Do We Trust God?- Patriarchy, Abuse, and a Radical Call to Biblical Christianity

Does abuse make it okay for women* to divorce their husbands?

That’s the question of the day…and it’s a toughie.

(*This post is framed in terms of female victims and male aggressors, because it’s easier to speak specifically that way – and it’s more common for physical abuse. But we all know women are also dirty sinners who need Jesus, and can be abusers just as easily.)

God hates divorce.

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

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Jesus told us that He allowed it because of our sinfulness…but He also made it clear that He designed marriage for something better.

“And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” (Matt. 19:9)

So, short answer:

I don’t see “abuse” mentioned here.

But that’s a hard thing to say to the woman whose husband beats her, verbally destroys her, or otherwise degrades her body, mind and heart. That’s not how it’s meant to be. God’s heart breaks with ours for her.

But what does God’s word say we should do?

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Jesus is God (John 1:1-5), created the world (Heb. 1:1-4), and is the exact radiance of His Father.

And yet – he suffered abuse! Isaiah 53:3-11 describes the “Man of sorrows” who suffered cruelty, mockery, and literal whips and nails.

Your husband abusing you does not mean you’ve done something wrong!

God says men should be the leaders of the family (1 Cor. 11:3) and love [their] wives, as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25). But they screw up. A lot.

Big surprise. Adam, the very first man, the first human, and the perfect creation of God, chose to reject his Creator – and doomed us all.

Yes, you are a sinner. But you are not responsible for others’ sin.

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

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Jesus – perfect, sinless God-man – suffered and died…for us.

Job – faithful servant of God – suffered horribly. He went from the rich owner of many herds, happy father of many children, faithful benefactor of orphans and widows, and devoted worshipper of God, to:

Penniless father of dead children, whose own wife advised him to “Curse God and die!”, sick and sore-covered worshiper of God. Remember: his own “friends” came over while he was treating his boils with ashes and accused him of the equivalent of “running a pedophile ring” or something…

And “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong” (Job 1:22).

Shelby (I’m going to call this theoretical abused woman “Shelby”) – your husband is doing horrible, wicked things. That doesn’t mean you’ve sinned! Are there choices you made in the past that could have led here? Absolutely! But suffering is not always a punishment! (see Acts 5:40-41)

So…”how then should we live?” How can we honor God in the midst of these sinful circumstances?

Be Imitators of God

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

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Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Eph. 5:1-4)

Ephesians 5 is a classic passage for talking about marriage…but do you see how the chapter starts?

“Be imitators of God…” That’s how you start. Don’t let yourself be controlled by what your husband is doing…you keep your eyes on Jesus.

“Be pure and free of coveting…watch how you walk, so as to separate yourselves from the sons of darkness, and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ!”

God never promised it would be easy. In fact, He promised we couldn’t do it – not without His help and His Holy Spirit living inside us. But take comfort from the words of Paul:

If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.

For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.

For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Cor. 7: 13-16)

I don’t see from this that Shelby (our suffering wife) can leave her husband. But if he wants to leave, she has no obligation to stop him, or pursue him. If she found Jesus, and he refused Jesus – she is to live at peace.

This is the adornment of the daughters of God: quiet spirit, humble attitude, a servant’s heart (see 1 Peter 3:1-6). You will stand out from the women of the world, and display the truth of God’s word by living this way.

What does that look like when you’re scared to go home? I don’t know. But I know God will be with you.

“What Can Man Do To Me?”

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity“Abuse” takes many forms. Some British politicians suggested expanding it to “economic abuse.”

But a husband who beats his wife is obviously sinning. He is not being considerate of the fact she’s a delicate flower compared to him (1 Peter 3:7), nor honoring her as he honors his own body (Eph. 5:28-31).

“Shelby” can’t make him care about that, of course. So –

What can Shelby do? And what are the possible outcomes?

  • Shelby might die.

Okay. If Shelby belongs to Jesus…then she just graduated and shot to her place under the altar before the throne of God (Rev. 6:9-11)!

Yes, death is serious, and we shouldn’t be flippant about it…but let’s be real about Who we serve. Jesus, the Grand Executor of Death.

No, I don’t think we should go around advising the Shelbys in our lives to hope her husband kills her – but we need to get a grip on what we’re really afraid of.

Suffering is bad. Pain is bad. But they’re not something we can’t face – and in fact, even death is something Christians have faced throughout history…often gladly. Singing hymns as the stones flew, or the lions ate them.

This is where Shelby’s response to her husband is going to be crucial.

Now, God’s not going to disinherit her if she responds badly (gossiping, backbiting, disrespecting him, etc.)…but think of the glory when she is faithful – patient, peace-making, respectful, gentle-hearted! When her neighbors and relatives look at her life and death, they will say, “How could she put up with that? Why did she submit to him without enabling him?”

The answer, of course, will be: only through the POWER of Jesus! (Matt. 5:43-44)

(Besides, life in prison might be where Shelby’s husband finally breaks and turns to Jesus.)

  • Shelby’s kids might die.

This is a more serious consideration…but again, if they belong to Jesus, that just means they’re home free.

And besides, on what basis do we want concerned individuals taking children away from their families? God gave these children to this family…and even if we can’t understand His logic, it’s our duty as Christians to do things His way – especially when it’s hard.

With that in mind, should Shelby send them away (to her mom’s, to foster care, etc.) – while staying in the house to witness to her husband? See the 1 Cor. 7 passage above…I’m not convinced from God’s word that we should break up this family as our first option – but more on that below.

  • Shelby’s husband may be convicted, turn from his sin, and surrender to Jesus.

Hallelujah!

  • Shelby may sin.

Either by leaving him, responding in kind (evil for evil), or some other response that’s contrary to God’s word.

Sure, God can forgive her…but –

…if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?

And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. (Rom. 3:7-8)

As much as it breaks our hearts, as Christian brothers and sisters to the Shelbys in our lives it is our duty to remind them of God’s truth and help them live it out.

  • Shelby may break under the strain, and abandon her faith in Jesus.

This is even worse than outright death. As Christians, we know that physical death only affects our bodies – but Jesus gave His own blood to the whip and to the cross to rescue us from spiritual death.

When we put our trust in God, believe what He did for us, and claim His death as our own, we become part of the refugee-party.

If Shelby turns her back on this, saying something like, “I can’t believe in a God who would make me suffer like this,” then what else could possibly save her? God literally already gave His Only Son for her…what more could be given? What other blood could wash away her sins and seal her for the New Earth?

  • Other people may see her suffering, and decide that God doesn’t care.

I don’t have to explain this one, do I? It’s a classic atheist excuse for ignoring God:

“Well, if God is real, why does He allow X, Y, or Z?”

Real Christians know the answers to this: “Are you able to drink the cup I drink?” God allows us free will – and since Adam, we have chosen suffering and oppression – but He also made a way to fix things…through the blood of His own innocent Son, Jesus.

If the people of the world still won’t understand…that’s on them. Not on Shelby, and not on her friends nor the other Christians in her life.

But – this does give us the opportunity to ask: what can we do about it?

How can we show the world the great compassion of God – without breaking His word?

To Comfort Widows and Orphans in Distress

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

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We know God cares about women. Just one quick example: while Jesus was hanging from His wrists and the shredded muscles of His back were sticking to the wood behind Him, He still took the time to make sure His mother had a designated person to give her a roof and meals and protection (John 19:26-27).

As Christians, we’ve faced what we’re really afraid of about abuse…and we’ve reminded ourselves of how God calls us to live. So what does it actually look like, in the physical world? What does it look like to live like God – pleasing Him and helping the hurting?

We Can’t Start By Trusting Ourselves

I know what my very first response is.

If I saw my good friend “Shelby” being punched and yelled at by her husband, I would storm over there with a pitchfork, load her and her kids into my car, and move them into my house until her husband agreed to counseling, or went to jail.

And that – is not from the Bible. That’s from my own heart and head.

Why does God allow evil? Because He allows us a choice — He gives all of us free will…that means Shelby’s husband and Shelby.

Kidnapping Shelby because it’s “in her best interests” is denying her the free will and responsibility she has before God! She has no chance to submit to a sinful husband if I jump in and interfere! She has no chance to confront her husband with Scripture and pray over him as he abuses her.

My heart breaks for those who suffer – and that’s as it should be! But I must never, ever say “I have to do X, Y, or Z, otherwise P, Q, or J bad-thing will happen.” When I do that, I’m not trusting God.

Just like Shelby is not responsible for her husband’s choices, I cannot be responsible for her choices. I can pray for her, tell her what I think is best, and offer all the help I can give…but the decision has to be hers.

Love One Another

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. (1 Cor. 13:4-6)

So how can Shelby love her husband – while obeying God’s word, showing the world the beauty of a humble and submissive spirit, and warning him of the consequences of his sin?

Well…God tells us to “be subject to governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1-4) and “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Matt 22:16-21).

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

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And spousal abuse is – illegal.

Penalties and definitions will vary depending on where you live…but beating your spouse is Assault and Battery.

Shelby, you have a duty to the civil authority to report that. Maybe you don’t want to, maybe you’re afraid what will happen if you do, but your husband’s sin hurts his relationship with God. As his wife, you have a duty to respect him by not gossiping to neighbors and friends, not talking behind his back, not lashing out in anger or using foolish speech, not retaliating or losing your temper yourself…but you also have a duty as his spiritual partner to encourage his relationship with Jesus.

Does he claim to be a follower of Christ? Remind him of God’s word, and discuss his behavior as his concerned sister and soul-mate. Don’t sugar-coat sin…but don’t use personal disagreements as an excuse to attack his spiritual walk. Remember: your goal is to ingest, live, and breathe out Scripture so both of you can draw closer to your King.

Does your husband not have a relationship with Jesus?

Then he doesn’t have the Holy Spirit living inside him, raking him over the coals of conscience every time he loses his temper.

Either way, Shelby, you won’t help him by misrepresenting his actions (lying), making excuses for him (like shifting blame to yourself), or helping him escape the consequences of his actions.

When my brother and I were little, our parents regularly prayed that, if we snuck around to do something we shouldn’t, that we would be caught! Pray the same for your husband (and children)!

If your husband physically attacks you, call the police! File a report, and send him to jail! God gave the government the “sword” so they can punish wrong-doers.

You can still visit him, and speak God’s truth to him. Maybe facing real consequences for his bad behavior will finally teach him some restraint.

Easy? Of course not. And it’s all the harder because this is a choice only you can make. Don’t ask your sister or Sunday School teacher or pastor or neighbor to file a police report for something that happened to you. You are the one with a duty to your husband, and your children…honor the “emperor” and allow him jurisdiction over your abusive husband.

Trust and Obey

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical ChristianityMaybe you’re a different Shelby — your husband doesn’t beat you, but he does verbally hurt you and belittle you and stomp on your emotions.

This is also a hard road, but that’s no excuse for leaving the path God has drawn for us.

Eat His word. Not devotionals, not other human’s advice – God’s actual inspired word in the Bible. If you are a Christian, then His Holy Spirit lives inside you, and He will give you strength to follow where He leads.

Even if He leads you to the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6)

He will even surround you with brothers and sisters in Jesus to encourage you and testify when you are walking the hard but straight path.

What About the Rest of Us?

How can we “comfort widows and orphans in their distress” (James 1:27) – without breaking God’s word, and without trying to be responsible for everyone else’s choices?!

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

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Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:15-16)

Recognizing that we will never “change the world”…that we will never create a utopia where every man is perfectly loving and kind to his wife and children, and every wife is respectful and supportive of her husband, and all the children obey their parents with good attitudes the first time…*takes breath* in spite of our weaknesses and the broken state of the world, what can we do?

Point Everyone to Jesus

Only when they fix their eyes completely and exclusively on Jesus will husbands—

  • shun porn and satisfy themselves with their wives;
  • sacrifice their dreams and career ambitions to disciple their children and spend quality time with their wives;
  • love their wives enough to tell them the hard truths of God, so their womenfolk can grow into the fully mature princesses they were created to be;
  • give gentle and patient answers to sarcasm, ridicule, passive-aggression, manipulation, and bullying;
  • stand between their daughters and the world, letting their precious girls know that nobody will hurt them and live to tell about it;
  • other things God calls men to!

Only when they fall head-over-heels in love with Jesus can wives—

  • let their husbands do the “men” jobs, even when they’re bumbling around and not doing it well;
  • trade the world’s measure of success (based on education, money, achievement, and social standing) for God’s measure…and then devote themselves to training their children to love God, love others, have humble hearts, and trust Him alone;
  • trust God completely, and let their children make the mistakes that God will use to instruct them (you can’t live their lives for them, after all!);
  • do all that, and still have time to host strangers in their homes, donate time and resources to the poor, share the Good News with their neighbors, etc. (Titus 2; Prov. 31);
  • basically show the world what a woman ruled by the Spirit of God acts like!

We are called to be a distinct people – a kingdom of priests – set apart and holy.

So “…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy…”Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

Which comes from 1 Peter 3:

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (vv. 13-17)

Confront Sin

Does Shelby’s husband claim to be a Christian? Well, then, men of the church – you have a God-given duty to march over to his house and ask him, “Whut?!”

Let’s do this right, though. Check out Matthew 18.

Jim, you saw the bruises on Shelby’s face. So, you take Alex with you as a witness, and go over to the Shelby household. Sit her husband down and ask, “What the heck, man?”

Get his side of the story. Get at the truth.

Tell him, “husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.

“He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body.” (Eph. 5:28b-30)

“You don’t go banging your head into the wall, eh, man? So stop defiling the name of your Lord and sinning against His daughter and our spiritual sister, and straighten up.”

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

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If he doesn’t listen to you, the next step is to talk to the elders of the church. But you don’t need me to read Matthew 18 to you…you can figure this out. The point is, there’s a God-honoring way to do this.

And if Nadab and Abihu taught us anything, it’s – sad things happen when we don’t follow God’s instructions! AKA two wrongs don’t make a right.

(Check out Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. Some guy was living with his step-mother – and in his first letter Paul chewed them out for not dealing with it like the sin it was. From the second letter, we can glean that the church kicked the guy out until he straightened up…and Paul encouraged them to repair their relationships because the guy had repented. In the house of God, discipline always longs for repentance and reconciliation…because the goal is holiness.)

Open God’s word. Pray. Do it right.

Don’t try to make their choices for them…but point them to Jesus and His word.

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)

Stop Shaming Singles

Shelby got into this marriage somehow, right?

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianty

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Okay, frankly, I’ve been really blessed…I’ve only had one really painful conversation, and it was with my grandparents, who I know love me dearly.

But…

We all know youth group is for the teenagers to pair off. A lot of our seminars and “retreats” are geared towards husbands and wives…which, y’know, is great ‘cause that’s a large percentage of the population…but it kinda leaves us singles out in the cold.

I’m not the only one feeling this, either. The idea that singleness is just a “stage” on the way to marriage (and that marriage is the great end goal of our lives) permeates our unconscious attitudes and word choices. If you’re pushing thirty and still not posting baby pictures on Facebook, what’s wrong with you?!

Obviously, marriage is a fantastic gift from God. GK Chesterton said something like, “Don’t complain that God doesn’t let you enjoy all the women. Marvel that He allows you to have one.”

I think I’ve already discussed in this very post how a sanctified marriage, forged in imitation of the God-Head and His Church, built on the foundation of His word and for His glory, is a beautiful thing.

But here I am, late twenties, never been on a date. Never been asked on a date.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yes – I dearly, passionately wish I was married by this time! I have friends in my small group just a few years older than I am, whose third kid is already a year old!

But God has not led me to marriage. I’ve been too busy working at the job He gave me, visiting people He wants me to minister to, learning spiritual lessons He wants to teach me, and sharing His Good News with the people He sent me to.

Yes, a God-honoring marriage is glory and blessing.

But God-honoring chastity and celibacy and patience in the face of alone-ness is also glory and blessing.

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

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Let’s teach our young people to be satisfied with Jesus! Show your young women and girls they have a church family that will always be there for them and protect them.

Then, maybe they won’t be so desperate and vulnerable that they fall for the first smooth-talking abuser-in-waiting who makes them “feel” special. My great-grandpa had a saying: “Better to be single than wishing you were.”

(Yes, to Shelby this might feel like “closing the barn door after the horse has escaped,” but there are other future-Shelbys out there we need to protect!)

In the world out there, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a romance novel, or a movie with a romantic subplot, or an advertisement with sexual undertones, or a person with a broken heart and a string of failed relationships.

Church, let’s teach the whole council of God.

Let’s teach people the high and holy duties of a Christian marriage, yes…but let’s also teach our young people that they are not defined by a romantic relationship!

If our children and grandchildren belong to Jesus, that is the only relationship in their lives that matters! And if a seminary professor, or an angel from heaven!, were to take a knee and ask for your daughter’s hand…a 1000 times better for her to say, “No,” than to violate God’s will for her life!

And even if he’s a “nice” “Christian” guy – if her eyes are on his hot body, or her own loneliness, or financial security or people’s opinion of her or anything other than the Incarnate God-Man our Master Jesus Anointed-One, then SHE IS DOING IT WRONG.

And with a start like that, who’s surprised when their marriage is full of selfishness, manipulation, bullying, deception, and suffering?

Can God redeem a fallen relationship like this?

Is Jesus descended from King David, whose grandmother Ruth was a Moabitess, whose founding ancestor Moab was the son of Lot by Lot’s own daughter?

(In case you’re wondering…yes. The answer is yes. Matt. 1 and Gen. 19.)

Buuuut…do we want to create situations for God to redeem?

As Paul said to a similar question, “By no means!…” (Rom. 3:6).

So…teach our young men and ladies to be satisfied with Jesus.

If Shelby is a Christian…she really, really shouldn’t marry a non-Christian. No matter how polite, rich, or hot he is. Even if he’s a delightful man who never abuses her at all – this is not the will of God for His daughters (1 Cor. 7, among others).

And teach them the red flags to look for, to detect potential abusers before the fact.

But that’s going to require something else:

Be More Than Sunday Acquaintances

Actually involve yourself in Shelby’s life. She could be your sister, your mother, your daughter…or your neighbor, your coworker, or someone in your church.

Do you smile and nod and ask, “Hi, how are you?” without really listening to the answer?

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

That’s a problem.

Do you invest in Shelby’s life, know her kids and what they’re busy with, take casseroles over to her house when she’s sick, know what her husband does for a living, etc.? Obviously you can’t be this involved with every family in the church…but you’re not called to be. You’re only called to get involved with the families God has placed in your life.

Is Shelby in your small group or Sunday school class? Are her kids in the same class as your kids? Is she your neighbor? Your sister?

The Good Samaritan didn’t go up and down the land of Israel looking for robbery victims to help. He just happened to be on his way to work, when God put someone in his path…someone in need. And the Samaritan helped him…regardless of how late it made him, or how expensive the medical care was, or whether people walking by would think mean things about him as he lifted the man onto his donkey.

If you are a part of Shelby’s life, then you’ll notice the signs that something isn’t right. And you’ll have the moral cred to step in and help when she needs it. She’ll know you’re not just there to tell her how to run her life…that you actually care.

Because you’ve been there for her.

Shelby – do you have mature Christian women in your life to do this? If not – go find some! Don’t look for women who will just cry and feel bad and hug you (although you will need that sometimes)…look for women who love Jesus more than they love you, and will show you in His word when you’re doing something wrong.

Flag the Wolves

I think the reason a lot of people are uncomfortable with this topic is that, too often, everything has been handled the wrong way.

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

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Shelby’s husband puts a good face on it, and the situation devolves into “he said, she said.”

Or…let’s face it. Sometimes Shelby is an emotional wreck, with no proper spiritual head in her life, and runs damage control for the very person abusing her! Her husband is supposed to be her head…but if he’s not doing his job, it’s easy for her to lose her moorings. Especially when he’s abusing her emotions on top of that.

How do we lovingly tell her that she’s enabling her husband’s sin, and it’s okay to confide in her older Christian mentors? Without, y’know, taking over her life like all her abusive boyfriends? (That’s another hard truth to face: some women gravitate to men who abuse them.)

Or – prepare for a big surprise – sometimes church elders are sinners, too. *audible gasp!*

They have too much invested in the status quo, in how outsiders perceive their congregation, or in their relationships with Shelby’s husband that they ignore the abuse or cover it up.

The recent scandals of the Catholic church and Southern Baptist Convention are easy examples. In these cases, it was actually the church leadership “us[ing] the name of Jesus to prey on” vulnerable people in their care; Russell Moore (head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention) called this “horrific depravity” (quoted by Kent Covington in WORLD Magazine).

How did God call us to respond to this situation?

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

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Read Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5…and stand firm on God’s word. If these creeps (Jude 4) running your church building don’t really know Jesus – then you need to share God’s Good News so they can repent and escape hell!

 

If they are members of Jesus’ body – you need to share God’s Good News so they can repent! Sin interferes in our relationship with God (Matt. 5:23-24) and harms our witness to the unbelieving world… Don’t worry about them facing here-and-now consequences for their wickedness (like prison) if it helps them sort out their hearts before God (1 Cor. 5:3-5).

(Again – allowing the “emperor” the authority that God gave him to punish evil – like sex and child abuse. We’re not running off to form our own inquisition here.)

Some people use Scripture to batter their women-folk into subservience.

But did Adam doom us all by following the advice of his wife and a snake and seizing by conquest the one thing God had not given him?

(Yes. Yes he did.) And ever since, every one of us has been a twisted sinner, fighting God’s law and striving to rule the world ourselves.

Does my sinfulness (or Shelby’s, or her husband’s, or Joel Osteen’s) invalidate the word of God? Stark verboten!

What if the elders at your church are on the take?

Do We Trust God? — Kimia Wood — patriarchy, abuse, Biblical Christianity

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Corrupt church leadership? Shuffling sexual predators from church to church to protect our “reputation?” Using the Bible like a club to tell women to shut up and make me a sandwich already?!

*gasp!* It’s not like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were twisting God’s word to satisfy their greed and lust, and leaving their elderly parents and disfavored wives out in the cold (Mark 7:9-13)!

“Elders” just means “old dudes,” okay? So, if you’re a mature believer and “little Christ,” then it’s your responsibility to get involved!

My family hasn’t taken our church problems to court in the past, because it wasn’t worth the trouble for us (and “don’t you have any learned men to decide cases in the body?”)

But if there are serious sin issues going on – treat it seriously.

I don’t care if they’re your next door neighbor, or the president of your denomination, or your own brother – these creeps should be behind bars! They haven’t gone beyond the reach of God if they serve a prison sentence. Maybe this is the only way He could reach them! After all, when they’re full of themselves, they might think they don’t need anything…when actually—

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (Rev. 3:17)

Ignoring their deeds and covering up the sin isn’t “loving” to these creeps…and it isn’t “loving” to their victims, either.

Jesus didn’t come to make us feel warm and fuzzy and affectionate toward each other (Matt. 10:34-39).

He came to pay the penalty of our sin and give us His righteousness.

God is in the business of fixing broken things.

Just go read James, people. In fact, go read the rest of your Bible. It’s the only way to really make Jesus your Spiritual Head, and ensure that you’re walking in His will…not using “abuse” as a get-out-of-jail-free card every time the road gets tough. Marriage is supposed to be hard…that way we lean only on Jesus, not our own strength.

And that’s the bottom line…do we trust God? Trust Him enough to obey His word? Even when there’s something nasty involved, like abuse?

Do I trust Him enough to let Him run Shelby’s life – instead of me?

As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:10-11)


This post is approved by my spiritual head.

Kimia Wood currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family – including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

She’s bracing for the collapse of society by working, baking, knitting, writing, and other excuses for not gardening.

Subscribe to the mailing list to be notified when she publishes a new novel!

5 Miracle “Explanations” That God Knew About

5 Miracle “Explanations” That God Knew About

Ever noticed how people like to “explain away” miracles? I call them “just so” stories.

You know those “just so” stories…like the one about how the bear lost his long tail, or “why mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears,” or how the vulture poked his head through the night sky and burned it bald with the heat of the sun (and the hole he left is now the moon).

Silly little kids’ stories to “explain” why something is the way it is – which are often so much more complicated than the truth.

People like to come up with these “explanations” for the miracles in the Bible, too…but —

God knew about our explanations before we came up with them.

How do I know? Because, if you look at the Bible, you’ll often see details in the stories of the miracles that disprove whatever “just so” story the skeptics have come up with to “explain away” what God did.

Here are some examples to get you thinking. Those seminary professors may have nice stories, but if you actually read and believe what God said, even a child can tell that they’re just making up stories to sound good.

Turning the Nile to Blood

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Actually, it was ketchup. Image credit: Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

In Exodus 7, God ordered Moses to hit the Nile River with his staff and turn the water into blood.

The purpose of this was to convince Pharaoh that God was serious about wanting the Hebrew slaves set free…and also to punish the Egyptians for following false gods, show God’s strength to the Israelite people, etc.

Take a look:

And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”

Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood.

And the fish in the Nile died, and the Nile stank, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.

But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart.

And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile. (Ex. 7:19-24)

Some people don’t believe this really happened!

The “just-so story” I’ve heard about this is that red plankton flowed up from the Mediterranean Sea or something, and that’s why the Egyptians couldn’t drink the water.

But God put in details that contradict this theory:

Notice that not only the water in the river, but even the water in “vessels of wood and stone” (vs. 19) AKA the water-pitchers and stored water in people’s houses also turned to blood (according to God Himself!).

Then Egyptians dug wells, and God allowed them to get water.

Crossing the Red Sea

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Image credit: bible.ca

Exodus 14 gives us the account of the Hebrew people crossing the Red Sea. God had rained such brutal plagues on the Egyptians that they were eager to set the Israelites free…but then Pharaoh and his officials had a change of heart.

They caught up with the Israelites at the Red Sea:

The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.

And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.”

So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the LORD threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained.

But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. (Ex. 14:15-30)

Does this really need explaining?

Well, some people think so. Some people will tell you that it happened to be low tide or something, and so the Israelites actually walked through shallow water.

God knows better.

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

I couldn’t choose so here’s another picture! Image credit: SeedsOfFaith.cph.org

God actually told us explicitly that the Hebrew people walked on “dry ground” – with a wall of water on either hand.

And when the Egyptian army chased them into the sea, God made their chariots stick in the mud, and buried them with the waters.

Yeah, I know I literally just repeated what God said…but who’s complaining?

If the Red Sea was only a couple feet deep…then why did God say “walls of water”? How were the Israelites able to cross on “dry land”?

And how on earth did the Egyptians all drown – so that their bodies washed up on the shores – if they could have just waded after the Hebrews and re-enslaved them?

God meant what He said…and if you believe what He said, you have to accept what He meant.

The Wine at Cana

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Image credit: Joseph Martin Kronheim/Kean Collection/Getty Images via SCPR.org

This example comes from John 2:

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.

When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. (vv. 1-11)

This “explanation” comes from Lloyd C. Douglas’ novel The Robe.

He suggests that the servants took water from vessels that used to hold wine (and so might have a residual taste) and then when everyone at the party tasted the wine, the magnetism of Jesus’ personality made them think it was really wine.

I call baloney-sauce!

Notice that our eyewitness account says the water came from “jars [used] for the Jewish rites of purification” — I don’t think they’d be storing wine in there at any time!

You’ll also notice that Jesus told the servants to take the wine in to the master of ceremonies…which implies (although it doesn’t explicitly say) that He Himself was in another room at the time.

The master of the feast didn’t know anything about where it came from – but thought it was the best wine he had ever tasted.

I doubt he would mistake water with a little lemon slice for real lemonade, regardless what scintillating conversation he was listening to.

Noah’s Flood

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Image credit: AnswersInGenesis.org

God judged the world by sending a great flood of water, so that only Noah, his family, and the animals they took with them on the preservation-craft were safe.

Some people insist that this was a “local” flood. But that is very silly on the face of it.

Check out Genesis 7:

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature.

They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in.

The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters.

And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.

And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days. (vv. 11-20, 24)

Also Genesis 8:

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (vv. 20-22)

We know this was a global flood…

…because it covered the tops of all the mountains – as evidenced by fossils of fish found on high mountain peaks!

Also, God promised He would never repeat this show. He would never “strike down every living creature as I have done.”

There have been plenty of local floods, but nothing approaching the world-wide devastation that Noah saw. Either the Bible is right…or God broke His promise.

You do believe what God says, right?

Feeding the Thousands

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash

We all know these stories, right?

The original accounts are in Matthew 14 and 15, Mark 6 and 8, Luke 9, and John 6.

For simplicity, let’s look at Mark:

And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send [the crowd] away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”

And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”

And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”

Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all.

And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.

And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (Mark 6:35-44)

And again:

In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, [Jesus] called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.”

And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”

And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”

They said, “Seven.”

And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them.

And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.

And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. (Mark 8:1-9)

Here come “some people”—

What do they say about this passage?

They say that when the people saw Jesus sharing his sack lunch with all the hungry people (only John mentions that a little boy brought the food – John 6:8-9)…then they all decided to pull out their lunches and share, too.

Because SHARING. (And hiding your snacks even though you’re hungry because someone else might want some…)

I think Jesus said it best:

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Dudes…I’m going to be executed and come back to life. You think food is a problem? Image credit: Pixabay

And Jesus, aware of this, said to [the disciples], “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?

“Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”

They said to him, “Twelve.”

“And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”

And they said to him, “Seven.”

And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” (Mark 8:17-21)

Do you not yet understand?

  • First:

The crowd of 5,000 was in a desolate place, and it was late in the day (so, dinnertime, not lunchtime – their sack lunch was already eaten, I guess).

The crowd of 4,000 was also in a “desolate place,” and had been listening to Jesus for three days. Chances are that – if they had packed some supplies for camping out, they were running low. Jesus even worries that they’ll pass out from hunger before they get home!

  • Second:

Notice how many left-overs they picked up! I don’t have the linguistic skills to prove whether it was a large or small basket…but just look at the number of them!

That’s way more food than you’d expect from some people hoarding rolls up their sleeves.

  • Third:

“Do you not yet understand?”

Jesus is literally teaching them that He is God.

When He’s done with the crowd in Mark 8, He takes the disciples and jumps in a boat. The disciples are worried because they didn’t bring bread – even though Jesus literally just created baked bread and cooked fish out of thin air.

Jesus warns them about “the leaven/yeast of the Pharisees” (v. 15) – meaning their wicked teachings which are contrary to God. Just like it’s “not what goes into a man, but what comes out, that makes him unclean,” it’s not physical food we should be worried about.

We need to be eating the spiritual bread of Jesus and His word…because when we do that, we will find we have just what we need physically.

Also…y’know…Jesus literally has the power to make literally anything…since He did literally make everything (Hebrews).

Why Do People Do This?

Maybe you were basically familiar with all my examples already…and you just wonder why anyone would do this?

Maybe you’re a “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” kind of person. It must seem strange that people make up reasons and little explanations to cut the metaphysical part out of the Biblical miracles.

Why would they want to?

First group: they don’t actually believe it.

These people may call themselves Christians, go to church, or teach in a seminary…but they prove by their actions that they don’t really believe what Jesus said.

They think “moral lessons” are the true heart of Christianity, and that teaching people to be “nice,” to share, and to “look on the bright side” is all there is to it.

Actually…that’s a very sad, pathetic view of the world.

Second group: well-meaning but clumsy.

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Do they just want to sound smart? Image credit: Pixabay

These people want to make the Bible more “believable” – perhaps more “acceptable.” They might be embarrassed by the flame-strikes and the rising-from-the-deads, and they want to explain the “Bible stories” to their kids without looking like they don’t know physics exists.

They don’t seem to understand that – of course physics exists, God just out-ranks it. ‘Cause He made it. ‘Cause He’s awesome.

These people don’t realize it, but they’re really saying:

“Well – this is what really happened. Don’t believe the physical world obeyed God to part rivers, cover the desert with bread, rain fire on wicked cities and people, devour Herod with worms, shrivel fig trees, make a day last more than 24 hours, and return life to people who stopped breathing days before.

“But totally believe you should obey God to forgive your enemies, deny yourself lusting over the opposite sex, tell the truth in all circumstances, not let food control you, and practice kindness to everyone regardless of how annoying they are.”

The historical accounts in the Bible don’t need us to make excuses for them.

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Image credit: ThisFragileTent

I hope these examples encourage you that the next time someone smart-sounding starts telling you this-or-that “didn’t really happen,” God probably put details into His Word that defies exactly what they’re suggesting!

So get out your Bible, and you can know what the real story is!

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Cor. 15:12-20)

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:16-21)


This post is approved by my spiritual head.


5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia WoodKimia Wood was raised by an aspiring author, so spinning words and weaving plots is in her blood.

She currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family – including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

Subscribe to the mailing list for periodic updates on her latest reading and writing exploits! You’ll also receive a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier.


Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.

Prophecy—Messages vs. Theology vs. Smoke-and-Mirrors

Prophecy—Messages vs. Theology vs. Smoke-and-Mirrors

Whenever people start on a tear about “prophecy has ceased,” I usually dig my heels in.

Not because of any personal, emotional connection. I was born in a semi-liturgical denomination, and grew up in pretty rationalist circles.

No, I never bought the cessationist mantra because of what I see in the Bible.

Then I came across a new presentation of this theological ideology, and I think I’ve gained some perspective. Maybe we’re not so different, you and I, Mr. Apostolic Age.

I mean, I still don’t believe in an “apostolic age”…but I think if we narrowed down some definitions, you’d find I’m not such a flaming heretic as you think. And maybe we’ll both be able to agree over the Scriptures.

Smoke-and-Mirrors

The book is The Ever-Loving Truth, a group Bible-study book by Voddie Baucham, and the chapter in question is Week 4, Day 3 (pp. 104-107).

Prophecy—Messages vs Theology vs Smoke-and-Mirrors — Kimia Wood

I don’t think that’s what it’s supposed to look like… Image credit: torrilynn@hubpages

The chapter starts by talking about church-attenders who use the “God told me —” or “I’ve really prayed about this, and —” to excuse un-Biblical behavior.

That is baloney sauce, and these Bible teachers are right to call people on it.

(Y’know: “God has given me peace about leaving my wife.” No, He hasn’t.)

It is never okay to divorce your wife for un-Biblical reasons, or to pursue a ministry you are obviously unqualified for (like a woman as pastor), because you “feel at peace” about it or “really feel called.”

That is called “emotions” talking…sometimes called “selfish ambitions” or “evil desires,” and the Bible tells us how to respond to them.

Consider:

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.

But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. (Deut. 13: 1-5)

To take the point and drive it into the ground, if your own heart tempts you and tries to draw you after other gods – sports, money, chocolate, nice vacations, Disney movies – any other god that doesn’t start with J- and end with -esus, then…cut it out and throw it away. (See Mark 9:43-45.)

“It is better to enter life without your heart, than with a functioning aorta to be thrown into hell.”

*another metaphor bites the dust*

God warned us that false teachers and prophets would try to drag us away from Him with lies and dreams and all kinds of false signs. The best way to tell the real ones from the fakes is to live in God’s word.

Messages

Another kind of “prophecy” is just personal, specific, time-sensitive messages.

Prophecy—Messages vs Theology vs Smoke-and-Mirrors — Kimia Wood

Image credit: ThisFragileTent

When the prophet in Acts (11:28) warned the church of an up-coming famine…they didn’t brand him as a “charismatic,” they didn’t accuse him of undermining their faith, and they didn’t chant, “The cannon is closed, the cannon is closed.”

They started raising money to send aid to their fellow believers affected by the famine.

This kind of prophecy doesn’t contradict God’s word. God is very serious that, if you say such-and-such in His name, it had better come true…otherwise you better like rock sandwiches.

(Okay, I am only joke – we can’t stone false prophets anymore. At least not dead.)

But you get the point…claiming “God told me —” is super, deadly serious.

And if you say, “God told me to divorce my wife so I can pursue my dreams,” I will be hunting for the nearest stone.

God does not contradict Himself!

Which is why I don’t believe prophecy has ceased. After all, the same God who taught us:

“All Scripture is God-breathed, and useful…” (see 2 Tim. 3:16)

also gave us:

“Some He made apostles, some prophets, some teachers, some pastors…” (see Eph. 4:11-13)

From this I assume two things. 1) That the second passage is still useful for teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness. 2) That prophets and teachers are not identical…and therefore prophets are still a thing.

I don’t get it, and I’m not actually comfortable with people standing up in worship services saying, “I have a word –!”

—But I’m not comfortable saying, “God’s word doesn’t apply to us anymore.”

We have to remember the prophet from the days of Judah and Israel, though. (Read 1 Kings 13.)

He went to prophesy against the wicked king of Israel, but God had warned him he shouldn’t stop and eat or drink anything on the way home.

Some other guy (whether he was a real prophet or a self-styled prophet, I don’t know – God knows) came and stopped the first guy and brought him home for a snack.

The second guy told the first guy, “God told me to tell you to come back and eat.”

Now, the first guy should have said: “God told me not to stop and eat, so I’m going to stick with what I know He told me.”

Instead, he had the snack – then Mr. Two told him he was doomed to die on the way home…and sure enough, a lion killed him on the way home.

I’m not exactly sure what the moral of the story is, but, “Don’t take some guy’s word over God’s word” is a pretty safe bet.

Theological Truths

Prophecy—Messages vs Theology vs Smoke-and-Mirrors — Kimia Wood

Image credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit living inside us guides us into all truth. Every time we read the Bible, new things jump out at us. In each stage of our lives, God prompts us and prods us to grow in the direction of His choosing.

Not all of us grow in the same directions at the same time. Not all of us are called to minister in the same places, or in the same ways. The same passage of Scripture can say two different things to two different Christians, depending on their own sin struggles, their stage of growth, their mission callings, etc.

Is this “prophecy”? Does this count as “God told me – in such-and-such passage – that I need to apologize to my neighbor”?

According to The Ever-Loving Truth – no. The author there says that this is the work of the Spirit through God’s word, and not actual “revelation,” and therefore not banned under the “prophecy has ceased” mantra.

So what is “prophetical revelation” according to this author?

Apparently it’s a “dream, a vision, a spiritual visitation”…something that claims spiritual authority because of its metaphysical appearance, and so trumps Scripture.

And with that definition, I totally agree with them.

As Paul said:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:8-9)

“…even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14)

There are a lot of silly ideas floating around Christianity. Some of them come from reading too many “Sunday school versions” of the “Bible stories” – and not enough of the actual historical accounts in the Bible.

Some silly ideas come from listening to the culture around us, and not thinking hard about the things they say. A lot of our mental images of angels don’t come from the Bible (bright, terrifying, male) but from the world (pretty, winged, female).

You know – the world Jesus was talking about when He said:

“I have given [my disciples] your word[, Father], and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:14-19)

The Ever-Loving Truth makes the case that God has given us everything we need to know Him and grow in Him.

After all, Jesus is the culmination of all history and prophecy (cp. Heb. 1)…the whole Law of Moses, all the prophets, the setting apart of Israel as God’s chosen people – all of it was a flashing neon arrow pointing at Jesus.

What more could we need?

I’d like to ask that question of the people trying to figure out how election works. Mostly to see the sparks fly, because I’m wicked.

(When I’m done there, I’ll go put the question to the people making timelines for Revelation.)

I’ve never been satisfied with the arguments that, “The cannon is closed; get over it.”

Revelation 22:18-19 is specifically talking about “the words of this prophecy” (and isn’t charting out the time-table kind of adding to the book, eh?).

I don’t see why new revelation would challenge our faith, cause us to doubt, or destroy the church. After all, the New Testament didn’t do any of those things.

It did tear down the top-heavy system of Jewish religion…but only because, with the Perfect Passover Lamb sacrificed, there was no need for all the rest of it. It was complete…fulfilled…

“It is finished.”

If God really had anything more to say, whatever He said would align perfectly with everything that went before, from Genesis to Jude and beyond. It wouldn’t just rhyme…it would harmonize.

He’s awesome like that.

But what more could He possibly add to the cap-stone and cornerstone that is Jesus Christ the God-Man?

How about, “I am Jesus, and I am the way to God. Find this Christian to find out more.”

This is apparently the message to many Muslim people in closed countries, who see Jesus in a dream so they can seek out believers and hear the gospel.

It’s not “the work of the Holy Spirit through God’s word” because they don’t have the word to read… And they’re not Christians yet, so they don’t have His Spirit living inside them to guide and teach them.

I don’t know about you, but when this “prophetic revelation” is driving people to seek Jesus, not “other gods they have not known,” I can but praise God and give thanks for more brothers and sisters saved.

Discernment Required

Prophecy—Messages vs Theology vs Smoke-and-Mirrors — Kimia Wood

Image credit: Pixabay

I don’t think I’ll ever take in stride people standing up in the middle of corporate prayer or something and spouting out a “message” they’ve been given.

Fortunately, God loves us all, and is big enough to take us all in.

As long as we’re matching everything against what God has already said, I can’t say, with my dispensational, cessationist brothers – “Prophecy has ceased, gifts have ceased, get with the program, you heretic.”

And I can call you my brothers as long as we can agree on these key things:

God never lies. He does not change. God cannot prove false to Himself.

Jesus Christ, Son of God – sent by God, crucified for our sins according to the Scriptures, buried, and risen again according to the Scriptures.


This post is approved by my spiritual head.

KimiaProphecy—Messages vs Theology vs Smoke-and-Mirrors — Kimia Wood Wood currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family – including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

She’s bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for periodic updates on her latest reading and writing adventures! You’ll also receive a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier.

Is “Girl Power” Hurting Us?

I think “Girl Power” is a lie.

What does it even mean, anyway? Strictly speaking, it should be the power of skills and abilities that girls hold in common…the unique ability of feminine traits.

But that’s not what people mean by #GirlPower, is it? I once read a blog post (that I have since lost – humanity is fortunate) talking about “strong women” or “strong female characters” or something like that.

Every single example was fictional (as in, made up). Every single example had either magic powers (like Storm from the X-Men) or battle prowess (like Xena the Warrior Princess).

What about Cinderella – whose strength of character enabled her to endure a devastating home situation and whose purity, humility, and attitude led her to marrying the prince?

What about Corrie ten Boom and her sister, who hid Jews from the Nazis, were arrested and hauled away to a concentration camp in their fifties, and still held Bible studies in their barracks? As for Corrie, she even forgave one of her former guards – through the transforming power of Jesus, of course.

Can’t a girl be “strong” without imitating exactly what the boys are doing?

World: You Go, Girl!

Is Girl Power Hurting Us? — Kimia Wood

Image credit: Wikipedia

With hashtags like #girlboss, #beastforshe, and #believeher, you’d think girls would be encouraged and strong.

Disney is re-doing all their old titles to make them less sexist. You can buy hundreds of dollars worth of plaques that say #GirlBoss or #BossBabe or “Messy bun and getting stuff done” or “I drink the coffee and then I do the things” (can you guess where I work?).

Women do marches with funny pink hats on. A woman makes an allegation of sexual misconduct, and anyone who questions her facts is a sexist hater.

You’d think that, with all this support flooding the women of our culture, women and girls would be confident, strong, able…and happy.

But they’re not happy. They’re intensely unhappy. Whenever I hear a news item about Hillary Clinton, one of the most powerful women in the country (if not the world) I think about how absolutely miserable she seems.

Where’s the joy?

Also World: Girl, Wash Your Face!

Is "Girl Power" Hurting Us? — Kimia WoodScroll the bestsellers on Amazon, or browse the books on sale by the registers of Hobby Lobby, and you’ll start picking up a vibe…

  • Me, Myself, and Lies: A Thought Closet Makeover — “Words are powerful. Especially the words women speak to themselves.” Get rid of the negative things you think about yourself, and replace them with positive things from God’s word!
  • Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely — “GOD WANTS US TO LIVE LOVED WHEN WE FEEL LEFT OUT, LONELY, AND LESS THAN. [sic] … Lysa TerKeurst digs deep into God’s Word to help you explore the roots of rejection, the way other relationships get tainted because of a past rejection, and the truth about what it looks like to live loved.”
  • Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be — A lifestyle blogger and CEO of her own media company encourages girls to “live with passion and hustle.”
  • Also Girl, Stop Apologizing — the same author tells women to not “define themselves in light of other people” but rather learn “how to own who they are and what they want”.
  • Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free – “Many women live under a cloud of personal guilt and condemnation,” says this author. “Many are in bondage to their past. Others are gripped by fear of rejection and a longing for approval. Still others are emotional prisoners.”
    “Nancy offers the most effective weapon to counter and overcome Satan’s deceptions: God’s truth!”
  • Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free – “Pure is a powerful wake-up call about our society’s subjugation of women.”

Books* don’t get to these prominent places unless someone buys them. Lots of someones.

People (women) want to read these books, are reading them, and feel a need for them. Why?

Our culture is telling women and girls to achieve, to be their best selves, to chase their dreams, to roar. And yet, lots of women are obviously feeling beaten down, surrounded, inadequate, injured, and tarnished.

Why?

Bible: “She is Clothed with Dignity and Strength”

Is Girl Power Hurting Us? — Kimia Wood

This is my mom. She is one powerful lady.

In total, we had ten little kids in our house (not all at once, but over time). Toddlers are like all the annoying parts of humanity condensed into Toddlers challenge the best of us I hate tod

Little kids are a handful. Yet this powerful, patient woman poured all her kindness and caring into every single one of them.

Sure, there’s a #momlife hash-tag…but do we as a culture glorify the “getting up at two in the morning” part of parenting? The “pitched battle over a pile of peas” part? The “he spent three months of his life in the time-out chair” part?

Women aren’t strong in the same way men are.

And that’s okay. In fact, it’s awesome.

One of the worst things the transgender movement does (apart from enabling stalkers) is teach kids to be uncomfortable in their own bodies.

It’s okay to love the body you were born in. It’s OKAY to like being a girl!

We should be telling girls, “Yes, you feel uncomfortable. It’s called puberty. Everyone feels it, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Instead, we’re telling them, “Hey, maybe you’re really a boy in a girl’s body! We need to permanently alter your body chemistry and ruin your potential to bear children! Be ashamed of your boobs and your long hair because obviously the universe got you wrong!

“Oh, and by the way, Wash Your Face!”

Girls can be strong. Just not necessarily the same “strong” as boys. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s healthy.

Bible: Your Daughters Will Be Pillars in the House of Our God

Is Girl Power Hurting Us? — Kimia Wood

Image credit: Unsplash

Women are built to be nurturing, empathetic, bonding, supportive.

I’ve already talked about what men should be – and all the reasons I’m a patriarchist – but just for now let’s focus on the girls.

Women are sustainers. They’re the glue that holds families (and hence society) together…and keeps those wild, impulsive, world-changing men from killing themselves by accident.

I am a lioness. I do not lead the pride — I only hunt the food for my cubs. There’s a reason the man is the king.

But how can we expect them to do their jobs when we’re not doing ours? God calls us to quiet submission…which inspires our menfolk in ways we could never understand.

Without the pillars, the building collapses. We can’t all be the flashy frieze on the roof-line. We can’t all be the foundation and floor. And if a pillar tried to be the floor…well, “falling down on the job” is a cheap shot.

Modern culture wants women to shamelessly pursue their own desires…at everyone else’s expense.

But that’s not how women were designed. That’s not how any of us were designed.

Don’t just blame the girls for this…as a civilization (as a species?) we are convinced that the only good is whatever “I” want, and that whoever denies me what I want is wrong.

We tell women to distance themselves from relationships that hold them back, to get rid of “negative” thoughts, and to lay aside their shame. That if they had an extra layer of confidence, they could protect their self-esteem from the unrealistic expectations of the world and be happy.

But while the culture and the media are screaming, “I am woman, hear me roar!” all the women and girls are curled up in the corner having a panic attack.

Solution: Solve for X

How do we fix this? What can we do?

If your car is broken, you call a mechanic. If your sink or your A/C is broken, you call a plumber or a technician.

When your human is broken…open up the Manual!

The very fact that these books are selling so well is a hint that we feel a need. We feel broken. What we’re trying isn’t working.

We want to choose who we are…to define for ourselves what it means to be a “woman.” Trust me, we’ve been doing this since about Chapter 3…and it doesn’t work. Never has, never will. So let’s try something else – something that’s not “girl power.”

You can read thematic Bible studies if you want (as some of the books mentioned above bill themselves), but I prefer to cut out the middle men and the artificial preservatives. Just give me the straight-up, organic, gluten-free Bible!

Do it. Now.

Stop reading this meandering, totally anecdote-based, highly unscientific blog post and go read your Bible! You’ll be surprised how direct God is about who He wants you to be.

Like so many things, change starts with a hard look at yourself. Feel ashamed of your past? Trapped by your relationships? Impotent to pursue your dreams?

Start right here.Is Girl Power Hurting Us? — Kimia WoodBy building a wooden cross By asking Jesus for help.

Once we have the foundation, we can set up the pillars in their proper place. The solution isn’t always to punch through things…sometimes we need to reevaluate our strategy completely!

Only once we know what it truly means to be a woman will we know how to “achieve our full potential.” And that comes from asking the Guy who invented women!

Let me end with a quote from prolific Christian writer C.S. Lewis:

“Don’t you remember on earth — there were things too hot to touch with your finger but you could drink them all right? Shame is like that. If you will accept it – if you will drink the cup to the bottom – you will find it very nourishing: but try to do anything else with it and it scalds.” (The Great Divorce)


* Retweet is not endorsement – but to make sure we’re clear: I have not read any of the six books in this list, so cannot recommend or give a judgement on any of them. They are merely to illustrate the point that a lot of the “inspirational” best-sellers are aimed at helping women feel better about themselves…which prompts the question, “What’s tearing them down?”

I can, however, highly recommend Lewis’ Great Divorce. All these years later, it still drives to the heart of human nature. Read it now (after your Bible, of course)!


Is Girl Power Hurting Us? — Kimia WoodKimia Wood lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family…including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

She’s bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for periodic updates on her latest reading and writing adventures! You’ll also get a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier.

More Lessons From Dogs

Dogs aren’t just cute, devoted, warm, and fuzzy. They teach us important things about God…and ourselves. We may just be dogs in Jesus’ pack…but He’s the best Alpha ever!

All Dogs Are Just Dogs

More Lessons from Dogs — Kimia WoodAll dogs sniff butts. They all will eat “goat fudge” if they get the chance, and will check out their own vomit to see if there’s anything that deserves a second chance.

You can’t blame them…they’re just dogs.

You collies and labs, don’t pretend you’re better than the hound.

It’s fun to think how much better you are than the other dogs…how well you heel, and sit, and stay…how well you listen to Alpha.

But in the end, you’re just a dog. Don’t pretend your mess smells any better than theirs…Alpha still puts it in a scoop bag and throws it away. That’s what it’s like to be a dog.

The good news is, Alpha also plays with you and scratches your ears and gives you dinner just like all His other dogs.

So be happy…and don’t act like you’re more Alpha’s dog than another of the Pack. Continue reading

3 Things Christians Say That Aren’t Biblical

3 Things Christians Say That Aren’t Biblical

“Of how many things can you be so certain that are not true?” — Major Hochstetter, Hogan’s Heroes

Christianity is super simple. God made it so that even little kids can understand it:

“Jesus (God’s Son) died for evil-doers – of whom I am the worst! But now He is alive again to make us like Him!”

See? Super simple. But I guess it’s like a classic novel, where you can know the basics by reading the Wikipedia article…but you’ll be missing a lot of details unless you actually read the real book.

Sometimes people in Christianity (even super smart people, like pastors) say things…but those things aren’t actually in the Bible.

Sometimes, those ideas are actually pretty silly…but everyone believes them because they’re “self-evident truths” of Christianity.

However, if we actually looked at the Bible, we’d see how silly and wrong they are.

Here are three of my favorite “things people say without realizing they’re not true.”

“Not even the Son knows – except now He does.”

3 Things Christians Say That Aren't Biblical — Kimia Wood

Image from Pixabay

Maybe this is just me, but I thought we were supposed to be suspicious when people read a verse of the Bible and then said, “But that’s not true today.”

If you’ve never heard this one, it goes like this:

We’re reading Matthew 24, about the “end of the age,” and Jesus says:

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (v. 36)

But then the pastor or whoever looks up at the audience and says, “But of course he knows now. Jesus gave up some of His divine knowledge and power while He was on earth, but now that He’s back in heaven He has all that…so He knows when He’s coming back.”

Maybe it’s just me…but I would not be arguing with Jesus, here.

Take a look at the broader context of this verse:

“Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (vv. 34-36)

He just said that His words are more dependable than the earth itself. Why would you question Him and think that this statement is no longer true?

Here’s why: they don’t want Jesus to be subservient to the Father.

Some people are uncomfortable with God the Son not being perfectly equal to God the Father in absolutely everything…but that is the point, isn’t it? A son is supposed to be under his father. And God has revealed Themself to us as Father and Son (and Holy Spirit) for a reason.

Several passages of Scripture make it clear that the Father sent Jesus to die for our sins. In the garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus was wrestling with the task ahead of Him, He very deliberately put Himself under the authority of the Father and committed Himself to do the Father’s will (the Holy Spirit also made very sure to let us know what Jesus said in that moment…if you recall, the disciples were a little sleepy to be taking notes).

Also check out 1 Corinthians 15:

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (vv. 22-28)

Isn’t it beautiful? God is both over everything, and subject to someone greater (that is, Himself). Sort of like He’s “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26)!

You weren’t expecting all that from a verse on the end times, were you?!

“God the Father looked away from/abandoned Jesus on the cross.”

3 Things Christians Say That Aren't Biblical — Kimia Wood

Where does it say that?!

We could check out Matthew 27:46 —

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? that is, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Or Mark 15:34 —

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? which means, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

(say, it’s repeated twice…I wonder if it’s important?) but I’d like us to look at Psalm 22:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?


Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.

In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them. (vv. 1-4)

I…I’m choking up.

 

It’s like He’s saying, “I’m not distant! I’m right here, kids…right here!”

The crowd of gawkers didn’t understand, either — they thought he was calling the prophet Elijah to come help Him or something.

But no…I believe He was giving us the title of the psalm…to remind that this was planned from the time of David (who wrote the psalm) and beyond. To declare to the whole world this was His plan, and that He had not forsaken us!

Maybe you think this is all well and good, but the Father still totally turned His back on Jesus somehow on the cross.

Well, I say that is all well and good, but I’ve never heard any verse to back it up except the one above.

Apparently (I’ve only ever seen it quoted in something else) the Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “God died forsaken by God so that His people might claim God as their God and never be forsaken”.

That’s a cute, symmetrical catch-phrase that looks good on a plaque…but is it really based in the Bible?! It’s not what I see God actually telling us.

And when I ask why the Father turned His back on Jesus, they say:

“God can’t look at sin.”

3 Things Christians Say That Aren't Biblical — Kimia Wood

Image from Unsplash

And I want to know where that’s written.

Actually, God totally sees our wickedness (and it makes Him mad).

There is a verse where this is literally written…in Habakkuk 1:13—

You [speaking of God] who are of purer eyes than to see evil
and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
the man more righteous than he?

Allow me to widen the lens so we can examine the broader context of this verse:

Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.

You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
the man more righteous than he?

You make mankind like the fish of the sea,
like crawling things that have no ruler. (vv. 12-14)

The verses right before this are talking about the great army God is bringing to punish the Hebrews. Habakkuk complains that Israel is full of wickedness, and God seems to be sitting on His couch doing nothing while the bad guys commit injustice against men more righteous than themselves.

But this is not true: God is bringing the Chaldeans/Babylonians up to thrash Israel like a nation-sized spanking. So a “Kimia-translation” of the above passage might be:

I trust you, God. You won’t totally kill us (after all, You’re our firm Rock) — You’ve earmarked these Babylonians to be our punishment.

The Hebrews say You’re “too pure to look at evil”, and that that’s why you “don’t see” their back-stabbing and oppression…but they’re wrong.

You’re so big and mighty, men are like fish to You – and you will break us like stupid bugs.

(The following verses talk about how the wicked man is so stupid that when he gets a good catch with his fishing net, he turns around and worships the net. Gives you a new perspective on God’s great patience with us, huh?)

Speaking of patience, that’s why God hasn’t nuked His people yet. Because He’s patient.

Habakkuk (and several other prophets and passages) warns them: don’t think you’ve gotten away with robbing widows and orphans and cheating on your tithes because God doesn’t see you! No, He was giving you a chance to repent and give it up! But the bill comes due…always.

So the next time someone tells you that “God can’t look at sin,” remind them – that’s what the evil men say…to get out of obeying Him.

You might also recall that Jesus deliberately proved He couldn’t be made unclean by physical and spiritual uncleanliness (read Mark). So it doesn’t make sense to imagine God covering His eyes because the sight of our wickedness might taint Him.

TL;DR: Read Your Bible!

So the next time someone tells you something like “well duh this is true,” look in your Bible. If you don’t see it there – ask questions!

If they say, “Here, and here, and here” – look…and you’ll learn something!

But if they can’t back it up with the Bible…maybe the Holy Spirit is teaching them something! (Let Him do that, by the way…He doesn’t need you to do His job :} )

Any other things people take for granted that aren’t in God’s Word?

Do you have Scripture to support any of the things I’ve dismissed?! I have a comments section…


Featured image from ThisFragileTent

3 Things Christians Say That Aren't Biblical — Kimia WoodKimia was raised by an aspiring author, so spinning words and weaving plots is in her blood.

She currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family – including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend. She’s bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for periodic updates on her latest reading and writing adventures! You’ll also get a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier!


Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.

Disgourgement of Art

If, in the following note, I have used poetic language, it is because of the cascading radial beams I observe in the beauty around me. Please understand that I have attempted to capture the over-abundance of this life-force, and do not wish my meaning to be obscured by lofty ambitions of prettiness.

You are an Artist. This is why I speak to you. I am an artist. Note the distinction. Some may mock at your works – image, sound, building of words – but I do not intend to. I merely intend to send forth the clarion call of warning that echoes in my being – that echoes in the universe – and pass on the scent of danger that I have caught from your work.

Yes, your work — seeing as it is separate from you, I do not despair of you – nor of it, please note. There is only a pathway to Death – not Death itself (if you are reading this!). I do not even say that the work in itself is evil (not in this fashion) but only that – if taken wrongly – can cause death…like medicine, or water, or sunshine.

One final preface: I have addressed you as “Child” because that is my affection for you…as an anxious mother bending for her child, eager to see the young ones follow in her footsteps, but afraid that by misunderstanding her example – and her instruction – they shall be misled and end up far away.

(Not that I am your model, you understand – in art, in work, or in other areas — but I strive for the glories I wish for you, and so am your fellow-worker, a fellow-artist (not Artist), and consequently concerned (read: terrified and sick with longing) for my brothers, my sisters, my BFFs…my children.)

Oh, Art. How I sicken of it.

Now, now, Child – I myself “do art”. But Art is a sucking of vapid desire that cannot be met outside of Faithful and True.

Take music. I sing, dance, feel the rhythm of the melody echo in my membranes with the cry of the cords that animate creation. Think me immune to the swell? I feel, too. But I do not worship it, any more than I worship the sun. Any more than I worship the crackling, biting, rhythmic flow of power that courses through the machines as the lifeblood of the digital world.

I have seen them: the ones who take Music (as Art) and cling to it as though with the patterns of sound – waft and wave – they could unmake and remake the very cords of humanity. They mistake the beauty – the Art – for Who put it there…and that is Deadly.

You see, I do not say that these things cannot be sanctified, but to suppose them to be holy of their own nature is to confuse the flow with the source, to confuse this beauty and this pic-line to the soul with Holy Holy Holy (being His name).

Oh Fool of my fellowship, oh Child of my family-blood, how I long to gather you as a sheepdog gathers sheep – and will you flee?

And now, what is art?

Do you not know that all time and space, all matter and every point of being, even language and thought itself, is directed toward this: worship? What you worship: in that lies Everything.

Art. Beauty. Paint and stone and words words words, and notes in harmonious sequence. What do they make? Beauteous Child, do not clutch gravel thinking them stars. You know Eternity stares at you whenever you close your eyes. And to step forward to meet the Eternal One, or recoil backward out of His grasp, has been the whole aim of mankind.

We all have our ways. Whatever we make with these clarion calls to the soul of Man, it will not go unrecorded. (There are “books”, you know, for that purpose. Rev. 20:12) And here again, with worship in mind, we find imitation the simplest tool in our hands. What, surely you know how Story has been used before! Do I presume to create new worlds, or do I hope – with what I weave – to capture the vibrating cord of Creation that echoes backward and forward and in every particle of the universe the eternal call of worship to the source: Holy, Holy (thus His name).

So you see we all chant back but one refrain — all our speech has one end, to speak Faithful and True.

Reach for the Eternal One, and all Eternity shall be yours to explore, along the paths of radiant joy that pierce the outermost shadows.

Disgourgement of Art — Kimia Wood

The Light pierces the Darkness; Image from ArtStation.com

What is Art?

A picture, a statue, a concept, a form, a beauty, an abiding, a pretty thing, a cry from the soul of Man.

No, no, some say. My Art is not this…not a stylized beauty, an Object, a thing of crude matter to cheat the haggard, clutching fingers of entropy. It is passing, like our lives. We stare in the face our own mortality.

This man does not build a statue…he builds an “event.” What are his tools? Steel, plastic, cloth, earth, people, words. Time and place. The hearts and souls of men. It is not art…it is interaction, relationship, human spirit, human energy, experience. He draws pictures, he spends money, thousands of lives are touched, someone takes a picture, and they call it Art.

“A matter of days,” he says. “A matter of days, and it’s gone. I take it down.” Flirting with his own unraveling, this event mimics the vaporization of his own humanity. “I did it!” he says. “I have created Art; I tore down my child with my own hands.” The Art is the idea, the memory, the fusion of human energies. “My name shall abide.”

Disgourgement of Art — Kimia Wood

The Gates; Image from Wikipedia

They grasp for the immortal. They think an idea will not die. Granite crumbles, bronze ferments, wood and paper melt, but the words, the concepts, the memories of millions…how can they die, in the hearts and souls of men? It shall abide.

Folly. The thoughts of men evaporate before the morning dew is birthed. How can your name abide in the minds of men, the outcry of your soul in their hearts? It is but a shadow, a mist. The emotions, the thoughts, the dream will fade faster than the grass.

What is Art? Can it be a form, a thing, a holding-in-the-hand?

Some have sought everlastingness in this…a stone, a page, a piece of glass.

Imagine a youth. His master calls, and he comes, strips, and stands in position, waiting to be turned into stone. The master works, and then he cries, “I have made beauty. — I have signed my name on a page. — Now I shall abide.”

Disgourgement of Art — Kimia Wood

Image courtesy of Jörg Bittner Unna/Wikipedia

Men see the statue. They enjoy its form, and the work lives on. They cherish it and care for it, and it goes on into the centuries to follow.

Disgourgement of Art — Kimia Wood

Vincent van Gogh; d. 29 July 1890 (aged 37); And the worms ate his flesh…

What of the youth? His master finishes, he walks away, and his flesh dissolves into earth. And his master? Can he abide in a name, in a form? In his hand-children, even in his own mirror image? No…the worms eat his flesh.

“I have made beauty.” “I have made Art.” “I have made a concept, a vision, a dream, a human thing.”

Meaning. By which they reach for eternity. What abides? Meaning. Purpose soars into the ages beyond, while the aimless dissipates as the vapor that creates it.

Fie! I say, this crumbling snatch at the immortal. This grasping for the eternal, the timeless.

Look.

See. What do we see?

Tree…mathematical formula…star…cat…galaxy, physics, newborn’s hand…I don’t just see beauty. I see the beauty of God.

Give him your soul, and he will give you life. Clutch it to your breast, in greedy fear and hesitation, and you will die for all eternity.

What joy, what love, is mine!

What bubbling of life in my soul! What can I do – what will express this other-worldly life?

I find color in my hand. I reach out…what does it touch? No matter… I look at a tree. At first, I get a sketch. But soon, I get a form, a drawing, a painting, a sculpture, an image of beauty. Not reaching for time, for life, for myself…forming a mirror image of His hands as they craft delight and beauty and thought.

What is the heart and soul of man?

Reach for the Eternal One, and He will lift you up.


Originally written 2016. Dedicated to my dear friends who have mistaken the means for the end…I hope you learn to see.

Disgourgement of Art — Kimia WoodKimia Wood currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family, including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

She’s bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier! You’ll also receive occasional updates on her latest reading and writing adventures.

Listen, Kid…(What Do You Say Next?)

Listen, Kid…(What Do You Say Next?) — Kimia Wood

CHOOSE YOUR PATH! Photo by Oliver Roos on Unsplash

So once upon a time an older person met a younger person. They didn’t know each other very well, but were connected through socio-cultural similarities.

Wanting to encourage the younger person, the older person chose to give advice about their potential life choices.

See if these words sound familiar…

You’re interested in writing? You should go to a four-year college and get a Master of Fine Arts degree! That will let you make money as an author.

You did very well with your three lines in the church play! Maybe you should go to a four-year acting college, move to California sight-unseen, and get a job in the movies!

You enjoyed high school math and economics? Invest in that! Go to this website and check out internships in your field, then look into advancing your education and getting into clerical/economic positions!

Do you notice anything…off?

Naturally, there’s a lot of good here: the older person is trying to affirm the younger person…to notice their interests and passions…to give them positive feedback…and encourage them to better themselves.

The older person wishes only the best for the younger person. They seize on what little data they can find, and build on that…with nothing but the best intentions.

And yet…

What god do these people worship?

Take a close look at the quotes. There’s not a lot to go on, is there? There’s mention of a “church play”…but what else in the scene places these two characters?

They might be meeting at a Lions Club. They might be distant relatives at a family reunion. Perhaps they’re total strangers interacting briefly in a store.

Look again at what the older person said. Based only on their words, who (or what) do they consider the most important thing in the world worship?

Short Aside—What Is A God?

If you’ve ever read the Bible, you know that “idols” are things people worship apart from God, and it makes Him very angry.

Because, if we’re Christians, we’re “married” to God…but every time we put something else in His place, that’s like having an affair with the idol.

That’s what He literally says through his prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

(Anyone else feeling dirty right now?)

My dad defines a “god” as this—

A god is something we go to when we want to get things done…or something whose claims on us we acknowledge.

Examples?

Money is an easy target. It’s even mentioned in the Bible. Money is a very generous god…it gives us anything we could desire.

But in exchange, it demands our soul.

Power and sex are other “gods” we go to for getting what we want.

Sports is a harsh authoritarian, demanding our Sunday mornings, our school nights, and our time with family. It can be hard to deny Sports the things it demands.

Pride? Pride is a god worshiped by many (including me – that’s why Jesus needs to change my heart). I want other people to praise me, to acknowledge me, and to speak great things of me. Because (get this) it’s all focused on ME…not God.

And in exchange, Pride rots my heart from the inside out.

Back to Our Fairytale…Who Gets My Life?

An older person spots a younger person…just starting out, an image of what they themselves once were, with a chance to do anything and be anything this world offers.

This older person wants to advise the younger person…to give them a hint about the direction they should take…to encourage them to put their youthful energies and resources into something meaningful.

So the older person says:

[…what would you say?…]

[…what is the most important thing?…]

[…what one thing would you point to, that you wish every whipper-snapper in your life would devote themselves whole-heartedly to?…]

There’s no guarantee they’ll listen. They’re young…they probably won’t.

But what is so critical, so vital, that you’ll use your one interaction with this incarnation of Past You to impart?

Think about it. Your answer will say a lot about where your heart is…


Listen, Kid…(What Do You Say Next?) — Kimia WoodKimia Wood lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family…including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

Subscribe to her mailing list before society collapses and the web goes dark! You’ll get a FREE copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier…plus periodic updates on her latest reading and writing adventures.

Christmas Night, From the “Other” Side

What is he waiting for?

Christmas Night, From the "Other" Side — Kimia Wood

Image from Pixabay

The shepherd men are here. The mother and husband are in position.

Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting? Isn’t it time?

I got excited when the Emperor signed the census order. After all, that was finally the beginning of the end, right?

Then there was that Simeon guy…Remember when the word came down? Somebody took him a message from the Throne:

You won’t die until you have seen my Promised Anointed One with your own eyes. (see Luke 2:25-26)

Good grief gravy! I was so pumped I couldn’t walk straight. Remember how we said to each other, “You know what this means? It’s happening soon. Like, human-standards soon!”

Man! I can’t even–

What is he waiting for? How long can it take to deliver a baby? Couldn’t some of us dash over and give the girl a hand? Please?! I’ve been waiting so long!

Just make yourself visible already! We can’t come out until you come out! Listen, I’ve been practicing this song since Isaiah got the tip.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

I can’t even imagine being separated from Him – even for a moment. I despise our former kin who took up arms against Him.

And yet…these weak, momentary humans…He’s coming for them! The Great Plan – you’ve heard the rumors, yes? The little, cryptic hints we were allowed to give the prophets?

Gah! So long! Why is this taking so LONG? Don’t you tell me, “It’s only one night.” This is THE night — the night all other nights are counted from…

The point where Eternal, Immortal Invisible cracks Time, the Physical, the –

We have got to go to the stable after this and see for ourselves. Imagine Him – wrapped in a flesh body – hokey smokes, won’t the light and majesty just leak out of Him like a bush on fire?

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? The shepherds are just waiting around for us. The fat one is asleep – I can tell. Wake him up! Wake them all up! Wake up the whole damned, soon-to-be-redeemed-and-ransomed world!

He Is here! In the flesh! God fused with human form so closely and completely that He is fully both –!

At last! Look at ’em scream and hide their eyes. If you only knew, boys…if you only knew.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)

It’s time! IT’S TIME! Can’t take it any more…gonna become visible – Boom! Listen up, little men of the sheepfold – listen!Christmas Night, From the "Other" Side — Kimia Wood

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)

He’s here! He came! The Son of Man Himself! How can you not be shouting – dancing – with me? He’s come to redeem your poor, pathetic, flesh-bound lives and make ALL THINGS NEW!

How can you not sing?!


MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Kimia the Author lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family – including the brother that strangers mistake for her boyfriend.

Subscribe to her mailing list before society collapses and the web goes dark.

Now I gotta go dance and sing for a while…

10yo Girl Killed—God Proved Right

10yo Girl Killed—God Proved Right

This week something abominable happened in my own slice of the Midwest.

In a nutshell: A ten-year-old girl went missing. A four-day search by police and the community ended with the discovery of the girl’s body. Her step-mother has been accused of strangling her.

What’s our reaction? Continue reading