Women of the Word

John MacArthur: The interpretation of Scripture has been something of a battleground for centuries for an obvious reason: it seems so subjective. Doesn’t everyone have his own view? Isn’t one view as valid as another? Not necessarily. I believe there … Continue reading

Women of the Word

John MacArthur: One of the common problems in interpreting the Bible is this little phrase, “This verse means to me….” so forth and so forth and so forth. Let me tell you something. It doesn’t matter what it means to … Continue reading

Women of the Word

If we’re not conformed to the Word, we’ll be conformed to the world. There are no
other options.

In Women of the Word posts, you’ll find teaching on big topics like theology or Scripture interpretation delivered in enticingly small packages.

Yum. Just the kind of snack a growing soul needs…

John MacArthur:

There’s no greater testimony to the importance of Scripture than Psalm 119…it’s a long Psalm of 176 verses and every verse is about the Scripture except the very last one which is a response…But in nearly every one of those 176 verses there is an emphasis on the necessity of knowing the Word and obeying it…

Skipping down to verse 159, “Consider how I love Thy precepts. Revive me, O Lord, according to Thy loving kindness.” And then just several to close out, verse 161, “Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of Thy words,” 167, “My soul keeps Thy testimonies and I love them exceedingly.” Verse 174, “I long for Thy salvation, O Lord, and Thy law is my delight.”

Here you have the attitude that has to be brought to bear upon the Scripture… When you understand what you have in your hand and when you treasure this more than gold and when you consider it sweeter than honey, when you delight in it, you will then begin to read its truth. And that’s where all effective Bible study begins.

“What It Takes to Study God’s Word”

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Worry is a failure to understand God’s priority, [Luke 12] verses 22 and 23. “He said to His disciples, ‘For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life as to what you shall eat nor for your body as to what you shall put on, for life is more than food and the body more than clothing.’”

Now here’s the point: God didn’t create you just to survive. God didn’t create you just to have you eat and wear clothes so that you can make it. God did not create you to fulfill some physical goal, or objective, or purpose or design.

Your life is far more than eating. Your life is far more than clothing. You must understand the divine priority…if you belong to God and you are in His Kingdom, He has a plan and a purpose for your life. That’s the reason you live. And as long as God has a plan for your life, He will feed you and clothe you until the plan is complete. So what is there to worry about?

There is really no place for worry and no place for fear, and no place for anxiety if you understand that the priority with God is far more than just surviving, it’s far more than making it through the winter, it’s far more than getting at least one or two meals a day, far more than that.

God’s purpose in giving you life, God’s purpose in giving you a body is not material, it’s not physical, and it’s not earthly, it is immaterial, spiritual and heavenly. We were made for His glory.

We were made to serve His glory, to serve His purpose, to honor Him, to bring attention to Him, to proclaim the gospel, to live out Christ and the power of the Spirit in the world. And as long as that’s the divine priority…for us, He will sustain us to the end of His purpose.

~John MacArthur inAnxiety-Free Living, Part 2

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

God’s continuing presence is a shield against overwhelming temptation. Any time Satan wants to get to a believer, he has to go through God. First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able endure it.”

God is present personally and individually with every believer to defend him against temptation he can’t handle.

That God is present everywhere ought to motivate us to obey Him more carefully. When we sin, whether it is a sin of thought or a sin of words or a sin of actions, it is done in the presence of God. Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses, and in verse 8, Moses acknowledges the implications of God’s omnipresence with regard to our sin: “You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of your presence.”

In other words, when we sin, it is as if we ascended beyond the clouds, came into the throne room of God, walked up to the foot of the throne of God and committed the sin right before His face. That is a sobering thought.

~John MacArthur in Worship: The Ultimate Priority

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

I remember years ago when Dr. John MacArthur began a sermon with the simple question, “Where do we begin discipline? Well, we were all expecting to hear something deep and profound, but Dr. MacArthur simply said,“Begin discipline by… cleaning your room!”

Sounds kind of silly at first but, is it possible that—in all the pursuit of the disciplined life—we focus our eyes on larger-than-life goals? We take on three jobs at church. We get up at 4:00 AM every morning for devotions.

Now, all of these are worthy, but we may be overlooking the more immediate and obvious things. After all, Luke chapter 16 says that “if you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.”

Let’s be faithful in the “little” things—holding back our tongue, being on time to appointments, cleaning our messy rooms. That’s where discipline begins.

~Joni Eareckson Tada in “Where Discipline Begins

Photo: OBMonkey

Book Review: Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur

The Common Definition

If you were to describe a hero, what words would you use? Courage, conviction, passion, strength, selflessness—these character traits and others like them are probably the ideas that quickly spring to mind. In our culture (and most others), we think of heroes as individuals who distinguish themselves from all the average joes of the world through their extraordinary lives and reputations.

In his new book, Twelve Unlikely Heroes, John MacArthur provides a completely different perspective on what it takes to be a true hero in this life. He says, “The greatest heroes are those who are the human means God uses to change people forever—for their good and His glory. And these true heroes who make an eternal impact are invariably the most unexpected and ordinary people—God makes unlikely heroes.”

The Unqualified Candidates

Twelve Unlikely Heroes follows MacArthur’s two previous titles, Twelve Ordinary Men and Twelve Extraordinary Women, as the newest addition to his popular series of books focusing on the lives and legacies of biblical characters. In his latest book, MacArthur features the biographies of both familiar and lesser known names in Scripture—Enoch, Joseph, Miriam, Gideon and Samson, Jonathan, Jonah, Esther, John the Baptist, James (brother of Jesus), and Mark and Onesimus.

As MacArthur expounds on the biblical accounts of these individuals, he makes it clear that on their own, none of them is actually worthy of being called a hero. In the end, there would be nothing notable about the lives of these men and women, if not for the God they served.

The Ultimate Hero

MacArthur recently explained the overriding theme of Twelve Unlikely Heroes:

In truth, God is the real hero of every story. He relished choosing and using the most unlikely people to make spiritual impacts far beyond their own imagination or inherent usefulness. These aren’t lessons about human potential, positive thinking, or how to do the miraculous; they’re about how God, in His providence, deals in the circumstances of lives to accomplish His purpose. They show how God can order the affairs of ordinary people—the flawed, weak, and faltering—for His own significant spiritual outcomes.

My Humble Opinion

I greatly enjoyed reading Twelve Unlikely Heroes and found myself repeatedly thinking, “I never knew that!” In this book, MacArthur not only provides the reader with skillful explanations of the Scriptures, but he also sheds light on the text by sharing numerous cultural and historical insights. Additionally, I also appreciated the way that MacArthur brought his teaching down to a practical level, helping readers to see what the life of each biblical character reveals about God and how it should make a difference in their lives today.

Twelve Unlikely Heroes is both interesting and insightful, and as such, is a book I would gladly recommend.

More from Dr. MacArthur on the unlikely heroes of Scripture…

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through a blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Book Review: The Truth about Grace by John MacArthur

We say it’s amazing. We describe it as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. But apart from that, what do we really know about grace?

In his new book, The Truth about Grace, John MacArthur sets out to help believers gain a deeper and more accurate understanding of this often misunderstood topic. The Truth about Grace is one in a series of three small books now available from Thomas Nelson. Other volumes include The Truth about Forgiveness and The Truth about the Lordship of Christ

In the introduction, MacArthur explains that although divine favor is central to the concept of grace, the oft-repeated definition “unmerited favor” simply doesn’t go far enough. He says, “Grace is not merely unmerited favor; it is favor bestowed on sinners who deserve wrath. Showing kindness to a stranger is ‘unmerited favor’; doing good to one’s enemies is more the spirit of grace (Luke 6:27-36).”

He suggests the following definition instead: “The free and benevolent influence of a holy God operating sovereignly in the lives of undeserving sinners.” In his concise and straightforward style, MacArthur goes on to teach readers from the Scriptures about the two kinds of grace (common and special), God’s sovereignty over grace, common distortions of the topic, the effects of saving grace in the lives of believers, and much more.  

Although some readers may shy away from books dealing with weighty theological issues such as this, there is no reason to fear the subject matter contained in The Truth about Grace. One of the many things I appreciate about John MacArthur is his ability to explain the deep truths of Scripture in a highly understandable manner. Whether you’re struggling with confusion in your understanding of grace or are simply interested in learning more about this merciful gift of God, I believe you’ll be encouraged and blessed by reading the brief, yet thorough teaching provided by MacArthur in The Truth about Grace.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

The source of most of the problems people have in their Christian lives relates to two things: either they are not worshiping six days a week with their life, or they are not worshiping one day a week with the assembly of the saints. We need both.

If you go to church only when it is convenient, you will never be very fruitful as a Christian. You can’t thrive spiritually on your own; you need to have the spiritual stimulation of fellow believers. We live in such an easy-come, easy-go, casual, flippant society that people don’t make consistent, faithful commitments, and then they wonder why they fail.

The answer is clear. Our spiritual growth and stability cannot flourish without the support and mutual encouragement of other Christians.

~John MacArthur in Worship: The Ultimate Priority

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Since a Christian has no Savior but Christ, no Redeemer but Christ, and no Lord but Christ, if Christ is not raised, He is not alive, and our Christian life is lifeless. We would have nothing to justify our faith, our Bible study, our preaching or witnessing, our service for Him or our worship of Him, and nothing to justify our hope in this life or the next. We would deserve nothing but the compassion reserved for fools.

But, God did raise “Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:24-25). Because Christ lives, we too shall live (John 14:19). “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30-31)…

Those who do not hope in Christ alone for salvation are the real fools; they are the ones who need to hear your compassionate testimony about the triumph of Christ’s resurrection. So don’t forget the resurrection; rejoice in it and glory in it, for He is risen indeed

~John MacArthur in “Don’t Forget the Resurrection!

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

I used to think that the doctrine of omniscience was anything but reassuring. When I was young, my parents often said, “We may not know what you do, but God does. He sees everything.” I thought of that as a threat, something that only made me fearful of doing anything wrong. 

To be sure, God’s omniscience is an effective deterrent to sin. God is one teacher who never leaves the room. Second Corinthians 5:10 tells us that someday we will be called to account for all the things that we’ve done in the body. And 1 Corinthians 4:5 says that the Lord will “bring to light the things hidden in darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts.” That is a powerful motivation to live righteously.

My parents were right; God knows everything we do. And yet His correction is always with love. Peter denied the Lord three times at His crucifixion. In John 21, the Lord confronted Peter and asked, “Do you love Me?” (v. 16). Peter assured the Lord that he loved Him. The Lord asked again—a total of three times. Finally Peter said, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You” (v. 17). Peter appealed to Jesus’ omniscience rather than his own visible behavior to verify his love.

First John 3:19-20 says, “We…will assure our heart before Him, in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” God’s omnipotence does more for us than merely act as a watchdog; it is a source of our confidence and assurance, for by it He sees beyond our disobedience and failure, to a heart of love for Him.

~John MacArthur in Worship: The Ultimate Priority

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Worship is to the Christian life what the mainspring is to a watch, what the engine is to a car. It is the very core, the most essential element.

Worship cannot be isolated or relegated to just one place, time, or segment of our lives. We cannot verbally thank and praise God while living lives of selfishness and carnality. That kind of effort at worship is a perversion. Real acts of worship must be the overflow of a perpetually worshiping life.

In Psalm 45:1, David says, “My heart overflows with a good theme.” The Hebrew word for “overflow” means “to boil over,” and in a sense that is what praise actually is. The heart is so warmed by righteousness and love that, figuratively, it reaches the boiling point. Praise is the boiling over of a hot heart. It is reminiscent of what the disciples experienced on the road to Emmaus: “Were not our hearts burning within us?” (Luke 24:32).

As God warms the heart with righteousness and love, the resulting life of praise that bubbles up and overflows is the truest expression of worship.

~John MacArthur in Worship: The Ultimate Priority

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Fruitfulness has always been the acid test of true salvation. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). When John the Baptist admonished his followers to “bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8), he was speaking of good deeds (vv. 10-14). Paul said we are God’s workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10) John said that all who profess Christ should live as He lived (cf. 1 John 2:6).

Bearing spiritual fruit is not something you can achieve on your own. It “comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:11). Jesus Himself said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

You were redeemed to glorify God through righteous deeds. Make that your priority today.

~John MacArthur in “Cultivating the Fruit of Righteousness,” Drawing Near

Photo: OBMonkey

Learning to Calm the Chaos

“I discipline my body and keep it under control…”

1 Corinthians 9:27

Self-discipline is not my forte. Although I’m not exactly a slob, in certain areas of life I definitely tend toward being a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, “Why start now if it’s not due until tomorrow?” kind of person.

Not only is this approach to dealing with my responsibilities stressful, in many cases, it is also sinful. Doing what I want to do when I want to do it is a far cry from the life of self-denial that Christ calls us to embrace.

By God’s grace, I have made tiny baby steps toward progress in recent months, but I still have a long way to go before I could be described as a disciplined person. I’m looking forward to getting there. :)

For that reason, I appreciate John MacArthur’s helpful advice on this topic 

Practically speaking, how can a person develop self-discipline in his or her life?

Here are some things that have helped me through the years:

1. Start Small. Start with your room. Clean it, then keep it clean. When something is out of place, train yourself to put it where it belongs. Then extend the discipline of neatness to the rest of your home.

2. Be on time. That may not seem very spiritual, but it’s important. If you’re supposed to be somewhere at a specific time, be there on time. Develop the ability to discipline your desires, activities, and demands so that you can arrive on time.

3. Do the hardest job first. When you do that, you will find it easier to do the simpler tasks.

4. Organize your life. Plan the use of your time; don’t just react to circumstances. Use a calendar and make a daily list of things you need to accomplish. If you don’t control your time, everything else will.

5. Accept correction. Correction helps make you more disciplined because it shows you what you need to avoid. Don’t avoid criticism; accept it gladly.

6. Practice self-denial. Learn to say no to your feelings. Learn to do what you know to be right even if you don’t feel like doing it. Sometimes it’s even beneficial to deny yourself things that are acceptable to have, like a doughnut in the morning or dessert after dinner. Exercising such self-restraint helps you develop the habit of keeping other things under control. Cultivating discipline in the physical realm will help you become disciplined in your spiritual life.

7. Welcome responsibility. When you have an opportunity to do something that needs to be done, volunteer for it if you have talent in that area. Accepting responsibility can force you to organize yourself.

Do you have a tip that you would add to the list? How do you seek to bring order into your daily life?

Photo: Jan Willem Geertsma