Dear Christian, find your life in Jesus Christ

addressing the false teaching of “daily dying to self,” part 4

Part 1 (link) introduces how detrimental this concept can be in the context of an abusive marriage, and gives my husband Tim a platform to speak. Part 2 (link) addresses Scriptures such as “I die daily,” “deny yourself,” and “take up your cross.” Part 3 (link) addresses the Scriptures that talk about “mortification” and spiritual “dying.”

 The Christian life is about finding “rest from works” in the spiritual realm

Jesus promised that those that came to Him would find rest for their weary souls. He accomplished the work in the spiritual realm, so that we wouldn’t have to. Our part is to trust Him in His finished work. But . . . 

In contrast, the “daily dying to self” teaching is a work (in opposition to faith) that Christians are told they’re supposed to accomplish in the spiritual realm, in order to further our life in Christ.

But it’s impossible. Have you observed that it’s impossible in your own experience? Have you felt Continue reading

Dear Christian, you are called to spiritual life, not perpetual death

addressing the false teaching of “daily dying to self,” part 3

You can read Part 1 hereYou can read Part 2 here.

Recap of the “daily dying to self” study so far

When Jesus told the crowd “Deny yourself and follow Me,” He wasn’t saying “daily die to yourself in a spiritual or soulish way.” He was telling them to turn their backs on their former lives and become His true disciples. He still calls people to this.

When He said “Take up your cross (daily) and follow Me as a disciple,” He was not saying “die to yourself daily in a spiritual or soulish way.” He was telling them Continue reading

Dear Christian: stop trying to die

addressing the false teaching of “daily dying to self,” part 2

You can read Part 1 here. 

I die dailyPart 1 was an introduction to the topic of “daily dying to self,” partly to respond to a blog post, plus I had the privilege of providing a platform for my excellent husband.

But Part 2 will begin looking at the Scriptures that don’t teach “daily dying to self.” First off . . . Continue reading

Dear Christian, your marriage is not supposed to kill you

addressing the false teaching of “daily dying to self,” part 1
Your marriage is not supposed to kill you.

by Rebecca Davis

A couple of months ago blogger Darrell Harrison posted this blog article (link), which told us our marriages are supposed to kill us.  Continue reading

Righteous anger or sinful? A response to the Women’s Study Bible

Last Friday morning I wrote and posted a response (link) to Michael Pearl’s blog post in which he answered the questions of a woman who, with her children, was living with an abusive husband (link).

The title of my post, “Dear Michael Pearl, this is what righteous anger looks like seemed self-evident. This is because, as it so happened, the previous morning someone else had written to ask me a question that in God’s providence prepared me for Friday morning.

She asked for my thoughts on a short lesson about anger from the Thomas Nelson Women’s Study Bible (WSB), edited by Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Kelley. (There appear to be dozens of editions of this Bible available, but I’m linking to one of the most recent ones.)

Here is the lesson, found at Ecclesiastes 7:9. (in this edition it’s on page 982.)  Continue reading

There weren’t any wicked people in MY part of the world

This coming Friday, the plan is, I’ll be doing another Facebook Live interview with Natalie Klejwa of Emotional Abuse Survivor (aka Visionary Survivor). Because we’re going to be talking about “bitterness,” I was naturally led to think about the wicked.

So here’s a funny story. It’s actually true, too.

Around 25 or 30 years ago when I was reading through the Psalms, I sighed and said to myself, “There sure are a lot of Psalms about the wicked. But I don’t personally know any wicked people, so these psalms seem like they don’t apply to me.”

Yes, it’s true. That’s what I said.

Then I went on to think, Continue reading

The other kind of radical

This  post is also being published today at the blog of Give Her Wings, an organization that helps and supports women leaving abusive spouses. Please visit their site.

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

Last September for my Birthday Reflections post (an annual tradition), I wrote about going down into the dark valley called The Valley of Weeping.

Today, though, I want to express my boundless praise for the gift God has given me in that valley, the people I’ve been privileged to get to know there. I want to shout out my thanksgiving to God for the faithful trauma survivors He has put in my life. Most of them were traumatized by people who claimed to be Christians, even Christian leaders. But in spite of that, these women are still following God, or longing to follow Him, in faith.

My heart swells in even thinking about them. I would far rather sit at their feet than at the feet of the most popular speaker.   

Many of them will never stand before a microphone and speak. Many of them will never write a book. Many of them will not have any sort of following at all, because they are simply trying to live their lives. If we take David Platt’s Radical as a mantra, Continue reading

The other kind of hypocrisy

This post is being simultaneously published at the website of Leslie Vernick.

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I’ve been urged to watch 13 Reasons Why to see the 13 reasons [why] a friend hates it so much. (Though I’ve read and heard enough about it to understand it, so far I’ve been able to get through only the first episode). The bullying she personally experienced at her Christian school, she said, was pretty much everything that happened in this Netflix series, and more.

One of the most important things she described to me about her school was the dynamic of bullying. Some students there were genuinely nice people, but they lived in such an environment of fear that whenever the main bullies were around, they remained silent or even participated in the bullying if necessary, so they wouldn’t become a target. (You may wonder why no one tried to alert teachers or administrators about this massive problem, but someone did and it wasn’t believed, but that’s beyond the scope of this blog post.)

So while I was pondering the dynamics of a bullying school environment that went stratospherically beyond anything I had experienced in my own high school days of mild bullying, we heard a sermon on Galatians 2.

“Well, what do you know,” says I to myself, “there it is again!”

The story goes that the apostle Peter and the other Jewish Christians were actually welcoming the Gentile Christians and even eating with them (a truly big deal in those days) . . . until the bullies came.

The bullies weren’t swaggering studs or prima donna divas; they were Continue reading

Dear sister I read about on the CBCMoscow blog post

I don’t know you, but I’d like to reply to the letter you wrote asking for counsel, which was published on this blog post, with a troubling reply. Here is your letter:

Dear Pastor,    

You’ll never believe the terrible state of my marriage. I was raised in a Christian family. My father and mother never fought. I wasn’t rebellious as a teen and my husband and I went through all the “proper” courtship process before getting married. Now, five years later, everything has fallen apart.    

Roy, my husband, who was so loving and kind in the beginning has become rude, surly, and angry all the time. The good thing is that he doesn’t hit me or the children (one boy and two girls), but he gets really quiet and spends a lot of time in the basement. Every once in a while, he does blow up and wowser, what a blow-up. He curses, yells, calls us all kinds of names, and throws things.   


We never know when he’s going to blow and what is going to cause it. We’re all walking on egg shells all the time.   

Can you fix him? Can you help us?   

Hurt & Confused    

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Here is my reply:

First, I want to tell you that I get being hurt and confused. I’ve never been in your situation, but because of many friends of mine that I’ve listened to at length, I’ve tried to imagine what it must be like to think you were getting a loving and kind husband, but then realize he’s a completely different person, a scary person, and you don’t even know who he is. Hurt and confusion are appropriate responses.

You may have counselors giving you unhelpful advice along the lines of “What were you expecting, a bed of roses?” But Continue reading