Modesty Survey The Modesty Survey

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Between school and dealing with the death of my grandmother (and life in general), I haven't had much time to write lately. However, the second half of my article on baptism is coming ..... soon.
In the mean time, check out the acapella group to the right, Uncharted. These guys got together one weekend; and within 24 hours, chose, arranged, and recorded three songs. You can "like" them on Facebook, too.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Baptism: Faith in the Powerful Working of God, Pt. I

When the apostle Peter preached the first gospel sermon, recorded in Acts 2, those who heard him were "cut to the heart." Realizing that they had crucified the son of God, they asked Peter, "What shall we do?" Peter's response, albeit very simple and easily understandable, is the crux of much religious confusion and argument: "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

Peter clearly teaches that baptism is "for" (unto) the forgiveness of sins. But this isn't the only passage that addresses the purpose of baptism.

Jesus instructed his apostles to "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

Peter writes, "Baptism, which corresponds to that, now saves you...." (1 Peter 3:21).


The major argument against the necessity of baptism is that doing so attempts to earn salvation. This is a false conclusion.

Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8,9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." God is not nor ever could be indebted to mankind because of anything we have ever done or could do. The gift of salvation is based on God's grace and love. Considering that God's grace was extended to mankind while we were "dead in our traspasses" (Eph. 2:5), how could anyone claim that man "earned" God's gift?

Peter points out that baptism doesn't cleanse man's outer body in 1 Peter 3:21, "Not as a removal of dirt from the body..." Instead, baptism is "an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the rescurrection of Jesus Christ..." There is nothing magical about the water. The power rests in God. Naaman was told to wash in the Jordan seven times in order for his flesh to be healed of leprosy (2 Kings 5:10-14). Did the water have magical powers that cleansed the disease from Naaman's skin? No. After Naaman obeyed the command, his "flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean" (2 Kings 5:14).

Similarly, when we submit to God's command to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, God -- not the water -- cleanses our soul.

Romans 6 describes baptism as the point in which we re-enact Christ's death, burial, and resurrection: "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (vs. 3, 4).We do not raise ourselves to a new life, God does. Colossians 2:12 says, "having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Him from the dead."

We believe we have been raised to walk in newness of life after baptism -- not because of anything we have done -- but based on our faith in the powerful working of God!

(To be continued)

Sunday, August 8, 2010


at 08/08/10 9:59PM
"Forgive and forget" is an adage we often repeat. As Christians, we look to God's word for advice, and Jesus does tell us that we must forgive others if we are to receive God's forgiveness. But what about the "forget" part of that phrase? Can we literally forget what someone has done? If you have a memory like mine, maybe you can :) The idea behind "forgetting" is that we don't 1) keep bringing up the forgiven sin, 2) hold a grudge. These concepts are also taught in the Scriptures. For example, Paul talks about a repentant and forgiven brother in 2 Corinthians 2. Paul urges the brethren to "forgive and comfort" the brother so that he is not "overcome with excessive sorrow." I knew a sister-in-Christ who many years ago committed a sin that was made public as she repented of that sin. Instead of reaffirming their love for her, some of the brethren wrote deriding letters to her. There was no forgiveness in their hearts; there was no comfort, encouragement, or love. Are we like this?

When God forgives, He forgives and "forgets." This concept was made very clear to me this weekend in a Bible class discussion. After David sinned with Bathsheba and repented, God never brought up that sin again. And when you read New Testament passages that mention David, you never read about his sin with Bathsheba. This shows us how to treat forgiven sin in our lives. David didn't dwell on his sin, although he had to live with the consequences. God certainly didn't dwell on David's sin. I'm thankful that our perfect God forgives and forgets. None of us can run the race with the baggage of forgiven sins still strapped to our backs!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wait on the Lord

"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; and they shall mount up with wings like eagles..."(Isaiah 40:31, ESV).

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him" (Psalm 37:7, ESV).

When we are "still" before the Lord, we are calm, silent, and listening to His word. His word guides us and teaches us how we should live. Ps. 37:5 tells us to "commit your way to the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." When we follow God's way, we can trust that He will provide for us, just as Jesus taught in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [life's necessities-KH] will be added to you" (ESV).

"Waiting" on the Lord requires patience. God works in His time, not ours. Do you imagine that Job thought his suffering would never end? Job endured, and in the end, was doubly blessed. During Job's suffering, there is no indication that he thought everything would be better eventually. He mourned that he was even born.

In the same way, when we suffer, we do not know what good may come at the end of our trial. We may enjoy better health, financial security, or restored relationships, or our suffering may end with our eternal reward if we have been faithful to God.

In Isaiah 40:31, the word translated "wait" has an interesting meaning. According to James Burton Coffman Commentary on Isaiah, "The basic word from which 'wait' is derived means to wind or to twist, the word rope being a noun that comes from this term. The meaning here is that the believer should let the Lord be his lifeline, his cord of escape."

By waiting on the Lord -- allowing Him to be our lifeline -- we find the freedom a soaring eagle represents. But as Coffman points out, "[. . .] And the real test of his faith comes, not when he flies or runs, but when he must plod along. It is in the monotony of everyday life that the man of faith reveals his true character."

When trials come -- and they will -- we must trust in God while we continue to follow Him. We must be patient and wait for His answer and refrain from taking matters into our own hands. Note: This does not mean that we sit back and wait for something to happen. But we do what we can with faith that God will fill in the blanks. For those who are serving the Lord, we know that no matter what answers God provides in this life, we also have His promise for an eternal home with Him where trials and suffering will no longer exist.

(Photo from by Robert Travers)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Encourage One Another Daily

My husband lost his job five months ago and has not been able to find another, in spite of his education and experience. I, too, have not been able to find a job. This situation has resulted in a need to change not only our lifestyle but our attitudes.

I woke up today with a better attitude about our situation and with a feeling of contentment. No matter what happens, we must keep this life in perspective: it's temporary. As Christians, we have a "bonus" in life -- the encouragement of our brethren.

Contentment can be learned. Paul says, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content; I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." He then concludes, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:11-13).

For most of my life, I've lived with an abundance. Most of us have. My parents told me that when I was little, there were times when we'd be down to a can or two of beans, and that's it. But I never knew it; I never felt needy because of how my parents handled the situation. Isn't that what our Heavenly Father does for us?

We still have a lot to be thankful for; and if the situation deteriorates, we can still be content. I've learned in one grocery shopping trip just how much we CAN live without! And I'm learning how many "needs" are nothing more than "wants" than can either be lived without or delayed.

No matter what life throws our way, God will give us the strength to endure. And when we do endure, we will grow closer to God and have a better appreciation for His gifts -- here and in eternity.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Who do we Work For?

Have you ever been asked to perform a task you didn’t want to do? Most of us have. Some dislike their jobs and the mundane activities they face day after day. God offers some advice that can help us get through those times.

We should “render service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man” (Ephesians 6:7). Paul echoes this same sentiment in his letter to the Colossians: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward” (Colossians 3:23).

No matter what job we have, no matter what good deed we may do, we should always have the attitude that we are doing it to please the Lord. This is especially helpful if our boss (or the recipient of our deeds) is ungrateful for our service. No matter what man may think, God rewards our hard work and will always appreciate our service. That alone should motivate us to keep working for the Lord.

Hand in hand with the knowledge that our work is for the Lord, we must remember it is for the glory of the Lord, not our own, that we serve. Jesus condemned the Scribes and Pharisees for doing their deeds to be noticed by men. They wanted the praise of men more than the praise of God. Jesus says, “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:11, 12).

**All Bible quotes are from the English Standard Version (ESV).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

When Trials Come Our Way

Have you ever met someone whose life seems perfect? Her marriage appears strong and loving, she’s always winning a contest or drawing, her children excel in everything, and she rarely has to deal with the “serious” problems in life – disease, life-altering injuries, or financial disasters? I have. Sometimes picture-perfect lives are illusions. Other times, those lives really do seem to experience a great deal of fortune.

But what happens when someone who is not used to disappointments experiences a let-down? They tend to crumble. Fall apart. Stress out. Why? Perhaps it’s because they have not (yet) been given the opportunity to produce steadfastness by the trials life often hands us.

James writes, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).


Trials have a purpose. First, they test our faith. God wants to know we serve Him not just when things are going well, but when life is difficult. When the rich, young ruler learned what he must do to follow Christ, he turned away. To this young man, Jesus asked too much of him. We must be willing to give up everything in order to serve God. That means we will remain faithful to God and refuse to escape into sin when trials come our way.

As we endure each trial, the next one becomes a little easier to work though. We continue to build our faith and patience (or steadfastness) as we take one step after the other in God’s service. James says that the “full effect” of our steadfastness is completeness (in our character). As my dad used to tell me, life’s trials “build character.”

Trials serve another purpose. Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions, 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 Cor. 1:3, 4). Not only does God comfort us during our trials, we can pass this comfort along to others when they face difficulties. How do we do that? Since my breast cancer diagnosis almost 15 years ago, I have had the opportunity to offer encouragement and comfort to other women facing the same disease. When a brother or sister faces a trial similar to one we have experienced, we can say, “I’ve been there. I survived, and so can you!”

Paul also points out in 2 Corinthians 1:9 that trials are designed to help us rely on God. When we hit bottom and require Someone greater than ourselves to lift us up, God is waiting for us to grab His hand.

Pressing On

There are several steps we can take when facing trials to help us successfully endure.

1. Remember to do the right thing. Often when we face trials, we also face temptations. Sinful options may be very appealing when we are in survival mode.

2. Remember the reward. James says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him” (1:12). There is nothing in this life worth having if it means giving up eternal life with God.

3. Remember that others have endured. You may feel alone in your struggle and that no one else has ever hurt as much as you do. But Scriptures are filled with examples of men and women who faithfully walked with God during their darkest moments.

4. Lean on your brothers and sisters-in-Christ. The Hebrew writer tells us to exhort and encourage one another to help prevent us from falling away from God. Trials may present a faith challenge, and we need encouragement to help us continue down the straight and narrow.