Tomorrow Will Be Anxious for Itself: Finding Grace and Peace for Today

"Life is lived forwards but understood backwards." I believe that my Christian preaching professor was quoting someone else when he spoke these words in class more than eight years ago, but I attribute them to him and have never forgotten them.

Back in perhaps late October or early November (I don't remember now), the women's minister at my church called me. The speaker they had lined up for their Fall Women's Coffee event had cancelled; would I step in. I agreed. With less than a month to prepare I prayed for a text for the coffee event. The Lord kept leading me to Matthew 6:25-34, "Do not be anxious...".

By God's grace, I gave the same talk at two different times on this passage on November 13. I said that the answer to incessant anxiety or worry even when our circumstances are grim is believing and knowing that God is a good father who loves us.

Life was going pretty well, by the way.

Then four days after I gave this talk, I had an unusual thing happen that prompted me to seek a colonoscopy.

The colonoscopy showed I had ulcerative colitis (UC), an auto-immune disease that attacks the colon. Ironically, my husband had suffered from the same disease for the past 12 years and we both had UC in the same spots of our colons!

On the heels of grappling with a new diagnosis, just two weeks after my colonoscopy, our 4 year old son went to the bathroom and also had an unusual thing happen. He was too young to have this disease and it would be too coincidental if he and I would "get" it at the same time!

After a tumultuous two months and some odd weeks of doctor's visits, blood work, stool samples and tears, he finally had a colonoscopy two weeks ago that revealed colitis. Three days after his colonoscopy, he began having abdominal pain. This led to him being hospitalized last week with pancreatitis and learning that his colitis is in fact Crohn's colitis. Two days after being home from the hospital, I fell ill very quickly. I went to the doctor just this Saturday and learned I had bronchitis and what she thought was a virus. She didn't test me for the flu. Sunday I thought I was going to die. Yesterday I tested positive for the flu.

Two Mondays ago, hours before we took Philip to the ER, I listened to the talk I gave that November morning for the first time despite the fact that I hate listening to my voice. I listened to myself, an earlier self without any real problems, talk about trusting in God's goodness and his love for us as our Father. I listened to myself say that when we take our eyes off of our circumstances and place them on the goodness and love of God we find relief from our anxiety and worry.

I believe often times it is the teacher who learns the most when he/she prepares to teaches. I don't know if God gave that message for anyone in those rooms on November 13, but I do know I needed the message. Perhaps I didn't need the message on Nov. 13, but I needed it last week, this week, and even today. I don't think it was a coincidence that the Fall Women's Coffee speaker cancelled or that God put the Matthew 6 text  on my heart. He knew that I was about to enter into a time when I would possibly question his goodness and his love for me. He knew that I was about to face a diagnosis of my own and of my beloved son's. He knew that I was about to go through the ringer of physical exhaustion and face situations that would cause great worry.

Perhaps I still don't understand looking backwards why these things have taken place (I don't know if I ever should), but I do understand looking backwards that God was reminding me of his goodness and love (and even had me teach on it!) on the cusp of when I would need reminding of it the most.

I don't know what's going on in your world, but perhaps you, too, need reminding of God's love and goodness. If so, you can listen to the talk I gave here.

Silence and Solidarity

As I work on upcoming blog posts, I thought I would post this article written by my former dean Dr. Timothy George of Beeson Divinity School. He, along with the voices of others, continues to remind us of the plight of people in Iraq and Syria. He writes, "And yet—and yet—there are times in human history when persons of faith cannot play neutral or simply stand by on the sidelines. There are times when they are compelled by conscience to call evil by name and speak out against it with conviction. And they must do this not merely out of a concern for their own personal or national self-protection but precisely as persons of faith—in the name of decency and love and of all that is human and humane. Today is such a time. ... Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

May it not be said of Western Christians that we didn't speak or that we didn't act.

You can read the post on First Things here.

As always, let me know what you think.

Ask me

My goal in blogging since 2009 has been two-fold: to bring glory to God and to minister to my readers. For the most part, my posts have been driven by things close to my heart or issues that matter to me and which I think will matter to others. Even though at different times I have asked for feedback and input into the blog, I have not made a concerted effort to hear from you. That is until today.

Please check out my new page called, Ask me, found at the top right of the page. On this page you will be able to comment or reply with a question or issue you want me to address in my blog, and I hope you will. Or, if you want it to remain more private, you can e-mail me at with the subject line, Ask me. 

Thank you for reading along, and I hope to hear from you soon!

What's Wrong with the Young, Restless and Reformed (YRR) Movement?

'What is Wrong With the Young, Restless and Reformed Movement' is the title of a recent essay written by Dr. Paul Owen, professor of Greek and Religious Studies at Montreat College in North Carolina. Owen, though a Calvinist, separates himself from these "newbie" Calvinists, also known as the Young, Restless and Reformed, and even goes as far as posing the question, Why does he "sometimes feel more of a kinship with non-Calvinists of various flavors, than with the children of Geneva."

Though lengthy and sometimes overt with arrogance on his part, I think it is an important response to those who identify themselves as belonging to this movement. Who is the Young, Restless and Reformed? Here's how Owen describes them:

I have discovered that the person who really spends a lot of time talking about the "doctrines of grace," tends to fit a typical profile. They tend to be male (rarely do you find women sitting around arguing about the details of TULIP), intellectually arrogant, argumentative, insecure (and therefore intolerant), and prone to constructing straw-man arguments.

He also says that for many of these "newbies" they describe their discovery of Calvinism in terms likened to a second conversion experience. Though his description is a bit exaggerated, overall it hits the mark in my opinion.

While reading this essay, I appreciated how Owen gives concessions to his "non-Calvinism brothers," which, I believe, is for the purpose of showing those YRR folks that non-Calvinists get a lot of things right too. I also appreciate that Owen says, although he is a Calvinist, the doctrine of TULIP is not Scripture itself nor is it the gospel. "The Spirit of God is not going to be present and operative in the promotion of TULIP as the essence of the Christian religion," he writes. 

Probably for the YRR within my denomination (SBC), I thought this paragraph was both prophetic and provocative:

One final note. I am not a Baptist, but I suspect much of the discussion about Calvinism in the SBC is looking more at the symptoms than the disease. The disease is not Calvinism. There have been strict Baptist Calvinists on the scene since at least the seventeenth century. The disease is the TULIP cult of today's spiritually sick Church. It is the TULIP cult mindset that seems to be tearing apart the SBC. For whatever else you can say about the Baptist tradition, it is most certainly a version of Christianity which finds the gospel of the Cross and the offer of free forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus as its operating center. When you have men in the SBC who are more zealous evangelists for conversions to Calvinism than conversions to Christ, more earnest in their apologetics for TULIP than for the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, more excited about the doctrines of grace than the gospel itself—coexistence is going to be difficult.

In conclusion, I don't agree with everything Owen writes in this essay, and like I previously mentioned he tends to do that which he criticizes – speak arrogantly. But with a little discernment, I think the reader (you and me) can take away some helpful critiques and warnings concerning the YRR.

You can read the article here: and feel free to comment letting me know what you thought about the essay!

Giveaway Update

Since I have no way to contact Erin, who commented on the giveaway for Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes, I hope she will read this. 

Erin, you were the winner of Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes. If you want to receive the book, please e-mail me at by Friday. Please see my previous post with the winner announcement. If I haven't heard from you by Friday, I will choose another winner. 

Thank you! I am eager to get this book into the hands of someone! :)



The Rich Fool

I am a little behind in posting this week because of a sinus infection that has me down temporarily. In the meantime, I thought I'd share with you the link to my husband's sermon in Beeson Divinity School chapel service yesterday. I was so proud of God's Word being spoken through him. Hope you'll give it a listen and may it be a blessing to you.