Religion Matters

This is a post I wrote on the “Satisfaction Through Christ” blog on September 8, 2016. I’m posting the first part of the article here and you will have to click on the link at the bottom to finish reading.

Instead of sharing straight from Scripture this time, I am going to share some things about my story. My heart is heavy with many things. I came across an old Tweet that I had re-tweeted from a previous pastor, with a quote that said something like, “God doesn’t care about your religion; it’s your relationships that matter.” I agreed with it at the time, but things have changed in my heart.

While it is true that we as believers are to love our neighbors and to go into the world and make disciples, I now think that religion matters more than what that quote seems to say. I have heard twice this week that the old saying, “don’t be so heavenly minded you’re of no earthly good,” should not be heeded, and I agree.

I’ve been a Christian for 35 years, worked in a church for four years, and have attended eight churches in four states over those years. I only bring that up to say that never in that time, until now, have I considered myself Reformed or a Calvinist. In fact, I used to sway the Arminian way. The churches we’ve attended have pretty much all been the “squishy” seeker-sensitive types, welcoming all, making a point to not worry too much about the “little” things in our theology, as long as we agree on the big things. Most of them ranged from being open and accepting to the spiritual gifts to being outright charismatic.

We just relocated to Maine a year ago, and that outright charismatic church is one we began attending here. New England isn’t known for having many churches – especially good Gospel preaching ones. As I was researching more into the spiritual gifts since we were surrounded by all of it at this church, I realized that I was in danger of being led astray in all of it. I talked with my husband and we left that church.

I delved into studying theology, doctrine, church history, and most importantly, God’s Word. God’s grace turned me around, and brought me back into the fold and changed my thinking. Despite the low number of churches to choose from here, I was able to find a handful of churches that might be okay. We tried two and have attended the second one for several weeks. This church is not Reformed, but does seem to hold to most Calvinistic doctrines, as this is the camp where I have firmly landed.

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Keep reading your Bible!

Why Did God Use a Harlot and a Lie?

I wrote this article on the “Satisfaction Through Christ” blog on August 30, 2016. I’m posting the first part of the article here, and you will have to click the link at the bottom to finish reading.

Is it ever okay to lie? I recently read the account in Joshua about Rahab who hides the spies. Ironically, just a couple days after reading that, I heard an interview on a Christian radio program with an author who wrote a book about lying. As part of their discussion, they brought up Rahab.

The story about Rahab is found in Joshua, chapter 2. Moses has died and Joshua was chosen to be the new leader of the Israelites. He was the one to lead them into the Promised Land. They would have to cross over the Jordan River and take the land God had promised their forefathers. The first city in their path was Jericho. It had very high, thick walls around it, so Joshua sent two men to spy out the land before they would plan to proceed.

“So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there.” (v.1) This story is used a lot to point out that God can even use someone like a prostitute for His purposes. I often wondered why the men of Israel decided it was okay to stay with such a woman. I know that when it was getting dark, cities of that time would close their gates to keep people from going in or out at night. In their wandering, the sun must have started setting and the people of Jericho must have begun preparing to close the gates. I suppose needing a place to hide for the night would have led them to stay among the “outcasts” of society.

Even though these outcasts were probably lesser known, word got to the king that Rahab had let two Israelite men into her home. The king sent to Rahab – I assume via a messenger and/or some guards – commanding her to bring the men out. Instead of obeying, she took the men and hid them on her roof with her stalks of flax. Then, she didn’t lie about the men coming to her house, but she said she didn’t know where they were from and that as the gates were closing, they went out. So the king’s men started pursuing down the road and went out of the city gates to see if they could find and overtake them.

When the king’s men were gone, Rahab went to the Israelite men and explained to them that she knew the Lord has given them the land and that the city had heard of the conquests they already had made and the people were afraid of them. In her speech, she says, “for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” (v.11) I believe her acknowledgement and understanding of this is key. I don’t know how she got that revelation, but the fact is that she knew and that she respected God.

The story goes on that she asks the Israelite men to spare her life and the lives of her family because she protected them. They give her a scarlet cord to tie in her window as a sign to the Israelite army to not destroy her home or anyone in her home, unless she tells their business to anyone.

The narrative mentions that Rahab lived in the wall of the city. She let the men down by a rope to escape.

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Keep Reading your Bible!

Heart Attitudes and Amazing Grace

I used to do some writing on the “Satisfaction Through Christ” blog. This was my first post there on August 16, 2016. I’m going to put the pieces I wrote here on my blog. You’ll have to click the link at the bottom to go over to the actual article to finish.

I want to discuss Numbers 11 with you. It stood out to me in my Bible reading. In my Bible, this chapter is titled, “The People Complain.” I will go along and outline what happened, but I encourage you to go to your own Bible and read that chapter for yourself.

This event takes place as Moses is leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. But even then after they are freed, with their basic needs being met by God, they begin complaining…again. As if complaining itself isn’t bad enough, they dare to whine and cry that they wish they were back in Egypt…as slaves!

What’s at the root of all this? Their stomachs. Or their taste buds. My Bible says it was intense craving. God was miraculously providing manna for them to eat every day, again in response to their crying because they were hungry. Now it seems that isn’t enough for them. They long for the meat, fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic that they got to eat in Egypt. The people were weeping and said, “…there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” (v.6)

The Lord’s anger rose a couple times, and even poor Moses was getting fed up. As Moses was talking to the Lord, he said, “Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep all over me, saying, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’” (v.13) Moses was burdened by them, so much so, that he even told God that He could kill him here and now!

So the Lord had Moses get 70 elders who would all help carry the burden of the complainers. God told Moses what He was going to do. God said He heard the whining, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it as well with us in Egypt.” (v.18) So here’s what was going to happen, “Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, ‘Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?’” (vs.18-20) I picture God being like, “You want meat, do you? Well, okay, then. I’ll give you MEAT!”

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Keep reading your Bible!

Discussing the Fear of God and Awe

We are discussing the book, “The Joy of Fearing God,” by Jerry Bridges. {Affiliate link}

You can find the first discussion on chapter 1 here: What is the Fear of God?

The discussion on chapter 2 here: What is Awe?
On this episode I take a detour to talk for a few minutes about defining faith, and then about how we can trust God. We see and experience bad things that God allows in our lives, (things that are not a direct result of a sin we committed, such as miscarriage or natural disasters), so He doesn’t seem “safe.” However, He is good, perfect, compassionate, and loving. We have to come to a place of trusting God, Who isn’t safe, but He’s good.

Chapter 3: Soul of Godliness – Should Christians Fear God? is up next.

I’m attempting to post once a week, but I fell out of my intended schedule. My apologies for that. I appreciate grace:

Life Happens

  • I had to put some things on “pause” to get all of our tax info together to send to the accountant. (We file extensions around here, so September is the month I’m getting everything ready.)
  • My two oldest daughters are on a hybrid school schedule, so they’re home 3 days a week, completing assignments online. I have to be very involved in keeping their work organized, keeping them on task, and helping with general and tech issues. I’m still trying to get into some sort of routine with it, but their workload is different each week.
  • I’ve had to do things like take my husband’s car to be inspected; take our semi-longhair cat to the groomer because it was matted up; and take my car for an oil change.
  • We’re planning a 16th birthday party for our oldest and looking into what we have to do for getting her driving permit
  • We’re dealing with our oldest having her first boyfriend and meeting his parents
  • Driving our oldest back and forth to work
  • Driving our youngest to and from school each day
  • Driving our middle daughter to and from cheer practice…and two weeks ago, she broke her foot (5th metatarsal) at cheer practice…so it was doctors appointments and x-rays…and helping her carry things/get things, since she’s on crutches

Bigger Projects on my To-Do List

I have a couple other big things on my list to take care of in the near future, too. I need to clean out and organize our bedroom closet. And, we want to make a “teen hangout/man cave” area in the basement. We have a couch and chair with an area rug and coffee table, a couple shelves with board games on them, and a small TV in one corner. There is a card table set up to use for board games/puzzles. We have a small exercising trampoline and an elliptical behind the couch. And we have a ping-pong table to set up. The kids have quit hanging out there due to bugs and spiders on the cinder block walls. I need to take the vacuum down and clean things up, sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around the perimeter to deter bugs, finish painting the wall with Dry-Lok to seal the wall that has some moisture, and go through boxes and stuff there, sort it out, and organize it. The way things are going, it seems like it would work best to use the days the kids are all in school to get these projects done.

The Podcast

However, in the midst of all this, I’m going to keep on trying to keep on with a regular posting of the podcast. It might end up an every-other week thing or just taking more time than I had planned to get through the discussion of the book. As it is right now, we will have to definitely go into January.

My husband and I were discussing the podcast and how I fell behind the schedule. I need to have time to read the book and go through the study guide on the chapter, and plan from that what I’m going to talk about on each episode. So there is significant prep time. The recording itself seems to take me 1-2 hours, because I’m usually not able to get it all done at one shot, but I’m going to work on that! Then the editing of the podcast seems to take me an average of 5 hours. I go through it and take out all the “um”‘s, “uh”‘s, “and so”‘s, mis-speak’s, and big pauses or patches of silence. I’m really not a polished podcaster…yet! My goal is to get to the point of sitting down, recording within an hour, and not really needing to edit at all, except to splice in the beginning and ending music.

My hubs thought it would be cool if I could get the author of the book, Jerry Bridges, to come on for an interview. But I’m not an interviewer, not a good question-asker, and not good at thinking quick on the fly. (I.e. Not a good conversationalist!) My goal has never been to do interviews and have guests. Then he suggested the possibility of breaking all the content for the chapters down into smaller episodes, of 20 minutes or less. That might cut down on some of the prep time each week, and some of the editing time, but I’m undecided on that idea right now. So any way we do it, the schedule will be extended.

If you’re reading the book, go ahead and read ahead. I’m sure you’ll still benefit from the episodes as I get them out. I will be posting the memory verses as printables and bookmarks as I come to them.

The YouTube Idea

As for the YouTube live streams I wanted to do, I encountered some technical issues on the day the first one was supposed to happen. It’s not as simple as aiming a camera and pushing a record button. I had to download extra software to stream, try to learn it on the fly, and then see if my computer even has the power to stream. I did the show, but it didn’t work, so I deleted it. The new plan on that is that I’ll have to do some pre-recorded shows for a while, build up a following, and then look at live streams. I’ll be working on posting some videos on the YouTube channel once I get into a better routine for the podcast. Stay tuned for that. You can go to the channel and “subscribe” so you’ll be notified when I start posting videos.

On the show that failed, I made a spiced tomato soup cake and seltzer bread, (beer bread but using seltzer water instead of beer). The cake was okay. The bread didn’t come out well. Maybe I’ll come back and re-visit those recipes later. I look forward to having some fun in the kitchen with this.

The Bible memory verse is Hebrews 12:28-29, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and this offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

Check out the Christian Podcast Community for many wonderful podcasts.

Visit the Contact Page (click the link) if you’d like to get in touch.

Looking to Christ,

Book Club Details

The Joy of Fearing God

Above is the picture of the book we will be going through for the remainder of 2020 on the podcast, “The Joy of Fearing God,” by Jerry Bridges. (Click the title for an affiliate link to go to Amazon to purchase if you choose to read along. But you won’t need to purchase to listen to the podcast.)

Listen to the latest podcast episode by clicking: A Book Club Introduction.

Below is the schedule to read along with us if you wish to. Also included in this post is the printable memory verse sheet and printable bookmark (for the first verse) that you may want to use if you wish to try memorizing the verses with us.

Our first memory verse is:

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29

This will be our memory verse through chapters 1 & 2, so we’ll be working on this one until the week of Sept. 13th. Having almost a month for the first verse will ease us into memorizing. Remember the app that might help.

Read along schedule:

Week of August 23rd – I’ll post an intro episode
Week of August 30th – Chapter 1
Week of Sept. 6th – Chapter 2
Week of Sept. 13th & 20th – Chapter 3
Week of Sept. 27th – Chapter 4
Week of Oct. 4th – Chapter 5
Week of Oct. 11th – Chapter 6
Week of Oct. 18th & 25th – Chapter 7
Week of Nov. 1st – Chapter 8
Week of Nov. 8th – Chapter 9
Week of Nov. 15th – Chapter 10
Week of Nov. 22nd – Chapter 11
Week of Nov. 29th & Dec. 6th – Chapter 12
Week of Dec. 13th – Chapter 13
Week of Dec. 20th – Chapter 14
Week of Dec. 27th – Chapter 15

Memory Verse Printables:

Click ==> Hebrews 12:28-29 Sheet PDF to download and/or print

Click ==> Hebrews 12:28-29 Bookmark PDF to download and/or print

Please let me know if there are any issues with these links to the PDFs. Thanks!

Ladies may request to join the private Facebook group for more discussion at: In Awe & Wonder Facebook Group

You can visit the podcast page on the Christian Podcast Community to listen to the first four episodes I posted in January. Subscribe to the podcast so you can follow along as I get on with producing new episodes. Click ==> In Awe & Wonder Podcast

For the intro episode to “The Joy of Fearing God” book, let me know what you think of when you hear the phrase “fear(ing) God.” Post a comment or shoot me an email: inawewonderpodcast at gmail (dot) com.

For His Glory!


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