Monthly Archives: September 2015

Widow of Nain: A Heart that Mourns


widow's son and jesus

Desolate. Weeping. Poverty-stricken. Hopeless.

“Call me Bitter.”

Not exactly words you’d like to be said of you. But that is exactly how a widow in 1st century Palestine would be described. This is where we find the widow from Nain. Nameless, without a husband, and now childless too.

It was for these very reasons that God commanded His people to look after the widow and the orphan. It was also for the reason that the Israelites had once been desolate and like widows/orphans, enslaved in Egypt, that God commands them to care for the widow. Exodus 22:21-22 – “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry.”

God never stopped listening. He most certainly heard the cries of this widow from Nain; they rang in His ears as He walked up to the gates. She did not simply experience a miraculous healing—she experienced restoration. She learned that the Messiah came to restore life, not just bandage wounds.

Think back to the story in the book of Ruth. Naomi, much like this widow of Nain, had no hope of a full life without a redeemer. She had lost her husband and then her sons. The future was bleak. She requested that people stop calling her “Naomi” and instead call her “Mara” or “bitter”. Then Boaz enters the picture, becoming the archetype of Christ, the kinsman-redeemer. In Ruth 4:14-15 the women of Israel spoke a blessing over Naomi saying, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” God saw her. He heard her. And He did something about it.

Restored. Joyful. Full of Hope.

That’s more like it.

{Stay tuned next week for Part 2! This was my intro to the Bible study on the widow of Nain. Feel free to read Luke 7:11-17 for the story.}


Sola Scriptura!


child reading-bible

By Scripture alone. Through the working of the Holy Spirit.

My oldest son, who is very small for his age, also seems to be wise beyond his years. It certainly has nothing to do with me. I’ve given up on trying to take credit (or even joke about taking credit) for the good things that come out of him because he’s advancing beyond what I remember teaching him! While this may seem like I’m bragging about how great he is, I have to pause and acknowledge the same thing for him that I know is true in my life. There can be no other explanation for this except that God is working in his life.

A few weeks ago, as we were driving home, my son –out of nowhere, I might add– says, Mom, do you know what I did last night? You got me, son. What’d you do? Well, I was praying to God and I asked Him to forgive all my sins and for Him to be with me forever. So I’m going to heaven now! 

Come again? You did what?!

That’s wonderful, son! So God is your Savior now?

Yes, He is.

By Scripture alone. Through the working of the Holy Spirit.

Now, I can say that my husband and I have both shared with our kids what it means to know Jesus as our Savior. We never pushed any kind of formulaic prayer or super spiritual experience. In fact we have strayed from urging them to make any kind of “decision” because we have heard of people pressuring children to “be saved!” (and they end up “getting saved” every other week which doesn’t sound to me like good doctrine or practice). But in our home, we teach the Word of God. We take them to church. They have amazing Sunday school teachers who faithfully teach them the Word. We take them to a Protestant catechism class where those teachers help them learn the doctrine and the Word. I’d say they’re growing up in a culture of Sola Scriptura.

So it should come as no surprise to me that when my son is receiving the Word on a constant basis, it starts to get in him. The seed has been planted and lots of people are watering it. But God causes the growth!

This is why I can say that he is wise beyond his years, and he knows things I never taught him. God is teaching him. God is giving him spiritual wisdom.

Just this week he told me he began reading his Bible. It’s a children’s Bible called the Big Picture Bible, so when I say “reading” don’t think of paragraphs, think of a few lines on two pages. He would tell me each morning what he’d read that night. He had questions about words and about concepts. He would read out loud as we ate our breakfast and lunch. He read in the car as we drove to the store or the dentist. He was excited when he got all the way to the New Testament. Mom, look! I’m in the New Testament already!! Wow, son, where did you get the desire to read the Word?

By Scripture alone. Through the working of the Holy Spirit.

I used the phrase “Sola Scriptura” not to discuss Church history or to argue over all the details surrounding this Reformation cry, but to say that the Scripture is sufficient for making one wise to salvation. For knowing how to be saved and how to walk in that salvation.

He would point out the times where God’s people disobeyed God and he would say I’m at a sad part, Mommy. Yep, and one day we’ll be dealing with this in your life. I hope you’re as sad about sin in your life as you are about reading it in God’s Word.

Somehow I’m not as nervous about him growing up to truly know God. The same God who is at work in my life is visibly at work in my son’s life. Thank You, God, for Your Word!


Drink Him Up!


thirsty drinking

God bless my son.

It happens in the most unsuspecting of times. A conversation that winds its way to some deep, meaningful truth.

My oldest had been telling me about how afraid he was when he woke up one morning. He said he had “the shivers” and didn’t even feel up to getting himself some breakfast. Sweet little tender heart! I had to get to the bottom of this for sure!

He explained to me that since his grandma left (she had come to stay a few weeks with us this summer), he had woken up with this intense fear of falling. And this fear made him shake all over. He just couldn’t “shake off” that feeling.

At first I started to tell him that he had nothing to fear because his bed had rails and now that he was downstairs, he most certainly would not fall from any great height. But then I remembered how I feel every time I have a weird dream that is so terrifying it wakes me. I can never think rationally in those moments. Whatever it is that I fear is so real to me that not even Paul could set a convincing argument against it. In my wild-eyed terror, I cannot shake the fear for what seems like an eternity. I have to wake up completely and let my brain’s rational functioning kick in before I realize that snakes are not indeed all over my bed.

So, as I sit across from my son who is still shaken up in his fear, I grab his hand and we sit on the floor together. I place him on my lap and wrap my arms around him, and I begin to pray. Lord wrap Your strong arms around him so that He will know You are here. Take away his fears and replace them with Your presence. Help him to look to you when he is afraid. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I proceeded to get his bowl and cereal, and as we sat together, he began to eat and to drink. I’m now watching him like a stalker, furtively glancing his way to see if anything is happening, and as he takes a drink of his ice water, I see him shiver. uh oh. I suck in my breath and wait to see what he’ll say next.

Mommy, you know what’s weird? When I took a drink of this water, the shivers went away! It’s like this cup of water is God!

Bless his heart! I had to hold in a giggle and decided to just go with it! Yes, I guess so! We want to drink Him up! We want more of God. He takes away our fears. Thank you God!

I love his simple faith. When I have my fears released, it simply must be that God did it. Amen, brother!

I thought our little talk was over, but then my son says, What is it that they call Jesus? The Living…? Living Water! He is our Living Water!

Yes, He is son. You know, there’s a story about Jesus and a woman at a well. He tells her that He has living water and that when we receive it, we thirst no more! And the crazy thing about God is even though we can drink this Living Water and not thirst, we still want to go back and get more of God. It’s like we can’t get enough of Him. Almost like we thirst for Him. So drink Him up! 

Of course I had to explain the difference between physical water and spiritual water, and a list of other terms, but I believe the message stood strong. He is the Living Water that we must drink up! Whether I’m experiencing deep-seated fears or belly-laughing joy, He is the One that I need to draw from. And His well is endless which is why I can continually go back to Him for drink after drink after drink.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8

Taste with the spirit. See with the spiritual eyes. He is good.

It’s Got Me Shaking in My Boots



As I mentioned before, I’ve been working on some Bible study lessons for an upcoming women’s study called Interruptions of the Heart (Jesus’ interactions with women). I forgot to mention that not only did I write part of the study, but I will be presenting a lesson for each of my 3 women. Can I just tell you how I feel about this?


While I am definitely excited, I’m also decidedly nervous. I have been known to hold my own at a microphone, but I can get a wild hair, making my talks take a turn for the awkward. I would not exactly describe myself as poised. I get off topic too easily and then get flustered, leaving no escape for myself other than to ramble on and on until I can wrap it up in a crinkly bow.

Top that off with the fact that I can’t tell a story to save my life, and you’re in for a real interesting ride! I have this (annoying) habit of needing to tell every detail in the story, leaving my listeners tilting their heads with furrowed brows wondering when I’m going to get to my point. Charming, I’m sure. (My sister tells me it’s endearing, but I personally think it’s because she does it too! hehe)

Obviously I’ve been thinking about these quirky weaknesses of mine as I’ve been writing out my lessons, and this makes me even more nervous. What is more, I’ve learned enough about teaching God’s word to know that one must never take this task lightly. And this makes me tremble in my cute polka dot rain boots way more than the thought of displaying my awkwardness before these ladies.

However, at the end of the day, I find great consolation in the fact that none of this is about me anyway. I get it that God has given me certain gifts that will be used to edify His Church. But this little stone does not get the spotlight. No, it’s always Him. He’s the One who gives the gifts. He’s the One who picks up each little stone and sets her in her place to do the thing He’s designed her to do.

So off I go to teach the Word, praying earnestly for wisdom to know how to do it. And thank God that His Word can get inside of these ladies despite my peculiarities. They must know that every word has been carefully scrutinized, every thought initially well-formed, and every intention well meaning.

I’m so thankful that His Word is alive and active. So even if my thoughts become jumbled or my words lose their way, His Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11)! He accomplishes what He purposes.

Lord, I may be shaking, but I’m steadfast in spirit. Teach me Your Word that I may know You. Help me to teach Your Word so that they may know You.