New Series Announcement: Truth in Love

Truth in Love New Series

 

I have been blogging now for nearly 6 years. This series is born out of what I’m experiencing within my blogging community.  During these years of blogging, I have watched as Evangelical bloggers have splintered over their liberal and conservative views.  I have also watched as some have been quite brave and bold in their stance – to the point of being mean.  This has made the blogging world less friendly than you might know.  You might see pictures from our conferences where we are hugging and smiling and sharing platforms – uniting around the gospel – but there is a dark underbelly to this blogging world that no one talks about.

Silencers.

There are “thought” leaders with strong personalities who have told the conservatives to essentially sit down and be quiet.  Times have changed. Our old traditional views are no longer culturally relevant and it’s time the church woke up and saw this.

Now if the conservatives were talking about gray areas like length of skirt or dancing…I’d agree. But we are talking about doctrinal issues here.

I have seen many conservatives use scripture to defend themselves and often the — “they will know we are Christians by our love” trump card is played and the blogger is silenced.

Some call silence — giving grace.

Grace is a virtue.

Therefore, silence has become a virtue.

Now don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that the conservatives have handled issues correctly – NO ONE is sinless here.  And I have experienced some very very kind and gracious – left leaning Evangelicals who I love dearly.   But what I have seen is a desire for unity (which is a scripturally commanded) placed above speaking truth to those who teach false doctrine (also a scriptural command).

This is very tricky friends.

I like to write about marriage and parenting…it’s awfully risky to write on cultural topics BUT these cultural issues –affect our marriages and our parenting.

And I feel caught in the middle most days watching the twitter wars fly through my feed.  I have a million thoughts but am so fearful to offend…to lose friends…to be seen as “intolerant”…and I look around and many in my circle are silent.  They don’t want to offend either (or they do not feel called to address these issues – which I understand). We want to be “seen” as grace-filled Christ followers. And I feel like the ONLY way for me to be this, is to be silent.

But I remember a time when I was brave and bold.  In high school, I devoured Josh McDowell and Ravi Zacharias books that were written on how to defend the faith.  I was fearless sharing the gospel.  So much so, that I ended up at the Moody Bible Institute enrolled in the Evangelism and Discipleship program.

The courses I was required to take with this major were awesome.  I LOVED it!  Besides studying the great Evangelists from history and the myriad of methods for Evangelism and Discipleship – I also took classes like Church History, Apologetics (how to defend our faith), Philosophy, Theology I, II, & III, Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, World Religions, Hermeneutics (Bible Study Methods), Elements of Bible Study (which emphasized the inductive Bible study method, basic principles of biblical interpretation, distinguishing between figurative and literal language, outlining passages and making applications from biblical principles) and a very cool class titled – Bible Introduction (which included the study of the Canon of Scripture, the transmission of the biblical text from the original writings to the many modern versions and an examination of the major critical questions concerning the Bible for defending the faith). I also took a year of Greek as my language class and many more Bible and message preparation classes.

I LOVE scripture –and I know if you follow my blog – you do too!

So I’m going back to my roots friends –I see in our culture that the church is under attack from all sides and yes, even from within.

It’s time I take the most grace-filled stand for truth I can.

Despite the culture today that says truth is subjective, I believe that the Bible is authoritative and we do have absolute truth.  And sharing this life-giving truth is not intolerant.

I come to the keyboard longing to lovingly hold out the word of truth in a dark world.

I Corinthians 13:1 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Let’s not be gongs and cymbals as we speak truth to our neighbors.

In the midst of disunity and divisions amongst the body of Christ – we have Ephesians 4 which gives the solution to this problem:

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 

 

I am not an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher…I’m a blogger…for whatever that is worth. Lol!  But this passage in Ephesians tells me that the way we move on to unity and not being infants blown here and there by every wind of teaching is through speaking the truth in love.

Truth unites!

Oh this is not going to be easy friends – but I hope you will journey this 8 week path on Mondays with me.

Chime In:

I’d love your feedback – What truths do you think our culture (outside and inside the church) have rejected and what topics would you like to see me address?

And can I ask…am I in a blogging/twitter wars bubble thinking this is more of a problem than it really is?

Are you all experiencing any of these struggles?  Because if this is not relevant – I’ll keep it to myself and work through it privately and cut this series short. But if working through these issues together can be of help – I’d love to discuss these things here together..

I’ll see you here this Monday as we start week 1!  Pray for me!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

The other posts in this series:
Speaking the Truth In Love
The Authority of Scripture and 5 Ways to Defend Truth
The Ultimate Cultural Sin –Intolerance
How to Respond to the Labels – Intolerant, Judgmental, and Hater
What is Sound Doctrine?
Should Christians Simply Unite Around the Gospel?
Can a Woman Be an Elder or Pastor?
Should a Wife Submit To Her Husband?
Can Good Works Save You?
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Connecting to Your Sisters in Christ

Alex baby at Christmas

I remember the first day we brought our first baby boy home –it was over ten years ago.

To enter our house there were 4 steps to go up and as I stepped up onto the first step I fell completely flat on my face – my leg gave out. Luckily, my husband was carrying the baby. But I said to him – “something is wrong with my leg, it is numb and I can’t bear my weight on it”. It had been numb in the hospital for 2 days (I thought the epidural was still wearing off) but I didn’t realize how weak it was.

In days to come, I would learn through a visit with the neurologist that I had injured my leg during my delivery and that the nerves in my leg had lost connection with my brain. The synapses in the nerve that told my brain to tell my muscles to work had lost connection and now my body wasn’t functioning quite right.  If you’ve had health problems, you know how frustrating it is when a part of your body isn’t doing what it should -when a part of your body shuts down or clogs up or deteriorates.

In Romans 12:5 it says,

In Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

In Christ we are one body.

You belong to me and I belong to you – each member belongs to all the others…

You belong – God’s word says it.

We are connected to one another because “we who are many are one body“.

Do you feel connected to the body of Christ –  the church?

Or do you feel like my leg?  When you are around Christians — there’s a disconnect.

Fall is here and it’s a great time to get involved in Women’s Bible Studies and fall groups that take place within your church body.  I want to encourage you to look for ways to connect and be brave – get involved.

If there is nothing like this happening in your church – I want to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and lead!  Start a group for moms, singles, new wives, divorced women, homeschool moms, preschool moms, empty nesters or widows!  Take the initiative.

Not sure what to do with this group you would form?  Here’s one idea.  You could become an accountability group.  A group of women who email each other every week day to keep each other accountable in your quiet times.  Or you could meet weekly to discuss an on-line Bible study you are all doing together.

Every month I write twice over at GoodMorningGirls.org.  There we gather women together into groups called Good Morning Girls groups.  Some of these groups never meet in real life. They simply email or create a facebook group and every morning check in on each other and encourage each other. Other groups meet weekly in homes or in churches.

This fall we are offering a FREE 8 Week Bible Study through Luke 17-24.  We provide FREE daily Bible reading plans, free study guides, videos and devotionals.  Our materials are translated into over 10 different languages and we have children’s resources for moms who want to use the study with their children.

Enrollment has already begun this past Monday and in two short days already over 5,000 women have enrolled!!!  So I encourage you to come check all the excitement out!

 fall 2013

Rick Warren’s says in The Purpose Driven Life-

“What are you doing personally to make your church family more warm and loving? There are many people in your community who are looking for love and a place to belong. The truth is, everyone needs and wants to be loved, and when people find a church where members genuinely love and care for each other you would have to lock the doors to keep them away.”

Let’s use this new season of fall to greet our sister’s in Christ with a warm smile or hug.  Let’s reach out to visitors to make them feel more comfortable and like they belong.  Let’s pray for our sister’s in Christ and send them letters of encouragement. Let’s forgive those who have offended us.  Let’s extend grace, mercy and kindness in all circumstances.  And finally, let’s develop deep friendships with accountability and a place for women to belong.

Walk with the King,

 

**Chime In: Do you have a group of women you do life with?  What type of group is it?   –A Bible study group, Mops group, Good Morning Girls group, or something else?  Tell us about your group and what you all do together and how you have seen God work through your connection with your sisters in Christ.

Disagreements & Maturity in Marriage


The first disagreement of our marriage came right after we made our vows…literally.  My husband and I had just lit our unity candle and all eyes were on us as the music played.  We could see our bridesmaids and groomsmen giggling…and we looked to see what was so funny – and there was our unity candle – snuffed out.

Right before the Unity Candle went out!

We have on video, me whispering – “should we relight it“?  Then my husband saying “no“…then me looking at him very longlingly as to be saying “pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease, can we relight it?” and his facial expression saying “sorry but nope!” lol!  I followed his lead, which was to stand there holding hands and gazing into each others eyes smiling, while inside I wanted to go light that candle!

On our honeymoon in Hawaii, we would faced our 2nd disagreement over what television show to watch!  I can’t remember what show he wanted but I wanted to watch Miss. America lol!!!  I always watched it with my sisters growing up, so this seemed normal to invite him to watch it with me!  He on the other hand, was quite appalled that I even cared – and went to sleep!  That hurt my feelings!

On our honeymoon in Hawaii

Looking back at the honeymoon scenario, I can see a lot of immaturity on my part.  I dug my heels in over watching a  silly show like Miss. America!  I’d NEVER even invite him to watch a show like that (with girls in their swimsuits!) nowadays.  My how times have changed!

I’d like to believe that I’ve matured…but it wasn’t long ago we had a heated moment over him not eating the eggs, toast and oranges I had made him for breakfast because he was late for an appointment!  I was not a happy camper!  And he ended up eating them lol! But then he was mad that I was mad…and well you know how it goes – all down hill from there!!!!

How MATURITY could have helped in these situations:

1.  Unexpected things will come into your marriage that you have to deal with.  No one could have predicted our unity candle would go out.  When these unexpected scenarios arise, lovingly listen and respect your husband’s wisdom.  It will save you a  lot of heartache.  I’m glad I didn’t bother trying to change his mind – he saved me from embarrassment!

2.  Sometimes fights are our a result of our selfish expectations. I expected my husband to act like my sisters rather than like a guy!  Maturity has helped me to realize I married a MAN and men are well…men! 

3.  Sometimes we fight because we don’t get what we want.  James 4:1 says that fights often start because we want something and don’t get it!  Like the breakfast scenario.  I wanted my husband to eat and appreciate my food.  At first glance, that doesn’t seem so awful of me.   But due to my criticism - I got what I wanted – he ate it…and then he was LATE… 12 minutes late…to his grandmother’s funeral – oh ya!!!  Don’t details change everything in a story!

4.  That last detail in number 3 is so important.  Often times we can think we are so right…but we all have blindspots…

Disagreements are inevitable in marriage.  The key to overcoming the inevitable and maintaining emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy is to be mature enough to recognize the areas where we were at fault and apologize. 

Maturity means we learn from past mistakes and do it differently this time.  Have you lost your cool and rambled on in anger and said things you regret to your husband?  Move on to maturity. 

Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many , sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” 

Boy do I wish I could master this one little verse because I know it works wonders in my marriage when I hold my tongue!

I think of parenting and how I say to the kids – “whoever is more mature will be the first to apologize“.  Isn’t that how God sees us, his children.  It’s the more mature one who has the strength to apologize.

As the holidays are upon us, disagreements are bound to arise…this is a very stressful time of year.  I want to encourage you to diffuse disagreements by being mature…hold your tongue, pray over your words, look to the interest of your husband, remember that you are extension of God’s hand to your husband when you bless him. 

 Walk with the King!
Courtney

They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love

(This is a repost from the archives)
I came across this Christmas poem about I Corinthians 13 – the Love Passage. For me, the week of Christmas can be the busiest week of my entire year. And though I am trying to make it special and meaningful for the family, I often feel like a failure when my patience is short or things don’t go as I envisioned. This poem reminds me of what really matters and what really lasts…Love.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime: but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity; but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angelsand crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love does not envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return; but rejoices in giving to those who cannot.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust; but giving the gift of love will endure.
Sharon Jaynes, Celebrating a Christ Centered Christmas

Take some time to meditate on I Corinthians 13 today. If we all would simply apply this passage of scripture – our homes would be a happier place and we would shine like bright stars in a dark world. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35


Walk with the King!

I Am the Donkey

I am taking a break this week from our Proverbs 31 series to focus on the message of Easter. Next week I will return to this series.

Word Filled Wednesday:
I Corinthians 3:5-7 “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So, neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow.”

As I reflected this past Sunday on John 12:13, Palm Sunday and those who cheered “Hosanna! Hosanna!” as Jesus rode upon a donkey – I remembered something I once heard Elizabeth Elliot say. She said “as the people cheered for Jesus, the donkey did not pause and accept the praise as his own. It was the rider who was being praised – NOT the donkey.”
In the same way, as I carry Jesus to the world via my blog, facebook, twitter, and youtube, I am reminded that all praise I receive belongs to Jesus. Apart from him I can do nothing. And apart from his word, I literally have nothing worthy to blog about.
I am the donkey carrying Jesus to the world and I pray that at the end of the day it is Jesus in me you see. I Corinthians 3:7 sums up my feelings “So, neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow.”

I am nothing – just simply a planter – God is everything and as the missionary David Livingston once said “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa… I never made a sacrifice. We ought not to talk of ‘sacrifice’ when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s Throne on high to give Himself for us.”

No sacrifice is too great for Jesus. It is not a sacrifice to submit to my husband – it is my honor. It is not a sacrifice to care for my children – it is my honor. It is not a sacrifice to care for my home – it is my honor. And it is not a sacrifice to daily be a donkey carrying God’s truth to my blog readers - it is my honor.
I pray today that in your sphere of influence, you would find it an honor to carry Jesus to everyone who crosses your path inside and outside your home. My pastor said Sunday in his sermon: “If the message doesn’t get out via us, it doesn’t get out!” We must share the love of Jesus with the world!
Love God, love your husband, love your children and take Jesus to the world – shine like lights in the darkness! It is an honor!

Walk with the King!
I am participating in Seven Clown Circus Wordful Wednesday. and 5 Minutes for Mom Wordless Wednesday.

The Christmas Version of I Corinthians 13

I came across this Christmas poem about I Corinthians 13 – the Love Passage. For me, the week of Christmas can be the busiest week of my entire year. And though I am trying to make it special and meaningful for the family, I often feel like a failure when my patience is short or things don’t go as I envisioned. This poem reminds me of what really matters and what really lasts…Love.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime: but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
If I work at a soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity; but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angelsand crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love does not envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return; but rejoices in giving to those who cannot.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust; but giving the gift of love will endure.
Sharon Jaynes, Celebrating a Christ Centered Christmas

Take some time to meditate on I Corinthians 13 today. If we all would simply apply this passage of scripture – our homes would be a happier place and we would shine like bright stars in a dark world. “They will know we are Christians by our Love.” John 13:35

Walk with the King!

I Was a Recipient…

I was a recipient…of a random act of kindness!

Yesterday I was grocery shopping in Aldi with both kids. We were in the meat department and the children were buzzing around this poor woman like bees swarming a hive! I asked the children to please stand by the cart – so they did.

The woman smiled and said “it’s okay, I have 3 of my own, I know how hard it is.” I apologized and said “well, you are here without them so you deserve a moment of silence and not my kids bothering you. Enjoy your moment.” We both laughed and smiled and then I finished my grocery shopping.

When we got in line there was long row of poinsettas by the cash register being sold. This same woman happened to be in line in front of us and she continued to watch my interactions with the children and smile at me. And I watched her as she picked up one poinsetta after another. I admired them and said how beautiful they are.
She checked out. I checked out. And as I began to bag my groceries…she walked up to me with a poinsetta in hand and said “this poinsetta is for you. I can see that you sacrifice a lot for your children, you need to do more for yourself. You deserve this.”

I was floored, surprised and overwhelmed. A stranger is giving me this beautiful flower for no reason! I didn’t deserve it. I hadn’t done anything special to receive it. And there I stood holding a poinsetta – humbled by her words of praise.
I wanted to give her something in return – but I had nothing to give her (offering her some bagels or green beans didn’t seem appropriate! lol!) So I received her gift and out the door she went and the children began asking 100 questions: “Why did she give it? Do you know her? What did she say?…” I just smiled from ear to ear and said, “She’s a kind woman, we need to be like her.”
When Jesus sent his disciples out in Matthew 10:8 he commanded them “Freely you have received, now freely give.” This poinsetta whispers this verse to me. I did nothing to receive it. I received it freely.
This holiday season, you have received the love of Jesus freely. Now we must give it away. It starts with a smile, a kind word, a hug, maybe even a gift. Not just to those you truly do love in your family and friends – but even to strangers. Freely give the love of Jesus to everyone around you!
Hebrews 13:1,2 says “Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”
Give a random act of kindness today! Who knows as Hebrews 13: 2 says, you may even bless an angel!

Walk with the King!

Video Blog: How To Deal With Difficult People

Don’t forget to pause the music on the sidebar!

“You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves.” – Saint Francis de Sales

Walk with the King!