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31 Days of Prayer

“All of these with one accord…devoting themselves to prayer.” Acts 1:14 (ESV)

I’m so grateful to partner with you in prayer during the 31 days of July. No sign-ups or micromanaging. Just an open invitation to band together in the name of Jesus to ask God to do the works of Jesus because this is the will of God in Christ Jesus and the way of Jesus who has told us to “pray always and not give up.” (Luke 18:1) The main idea of our 31 days of prayer is to join Jesus, to the best of our understanding, in his priorities with our petitions. This is key to profound effectiveness in prayer. First John 5:14-15 reads,

“This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him.” (CSB)

Here are 7 recommendations for building and maintaining our Christ-centered focus over these 31 days of prayer. You are welcome to implement all of them or the few of them that resonate. Keep in mind throughout the month that our goal is the obedience of prayer, not lengthiness of prayer. Don’t get overwhelmed. And don’t quit! THIS MATTERS. God has not called us to prayer for nothing. If you miss a few days, just jump back in.

(My practice will be several minutes of praise and personal confession and repentance then proceeding with the following.)

Each day for 31 days:

1 – Start (every day!) with these personal requests of God:

  • Jesus, increase my faith.
  • Fill me with your Spirit.
  • Lead me to pray according to your will, thinking and discerning with the mind of Christ.
  • Enlarge my heart to love.
  • Cause me to delight in you and to be a delight to you.

2- Read a segment of Scripture, ideally from one of the 4 Gospels.

The words of God teach us the will of God. For these 31 days, we particularly want the words of Jesus to direct how we pray and what we prioritize. (See John 15:7) Consider choosing one of the Gospels and reading a chapter each day and supplement the remaining days with chapters from Acts. For instance, I’m going to read a chapter of Matthew each day which will last me 28 days then I’m going to read the first 3 chapters of Acts for a total of 31 chapters in 31 days. (Luke is 24 chapters so you’d supplement 7 chapters of Acts, etc.) If you want your reading to be longer, choose 2 of the Gospels instead of one, reading 2 chapters a day, then supplement the remaining days in Acts.

3 – Make your requests.

  • Glean anything from that day’s Scripture reading that lends itself to intercession. In other words, was the will or way of God made evident in any way that could shape your prayers? If so, start there. For instance, let’s take Day 1. Matthew 1 might be a little harder to use as a guide for prayer but Mark 1, Luke 1 and John 1 each offer great prompters for various petitions. Don’t be quick to pass by that genealogy in Matthew, however, as leadership for prayer! Notice the different kinds of people listed in it and recall some of their histories and thank God that, even this very day, he is continuing the lineage of faith.
  • In addition to your gleanings from your reading, be led of His Spirit to ask him to do in this present era the kinds of things God alone can do. Here are some suggestions to choose from and to add to that echo the will of God as conveyed to us in various Scriptures. (If you’re new to this and need a little clearer leadership here, then choose four of these a day then, when you’ve prayed all of them, start again.)

*Do your will on earth as it is in heaven.

*Cause people to come to love you with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and to come to love their neighbor as themselves.

*Reveal yourself magnificently, powerfully and unmistakably. Enable people to know you and to discern your call.  

*Glorify your great name, the only name under heaven by which people can be saved.

*Save lives temporally and, above all else, eternally.

*Spread your gospel with increased velocity throughout the globe.

*Open hearts to the gospel.

*Soften hardened hearts.

*Open minds to understand the Scriptures.

*Compel your people afresh to go forth into local communities and into the world, carrying your gospel.

*Cause great awakenings of faith to break out all over the world.

*Make your people bold in faith and love and hope.

*Cause your people to speak your words fearlessly, boldly, lovingly and relentlessly. Cause hearts and minds to be responsive.

*Do works of repentance that are unparalleled in our day.

*Cause your people to love one another well and to come to love people they have deeply disliked.

*Cause your people to please and honor you through profoundly deeper unity amid the diversity you dearly love.

*Cause your joy to be in us and our joy to be complete.

*Open the eyes of the spiritually blind. Cause fog and confusion to clear.

*Cause ears to hear you. Turn down the volume on the confusing, distracting cacophony. Help us to know your voice when we hear it.

*Send workers out into the harvest fields.

*Disciple your people and teach us how to more effectively disciple others.

*Make growth in Christlikeness the high priority of discipleship.

*Quench the works of the flesh and produce the fruit of the Spirit.

*Circumcise hearts to love you and love others.

*Cause your people to love, not only in word, but in deeds.

*Deliver from sins and strongholds and addictions.

*Expose darkness by your light and to your light.

*Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

*Cause your people to have their/our eyes opened to the devil’s devices and schemes and to stand strong against him.

*Heal tormented minds and torn up bodies.

*Build your church. Refine. Purify. Unify.

*Make your people quick to conviction of the Spirit and true repentance.

*Cause people to love your words.

*Cause your word to spread rapidly and be honored.

*Equip your people in their spiritual gifts and lead them where to use them.

*Lead your people into healthy communities of faith.

*Restore individuals, marriages, families, friends, churches, communities.

*Break strongholds of pride, selfishness and narcissistic leadership.

*Break strongholds of bitterness and unforgiveness.

*Empower us to forgive one another, to ask forgiveness of one another and to accept and embrace our own forgiveness from you and from others.

*Cause your people to turn from hatefulness and unkindness, from slander, coldness and malice.

*Mature your people. Make your people humble but hearty. Strengthen and encourage and fortify.

*Forgive us of our hypocrisy and duplicity and grant that we’d be wholehearted and single-minded toward you and your will and ways.

*Profoundly increase the humility and generosity of your people.

*Renew your wonders in our day according to your will.

*Increase your works of healing in our day according to James 5.

*Teach us your ways. Teach us to pray.

*Meet needs miraculously and creatively in ways that prompt great praise.

*Cause your people to be enduring and persevering even in affliction, pain or persecution.

*Free people from idolatry.

*Free people from oppression.

*Anoint and empower your people all over the world to boldly take up your ministry as described in Luke 4, preaching good news to the poor and recovery of sight to the blind and freedom for the oppressed.

*Fill your people with compassion for a lost and hurting and angry world.

*Cause your grace to your people to not be in vain.

*Form within your people a heart for the poor and marginalized and turn it into action that makes a remarkable difference.

*Enable your people to love our enemies and bless those who curse us.

*Have mercy on this present generation of believers and help us to love well, live well, serve well, suffer well and die well.

*Cause your people to abundantly increase in expectancy and anticipation of your coming and of the new creation.

4 – Pray for a different nation each day. You can’t go wrong here. There is not a single nation or people-group God does not want to touch with the gospel of Jesus. I have prayed according to the Operation World manual many times but right now I’m praying alongside Voice of the Martyrs and their 2021 prayer calendar. I will supply a picture of their July page at the bottom of this post in case you’d like to join along but I hope you might also be prompted to pray for other nations unmentioned so we don’t only cover these.

5 – Keep a record. You don’t need something fancy. All you need is a pen and some paper. Each day jot down what portion of Scripture you read, what specifics God led you to pray and what nation you prayed for. If, as you’re praying, God leads you to intercede for specific people, places, organizations, churches or ministries, jot down what you prayed (just as you’ll do for nations). Keep it for reference in the future. I fully believe you will see some answers in due time and, together someday before God’s throne, he will make known to us why he called us to prayer and what he accomplished in response to those prayers.

6 – End each time of prayer with these confessions, whether in these words or your own:

  • Thank you, Lord, for the absolute certainty that my prayers today mattered.
  • Thank you, Lord, for my brothers and sisters with whom I gather in prayer over these 31 days. Bless them personally, Lord, encourage them and give them eyes to see you at work.
  • (This one is especially important.) Do abundantly more than all we could ask or think.
  • According to Colossians 4:2, help us to continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

7 – Ask God to do a fresh work of his Spirit in your own life through these 31 days.

No words big enough to thank you for joining in 31 days of fervent, focused prayer. By the grace of God, some things will be different because we, as different as we are, gathered around the one name of Jesus and prayed. And we, brothers and sisters, will be different.  

Voice of the Martyrs Prayer Calendar

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Holy Week: Jesus Cleansing the Temple

The scene I’ll focus a lens on today is found in all four Gospels. The account is relatively light on words but so heavy with meaning that to overlook it could well leave an insufficient impression of what Jesus was like. Without it, He’d be significantly easier to typecast. We’d think we knew how holiness always acts and how love always reacts.

Check Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19 and John 2 and you’ll invariably find the scene captioned with the three-word phrase, “Cleansing the Temple.” The caption is provocative if not ironic since Jesus’s method of cleaning the Temple was to make a mess of it. Don’t think for a moment Jesus can’t make a mess of things.

Sometimes the only way to sufficiently clean house is to turn it upside down.

Today we’ll look at Matthew’s Gospel, the 21st chapter and verses 10-13, but I’ll fill out the account with additional bits and pieces supplied by the other Gospels, particularly Mark’s. The scene follows on the heels of a donkey. The Temple cleansing is a quickly-appearing stand-alone in John but you’ll find it in Matthew, Mark and Luke following the triumphal entry of Christ when He entered Jerusalem in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy:

Tell Daughter Zion,

“See, your King is coming to you,

Gentle and mounted on a donkey and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

His way was paved in garments and branches. The crowds welcomed Jesus with royal acclamations. “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” The insinuation of kingship was so insulting to some of the religious leaders, they demanded Jesus rebuke his disciples. “I tell you, if they were to keep silent,” Jesus plainly stated, “the stones would cry out.”

Our present scene is particularly compelling with the echoes of the triumphant crowds still ringing in our ears.

Read the words of Matthew 21:10-13:

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar, saying, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!”

A lot of wheeling and dealing goes on in the name of Scripture. A lot of scheming and scamming. They’re hard to miss in this scene. According to Mark’s Gospel, this event happened on Monday, the day following the triumphal entry and three days prior to Christ’s arrest.  

Mark 11:11-12 tells us that, after he rode into Jerusalem on the back of the colt, “He went into Jerusalem and into the temple. After looking around at everything, since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.” Bethany was only about two miles from Jerusalem. He’d turn around and come back the next day.

It doesn’t take much imagination to guess what Jesus thought about all night. He’d replayed what he’d seen that day over and over, is what I’m thinking. And holy zeal would fill his lungs. The Holy Spirit put the words in the psalmist’s mouth in advance: “Zeal for your house has consumed me and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” And it burned like fire on his tongue. There might have been something else he was doing. John’s account in his Gospel, the second chapter and 15th verse, says, “After making a whip out of cords, he drove everyone out of the temple.” He might have been braiding a little leather. There again, he could easily have just grabbed a strap from a tethered animal on his way in.

That Monday when He headed back to the Holy City, He would’ve entered the Temple Mount through the Huldah Gate at the south end of an enormous complex. Think of it in terms of the Temple Precinct and the Temple Proper. The Temple precinct included all the buildings and courtyards complete with an enormous stall for animals that could be purchased for sacrifices as well as crowded housing for their keepers. This was the Monday before Passover when the city would have been bursting at the seams with travelers from all over Israel and beyond to keep Israel’s most important feast.

People gathered in allocated areas according to qualifications strictly guarded by Temple police. Worshippers were as defined by where they could not go as where they could. There was the Court of the Gentiles open to anyone and the only place open to those who believed in Israel’s God but weren’t of Israel’s blood. Inscriptions were etched in stone that no Gentile, man or woman, could go beyond it without threat of death. There was the Court of the Women for those of Jewish blood and no woman could inch a single step further. Then there was the Court of Israel which was Jewish men only and no man could step beyond it into the sanctuary of the Temple proper except the priests and no priest could step beyond the Holy Place into the Holy of Holies except the high priest on the Day of Atonement. Every step toward the Presence of God bore a warning of prohibition.

“Stop right there. Are you qualified?”

There was no such thing as all-access. Don’t lose sight of that this Holy Week or the tearing of the veil will be lost on you.

As Jesus entered the Temple precinct, he would have ascended up a flight of steps and entered a long hall with four rows of forty large columns. This is where the market was set up for exchanging the money of all the Jewish pilgrims from other regions into temple currency. With shekels they’d pay a required temple tax then purchase animals or birds for sacrifices. It was a necessary transaction for out-of-towners but foolishly misplaced in an area set apart for worship.  

Now for Mark’s Gospel, chapter 11:15-17:

 They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple. He was teaching them: “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!”

There are times in Scripture when Jesus slips in and out of scenes publicly unnoticed. This isn’t one of those times. He marched straight to the check out desks with a whip in his hand where people were buying and selling. He flipped the over the tables and turned over the chairs. Coins would have jingled and rolled all over the floor. Dove cages would have toppled. Feathers would have flown.

Jesus can rattle cages when he wants to.

Everything he’s doing in the scene is purposeful. A couple of things are in play that aren’t immediately obvious. I’d like to make mention of two of them. First, did you hear the Evangelists make a point of noting that those selling doves were among the ones whose tables and chairs Jesus overturned? Doves could be used for a couple of different purposes but they were primarily the offerings purchased by the poor. Those with any kind of money would make their selections from farm animals to offer as sacrifices. It could a status thing, you know, whether your offering had fur or cheap feathers.

Sellers could set the price at what they wanted, knowing full well the devout would pay whatever was necessary for an offering rather than appear before the Lord empty handed. If the sellers were cheating, only the privileged had the clout to accuse them. The voices of the poor, then as now, were mostly ignored. Perhaps nothing testifies to the depravity of the human heart like the consistent propensity throughout history to exploit, cheat and oppress the poor. What is far more astonishing is with what regularity it happens in religious environments. There’s nothing quite like price-gouging in the name of God.

That brings us to the second element in the scene that begs for a little background. Did you catch the phrase “den of thieves”? Let me place it back in context. “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!” Nothing was accidental in his wording. He’s talking straight out of the Old Testament.

Look at Jeremiah 7:1-10:

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the house of the Lord and there call out this word: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who enter through these gates to worship the Lord.

“‘This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Correct your ways and your actions, and I will allow you to live in this place. Do not trust deceitful words, chanting, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.” Instead, if you really correct your ways and your actions, if you act justly toward one another, if you no longer oppress the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow and no longer shed innocent blood in this place or follow other gods, bringing harm on yourselves, I will allow you to live in this place, the land I gave to your ancestors long ago and forever. But look, you keep trusting in deceitful words that cannot help.

“‘Do you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and follow other gods that you have not known? Then do you come and stand before me in this house that bears my name and say, “We are rescued, so we can continue doing all these detestable acts”?

The people in Jeremiah’s day adhered to what scholar M. Eugene Boring calls “a false Zion theology that regarded the Temple as a guarantee of divine protection, and charged them with regarding the Temple as a robber’s hideout to which they could retreat in safety after their acts of injustice.” (NIB, Volume 8, p.406)

This becomes even more provocative six centuries later when Jesus uses the phrase “den of thieves” or “den of robbers” in the Gospels. According to scholar Michael Wilkins “The term ‘robber’ (lestes) is not the word for a common thief but for one who is an insurrectionist, such as Barabbas and the two revolutionaries between whom Jesus will be crucified. This may be a subtle use of the term to indicate that the temple authorities are making it a nationalistic stronghold, or more subtly, a place where they are insurrectionists against God’s intended plan for the temple.”[1]

It is of no small significance that Jesus said according to Mark’s Gospel, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” All this big enterprise, all this wheeling and dealing was conveniently happening right in the court of the Gentiles. What did they really matter anyway? The blood of Abraham didn’t run through their veins. They were expendable.  Second class. Lucky to even be there. How much value would God put on the worship of Gentiles anyway? But, you see, they’d forgotten the explicit calling God placed on Abraham. “In you shall all nations be blessed.” This was the very gospel preached beforehand.

Does God see? Yes. Does He care when His name is exploited and His words are twisted to manipulate people and rob them of power? Yes. Does He care when the worship of him has been thoroughly coopted and commercialized? Yes. Will He act? Oh, yes. He warns. He gives the remedy: in a word, repentance. He waits. Then, when He’s had enough, He acts.

So, here’s a question to throw on that overturned table: is it fair to say that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, acted in anger in this scene? Somehow I can’t picture him braiding up a whip and flipping over furniture because he was mildly annoyed. What sets divine anger—and even ultimately divine wrath—apart from human anger is that it cannot be extracted from his love. God cannot set it aside His love because it is not only what he does. It is who He is. It is his very essence. We’re simply too quick to forget that love has a spine.  

He who strode into that temple with a whip that day and turned the place upside down for making a commercial expo out of sacrificial worship would offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice just four days later. The coins now scattered and rolling all over the courtyard floor were woefully insufficient funds for their remission of sins. The payment for their substitutionary offering was pumping that moment in the veins and arteries of the one overturning those tables. Peter would write, “For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life…not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb.” And, as for that Temple, it could never have been clean enough. The only Temple clean enough was the one wearing flesh and blood and still standing after the courtyard was cleared.

Let’s lastly read from Matthew’s Gospel that brings the scene to an end, Matthew 21:12-17:

Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves.He said to them, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!”

The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonders that he did and the children shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to him, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”

Jesus replied, “Yes, have you never read:

You have prepared praise
from the mouths of infants and nursing babies?” 

Then he left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.

The scene is in the same place. Right there in that big mess. Tables and chairs turned upside down. Cages toppled. Bird droppings splattered. Feathers still floating. The scent of animal dung wafting through the air. Right there in the mess, Jesus healed the lame and blind. The very ones the Law of Moses prohibited from drawing near for worship. Make no mistake, Jesus is deeply committed to clearing out the obstacles to worship in Spirit and in Truth.

I’m of the notion that the church in America is in a bit of a mess and I believe it’s quite possibly for some of the very reasons his house was in a mess in the days of Jeremiah and in the days of the Word made flesh. I think He’s come to clean house and I think sometimes the way He cleans house is to turn it upside down. But, if we’re willing to not run away, we may hear an inaudible voice say, “Come all who know your infirmities, your weaknesses and blemishes. Come all who know you are broken and blind. Come and be healed.”


[1] Wilkins, M. J. (2004). Matthew (p. 691). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

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Scripture-Prayers for Taking Courage and Forsaking Fear

(click graphic to view document)

Hey, everyone! We have all battled fear individually but I don’t know of a time in our generation that fear has any more audaciously come for the whole globe. I originally worded and compiled these Scripture-prayers for my own use. Then I shared them with my husband. Then my girls. And then I thought maybe some of my coworkers could use them. Then I decided maybe the prayers would be of use to a larger group of people so, back in 2012, I made it available as a print out after our Living Proof Live simulcast. I think this might be a really good time to offer them again. I don’t always pray Scripture-prayers. I pray in all sorts of ways just like many of you do. But, in times of greatest need, ESPECIALLY if it’s liable to be a long haul and the obstacle is so large it’s going to take a big whopping miracle, this is undoubtedly the approach to prayer I’ve found most effective. I’ll tell you why:

Praying Scripture rolls the burden onto the Word of God and not on the words of the pray-er. It is our way of saying back to our faithful God what He has said in Scripture. It also draws from paradigms of prayers that were inspired by the Holy Spirit and engraved on the eternal scroll. By no means do we see praying Scripture as a way to demand that God give us what we’re asking. He is sovereign and we come to Him in humility. He is all-wise and faithful. We are called to trust Him even when our yes is delayed or we feel like we’ve gotten a no and we have no idea why. Praying Scripture is our way of taking Him up on the access the blood of Jesus Christ has given us to go boldly to the Throne to find mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. Humility and boldness are not antonyms for the follower of Christ. They coexist in the souls of those who know that our confidence is not in our own weak flesh but in our omnipotent, ever present, ever loving God.

Keep in mind, these prayers were compiled long before our COVID-19 crisis so you’ll not see specific wording in regard to it and some of them may not reflect our current climate as well as others. But, because the prayers are based on the Word of God, I hope you’ll overwhelmingly find them to be timeless and timely.

If you think they would be a help to you, by all means, print them out. My staff did a lovely job taking my simple word document and turning it into something lovely. If you have a friend who is dealing with fear and anxiety and you think he or she could perhaps find some help and relief, share the link. You’ll see ideas for ways to use them in the introduction but, truly, they are for you to use any way you like. Pray perhaps a page a day. Or tape a page to the refrigerator or to your bathroom mirror. They’re yours. And, if Christ is Lord to you, you are His. So loved, cared for, planned for, seen and heard. If He is not yet Lord to you, He’s right there for the taking. He loves you so. Gave His life to save you and He saves by grace alone through faith and not according to our merit. None of us can earn salvation.

Keep the faith, loved one. And forsake some fear.
Beth

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The Luke Challenge Takeaways

As promised, here’s your space to share any brief takeaways or reflections if you took the Luke Challenge! Share even if you were not able to get it all done in 30 days and it’s months from the time you started! This is about increasingly knowing “This Jesus,” not about following rules. Someone suggested, and I think it’s a great idea, that you not look ahead and see what other people wrote as their takeaways before you write your comment. Just write your own. Don’t feel under pressure to match what someone else has said. Some people are wordier here than others and some more flowery. That doesn’t mean they got more out of it. Some of you are suffering so deeply that simply reading it and writing down three or four words is a huge act of faith. This is about you and your own journey with Jesus through Luke’s Gospel. No competition or comparisons allowed.

Let me know if you are going on to Acts! No pressure there either! Many of you are starting other Bible studies soon and will be devoting your time to those. We love serving you here at Living Proof so much. You are tremendously loved by Christ who calls you.

Love, Beth

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The Luke Challenge

Hey, everyone! This is a challenge I pitched out to the attendees of Living Proof Live Eugene, Oregon because it corresponded with our concept but anyone is invited to participate! Here’s a bit of background:

At our Living Proof Live in Eugene, we studied the repetitions of the powerfully placed words “this Jesus” in the Book of Acts, particularly in the first and second chapters. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Luke was intent on the reader understanding that the one who is both Messiah and Lord is “this same Jesus” (1:11 CSB/NIV) who was arrested, beaten, crucified, raised from the dead, who ascended to the Father in Heaven and who will descend again to earth in like manner. The challenge is to know “this Jesus” not second hand but straight from the pages of Scripture. While He can be found in the full stretch of Scripture, what He was like when He took on human flesh and blood and walked among us can most clearly, concentratedly be seen in the canonical Gospels.

My objective was to keep it completely uncomplicated even in the title. We’re simply calling it The Luke Challenge.

All you need is a Bible, a pen and a simple spiral notebook.

Write on the front of it with a marker: In Search of This Jesus

Choose a 30-day period of time in which you commit to read the book of Luke, 1 chapter a day, for all 24 chapters. Your 6 extra days are there when you miss and need to catch up. Start at any point but don’t leave it open ended. Really try to conclude in 30 days so you don’t lose momentum. Leave a comment to this post on the day you’re beginning as a means of strengthening your commitment with a bit of accountability. I don’t know about you but that always works better for me.

2 ground rules:
1. PRAY: Each time before you read, ask Jesus for two specific things: A) to open your mind to understand the Scriptures and B) to fill you with His Holy Spirit.
2. WRITE: Take notes and make comments on each chapter with particular emphasis on who Jesus was/is and what He was like. Freestyle anyway you wish and get as detailed as you like but here’s the catch: do so in dialogue straight to Jesus. Your notes, in effect, become prayers. Communications. He speaks to you through His Word. You speak back through your pen. For example, “Lord, I’m seeing these characteristics in you in Luke 4” and “I wonder what was going through Your mind when Peter…” and “this about you is particularly confusing/fascinating/troubling/comforting/exhilarating to me,” etc. Get the idea? Record what seems to draw Jesus near to a situation and also note what seems to repel Him. Recount to Him what you see happening around Him in the scene. Record how people responded to Him, both positively and negatively. Describe Him to the degree Scripture describes Him. Record your responses to Him. Do it any way you wish but make this an exercise entirely between you and Jesus.

One of our major points at Living Proof Live was that there is a difference between knowing about Jesus and actually knowing Jesus. This 30-day period focuses on knowing “this Jesus” who is both Messiah and Lord.

Anyone can do it with you and anyone is welcome to participate.

THEN, watch for a blog to follow this one in 30 days so that you can report having completed it and share your primary takeaways. THEN!!! If you liked it, DO THE SAME THING WITH THE BOOK OF ACTS! Luke wrote it, too, and it’s the perfect follow up.

We’re so happy to serve you here at Living Proof. We exist entirely for this purpose: to encourage people to come to know and love Jesus Christ. THIS Jesus of Scripture.

Enjoy Him!

P.S.  Our comments are all moderated so don’t panic if you don’t see yours show up right away. It’s there! You’ll see it on the next work day!

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Why I removed some of my commentary from a chapter of Praying God’s Word

For those needing further information on the removal of some of my words (not God’s words but my own) from the chapter I’d written on “Overcoming Sexual Strongholds” in the prayer book Praying God’s Word:

When I wrote PGW many years ago, I exceeded Scripture and singled out same-sex sin as particularly satanic.

As the years passed, I increasingly winced at what I’d conveyed but the basic rule of thumb in authorship is that it is better not to go back and edit an old book but, rather, let it just phase out and simply don’t make the same mistake in the future. The problem was, because PGW is a handbook and not a regular nonfiction book, it didn’t phase out in the same way. I have had many years to test the fruit of what I wrote and have seen over and over again that numerous readers, who had gone to this chapter with their struggles, came to my words and proceeded no further. My words had kept them from God’s words. That, to me, is a pretty serious stumbling block.

I also heard from some heartbroken mothers about their kids who were having a hard enough time feeling ostracized as it was. This prayer book sits on the bedside tables and on the shelves in many Christian homes. Picture a 13 year old struggling with an onslaught of sexual feelings and temptations who has no idea what to do with them. The child picks up the book and reads my words, only, in this case, comes to the conclusion that he or she is particularly demonic. Not only is that devastating to the child. It is not even biblical.

I hold firmly to a traditional Christian sexual ethic and continue to believe the Bible sets apart marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman. But I also believe that Scripture clearly teaches that all sex outside of marriage is contrary to God‘s will.

Here is what I would want that 13-year-old to know:

I want that kid to know that the author of that book, Praying God’s Word, has been forgiven for more sins than that kid can fathom. I want that kid to know my gracious and merciful Savior, Jesus, and that I would have had reasons in my past to have been thrown out of the camp under Old Testament law if not stoned to death. By the power of the cross of Christ, I live. By His grace alone, I serve.

This may not have been the action you would have taken. I understand. But I came to a place that I believed it was the best action for me to take and I stand by it. In the words of the apostle Paul in Phil.2:11, we’re all faced with working out our own salvation in fear and trembling. None of this has been void of fear and trembling before God.

Lastly, I must tell you that I’m weary of our blind spots. Weary of my own. Here is what I no longer have the stomach for after the last several years: the hypocrisy burgeoning from hyper fundamentalist Christianity. I do not lack a Scriptural view of sin. I just believe in a longer list of serious sins than some.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

In Christ,

Beth Moore

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My Message From GC2 Summit on Responding to Sexual Abuse and Violence

GC2 Summit December 13, 2018

Message Three: Dear Church Leaders

“Here’s What You Need to Know About this Movement in Your Churches”

 

(As you read this message, keep in mind it was one of many messages delivered yesterday. We each had 25 minutes and were asked to address different parts of the conversation. This is by no means comprehensive nor was the conference. What we hope, by work of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, is that it was a step forward.)

 

We who claim Christ as Lord and surrender our lives to the work of His gospel don’t have the luxury of choosing the times in which we serve but, to be sure, we are chosen for them whether or not we feel up to the task. He is Lord not only over time but over timing.  “Go,” He said, “into all the world and make disciples.” The doors of last century’s world are cemented shut to us. All that is left open is its history and to that, if we are wise, we look and learn. The doors of the world a century from now are not yet open. They will have only our history and, to that, they will surely look and we are left to wonder what they’ll learn. This is the only world we have, fallen as it is. Fallen as it has long since been. Fallen as it will still be until He who will come with the clouds, shall come.

History will shape the face of this generation with a handful of prevailing features but perhaps none more distinguishing than the cause and crisis that bring us to this gathering today. For now the face is still clay. Still malleable for a few more fleeting moments. Sooner than we wish, it will be concrete. A monument to who we were. We must decide now who we will be in this crucial space entrusted to us. As for the world, it is not burying its head in the sand.

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017 was not one person at all. It was a collective of women Time Magazine named in its cover article, “The Silence Breakers.” 

MeToo Movement, created by Tarana Burke in 2006 as part of her own advocacy work, went viral in October 2017 as a hashtag in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Just a few days ago on Monday December 10th, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, both shining light on survivors of sexual violence. To quote Berit Reiss Anderson, chair of the Nobel committee, they were selected “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.” Mukwege, a gynecologist who set up a hospital in the Congo and treated thousands of rape survivors who’d sustained traumatic injuries from militia released this statement:  

“I dedicate this Nobel Prize to women of all countries in the world, harmed by conflict and facing violence every day. … To the survivors from all over the world, I would like to tell you that through this prize, the world is listening to you and refuses to remain indifferent. The world refuses to stand idly in the face of your suffering.” (https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/09/opinions/mukwege-murad-nobel-peace-prize-lemmon/index.html)  

But shall the church stand idly by?

We assume few of us would have stood idly next to such acts of violence as Mukwege and Murad exposed but I’ll submit for your consideration today that, while intensities obviously vary, there is no such thing as a nonviolent sexual crime. The body need bear no bruise or tear for a soul to suffer violence. Each month brings further exposure of sexual misconduct, crime or cover-up in parachurch organizations and institutions, in ministries, on Christian college campuses, seminary campuses and in local churches, the latest being the Star-Telegram Investigation report, released last Sunday concerning widespread abuse within independent fundamental Baptist churches.

So, the question comes again, “Shall the church stand idly by?” I’ve been told by a number of fellow Christians, “I just don’t read articles like that. I don’t want to know.” But I believe we will be held responsible for knowing. All that is left for us to hide behind in the midst of all this exposure is a blindfold we wrapped around our own heads. The film Spotlight tells the story of a team of journalists with the Boston Globe who investigated manifold cases of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests. You’re probably familiar with the quotation from a scene between Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer representing the victims of abuse, and Michael Rezendes the investigating journalist from the Globe. Garabedian states emphatically to him, “Mark my words, Mr. Rezendes, if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.”

For a growing number of Jesus-followers, the answer to the question, shall the church stand idly by is becoming, “No. God forbid it.” Nor shall we mistreat it by lightly treating it. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God charged the leaders of His people – priests and prophets alike – with grievous wrongdoing saying, “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”

We must dress and address this wound to God’s people with seriousness. 

Light that spares itself awareness of the darkness has moved from the doors and windows to airless inner offices where it becomes nothing more than a florescent bulb, turned on and off by a switch, possessing not a whit of holy fire. The light of Christ is not fragile. It is bold. Bright. His light “shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” To His followers He said, “You are the light of the world.” Not of the synagogue or sanctuary. Of the world.

In a vision God gave to the prophet Ezekiel in the 8thchapter, he told Ezekiel to dig a hole in the wall of the sanctuary and behold the atrocities going on behind it. It seems like such a peculiar passage with little or no relevance to us, the Temple in Jerusalem so long gone. Then roll in the last few years and months and weeks and maybe we get the feeling. It feels a little like somebody’s digging holes through our walls.

We are here to gather our courage.

We are here to face that some of our systems have created susceptibility and, unanswered, culpability. We are here to face that, without clarity of teaching and due diligence in training, we have on our hands environments where victimization thrives. Victims fear incurring the wrath of God over distortions of verses like Ps.105:15 that reads, “Do not touch my anointed ones or harm my prophets.” They fear losing the only community they have. They fear being the downfall of the church. They fear not being believed. They fear being blamed and shamed and named. Their fears have too often proved founded.

We are the family of God. As in any family when secrets surface, we have several options before us. We can have the stomach to deal with them and get to the healthy side of them or we can deny and ignore them or we can admit them and sink into despair over them and hemorrhage faith and ultimately exit community.

The only thing we’ve got to lose here that is so prized among us is inordinate power but, in exchange, we will reclaim the power that Christ promised us in Acts 1:8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses.” 

I can’t help but wonder if part of our reluctance to deal with sexual abuse is, for some of us, tied up in our own guilt over sexual sins. Our unwillingness to address these matters head on has left us oddly paralyzed to distinguish between sexual immorality and sexual criminality. Because many of us have been sexually immoral, the kind of sin often viewed as the most shameful of all, how dare we point out those who have been sexually criminal?

We dare indeed and not only because it is the law in these United States but of exceeding importance, we dare because it is right and the only Christlike response of a people who bear His name. The tasks before us are enormous but, heads together, we are well able to take them on. I have so much to learn. We have so much to learn. There is no magic wand to wave over this. But there is the Holy Spirit to invite fully in to empower and equip us. There is wisdom to be gained from those who have been trained in the trenches. Knowledge to be attained from those who were not caught off guard. We can learn. We are disciples, after all. Learning is what we do.

A steeple may fall. A building may crumble. A congregation may disband. But there can be no Ichabod written on the church at large because the church, His Bride, belongs to Christ. He is intent not only on her fidelity and purity but on her flourishing, on her joy, affection and fruitfulness in enduring witness. In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Jesus is depicted walking among the lampstands symbolizing the seven churches. He still walks. He has promised never to leave or forsake His followers. “Surely I am with you always,” He gave us His word, “to the very end of the age.” Galatians 1:4 calls it “the present evil age” and we have seen it live up to its name. Jesus has not forsaken us to it but I think few of us doubt He is cleaning house.

In Jeremiah 8, Jeremiah wept bitterly and cried out words so familiar to us. Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?” Is there no balm in Gilead?

Words of old belonging to a people of old under a covenant of old but there is another question we could pose among us: Is there no balm in the gospel? Is there no great physician?

There is a balm in the gospel for what ails us. We do have the remedy for this woundedness. By His own wounds we are healed. By the life, death, resurrection, ascension and reign of Jesus Christ. By the power of His indwelling Spirit. By His Spirit working through individuals trained and equipped to counsel. (I’d add here, through medical help and treatment.) By the renewal of our minds. “You shall know the truth,” Christ said to listeners self-deceived, “and the truth shall set you free.”

We have good news for the sexually abused and assaulted. “The man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” who “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…He [too] was oppressed and afflicted.” “Out of the anguish of his soul he [has seen].” In the same chapter of Isaiah it is written, “There was no deceit in his mouth.” What do we have of more consequence to the abused than a God who cannot lie. A God who is light and in Him is NO darkness at all? Even the best of humans have the capability of the worst of sins. We will fail people but Jesus is not like us. Jesus has no dark side.

We have good news for the repentant, the broken and sorrowful over their sins. No transgression exceeds the power of the cross. In Him there is redemption, the forgiveness of sins. In Him there is transformation. In Him, restoration. And, with Him, there will always and ever be fruit of true repentance evidenced in brokenness, humility, meekness, accompanied by coinciding actions and conduct, wholly absent of entitlement. We are terrified of proving gullible to those who feign repentance. Rest assured there is fruit of repentance.

I have seen glimpses with my own eyes of what a church can do for victims of sexual abuse and assault. I am a survivor. My home was my unsafe place. My church was my harbor. My church was the place I saw watercolor pictures of Jesus surrounded by happy, playful children, unafraid. My church was the place I saw authenticity and healthy affections in Sunday school teachers, mission leaders, pastors, student and music ministers. Home was not where I thrived. Church was. Still, I had a terrible secret and nowhere to take it. That secret would haunt me and harass me, coax me into copious poor decisions and nearly kill me before I’d finally spill it and fumble my way in the haze to a road that would lead to healing.

I have often wondered what a difference it might have made if that safe harbor had not only been a place to hide but a place to heal. What if I’d heard my pastor or my teachers or any of my leaders address what I was going through, call it what it was, say that I wasn’t to blame and not to be ashamed? What if they’d shared a safe place I could go to tell what I’d endured? What if I’d known I wasn’t alone? What if I’d known there was help? What if tens of thousands of us had?

Many people have not had the positive experience I had in church life. For mind-numbing numbers of women and girls, men and boys, the church has been an unsafe place. Should that not change with all we know, with all that has been revealed, with all we’ve seen and heard, God help us, for judgment begins with His house.

We all know the story of Jesus entering the temple, driving out the merchants and overturning the tables of the money-changers and flipping the seats of the pigeon salesmen. Most of us could recite exactly what He said to them and with no low volume, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” That is Matthew 21:13. What often goes unnoticed is what happens next without a single intervening word. Matthew 21:14 reads, “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.”

Right there among the overturned tables, amid birdcages strewn and unlatched, pigeons flying, feathers floating, right there where coins had scarcely quit rolling, Jesus healed.

He is turning over our tables. He is flinging what we’ve too often been found selling – that the favor of God can be bought by those with clout and that sin-infected systems can be protected – and He’s setting the pigeons we’re selling to flight. Oh, don’t think Jesus can’t make a mess. He can. He’s making one among us now. Turning things upside down to put things right-side up. But right there, next to all that He’s strewn and flung to high heaven, Jesus heals if we, the blind and lame by our own admission, would draw near.

Several years ago after an event, I met a young mother who introduced me to her darling 10-year old adopted daughter. I love preadolescent girls so much and immediately leaned over to talk with her when her mother interjected, “She has a background like yours.” A knife went through my heart because I knew what she had to have meant.  I looked at the child’s face and she nodded timidly and I knew, as much as I wanted to weep, this was no time for that. It was not what she needed from me. “Oh, my goodness,” I said. “I am so sorry. But do you know what that means?” She shook her head no. “That means you get to learn how to be strong in Jesus in a way maybe lots of people won’t. You get to learn who you are in Him and how precious you are to Him because people like you and me have to in order to have healthy happy hearts. We get to know Jesus like some people may never bother knowing Him. Somebody very wrong made us feel really small, but now we get to learn how to stand really really tall.”*

And none of that was pretentious or overblown. Don’t tell me there’s no balm in the Gospel. Don’t tell me there’s no Great Physician. I know better. We know better. Let’s do better. 

 

 

*The little girl was blessed to have a very wise mother who was proactive in every way (medical doctors, professional counselors, etc.)  in regard to the child’s road to healing. I asked the mother those questions immediately after speaking with the child.

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From ERLC Parenting Panel: Prayers Drawn from Scripture for Your Children

Blessed to serve you, parents. I hope these selections put a little extra iron in your blood as you persist in prayer for your children. Not one moment spent in prayer is ever wasted. We will not always get what we ask but we are always heard by our gracious and merciful God as we voice our petitions in the name of Christ, His Son. And this we know: He loves our children.
Beth
Click here to print prayers:

Parent-Prayers Armed With Scripture

 

 

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Introducing…The Sisters Series!

 

Share your questions with us here! https://bit.ly/SistersSeriesForm

Hey, Everybody!

God has been so gracious to keep us caught up in Him at Living Proof and inspired to do – or at least try to do! – new things. He’s added some of our very favorite things to LPM this year like Tuesday Prayer Hour, for instance, where we open our ministry doors and pray for anybody who walks through them every Tuesday at noon and like Invited, our monthly worship gathering for women. He’s also added incredibly gifted women to our staff who bring all sorts of new elements and opportunities to serve you. All of our staff members are so gifted and serve women actively and tirelessly in ways you may never see up front but they are part of every event and every opportunity we have. Not one is dispensable. We don’t have extra staff around LPM. Every employee plays a critical part in the ministry. In recent years it’s been impossible for me to miss that God is increasingly bringing us staff members who are gifted not only behind the scenes but also, I believe, in front of the screen. You’ll be meeting them more and more over the coming months.

Nothing excites me more than seeing women develop as communicators of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have been very reluctant in past years to throw employees up in front of the screen or on the blog for several reasons. First, the more out front we are, the more of a target we become for criticism and ridicule and it’s just not fun to watch people I employ get subjected to that.  It’s flat-out unavoidable in our current culture. Second, I have enough trouble just answering for myself. Being responsible for every syllable that comes out of another mouth publicly at LPM seemed daunting to me. But I’m over that now and I’ll tell you why. Nobody gets it right all the time. Everybody has to have space to grow. Everybody at times says more than he or she knows. Our mouths inevitably overshoot our knowledge. If we’re only allowed to put people out there who can keep everybody pleased, then we need to close the doors at LPM and vacate the building because we’ve got no one to offer.

But what we DO have to offer is a team of women who really, really love Jesus, who have lots of joy amid lots of legit troubles, who have active prayer lives and believe with all our hearts that the primary way to get to know God is through the study of His Word. What we DO have is a team of women who are willing to step out there into the unknown and serve you at the risk of missing it at times. What we DO have is a team of women willing to do just about anything to serve you well and absolutely anything to be obedient to the leadership of the Spirit.

Today it is my tremendous honor to introduce you to one of our very willing team members. Please meet Selena Schorken. She’s been at LPM for almost a year and I was captivated by her the first time I met her. If I recall correctly, she’d only been with us a couple of months when I pulled her aside and asked her if she’d ever consider coming on screen with me. It’s not often that I have a fellow ham at LPM (I don’t know if “ham” translates to all of you but think the reverse of spotlight-shy) but these days, I have a few of them, and you can bet sooner or later you’re going to meet them.

Selena and I are teaming up together to bring you a new little element that we hope will serve you even if occasionally all it serves you is some clean ridiculousness. We are calling it “Sisters Series” where we talk about what you want to talk about. These will be 15 minute (or less) videos where we take questions or subjects you’ve suggested and Selena and I take them on. Our ages are separated by nearly 4 solid decades and that’s one of the things that we think might make it extra fun when it’s more lighthearted and give it more dimension and complexity when the subject is a little heavier.

So, what kinds of questions and subjects? You tell us! That’s where YOU come in. Think more in terms of conversations between sisters than teaching segments because of the time restriction but that doesn’t mean there will be nothing taught. We’ll let it go where God takes it. Just think in terms of entries that lean more toward mentoring questions or sister-like questions or very specific Bible questions or meaningless-but-fun personal questions that could be answered in a fifteen minute or less time frame.

You’ll find your link for entering questions right under the intro video above and, if you’re willing, we’d love to be able to say your first name and what city you’re from and your basic age group so that you become part of that segment, too. If you are entering a question that you want to be kept anonymous, be sure and tell us!

We love serving you guys. We hope this will be some edification and encouragement in a social media world where manure is constantly flying. To duck it for just a few minutes seems like a respite to us. That’s what we’re hoping for our new Sisters Series.

With much affection,

Beth

 

 

 

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In Response to the SWBTS Board of Trustees Decision

Like many of you, I was taken by surprise by the May 30th release of the statement by the SWBTS Board of Trustees Executive Committee concerning the termination of Dr. Paige Patterson in its dramatic contrast to their previous decision. I do not know what the new allegations were or what added information brought them to this decision. What is clearly stated, however, is that they came to their decision unanimously and took action immediately and did so in order to be consistent with the biblically informed core values of SWBTS. They did so in order to make crystal clear that the Seminary stands and will stand against all forms of abuse. And they did so to grieve for individuals wounded by abuse. For these reasons, I deeply respect their decision and applaud their tremendous courage in what has surely been a brutal process. The committee members, too, should be in our prayers.

 

These are sobering days. These are days for each of us to go on our faces before God, searching our own sin-prone hearts, repenting for our own transgressions and asking God to dislodge planks out of our own eyes. We can and often do hold to attitudes so long that are so wrong, so skewed, but shared by so many people with tattered Bibles, marked by highlighters and sketched with margin notes that how could we be wrong? Especially after we were right about so many other things?

 

These things ought to scare us to death. These things are presently scaring me to death. Only a fool gloats when others fail. He or she is surely next. The mighty arm of God is swinging. He is so patient, merciful and kind. I do not doubt that He has urged and urged these matters to repentance and transformation only to be resisted and now, no less out of His mercy, grace and love for the church, He is coming swiftly. All those standing, beating their chests, are at a dangerous altitude for getting hit. The only safe place for any of us right now is down low. From there God will set us back on our feet in due time, freshly humbled and, therefore, ready for greater works to come as we carry the torch of the gospel in an increasingly dark world.

 

I without hesitation fully support the Trustees’ removal of Dr. Patterson but without pleasure or personal satisfaction. I only have sorrow for the excruciating pain the Patterson family is surely enduring. They will be in my prayers for a long time. So will those who have suffered the double heap of pain in having been hurt then unheard, particularly by those who were in positions to be protectors. There are many matters outside my realm of experience but, having served women for thirty-five years, this is not one of them. I am very familiar with the ravages of sexual molestation, harassment, abuse, assault and rape. I am very familiar with the demoralizing numbers of victims within our church culture silenced by fear, intimidation, shame, bullying and such manipulation of biblical submission as to border on pathological. These are acts of second-wave abuse, beyond civil action in court perhaps, but not beyond the court of the Ancient of Days. May He have mercy on us all.

 

Here is what I also know. I know how much healing can come when those who added to the hurt and did not act faithfully – or rightly repent when confronted with such – ultimately repent then, rather than shrinking back in shame, become an active part of restoration. My deep hope is that Dr. Patterson will take the necessary time to heal, reflect, seek counsel, as so many of us have, to determine what went wrong and why, then become active in helping create a healthier culture for both men and women marked by Christlikeness. What full redemption that would be. What honor and dignity.

 

What outshines this present darkness is the stunning number of courageous people who gleam like stars in the sky, holding firmly to the word of life in a warped and crooked generation.

 

*People like Megan Lively, who valiantly came forward, giving the Seminary the gift of opportunity to act rightly in the surfacing knowledge of woefully long-wrongs. There are others whose names are not public who also showed tremendous courage in telling their stories to those in positions to affect much needed change.

 

*People like the SWBTS Trustees who worked tirelessly and prayerfully to come to the right decision under terribly difficult circumstances.

 

*The burgeoning number of pastors, ministers and brothers in Christ who have spoken up and are presently speaking out against the abuse and misuse of women and girls and calling for the dignity and honor to be given them that Christlikeness demands. I have no words big enough to express my gratitude to God for the brothers who were simply never part of the disesteem in the first place.

 

*The countless women who have simply hung in there and served God through their churches. Also, the women who have been called into the ring at significant personal expense to fight lovingly and brilliantly for change. Karen Swallow Prior cannot go without mention among these. She is too good for this world but, Dear Lord in Heaven, how grateful we are that she is still in it.

 

The winds of change have been blowing for a while. But these winds have been upgraded to a hurricane. A holy hurricane. And what you do after a hurricane – I know this for a fact – is roll up your sleeves, love like you’ve never loved before, prepare for a long haul of healing, run first to the aid of those with the most destruction then to the larger community hurting, survey the damage, clean out the mud and debris and start rebuilding on solid rock.

 

“and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18

 

 

 

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