hold of hell.
6 Lest you ponder her path of life—
Her ways are unstable;
You do not know them.

I can’t help but wonder how many fewer teen pregnancies and other sexual consequences there might be if we as fathers and mothers faithfully taught the truths in Proverbs 5 to our sons and daughters.

parenting bible momVerse 3 speaks of the “immoral woman.” Most of us don’t think of our teenage daughters as “immoral women” when they text “inappropriate” photos of themselves to some boy, but they are behaving like it. Perhaps we need to do a better job of teaching them what the Word of God says about their behavior.

It’s the Word of God that will pierce their hearts.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4.12).

While we’ve been deceived into thinking we need to soften the truth to protect their “self-esteem,” our sons and our daughters are becoming involved in sexual activity and making decisions which can alter their lives for years to come.

Of course, the principles in Proverbs and elsewhere in the Bible are not limited to those on sexual behavior. God’s Word provides the help we need to live godly and to instruct our children in every area of life (2 Pet. 1.2-4).

A few that are especially applicable to parenting:  Continue reading

October 23 “On women teaching, modesty & pearls”

tattoosLadies, do you ever chafe against some of the Bible’s teaching on modesty, authority, and the role of women?


Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 31 & 32
Psalm 119.49-56
Proverbs 27.20
1 Timothy 2.1-15


Jeremiah 31 & 32:

“Is anything too hard for Him?”

Chapter 32.17, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You …

And verse 27, “‘Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?’”

Do we even begin to understand who God is?—the omnipotent creator of the universe! He is not only omnipotent (all powerful), but He is omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere), and sovereign (totally and completely in charge and in control! Add to that—the fact that He is good (Ps. 119.68); He is love (1 Jn. 4.8); and He is holy (1 Pet. 1.15). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Continue reading

September 6 “God, tattoos, and fashion”


Does God really care how we dress or whether we wear jewelry or have tattoos?

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 3 & 4
Psalm 105.7-22
Proverbs 24.26-27
1 Corinthians 15.1-28

Isaiah 3 & 4:

Comfort for the righteous

God had sent Isaiah to warn the nation of Israel of coming judgment and the consequences of that judgment. How discouraging it must have been to the righteous people who had not turned their backs on God.

So He spoke to them through the prophet, as well. Chapter 3.10-11:

10 “Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them,
For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him,
For the reward of his hands shall be given him.

Matthew Henry in his commentary says:

Some good people might fear that they should be involved in that ruin, and therefore God bids the prophets comfort them against those fears: “Whatever becomes of the unrighteous nation, let the righteous man know that he shall not be lost in the crowd of sinners. The Judge of all the earth will not slay the righteous with the wicked (Genesis 18:25) no, assure him, in God’s name, that it shall be well with him … and he shall be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger. He shall have divine supports and comforts, which shall abound as afflictions abound, and so it shall be well with him.” When the whole stay of bread is taken away, yet in the day of famine the righteous shall be satisfied … they kept themselves pure from the common iniquity, and therefore the common calamity is not the same thing to them that it is to others. They brought no fuel to the flame, and therefore are not themselves fuel for it.

Table with old book, quill penDr. Henry was a Puritan pastor who lived from 1662-1714 so the language is a little foreign to modern day readers but the depth of his understanding makes it worth the effort. Think about some of his comments on this passage:

He shall be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger. He shall have divine supports and comforts, which shall abound as afflictions abound, and so it shall be well with him.

Think about Daniel and his three friends. They were taken away as captives, but God gave them favor. He gave them wisdom and protected them from being forced to go against their consciences (Dan. 1). He intervened when they were condemned to death for refusing to worship idols instead of the One True God (Dan. 3, 6).

Before his life was over Daniel had served three kings, had been used to interpret dreams, had interceded for his people, and had impacted the kings and kingdoms he served.

When the whole stay of bread is taken away, yet in the day of famine the righteous shall be satisfied … 

Just as He feeds the birds of the air, God can sustain his children in the worst economic times.

… they kept themselves pure from the common iniquity, and therefore the common calamity is not the same thing to them that it is to others. They brought no fuel to the flame, and therefore are not themselves fuel for it. 

Or as Paul said in Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6.7).

What a loving Heavenly Father we serve. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13.5), to meet our needs (Matt. 6.25-34) to limit our trials (1 Cor. 10.13), and to give us wisdom (Jas. 1.5) and grace (Heb. 4.16).

immoral womanGod, tattoos, and fashion

God had been speaking in general terms in verses 10-11, but now He begins to address the women, in particular. Chapter 3.16-24:

16 The LORD says,
“The women of Zion are haughty,
walking along with outstretched necks,
flirting with their eyes,
tripping along with mincing steps,
with ornaments jingling on their ankles.
17 Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion;
the LORD will make their scalps bald.”
18 In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery. the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, 19 the earrings and bracelets and veils, 20 the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, 21 the signet rings and nose rings, 22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses 23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.
24 Instead of fragrance there will be a stench;
instead of a sash, a rope;
instead of well-dressed hair, baldness;
instead of fine clothing, sackcloth;
instead of beauty, branding.

Continue reading

February 21 “Sin: contagious & disfiguring”

Sin is disfiguring and highly contagious. Paul warned that we can catch it from others and that it’s better to be thrown into the sea with a weight around our necks than to be a carrier spreading it to others.

sin is contagious

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 13
Psalm 25.16-22
Proverbs 10.4-5
Mark 3.1-19

Leviticus 13:

Unclean! Unclean!

Leprosy! What could God possibly have for us in all the discussion of bright skin, white skin, scales and scabs?

Notice that God called this leprosy an uncleanness, not a disease. It was not the same disease we refer to today as leprosy (Hansen’s Disease). It is said that Pharaoh (of Moses fame) was infected with it and may have died from it. So it may have been associated with the plagues that God brought on the Egyptians. Even in the New Testament, when Jesus came in contact with lepers, it says He cleansed them, not that He healed them.

Leprosy in the Bible is a type, or a picture of, sin. When God delivered the nation of Israel from Egypt, he told them, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you” (Ex. 15.26). Continue reading