“The rotting decay of feminism”

Feminism is cancer.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “feminist?” Is it a strong woman who after years of being oppressed by men finally got the guts to break free and stand up to them? Or is it someone who is just simply fighting for equality of the sexes? A Facebook taken survey shows some of the first thoughts- liberal lunatics, perverted causes, trying to prove they are acceptable, superior, vulgar, godless, shameless, prideful, in bondage, angry, not celebrating differences, no peace or joy, insecure, screaming liberals..Sounds like the worst of qualities, right? But the purpose of this post is to walk you through what the majority think feminism is and to make my case that a lot of times the most threatening feminist is not the one in your face screaming obscenities. The most threatening feminist comes from within the church. Feminism is like a rotting, decay that is seeping into every single area of this culture.

According to history books, the 1st wave of feminism began around 1848, with a gathering in Seneca Falls, NY to fight for women’s rights. There was another wave that began around the 1960’s which greatly influenced the views of women’s oppression and roles of women in the family. The 3rd wave is said to have started around the 1990’s and is still continuing, though some argue we are currently in the 4th wave. For the 3rd wave, gender identity and sexuality were a big issue. No longer should women have to identify as soft, gentle, or feminine. Instead they were now proud and defiant. And men became viewed as the oppressor of all women, hence the phrase “toxic masculinity.” Masculinity was now viewed as “harmful” to women.

I would argue that according to Scripture, feminism began much earlier than 1848. We are told that in Genesis 3 as a result of sin and the fall that we would be forever cursed with “wanting to rule over” our husbands. Let’s talk about the two types of feminism that are perpetuating the culture and then we will dig more into Genesis 3. There is “secular feminism” which basically says “I am entitled to compete on an equal basis with men.” Then we have, as some call it, “biblical feminism” which states “ I seek the freedom to follow Christ as He calls me, and to use my gifts however I choose for His kingdom.” For instance, those who say “teaching and preaching have been given to me as gifts from God and though I’m a woman, God would want me to use my gifts.”I want to make the case for my view, that there is no such thing as a “biblical feminist.” The two words used together are an oxymoron.

I think any church going evangelical would deny that secular feminism is an issue within their local church. They would agree that men and women are different, have different roles and hold to the “Complementarianism” view. This view states that men and women have different roles that compliment each other when it comes to all areas such as the home, church, or family. Women are precluded from certain roles that require leadership over men. Men have a headship role, women have a support role. While many claim to have this view, they now have muddied the line as to what is an acceptable role for women in the church. The typical evangelical pictures a feminist as a typical man hating, female with an extreme liberal agenda who goes around and fights against men and for the right to abort her own children.

But as I will point out, the second kind of feminism mentioned is a much more imminent threat to Christians. There is a group of women who won’t be out fighting to participate in male sports or events. They aren’t out taking over the work place. But they are attempting to twist the Scripture to allow room for their “biblical feminism.” These types of women exist and are all throughout the church. Recently in a discussion on social media, the passage in 1 Timothy 2:12 was brought up. Paul says “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, rather she is to remain quiet.” Paul is forbidding all women from filling the role of pastor or teacher over men or exercising any authority over men in the church assembly. When this passage was brought up in the discussion, the woman commented “Well, that was just a cultural standard for that time” and secondly she stated “We shouldn’t limit God or put Him in a box because He can use whoever He wants to speak for Him.” Technically God can do whatever He wants according to Psalm 115:3-“But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” However, God will not at any time contradict His Written Word.

How do we know that the standard set in 1 Timothy 2:12 wasn’t just cultural or geographical? We have to look at other passages. In 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 the very same commandment is laid out- “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” There is something new added to the beginning of that passage which is the statement “As in all the congregations.” This clearly implies that this is not a cultural standard but is God’s standard that was put in place for ALL of the churches or ALL of the congregations.

I’ve also heard Galatians 3:28 used to advocate that women can fill whatever role they desire in the church. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” To argue that this verse does away with God given roles of headship and submission is ludicrous. This verse is telling believers that there is no “spiritual inequality” with God, we are all one in Christ Jesus if we have been redeemed by His blood. No where does this verse state that the God ordained roles of male leadership within the church and home have been done away with. The fact is, that over and over again, the Word of God lays out a pattern of male spiritual leadership and female submission. So many churches, however, are trying to imitate satan in the garden of Eden when he said to Eve about the forbidden fruit “Did God really say?”..

So many so called “Christians” and church leaders are trying to incorporate feminism and women leadership roles into the church. The rotting decay of feminism has no longer been content with staying in the secular realm, it’s now seeping into the church, yes, even the ultra-conservative Southern Baptist churches. One example is last year, Brentwood Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist megachurch, ordained a woman to the pastorate. https://pulpitandpen.org/2019/02/17/southern-baptist-megachurch-ordains-female-pastor/ It was reported that they changed the ordination announcement from “pastor” to “minister” after some of the members complained. The woman was ordained at the church and given a pastoral position over men as “minister to senior adults.” Do the research and you will quickly find out that there is a rapidly spreading movement amongst churches to ordain women and allow them to teach men. Just check out this video of Southern Baptist darling Beth Moore preaching on a Sunday morning from the pulpit at Transformation church- https://youtu.be/MCIRf1S6cr0

Continue reading ““The rotting decay of feminism””

 Why do we say no more babies? 

This is the post excerpt.

  1. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb; a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them. He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies at the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5                                                                                All throughout Scripture you can look and see one common theme about children, they are a reward and a blessing from God. This passage in Psalms mentioned above gives us a view into how we as Christians are to view children and child bearing. We would never tell the Lord “please, stop you are blessing me with way too much money!” Or “please Lord, do not give me one more friend, I’ve just got too many!” We never tell the Lord to stop blessing us except for in the area of our womb! So that beckons the question, do you really view children as a reward and blessing? If we do, we would want as many blessings as He would give us. Why would anyone choose to cut off blessings that are straight from the hand of God? The reward of the womb? We have to be willing to look at this from a biblical perspective. There are three main reasons I see that are causing women to say no more babies-                                                        1) It represents a total denial of self. “I just want to travel more.” ” I want more sleep,” “I just want 5 minutes in the bathroom alone.” Children will ultimately consume all our time. We will have to die to our self and the things we want to do in order to raise godly children. It is no longer about us. We sacrifice hours of being up at night, nursing babies, bandaging boo boo’s, cooking meals and preparing snacks, changing their diapers and wiping runny noses. There will be little or no time to indulge ourselves or let our flesh do what it wants to do. But this is the ultimate picture of Christianity. We must take up our crosses and daily die to ourselves and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24) We must die to ourselves. Our purpose is now to raise up godly children that love Him and His Word. We are a picture to the outside world of what that looks like through bearing children. Raising children will be the hardest thing you will ever do, but as the Scripture says, they are that most rewarding thing and they are a gift of God. Now most upon hearing the term “die to self” will cringe. It is in our flesh to not want to die. That represents something we do not want. But if we are going to follow Christ we must be willing to do so in every area, including his plan of how many children we have.                                                         2) The second reason is because it represents putting all your trust and faith in Him in every area. This is a difficult thing to do. But what does the Scripture say? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding;in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 How many of us really trust Him in the area of childbearing? How about this statement -“I just can’t afford to have anymore” How much trust in the Lord is in that statement? Are you really saying that you don’t trust the Lord to take care of you if he chooses to sovereignly open your womb? Or what about those who say “I just can’t handle anymore.” Why not? Maybe your flesh feels overwhelmed at times but do you really think the Lord will not give you the strength to raise anymore children? Can not the sovereign God of the universe, the maker of heaven and earth, sustain you and give you everything you need to raise the children He decides to bless you with? Or what about those who say “my health is just too bad to go through another pregnancy. I have really tough pregnancies.” Well how do you know that it’s not God’s will for you to suffer in that way? Maybe God wants to bring glory to Himself by showing you and others that He can do the impossible and safely bring you through another pregnancy, despite how miserable they make you feel. You could choose to be a living testimony and say “yes, I have awful pregnancies but I trust the Lord and if he chooses to open my womb then He will take care of it and use it for His glory whatever the outcome. You see, it requires putting full trust in Him and entrusting our very body and womb to Him. We might say “Lord I feel overwhelmed, but I trust you if you decide to open my womb and I trust you to physically give me the strength I need to be a mother.”                                                                         3) It represents many hardships and trials. The more children you have, the more worry will be present. As a parent we all worry about our children. Will they grow up to know and love the Lord? Will they choose a godly spouse? Or when they reach the driving years our main concerm will be “are they safe? ” There are many things we could sit and worry about. There will be many discipline issues along the way as they become independent and their flesh will desire to have its own way. There are the teenage years to think about, the dating, the rebellious middle schooler,  the tenascious three’s, etc.  It is no easy task raising children. There will be blood, sweat and many tears. But the more you sacrifice the more become like Christ. You will learn to lean on Him through every situation. You will literally learn that you cannot parent without Him. You will need that time in the Word or you can’t make it through the day. You need that time in prayer to ask Him to give you patience and to help you to be a godly example. You will rely on Him more fully to give you the strength to be both a wife and a mother. You learn to go to Him for for everything you struggle with in parenting and He becomes your greatest peace and strength throughout your parenting journey. So all of these things that parenting brings to you- denial of self, sacrifice, absolute trust, dependency on Him, those are all godly qualities. The more children you have the more you will possess these qualities. Please seek the Scripture about all these things! Let the Lord have control of every area in your life including your childbearing and you will find riches and  rewards that cannot be described! 

Have you gotten comfortable with your sin?

Some of us have allowed certain sins to creep in and we’ve gotten so comfortable with them. We have literally made peace with them. We have rationalized our sin so much, shoved it down, tucked it away. The Spirit at one point brought us great conviction over this sin but now we have quenched the Spirit to the point we no longer have serious convictions about it or lose sleep regarding it. We are no longer fighting sin, at least, not this one. I’ve been here before and it’s a dangerous place. So what do we do? How do we get out of this? I wanted to jot down my thoughts regarding this topic of sin and what the Scripture says in order to help some of you who find yourself in this place.

  1. Recognize the deceptive nature of sin. Satan doesn’t come to us and say “Hey, go commit adultery today” or “Let’s begin hating this person and develop bitterness.” He starts little by little drawing your affections away from the Lord and stirring up desires where they shouldn’t be. Causing you to rationalize sin, because after all they are just thoughts. Every sin for a believer starts out as a thought and then we have a choice. Take that thought captive and make it obedient to Christ or dwell on it and allow it to grow until we are led into the next phase of acting on it. Unless we pray and preach Scripture to our hearts, and nip it in the bud immediately, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Sin has a weird way of making you rationalize things you once thought were abominations. That’s the deceptive nature of it. You even begin to vindicate yourself in your mind. Making it seem like what your are thinking or doing is not so bad. Maybe you’ve allowed yourself to develop bitterness towards another person by dwelling on thoughts of how they have wronged you. Learn to recognize sin in its very conception, when the thoughts first occur and deal with it immediately before it progresses.

2) Realize the importance of devoting yourself to Scripture.

“I have treasured Your word in my heart,
So that I may not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11

A diligent effort in the Word of God, studying, meditating, memorizing is key to the Christian’s victory over sin. Back in 2006 when I suffered from a bout of severe depression, I would dwell on Scripture from the minute I got up until I went to bed. Psalm 119 became my daily food. Soaking it up and asking the Lord to fight this for me. He did bring me out of it.

Christian, what are you doing as far as devoting yourself to the Scripture? Is it your goal every single day to devote yourself to the Word? Do you wish to go into battle with sin and Satan with no sword? This is the foolishness of not arming yourself with the Scripture daily. I am fully aware that Satan wants to destroy what I have. A loving husband, 5 beautiful and healthy kids, a lovely home in the country, and now a thriving ministry. Knowing he wants nothing more than to steal, kill and destroy motivates me to be prepared when I am tempted. Renewing my mind daily. Guarding my mind, my heart. Every day is a war on sin for the Christian. Don’t take it lightly.

3) Realize the importance of stirring up your desire and affections of your heart towards Christ.

Very simply, we do what we desire. If we are sinning, it is because we desire that more than Christ. Our actions accord with what we want. So sin, in a sense, is dissatisfaction with God. We decide He is not enough and our heart craves something else. We temporarily set aside our pursuit of knowing Him and holiness. So what must we do? To keep our affections for Him stirred up? I’m not talking about the new age “ I’m madly in love with Jesus” Beth Moore lingo. Or the “Jesus is my boyfriend” garbage. I’m talking about the affection we should have in our heart towards Christ who has redeemed us. This requires daily effort to thank Him for your salvation. Thank Him for who He is and for what He has given you. Spending large amounts of undistracted time with Him. Ask Him to give you more of His restraining grace to be able to fight sin. Ask Him to grant you repentance where you do not feel it over certain sins. These things keep your affections stirred up. Reading passages that tell us how God punishes and deals with sin ought to stir up a fear within us. The devastating consequences of our sin. God killed David’s son due to his adultery with Bathsheba.

“Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.” 2 Samuel 12:14

When we sin we give the enemies of God the occasion to blaspheme or gloat. We are making a mockery of Christ. God’s enemies are waiting for us to slip up, for us to get caught up in sin so that they can say “This Christian is not even legitimate” and mock God. Don’t let them do it! Strive to do what Hebrews 13:18 tells us “conduct yourself honorably in all things.” We have a duty to live like Christ and represent Him to a lost and dying world. We have the Spirit in us which means we have the mind of Christ. We have the fruit of Spirit, which means we have self control. We have everything we need for godliness. Confess that sin you’ve been allowing to remain and press on!

“for His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us [a]by His own glory and [b]excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3

Sin- dealing with our Indwelling adversary

“What wisdom is required in guarding and managing our hearts and ways before God! Few study themselves as they should. Few are acquainted with the evils of their own hearts as they should.” -John Owen

I have recently been granted more enlightening on this topic regarding indwelling sin. Over the past weeks I have had sweet enjoyment of God, a full supply of grace, and a return from wandering and not dealing with my sin as I should. I have fully committed myself to mortification of my sin and taking my thoughts captive. A few books I’ve been reading alongside of my daily Scripture is “Indwelling sin in believers”by John Owen, “The mortification of sin” also by John Owen and “Thirst for wholeness” by Jay. E. Adams. I hope to share some of my gleanings with you in this blog and that the Lord stirs up within you a desire to fight sin like never before.

1 Corinthians 15:34

“Awake to righteousness, and do not sin.”

Romans 6:12-14

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

First, we should recognize the various stages in the process of sin. Doing this will help us recognize the very first time it appears and tempts us. James 1:13-16 details the various stages of temptation and sin.

“No one is to say when he is tempted, “(A)I am being tempted [a]by God”; for God cannot be tempted [b]by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.15 Then (B)when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and (C)sin, when it has run its course, brings forth death. 16 (D)Do not be [c]deceived, (E)my beloved brothers and sisters.”

I’m listing the steps that Jay E. Adams lists in his book in order to clearly identify this process.
Step 1: intercourse. (In the heart) An event occurs. Within, your desire stirs in response to it. You recognize this and could cut the process short before sinning in the heart by changing the direction of your thoughts. (Philippians 4:8)

Step 2: Conception. (In the heart) If this intercourse of the heart continues, conception of outer sin will occur. That is to say, next, you begin to contemplate actually carrying out the sin, not merely indulging in it in your heart. Again, as you do this you can cut this process short by rejecting these plans, repenting of inner consent, and planning instead acts of outer righteousness.

Step 3: Birth. (Of sin;outer transgression.) Sinful acts can be stopped and prevented by radical amputation (Matthew 5:28) You can guard against the acts of sin through the radical amputation or elimination of whatever facilities sin. Eliminate the things that contribute to it.

Step 4: Death. If we are truly born again we need not concern ourselves with this matter since death has been cut off by regeneration and justification. A true believer will not continue in sin but will repent. ( 1 John 3:9-10)

Let’s play this out with some common scenarios. Let’s say for a man that a beautiful woman walks in the room. At this point, there is no sin involved, he has merely noticed her beauty. Maybe this has stirred some desire within him. Now he has a choice. He can fight and redirect his thoughts immediately. Take them captive. Or he can choose to agree to sin with her in his imagination; his desire and will inwardly consenting to sin. But the fact is, this is still sin. Sin of the heart. And it grieves God. We try to rationalize internal sin as if it’s ok since after all he isn’t actually committing an outward sin such as adultery. We can just tuck these little thoughts away and they will have little to no effect on us. Right? I asked pastor Michael Foster about friendships with the opposite sex and he gave me a wise answer- while he believes in boundaries, he noted that “setting up boundaries will not prevent lust.” So much truth in that statement. Just because you don’t have conversations with the opposite sex doesn’t mean all thoughts of lust will be killed. It must be dealt with in the heart and inner man. Indulging in inner heart sin needs much more to destroy it than external boundaries. Recognizing first that the problem in unchecked desires is that in time they give birth to outer transgressions. We cannot allow these desires to progress. To quote John Owen- “The great wisdom and security of the soul in dealing with indwelling sin is to put a forceful stop to its beginnings, it’s first motions and actings. Risk it all with the attempt. Die rather than yield one step to it.”

Let’s look at a second scenario- a wife is mad at her husband. He didn’t call like he should have during the day to check on her. She feels the anger rising as she waits on him to return home. Now she has a choice. She can meditate and fuel those thoughts of anger and choose to let her husband have it as soon as he walks in the door, giving full vent to her anger. Or she can take those thoughts captive. Pray and ask the Lord to help her. She in turn can dwell on the positive aspect of her husband be so hard working and providing for the family and choose to make it a household of peace instead of discord. You see, Scripture tells us we can RESIST TEMPTATION.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Recognize this process of temptation. Cut the process short from the very beginning by changing the direction of your thoughts.

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,..” 2 Corinthians 10:5

“Finally, brothers and sisters(A)whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is [a]lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

As Jay E. Adams puts it- “Sinful acts can be prevented by radical amputation. (Matthew 5:28) You can guard against acts of sin through the radical amputation or elimination of whatever is facilitating the sin. Every Christian has the capacity to resist sin. And the best time to do so is before it’s conception in the heart.” Once you allow your affections to be swayed by sin, it will be doubly hard to remove yourself from the process. Nip it in the bud in the very beginning!

So knowing all of this brings us to the next point. How can we fight this enemy that lives within us? Even the Apostle Paul recognized this sin that dwelt within and tells us this sin that continues is an actual law- “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” Romans 7:21

Scripture tells us the way. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word.” Psalm 119:9 Devote yourself to the Scripture daily. Even when you think you have defeated a certain sin, it will rear its ugly head again and with more vigor and the only way to resist is to valiantly fight it with the appropriate Scripture. Augustine, in his discourse on the Lord’s Prayer said this- “Or should the tempter set before you some woman of surpassing beauty; if chastity be within, iniquity without us overcome. Therefore that he may not take you with the bait of a strange woman’s beauty, fight with your own desire within; you have no physical perception of your enemy, but if your own concupiscence you do. You do not see the devil, but the object that engages you see. Get the mastery over that which you are aware of within. Fight valiantly, for He who has regenerated you is your judge and is making ready the crown. But you will without doubt be conquered if you have not Him to aid you; therefore in prayer say “Lead is not into temptation.”

Augustine is careful to point out that you cannot win this battle alone; you must seek the Spirit’s strength to win over temptation. There is a struggle within that requires valiant fighting. Literally mortifying and putting to death the desires of our flesh. So why can we only defeat this with the Scripture? We know that is how the Lord Jesus defeated Satan in the wilderness and He is our example. Why daily? How is that beneficial in our fight against sin? The problem with sin is that it unknowingly produces a darkening effect on the mind. It is very deceitful. Picture blue dye slowly being dropped into clear water. Before you know it, the water is foggy, thick, and you are unable to see clearly.

This is how sin works. Little by little our minds are darkened by various sins. We need to renew our minds daily in the Scripture. John Owen says “The law of sin darkens the mind, partly through countless vain prejudices and false reasonings, and partly through steaming the affections heated with the nauseous lusts that have laid hold on them. Hence that saving light which is in the mind is stifled and clouded, so that it cannot put forth its transforming power to change the soul into the likeness of Christ revealed to it, which is its proper work.” (Romans 12:2) Only renewing our minds in God’s Word continually once again to the truth and lift the cloud of deceitfulness from our thinking about sin. We will always try to justify or rationalize the sin away without the sharp edge of God’s Word piercing our hearts.

Lastly, we should make it our aim to confess our sins to one another.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16

Hidden sin is easier to go back to. Shedding light on it by confessing to our brethren and to God will help aid us in our fight against it. Tell your spouse. Tell a close, godly friend what you are struggling with so that they can pray for you, encourage you, and hold you accountable. Because of our own pride we are often scared to let others know our secret sins and our true depravity. But this is needed in the process of repenting and avoiding this sin in the future. As Jay E. Adams says “True repentance involves taking action to block further sin by radical amputation of all aids to sin and effort to plan ahead.” (Romans 12:17) Having godly accountability is crucial.

In closing, here is some encouragement as you seek to mortify sin. Resist sin at the very start. Abort inner sin before it’s conception. As Augustine says- “Pray that God may make you a conqueror of yourself..not if your enemy without, but if your own soul within…Let no enemy from without be feared: conquer yourself, and the whole world is conquered.”

Two books to help aid you in this battle are “The mortification of sin” and “Indwelling sin in believers” by John Owen. They have been a huge benefit to my soul. Devote yourself to daily Scripture reading and self abasement. Recognize your own depravity and temptations. Realize you need full dependency upon Christ to defeat sin and temptation. Few have to devoted themselves to studying this area. Many when confronted with temptation will fall under its weight and disgrace the name of Christ.
“On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke 22:40

“The man who understands the evil of his own heart, how vile it is, is the only useful, fruitful, and solid believing and obedient person. Others are fit only to delude themselves, to disquiet families, churches, and all relations whatsoever. Let us then consider our hearts wisely and diligently apply ourselves to the search of our own hearts!” -John Owen

No, I won’t be your best friend- Confessions of a pastor’s wife and the value of shrewdness

You’ve heard the question asked “What advice would you give the younger you if you could go back in time?” I’d probably give myself a lesson in shrewdness and discernment.

In Matthew 10, Jesus gives his 12 disciples instructions for service, telling them in vs. 16- “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”

So what does this actually mean? No one actually uses the word “shrewd”these days but it is used in Scripture many times. Let’s look at some definitions.

Strong’s concordance- intelligent, wise, prudent, mindful of one’s own interests, skill, keen, mental acquirement. Webster’s- having or showing sharp powers of judgement, astute, discerning, mental alertness, calculating, guarded, street wise.

If there is anything I’ve learned in almost 17 years of ministry it’s this- there are wolves within the church and they will set traps. Unlike the outside world where humans set traps to catch wolves, inside the church, the wolves are continually setting traps in an attempt to destroy or discredit the godly. Just look back at the Scripture at all of the times the religious leaders (wolves) tried to set a trap for Jesus. But He was shrewd. He knew their tricks. He was guarded.
“Then the Pharisees went and [a]plotted together how they might trap Him [b]in what He said. 16 And they *sent their disciples to Him, along with the (B)Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and [c]do not care what anyone thinks; for You [d]are not partial to anyone. 17 Tell us then, what do You think? Is it [e]permissible to pay a [f](C)poll-tax to (D)Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus perceived their [g]malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the (E)coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a [h]denarius. 20 And He *said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”21 They *said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He *said to them, “(F)Then pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 And hearing this, they were amazed; and (G)they left Him and went away.”

As a young pastor’s wife I went into the ministry thinking everyone in the church was my friend. I knew nothing of shrewdness. I knew nothing of having sharp powers of judgement. I knew nothing of being careful regarding my friendships or conversations. I knew nothing of traps that were being set. I knew nothing of attacks that were being plotted. Over the years and through much heartache, I have learned that being in the ministry requires a measure of shrewdness. I cannot entrust myself to everyone. I must be discerning in who I get close with and what I say.

“But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people.” John 2:24

If I could sit down with young pastor’s wives fresh out of seminary and give them advice, it would be this- Be guarded and use discernment when building friendships within the church. Be shrewd. Many tares will rise up against you along the way. Some of the horrible betrayals I experienced could have possibly been prevented had I learned the value of being shrewd early on. I wasn’t aware at just how many were plotting against me. At how many in our midst actually hated me. I was so young and naive. I was under the impression if you said you were saved then you must be saved. Unaware of how many lost believers were within the church. I assumed that if I loved you, you would love me back. Scripture teaches we will be hated. And it will come from those who call themselves Christians.

Being shrewd is the opposite of being gullible. Call it “streetwise” if you will. Always aware that Satan and those who are his are in the church and on the prowl. Looking to devour those who belong to Christ. Don’t get me wrong, persecution will come no matter how shrewd you are. Scripture tells us this.
“Indeed, all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,..” 2 Timothy 3:12

But as John Gill says in his commentary on Matthew 10- “The serpent is a very sharp sighted, cunning creature, and uses various arts and stratagems for its own preservation, and especially of its head; and is so far to be imitated by the followers of Christ, as to make use of all proper methods to preserve themselves from the insults and rage of men, and not expose themselves to unnecessary dangers: and, as much as in them lies, they should be careful to give no just occasion of offence, or irritate, and provoke them to use them ill, and to avoid all snares and traps that are laid for them; and, at the same time, maintain the innocence and harmlessness of the dove, being free from all wicked cunning and craftiness, without rancour, malice, and wrath; not meditating and seeking revenge, but meek and humble in their deportment, leading inoffensive lives, and proceeding in the course of their calling, though liable to many insults, and much oppression.”

I have had to learn to be more careful on social media, to be more careful in my conversations, and to be more careful in the friendships I choose to cultivate. A pastor of 40+ years mentioned to us that after years of allowing him and his wife to get close to others that they made the decision to no longer share meals with the members of the congregation. We have spoken to other pastors who have stated that due to the heartache and betrayal over the years they have been left with deep wounds and have set up boundaries regarding friendships with any church members. My husband and I have not reached that point but I can honestly see why they came to that conclusion. I don’t think we have to be best friends with everyone inside the church. Loving the brethren can play out in multiple ways-praying for them, being available to meet physical needs, exhorting, teaching, or rebuking. It doesn’t always involve a close friendship or being in one another’s homes regularly. Loving those in your church but at the same time using discernment is possible. It is a skill that I’m learning to utilize. Ask the Lord to help give you discernment so that you will not fall into the traps of the evil ones around you. And continually renew your mind in the Word so that you will gain wisdom. Wisdom in dealing with people and knowing how to respond and converse. Wisdom is choosing friends. Wisdom in how to avoid the traps of your foes. I’ll end this with some verses on shrewdness. May we grow in wisdom according to His Word!

“O simple ones, learn to be shrewd; O fools, gain understanding!” Proverbs 8:5

“The wisdom of the shrewd enlightens their way, but the folly of fools is deceit.” Proverbs 14:8

“A shrewd man keeps his knowledge to himself, but a foolish heart proclaims its folly.” Proverbs 12:23

“The simple have folly as an adornment, but the shrewd wear knowledge as a crown.” Proverbs 14:18

“A shrewd person sees danger and hides himself, but the naive keep right on going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 22:3

Filming at church for the tv ministry with my husband.

The Betrayal

Let me give you a bit of a back story. We came to Macon Road Baptist church in December of 2018.

This picture is from the Sunday we were presented to the church and my husband said “the best way you can show love to me is to love my wife.”

It was after we experienced much devastation and betrayal at our last church of 5 years. I was hesitant to jump right in. My guard was up. I had been so hurt by our last church. It took me a full year of being in the background before I agreed to teach a women’s Sunday school class. I was hesitant but I love to teach and I needed to serve and utilize my gift. So I began teaching and the Lord began to grow my class and bring in like-minded believers. Though we always had such a comrade in my class, I was unaware of what was brewing amongst the women in other classes.

It all happened May 11, 2022. I got a call at home from my husband who says “Babe, I need to tell you something.” I could tell whatever he was about to say was going to be difficult and he was preparing me for it. Then he proceeded to tell me how a man who was on staff confided in him that his wife had been speaking with other women about me. They had various issues with me including they didn’t like my clothing, they didn’t like my Facebook posts, they didn’t think I stayed long enough after service, and they didn’t think I ministered to certain people enough during their time of need. So basically, 6-7 women had been in on it and had spoken about me in a negative light with other women in the church. Where this occurred I’m still not sure, but it seems like it happened at church which is all the more hurtful. To think about women in your congregation gathering in the bathroom with the purpose of condemning their pastor’s wife is atrocious. And then the shocker. It had all started the previous year in December. It had been going on for 6 months. 6 months these women had to come to me and tell me and 6 months they chose not to. These weren’t just women whom I had no relationship with either. These are women who have had me in their homes, I ministered to while they were suffering disease, hung out with at family gatherings and football games, rode on their pontoon boats with, were close with my kids. These were friends. Women who I trusted. The absolute shock of finding out who it was has yet to subside. I immediately texted the one who I was the closest with and said ”Have you been speaking with other women about me in a negative light? and about my clothing?” and she responded with “No, they came to me” which turned out was a lie because we found out she had indeed gone to the other women. What began that day was the start of the most hurtful events that have ever happened to me as a pastor’s wife. Hearing that I had been betrayed and that women who I thought loved me had done this was completely devastating. Nothing can prepare you for this type of betrayal.

My husband began to call all of the women whose names were mentioned to him to get their side of the story and set up a face to face meeting. It was kind of a tricky situation being my husband but also my pastor and incorporating church discipline. The first step was to confront the offenders. It became clear after speaking with some of them that there were two ring leaders. My husband set up meetings with both along with their husbands. One seemed remorseful and expressed the desire to repent for her part and the other said she would meet with me but didn’t seem to acknowledge any wrong doing. I waited to see if anyone would repent. A month went by. A month of absolute brokenness. I woke up everyday in a state of perpetual sadness. Fighting back tears as I tried to be a mom and a wife. But I was spiraling. I felt like I had brought shame to my husband’s ministry and that was never my intention. I have struggled with depression most of my adult life and this had truly triggered the worst bout of depression I had ever had. Two solid months of it. I was an emotional wreck. I was unable to teach my class or even attend church. I spent my mornings in tears over my Bible and my nights in my husband’s arms weeping. I finally decided I would pursue some type of resolution one month in. I texted the two ring leaders and one other lady and asked for their repentance and then asked for a face to face meeting. Since my husband had met with them individually already and I was under the impression they were ready to repent, I agreed to meet with the three of them at one time up at our church. Little did I know what was about to come.

On Tuesday, June 14th of 2022, one month after it happened, I arranged a meeting with the three women who were willing to meet. I spent the day in prayer but with high hopes that the women would repent and we would resolve it peacefully. I prayed that I would be gracious and the Lord would grant them repentance. I arrived that night at the church and began the meeting by opening up in prayer. Then I began addressing the topic of modesty based on the Greek meaning of the word which is used once in 1 Timothy and means ”proper for.” This was explained and I went to the Scripture for context and also explained how I was under my husband’s authority and the men (elders) in the church. All of whom have given me approval as far as my clothing and said they have never once seen me in anything inappropriate. After I finished speaking on that and went into Matthew 18 and how they had a responsibility to come to me or my husband if they had any concerns or believed I was in sin, I let them speak. It quickly became evident that they did not come there to repent. One by one, they went around scolding me and expressing distaste for certain things I have worn or things I’ve not done right as a pastor’s wife. Even lying about certain outfits and lying about my husband’s meetings with them and who had started all of this. It was attack and deflect the whole time. Not a single woman admitted she was in sin. It was clear their goal was to attack me, condemn me, attempt to discredit me. At one point, the emotions of everything finally caught up to me and I began to weep telling them how hurt and betrayed I felt and depressed I had been. One of the women looked at me and said ”We don’t care. Hush with that.” The same woman at multiple times also raised her voice and stood up, finger in my face, and said ”I will get up and leave if you don’t shut up and let me talk.” I was trying to make it clear I was leading the meeting since Im the one who called them all to repentance but she wasn’t having it. Their rage was taking over and they looked at me with absolute disdain. They couldn’t care less about how hurt I was. They came as wolves and I was their prey. When I realized their attitudes were getting more hostile by the minute, I stood up and said ”I have to go.” I got in my car and tried to leave but was crying so hard that I had to pull my car over. It took me hours to get home. My husband left immediately to go sit with the deacons and fill them in.

From there, it is all kind of a blur to me. The next few days I actually had a mental breakdown. I laid in the bed all day and cried. It seemed hopeless. I had never felt so hated by anyone. I felt actual physical pain. I was unable to eat, sleep, or take care of my household. One of the women called and had her membership removed the next day. The other ring leader’s husband was fired from his position the next day and so they were leaving. The third lady called to set up a meeting with my husband and then canceled it and we haven’t seen them since. My husband even spoke with her husband and he agreed his wife was in sin and needed to repent. Apparently she wasn’t willing. A few weeks after the meeting, the biggest shock. A man whom my husband had grown very close with over the years had turned in his keys and was stepping down from his position over the men. Turns out one of the women had been going to everyone she could in attempt to take as many with her as she could. This man didn’t even call my husband to talk to him. Just listened to the woman and my husband had to hear from someone else that he had stepped down. This crushed my husband. He said there has never been a time where he has felt so hurt or betrayed in all of his years of pastoring. The other women have all either denied it and one said ”let’s just move on” or just left the church. Not one has come to me in repentance. 12 people total have left. The last text I sent to one of the ring leaders was me pleading with her to repent of this heinous sin and that what happened to me in that meeting was atrocious. I am willing to forgive if they would repent. She responded with “Please quit texting me.” Without repentance it’s difficult to have any resolution. They all attempted to justify their gossip by saying ”we were just concerned about you and struggled with how to approach you.” So instead, they went amongst themselves speaking about me. This is clear sin. When you decide to talk about another person with others instead of going to that person directly, you are disobeying God’s clearly prescribed directions in Matthew 18. The Spirit doesn’t lead people to sin. This was gossip, slander, and stirring up division amongst the brethren in the worst way, against their own pastor and his wife.

15 “Lord, who may reside (A)in Your tent?
Who may settle on Your (B)holy hill?
One who (C)walks with integrity, practices righteousness,
And (D)speaks truth in his heart.
He (E)does not slander [a]with his tongue,
Nor (F)do evil to his neighbor,
Nor (G)bring shame on his friend;
A despicable person is despised in his eyes,
But he (H)honors those who fear the Lord;” Psalm 15:1-4

The pain that comes from a friend who has brought shame upon you is incredibly painful. Realizing those who you felt like were your family in Christ and have chosen to dishonor you is devastating.

12 For it is (T)not an enemy who taunts me,
Then I could endure it;
Nor is it one who hates me who (U)has exalted himself against me,
Then I could hide myself from him.
13 But it is you, a man [h]my equal,
My (V)companion and my (W)confidant;
14 We who had sweet [i]fellowship together,
(X)Walked in the house of God among the commotion.” Psalm 55:12-14

Not only has the original sin had no repentance, the slander has carried on. The division is still happening. The lies are carrying on. Sin upon sin is being added to the first offense. I have had to work through so many thoughts in my own flesh so that bitterness does not spring up. Betrayal has many stages- Shock, anger, then sadness. You can’t make people repent, God must grant it. I don’t know what made these women turn on me but I fear it’s due to not knowing Christ. If they are born again getting so caught up in sin and refusing to repent is a dangerous place to be. Satan used them to inflict a great wound upon my husband and I and I pray there is grace for their hardened hearts. It was such a crushing blow that we considered leaving the ministry. When the ministry is chewing up your family and spitting them out something has to be done. All we did was love them faithfully with a singular goal- to teach Christ and Him crucified. I know that I did not sin against these women and my love for them was always genuine. I just thought I’d get the same in return. We decided we were making decisions from our flesh and that we could not abandon the church where the Lord placed us. We must be willing to suffer persecution.

I took a long sabbatical attempting to heal but the wounds will be forever and the damage is irreparable. I trusted those in that body to honor me, protect me, serve with me. Church was my safe place. That has been taken from me. Let this be a warning- Your words can do such great damage!

“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” James 3:5

None of these women ever used their words to edify me or build me up. Not one time did any of them approach me and say ”Lauran, we know you are a young pastor’s wife and have a huge responsibility as far as supporting your husband, teaching your Sunday school class, raising and homeschooling five children, so what can we do for you? How can we help you, serve you, pray for you?” Never was my name on their lips unless it was to condemn me. All I desired was support and prayers. I am under constant scrutiny. Demonstrate grace to me and devote yourself to prayer on our behalf. This was the absolute most hurtful, soul crushing thing that could happen to a pastor’s wife.

I have spent the last 2-3 weeks immersing myself in the Scripture and devoting myself to prayer. I was convinced the best thing to do was to begin praying for my attackers. That was a turning point for me. Letting go of my anger and trusting the Lord to deal with them and grant them repentance. Whether or not they change doesn’t matter because the Lord began to change and soften my heart through my prayers. I am still hurting. I am deeply wounded. The scars will last a lifetime. As will the scars from the previous church. Being in the ministry is the hardest job in the world. But my faith has increased. My husband and I have learned to be fully dependent upon Christ. We are seeking out godly counselors and mentors to help us and are taking some time away from the ministry during the month of August. It will be a long road of recovery ahead. I will end it with this brief exhortation-

1)Pray for those whom the Lord has placed over you in the ministry.

2) Demonstrate grace to others around you..sanctification is a process.

3) Go to a person directly if you have been hurt, have concerns, or believe them to be in sin.

4) Guard the words of your mouth. The damage cannot be undone.

5) Avoid any conversations that could lead to or cause division among the brethren.

6) Judge with righteous judgement. Don’t place your convictions regarding dress on another woman. (See my blog posts in here for my detailed blog on the topic of modesty as it pertains to Scripture)

7) Honor those who fear the Lord.

-To anyone who has messaged me to encourage me, recommend counselors, prayed for me, sent cards or gifts, you’ll never know how much that meant to me. Thank you.

In Christ, Lauran

The New covenant vs. The Old covenant

“The old covenant is the working arrangement that God had with Israel. He had chosen them for a special relationship that He did not have with any other group of people. He took a few Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) and grew their descendants into a great nation, gave them land, and His law to live by. (Exodus 20) He established a sacrificial system that would allow a temporary cleansing for sin, those sacrifices having to be repeated over and over again.”

Let’s go through 4 attributes of what made up the Old Covenant.

  1. They had temporary removal of sin. We’ve pretty much all read about the animal sacrifices and what they had to go through for removal of sin. Animals such as dove, goats, sheep and bulls were used. As a goat farmer myself, this is hard to swallow. Taking a life would be hard enough and especially one that is not an aggressive animal and has no defense mechanisms. And this sacrifice only promised a temporary cleansing. It had to be repeated. About one sixth of the laws under the Mosaic systempertained to sacrifices and offerings. And sometimes, very large numbers of animals were sacrificed. For the dedication of King Solomon’s temple, about 960 BC, the celebrants sacrificed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep over a two-week period. There were so many offerings that Solomon had to set up additional altars in the temple courtyard (1 Kings 8:63–65) The most specific sacrifice was once a year and referred to as “The day of atonement.” So you get the picture of how sin was dealt with under OT law. “Then he shall remove (A)all its fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offerings, and the priest shall offer [a]it up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the Lord. So (B)the priest shall make atonement for him regarding his sin which he has [b]committed, and he will be forgiven.” Leviticus 4:35
  2. Another major attribute of the OT system was that they did not have the ability to come directly into the presence of God.

“The Lord said to Moses:

“Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter (A)at [a]any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the [b]atoning cover which is on the ark, or he will die; for (B)I will appear in the cloud over the [c]atoning cover.” Leviticus 16:2

As for the Holy of Holies, the high priest could enter only once a year on the Day of Atonement, and only by offering a sacrifice. And he went in with a cord tied around his ankle in case he died there.

Notice how in the tabernacle, there are both barriers, separating the people from His holy presence, and a way made by grace to enter His presence. (The tabernacle points ahead to a greater tabernacle.)

3. The people did not have the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 31-35

31 (BW)Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a (BX)new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,32 not like the (BY)covenant which I made with their fathers on the day I (BZ)took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My (CA)covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “For (CB)this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord: “(CC)I will put My law within them and write it on their heart; and (CD)I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will (CE)not teach again, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all (CF)know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will (CG)forgive their wrongdoing, and their (CH)sin I will no longer remember.”

I’ve heard it said that the Holy Spirit worked from “without” guiding and directing people within the Old Testament, but now works from “within”without departure during the new. We are given a promise He will never leave us like He did King Saul in the OT. God will cause His Spirit to indwell us forever and write His law on our hearts. (Note that the OT believers were saved the same as us, by grace through faith.)

4. There were conditions to be met by man to be in a covenant with God.

“Abraham’s responsibility: “Walk before me and be blameless. . . . This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised . . . . It will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.” – Gen. 17:1, 10-11

The OT sign of the covenant was circumcision. This was God’s pledge to cleanse their sins and to fulfill all his promises to them.

Now, let’s contrast the 4 attributes listed with the New Testament.

  1. In the NT covenant, we have permanent removal of sin.
    26 For it was fitting for us to have such a (A)high priest, (B)holy, (C)innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and (D)exalted above the heavens;27 who has no daily need, like those high priests, to (E)offer up sacrifices, (F)first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because He did this (G)once for all time when He (H)offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests (I)who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints (J)a Son, who has been (K)made perfect forever.” Hebrews 7:26-28

“But when Christ appeared as a (A)high priest of the (B)good things [a]having come, He enteredthrough (C)the greater and more perfect [b]tabernacle, (D)not made by hands, that is, (E)not of this creation; 12 and not through (F)the blood of goats and calves, but (G)through His own blood, He (H)entered the holy place (I)once for all time[c]having obtained (J)eternal redemption. 13 For if (K)the blood of goats and bulls, and (L)the [d]ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the [e]cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will (M)the blood of Christ, who through [f](N)the eternal Spirit (O)offered Himself without blemish to God, (P)cleanse your conscience from (Q)dead works to serve (R)the living God?” We no longer have to sacrifice animals for the temporary remission of sin because Christ is our spotless lamb and high priest once and for all!

2) We now have the ability to come directly to God the Father through Christ.

16 Therefore let’s (A)approach the throne of grace with (B)confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need.” Hebrews 4:16

God’s way into His presence was through the tabernacle which pictures Jesus Christ. Through Christ we now have access and He hears our prayers!

“And behold, (B)the [a]veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and (C)the earth shook and the rocks were split.” Matthew 27:51

Jesus is our high priest! “for through Him we both have (A)our access in (B)one Spirit to (C)the Father.” Ephesians 2:18

3. We now have the permanent indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [a](A)Helper, so that He may be with you forever; 17 the Helper is (B)the Spirit of truth, (C)whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you.” John 14:6-7

God’s glory through the cloud, now fulfilled in the Holy Spirit, showed His approval of the tabernacle. We are now that tabernacle!

The gift of the Spirit is a seal and a down payment on our heavenly inheritance, which Christ promised and secured for us at the cross. The Spirit has sealed us and no one can break that seal.
“who also (A)sealed us and (B)gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a [a]pledge.” 2 Corinthians 1:22
He confirms through His Spirit that we belong to Him.

“The Spirit Himself (A)testifies with our spirit that we are (B)children of God, 17 and if children, (C)heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, (D)if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:16-17

4. No conditions to be met by man. (It is also not transgressable.)

You might say well, there are conditions such as repentance and faith. True. Except this time, what God requires, He gives. Repentance and faith are gifts of God.

On repentance- “with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, (B)if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to (C)the knowledge of the truth,” 2 Timothy 2:25

On belief- “And when he wanted to go across to (A)Achaia, (B)the brothers encouraged him and wrote to (C)the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly [a]helped those who had believed through grace,” Acts 18:27

“Jesus answered and said to them, “This is (A)the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He (B)has sent.” John 6:29

God circumcises our heart of stone and writes His law on our hearts. This is done in a monergistic form without cooperation of the unregenerate sinner. This does not require baptism or any effort from the flesh on the part of man. “The three elements that make up the substance of the new covenant are works supremely operated by God and are presented in the indicative mood, not the conditional. None of these promises depends on a condition that had first to be met by man. The unconditional nature of this covenant makes it a radically new covenant.” Here’s what Thomas Patient said on it- “For as I have shown before, it is impossible that the new covenant can be broken because it is an absolute covenant made on no condition to be filled by the creature.” If the blessings of the New Covenant were guaranteed by Christ (Hebrews 7:22), how could one conceive, as do the Presbyterians, that the New Covenant was just as transgressable as the Old? The truth is that all members of the New Covenant WILL participate in the substance. Which consists of these three elements- 1) The law written on the heart (regeneration) 2) The personal and saving knowledge of God 3) The forgiveness of sins (which constitute the basis of the other two blessings and of the whole New Covenant)

“How when facing such affirmations, could one insert a dichotomy in the New Covenant by declaring that only a part of its new members would inherit its substance while another part would content itself with external blessings that are not mentioned anywhere in Scripture?” This is why the new covenant doesn’t allow for the paedo baptist view. But that is an argument for another day. I felt we should briefly address that view so we have a proper understanding of the new covenant and its unconditional nature.

In closing, I hope that you see after this blog that the New Covenant far exceeds the Old! We have so much to be thankful for.

“But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6

May we seek to glorify Christ for His grace and all that He has done! And I pray you are edified from having a better understanding of the covenants.

In Christ, Lauran

God’s selective grace and particular love

Does God love everyone? Does God show grace to all men?

Have you ever really pondered the idea about how you chose your spouse? There were many fish in the sea, many with admirable traits. But out of all the other human beings in the world, you decided to marry and spend forever with that certain individual. And only because you thought they were worthy of your love and possessed something you wanted. Now think about God and His choosing you for salvation. It is quite remarkable. God choosing to set His love on an individual. There was no good in you. No worthiness. No holiness or something that set you apart from the others. You were just as lost and miserable as the rest.

The word “foreknow” as used in Romans 8:29 is used as a verb and “speaks of a predetermined choice to set His love on an individual and establish an intimate relationship.” (John MacArthur)

A friend recently told me ”God’s selective grace is beautiful.” And you know what is so crazy about that? The majority don’t see it that way. Usually when this topic is brought up, the glorious beauty of it is not spoken of but you hear things like “You mean God doesn’t choose everyone?!” Instead of marveling on the fact God chose to save any men. We are all deserving of hell and the wrath of God. Many view this truth as offensive, cruel, and unfair. Augustine says this- “Since man of himself can do nothing good, all power to do good must be the free gift of God, that is “grace.” Out of the mass of the fallen race God chooses some to receive this grace.” I recently memorized Ephesians 1. It amazed me to see how many times the kindness of God is talked about related to the doctrine of election.

“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,..” Ephesians 1:5

“Thinking on the topic of God’s love, with the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of the Lord Jesus telling sinners that God loved them. In the book of Acts, which records the evangelistic labors and messages of the apostles, God’s love is never referred to at all! The first thing to note in connection with John 3:16 is that our Lord was there speaking to Nicodemus- a man who believed that God’s mercies were confined to his own nation. “God so loved the world” signifies God’s love is international in scope. In other words, this was Christ’s announcement that God had a purpose of grace toward Gentiles, as well as Jews. This does not mean that God loves every single individual.” -A.W.Pink

Let me ask you a question. If it’s true that God loves every member of the human family then why did our Lord tell his disciples in John 14:21- “The one who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and (B)the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will (C)reveal Myself to him.”

Or how about Proverbs 8:17? ”I love those who love me, and those who seek me early shall find me.”

And we know that love is described as “keeping no record of wrongs”in 1 Corinthians 13:5 yet those who are thrown in hell are put there because their wrongs/sins have been held against them. They have not had the slate wiped clean and their wrongs pardoned by Christ. He has kept record of their wrongs.

Bottom line- God shows love and mercy to whom He chooses. (Romans 9:16) While there may be a general love for His creation, it is not the same as His particular, saving love for the elect. So many wrongly judge God instead of praising Him for this glorious truth! He could rightfully have chosen to send all mankind to hell since we have all fallen short of the glory of God and deserve His wrath (Romans 3:23)

If you have fallen into this category of misjudging God for His right to show grace and love to certain individuals, two things are in order.

  1. Repent. Repent for judging God’s lovingkindness as harsh or unfair. There is only one reason we take this view and that is pride. Pride won’t let us acknowledge that God has every right to choose some and not all. “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
  2. Ask the Lord for wisdom regarding this truth. Ask Him to open your eyes. Go to the Scripture and see if this is not truth. God chose Israel. God chose His prophets. God chose His disciples. And God chose whom He would save before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) It is His prerogative to do so. He is sovereign over all souls.
  1. Here are some passages to help your studies- “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’sown possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” 1 Peter 2:9 “just as (A)He chose us in Him before (B)the foundation of the world, that we would be (C)holy and blameless before [a]Him. (D)In love5 [b]He (E)predestined us to (F)adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, (G)according to the good pleasure of His will,” Ephesians 1:4-5 But we should always give thanks to God for you, (B)brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because (C)God has chosen you [a]from the beginning (D)for salvation [b](E)through sanctification [c]by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13
    Let us gather together in thanksgiving to the Lord and openly praise Him for His sovereign grace, His choosing of us, His particular love, our redemption, and that He will keep us until the end.

Women stop forcing your husbands to have vasectomies

Did the title get your attention? This may be a touchy subject but I’m willing to broach it. I have talked to way too many women who have either forced their husbands to get a vasectomy or have made them feel guilty for not getting one. I want to briefly discuss this in the following blog.

So, the argument goes like this ”Babe, you should get a vasectomy since we are done having kids and it is easier for the man to get snipped than for the woman to have her tubes tied.” The husband then explains how he doesn’t want anyone snipping on his manhood. The wife grows angry that he won’t comply and tells him he is being selfish and the husband sheepishly complies and makes the appointment. There are many things wrong with this scenario.

First, children are a blessing from the Lord.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3

What is your motivation for cutting off these blessings? Have you prayed through this? As Voddie Baucham puts it, ”We don’t tell God to stop blessing us in our finances, or our friends, or businesses so why are we so quick to try to shut off His blessings in the area of children?” This is something that should be prayed through and the decision made together as husband and wife.

Secondly, there are risks with a vasectomy. Studies show men in their older age are more likely to have prostate problems if they have had a vasectomy. No such risk applies for women who have had their tubes tied. I’ve even read studies of men having more mental issues down the road after going through a vasectomy. “The evidence suggests that the process may also be associated with by psychological complications, including depression, irritability and somatic symptoms15.” These side effects should be considered. And to be honest, men just don’t want their manhood being cut on. And I can’t blame them one bit. See this article for more info regarding the risks- https://www.pop.org/problems-side-effects-men-vasectomy/

Third, who is really leading the family if your husband gets ”forced” into having one? The Scripture is clear on man being the head of a woman.

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3

Are you really going to assume it’s honoring to the Lord to guilt trip your husband into something he doesn’t want to do? Certainly this is one of the most important decisions you will make as a couple and your husband should lead the way, not you. I assure you, if your husband goes to get a vasectomy because you ”made him” then the surgery is not what affected his ”manhood” but is indicative of his inability to lead by letting you make the decisions. I think it is harder to respect a man who won’t put his foot down when we try to lead with our emotions and make the decisions. My husband straight out of the gate told me ”I won’t get one and you won’t make me get one.” I respect him for that. It would be sinful of me to try to manipulate him or force him in any way after he made it clear how he feels about the procedure.

I hope that you will consider these points I’ve made regarding making the choice about child bearing and vasectomies. Pray through this. Don’t do something you will regret by closing the door on the blessing of more children. Let your husband lead the way as far as making the decisions in this area. May Christ be glorified through your submission!

22 (AV)Wives, (AW)subject yourselves to your own husbands, (AX)as to the Lord. 23 For (AY)the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the (AZ)head of the church, He Himself (BA)being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24

Defy the culture and bring glory to God..one biscuit at a time.

How a woman’s role is important in the most simple of tasks.

These may just look like an ordinary pan of biscuits. However, these are 15 years of practicing to make the perfect buttermilk biscuit for my family. I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t this a theology page? What does this have to do with the Scripture? I’m getting there.

I have this innate joy that God has given me from being in my kitchen. Making food for those I love is most joyous and fulfilling. While everyone is constantly saying the world is better served by women who go out and pursue degrees as doctors, VP’s, and professors, the Scripture teaches us that there is no better place for them than in the home. This design is clearly laid out over and over again in the Bible- that the woman was created for the man, that her husband is her head, that she has responsibility for raising up her children, and that her place is in the home. Beginning in Genesis, discussed in Proverbs and on into the New Testament, we see the glorious plan God has for women. Not one of drudgery, but of joy. Your husband has a leadership role to play in society and in the church and us women have a supportive role. This role is ever so important to the family unit. There is nothing that gives glory to God quite like a woman who manages her home well. She is not idle, she cares for the members of her household, she always looks to the needs of her husband and does so without complaining. Oh how I pray to be this type of woman!

The consequences of not taking care of your home are also given. The Word tells us in Titus 2:5- “to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” The Word of God is dishonored when we claim we believe it, but don’t live it out. God and His Word are glorified when we obey and are faithful to our roles as women. How can we claim to believe Titus 2:11 (For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,) but then neglect Titus 2:5? We must strive to obey ALL of what is written. That starts by embracing our roles as caretakers of the home. A woman in her home is beautiful. A woman who is subject to her husband without complaint is honorable. The world exalts women who pursue their careers and education at the cost of their families. But what does God say? “For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

Don’t look at your role as just making biscuits. You are bringing glory to Christ every time you demonstrate to the world that you prioritize your family and your role as ”caretaker of the home.” So reject what the modern culture says regarding a woman’s place, embrace your role, and make those biscuits to the glory of God!

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 27:25

Me and my crew!

Here is one of my favorite easy recipes- https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/southern-buttermilk-biscuits/

Christianity and the narrow, lonely path

I have been in the ministry now for close to 17 years. I started out teaching youth around the age of 20-21. The Lord saved me around that time after a devastating car accident left me in bed and out of work for over a month. I was stuck at home reading the Scripture when I was born again. The Lord had sovereignly ordained that wreck. I had the testimony of many of you who had walked the aisle, prayed a prayer, got baptized, and then went on to live a godless life without bearing any fruit. Thankfully, God began to draw me at age 20, revealing to me that I was not truly born again. Something miraculous happened after that. He gave me a new heart with new desires. (Ezekiel 36:26) I immediately had the desire to read, understand, teach, and follow the Scripture. The Lord began teaching me truth and I began to speak out whenever I could. I began seminary to get a degree in Christian education. It was there I met my husband, Kevin, who was also pursuing a degree and was called to ministry. We were quickly married and began our lives together in the ministry. Here is a pic from our early years- (As of today, he is still in seminary getting his DMIN)

I want to share with you my struggles as the Lord has sanctified me in the hopes of encouraging you who may be suffering or experiencing the same difficulties.

“who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

I am an introvert by nature, but I have no problem carrying on a conversation with strangers, especially if it is related to theology. But I prefer just to be in my room alone with a good book in hand. Socializing is very draining to me. But I have been given a love for the brethren and sometimes that requires dying to myself and fellowshipping in public events on a regular basis. Being a pastor’s wife, you don’t exactly have the option of being a loner. I have been a part of 4 different baptist churches with my husband over a period of 15 years. The path along the way has been filled with difficulties, betrayal, heartache and hatred from those around you. To be perfectly honest, the friendships along the way have been rare and at most points, nonexistent. Many church members who started off acting like my friend have come against me, betrayed my trust, slandered me, spread lies about me, publicly attacked me on social media, and spread horrible rumors about me to other church members. I have shed many tears over the hurt caused by those who betrayed me and over the fact that the narrow road is often filled with heartache and sadness. This verse often brings me comfort-

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3

Jesus had a hard life when he walked on this earth. Despised and rejected by men, kicked out of towns, betrayed by his intimate followers, laughed at by the religious, many attempts to stone or kill him, and ultimately being crucified on the cross in an agonizing death. The apostle Paul describes his life in much the same way.

“because a great door for effective work has opened to me, even though many oppose me.” 1 Corinthians 16:9

“At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me.” 2 Timothy 4:16

We see Paul often beaten, deserted, and alone. The life of a follower of Christ is often described in this way. You are very often lonely and misunderstood. True friends who are like the Scripture says “iron sharpening iron” will be rare. We must continue to fix our eyes upon Christ and know He will give us the strength to persevere even when all those around us have turned away. He uses these times to draw us to Himself and show us His grace is sufficient.

I am thankful the Lord has provided me with a great support system in my husband. He is a source of strength and encouragement in these times, giving me Scripture and pep talk to spur me on. But even he is not able to supply me with the strength to persevere. This can only come from the Spirit. I consider it an honor to suffer for Christ on a regular basis. Most of the time, it’s those within the church and those you consider friends that are the one’s who will attack. King David experienced this kind of betrayal-

12For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;Then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, And  walked to the house of God in the throng.” Psalm 55:12-14

I’ve been attacked for my theology, my firm stance on Scripture, speaking on the doctrine of election, my views on women in the home, and as of recent, my manner of dress. Apparently there is a certain code of dress for pastor’s wives that I failed to meet. Back in October of 2021, at least 4 women, 2 of whom I had become close with and were also pastor’s wives decided to publicly shame me over my manner of dress. Multiple women had found issue with my very modest, fully covering swimsuit or the length of my shorts. None took the care to go to me privately and rebuke me, but instead, attempted to discredit me and assault my character online. These who attack will attempt to find anything to try to shame, mock, or discredit you. My facebook posts have been used against me more times than I can name. Let me point out, that never have these attacks been due to any type of open sin in my life. And if there was sin that needed to be confronted, it should be done privately, out of love, by a brother or sister in Christ. These times where I have had public reproach brought to my name have been a clear contradiction to how Scripture says we should treat our brethren.

A Psalm of David.

“Lord, who may reside in Your tent?
Who may settle on Your holy hill?
One who walks with integrity, practices righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
He does not slander [a]with his tongue,
Nor do evil to his neighbor,
Nor bring shame on his friend;
A despicable person is despised in his eyes,
But he honors those who fear the Lord;
He takes an oath to his own detriment, and does not change;
He does not [b]lend his money [c]at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
One who does these things will never be shaken.

As you can see, according to Psalm 15, bringing reproach or shame to a friend or another Christian, has no place in the life of a believer. As I mentioned earlier, if a believer is caught in sin, we have clear instructions given to us in Matthew 18.

15 m“If your brother sins against you, ngo and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established pby the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, qtell it to the church . And if he refuses to listen even to the church, rlet him be to you as sa Gentile and sa tax collector.

Notice none of this involves public shaming on social media. We are to honor those who fear the Lord, taking very seriously the role of protecting their character and reputation. I am very careful about condemning God’s elect and respecting their position in ministry. We would do well to protect those in Christ, not attempt to discredit them. I will briefly tell you of a time at our last church. I began noticing a few women acting differently towards me. Finally after a few months, I was able to have a conversation with one of the women. She confessed that the youth minister and his wife, whom we gad been close friends with, had been ”poisoning her mind” with lies about me for months. When confronted at the church, they both denied it though we had witnesses and neither have repented to this day. The scars from that one went deep and it was so hard to transition to another church after that kind of hurt and betrayal. I tell you these stories because Scripture says ”the godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Though its hard, its an honor to suffer as our Lord did.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14

I pray that in seeing these passages about our Lord and how his apostles and those who belong to Him struggled will give you great comfort. Renew your mind in the Scripture daily. You may be experiencing these types of attacks at this very moment. I also pray this will convict you about being a loyal friend to your brethren. Pray for them, love them, protect them. We must continue to fix our eyes on Christ and recognize that the road of His followers is lonely and filled with hurt. But the joy of knowing Christ surpasses any worldly troubles you may have! We have one sure comfort, Christ who is always faithful, never changing, will never fail us or abandon us. Glory to God for that!

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by pvarious trials, 7 so that qthe tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes rthough it is tested by sfire—may be found to result in tpraise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

Much love in Christ, Lauran


Your favorite blonde theologian is now a brunette😁( attached a pic).Stay tuned this week for my blog on friendships and the lonely path and next week will be on reprobation-Is God active or passive? Merry Christmas to my brethren in here!

In Christ, Lauran

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21