Woman Who Fears The Lord

First, a woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future. Look at verse 25. I love this line, and I praise all you women who are like this: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Satan dangles in front of her the specter of tomorrow’s troubles, but she glances up at the almighty God at her right hand (her magnificent German Shepherd!) and laughs at Satan’s folly.

Second, the woman who fears the Lord has practical wisdom. Verse 26, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” We’ve been taught from grade school on that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10), so it’s no surprise that the woman who fears the Lord “opens her mouth with wisdom.”

Third, the woman who fears the Lord is strong. Verse 25, “Strength and dignity are her clothing.” Verse 17, “She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong.” She will be morally strong. Proverbs 23:17 says, “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” The woman who continues in the fear of the Lord will have power to resist all the allurements to envy, to desire what she shouldn’t have.

Fourth, a woman who fears the Lord will live not for herself alone but for others, especially her husband, if she is married. Verses 11, 12, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.” A woman who fears the Lord will not squander the family’s livelihood on frivolous purchases, but will have the complete trust of her husband because she is for him and not against him.

(Pastor John, 1981, Excerpted from A Woman Who Fears the Lord Is to Be Praised.)

 That’s what I quote from Desiring God blog, the question of the day:

Are you a woman who fears the Lord?

The Sovereignty of God and Prayer

I am often asked, “If you believe God works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11) and that his knowledge of all things past, present, and future is infallible, then what is the point of praying that anything happen?” Usually this question is asked in relation to human decision: “If God has predestined some to be his sons and chosen them before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4,5), then what’s the point in praying for anyone’s conversion?”

The implicit argument here is that if prayer is to be possible at all man must have the power of self-determination. That is, all man’s decisions must ultimately belong to himself, not God. For otherwise he is determined by God and all his decisions are really fixed in God’s eternal counsel. Let’s examine the reasonableness of this argument by reflecting on the example cited above.

Is it possible to glorify God through the enjoyment of music, movies, literature, etc. produced by secular artists?

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

Is it possible to glorify God through the enjoyment of music, movies, literature, etc. produced by secular artists?

Yes. I assume the computer you are holding there was probably not built by Christians, and I hope that you are glorifying God as you tap away at it. And of course out from there, there are a 1000 things that we use all day long, and God says, ‘whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.’ And he knows that you are eating this meat that may have been sacrificed to idols, so that means it was probably butchered by an unbeliever, or handled by an unbeliever, shipped by an unbeliever, it may have been cooked by an unbelieving cook. And here you are savoring the product of all those unbelievers’ work because you are in that moment giving thanks to God for it, recognizing that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof and taking the strength and the joy that comes from it to render back to him.

Now with the arts and with media it is more morally complex than with food. But it is the same principle. The complexity of it is, in those moments what do you do with the moral elements of it that are so contrary to your faith?

I’ll just point out one principle because we can talk about this forever. What concerns me is the distinction between entertainment and cultural analysis. To watch something, to study the culture, learn from the culture, be more able to interact with unbelievers for the sake of the glory of Christ is one thing. To just sit and bask in nudity, or bask in fifty f-words, or bask in a world view that is shot through with arrogance to the core, and enjoy it? Hmm. That seems to point to something going on in the heart. And frankly, I have tasted it big time. I think today we are going to have to work at not being shaped by the world because the world has made its world view so scintillatingly attractive.

Movie after movie after movie has come out and most young reformed people are, I would say, indiscriminate. “Let’s go to a movie tonight.” OK, and then we just choose the best. None of the movies in that theater at that night are any good, probably. But you are just going to do it, because that is what you do. You go to the movies on Friday night, or whatever. And then of course you think, we’ve got to Christianize this thing somehow.

I just think we need to test our hearts big time. Big time. Why are we able to enjoy hell bound, God ignoring, Christ dishonoring, false world views because we can give it a little twist at the end that it taught us this or that about the world? So, I think the main thing I’m saying there is, test your heart as to whether entertainment is defaulting to the world, or to something more wholesome. We live in an age where we tend to default to the world for entertainment.

How should miraculous gifts be used in the church?

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

Where would you say the place for gifts like tongues, healing and prophecy is in the life of the church today?

I will tell you what I do, whether it is the right thing or not. I’m not going to die on this hill, but I will tell you what I do.

I think that these kind of gifts are most effectively and appropriately ministered in smaller groups rather than on Sunday morning. Sunday morning meaning the large gathered body of lots of people with lots of strangers and the need for some kind of movement in the service, rather than the whole thing being devoted to individual expressions.

So when I think of trying to do whatever elements of 1 Corinthians 12:13-14 are appropriate for today, I would want my people to know that I believe in those things and that I want them to flourish in those things.

I think that we should, spontaneously in relationships and especially in smaller groups, take the time to ask people, “Did you bring anything from the Lord tonight that you think we need to hear?” You could use whatever language you want. You could say, “Do you have a word of knowledge for us. Do you have a word of prophecy?” And If you are scared to use that kind of language you could say, “Has God impressed upon you in some way something that you think another person in this room, or all of us, need to hear from your walk with God?” And open yourself up to that.

Someone might say something that just penetrates right through to the core of another person. Or maybe they will minister a healing, or whatever. So, that is my answer.

Now I know that there are groups today—reformed groups—that try to fold certain prophetic elements into Sunday morning. They have a little microphone at the front where people can come up, and they have an elder or two standing there. The words that people want to share are first tested by one of the elders who judge whether the Scripture they are going to read or the poem they are going to read or the word they are going to deliver is appropriate. And while there is music playing in the background, during the interlude in between songs, the person can give whatever they are going to give at the microphone in front. And where this is done I’ve seen it done with decency and order the way Paul would like. But we’ve never gone that route at Bethlehem.

Copyright Desiring God, 2010 (desiringgod.org)

John Piper-When should you confront someone about their sin?

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

When you see sin or damaging behavior in someone else’s life, how do you know when to keep quiet and when to speak with them?

The first principle that Paul lays down for us is, “Who are we to judge those who are outside? It is those in the church that we are to judge.” So the first answer is, I’m watching sinful destructive behavior all day in the world. Television, movies, YouTube, on the street, in advertising, people are destroying themselves all day long—neighbors and people all around us.

You don’t go to everybody. You are not called to spend 18 hours a day walking up to people saying, “Don’t smoke!” or, “Don’t drink!” or, “Don’t swear!” or, “Don’t hit your wife!” or, “Don’t fail to discipline your children!”

That’s not our job. We preach the gospel to the world, and as occasion arises we might link some destructive behavior to the gospel as a way out.

In the church the question becomes more urgent. In the church, the answer to the question is going to hang on criteria like, how serious is the sin? If it is really serious, immediately urgent, and you know that the person is a part of the church—even if you don’t know them personally—you might go and do Galatians 6:2. “If you find a brother taken in a fault, restore such a one in a spirit of meekness lest you too be tempted.”

So the mindset is, I’ve got a log hanging out of my eye. Now compared to a log, this person’s behavior is a speck. Or even if it is a log, I’ve got my own log. I can’t go to him with a log hanging out of my eye because the log will hit him on the head and do more damage than if I took my log out first.

So my first job is to take out my own log. Then I see clearly, Jesus says, to take the speck out of my brother’s eye. So I’ve become a successful eye surgeon of the sin speck in my brother’s eye by getting the log out of my own eye.

So the criteria is, how serious is the sin, and am I spiritually equipped. And you go in there and try to speak in a way that wouldn’t feel condemning—at least at first. You may have to get tough later, but at first you want to win them. You want to create a bubble of grace in which they feel some hope that even though this is sin, they are loved and accepted.

Another criterion would be, how close is your relationship? Are there other people in this person’s life? If I saw somebody in your small group doing something, and you are the leader of that little group, I might ask you, “Are you concerned about this kind of thing? You might watch out for it in your group.” Because I would rather have someone they know pursue them this way than somebody that has less of a relationship with them.

My final answer would be, have spiritual discernment and spiritual wisdom for the moment about whether this is an auspicious helpful time to talk, or whether another angle would be better.

From desiringgod.org