Read the Bible in a Year and Journals

For the last several years, I have been reading the Bible through each year. I’ve used several different plans, and there are elements of each that I’ve really enjoyed. But a few years ago I wanted to do something different. I like the idea of reading each book through so that you get a good feel for the flow of the book. But I really don’t like to wait until the last third of the year to read the New Testament. I love reading the Wisdom Literature, but I think I appreciate them more in smaller portions.

After looking through the various Bible reading plans available, I decided to create my own. My plan alternates between Old Testament and New Testament books, but completes one book at a time. On the weekends, my plan has readings from the Psalms on Saturdays and a chapter from Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, or Song of Songs on Sundays. Enjoy and happy reading!

Theology Gals has published two Bible Study Journals to use with your daily Bible reading. The first has a version of my Bible reading plan included in the journal: Bible Study Journal. The second has journal pages for you to take notes, to write out memory verses, or to keep track of questions for further study. Prayer list pages alternate with the journal pages: Bible Study and Prayer Journal.

What is Love?

The four advent/Christmas themes are hope, joy, peace, and love. These themes are important all year. This week we focus on love. Our society tells us that love means accepting people just as they are. It tells us that love is that warm, tingling feeling we feel for that special someone. But what is love really? Is it a feeling? A verb?

As Christians, we know that love is a much richer concept than the world around us understands. The Bible tells us that God is love:

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:8, NASB)

God is love. As such He defines it. He demonstrates His love for us through Christ:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NASB)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NASB)

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10, NASB)

God enables us to love Him and to love others:

We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19, NASB)
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16, NASB)
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:11-12, NASB)

God promises that nothing can separate us from His love:

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39, NASB)

God sets the standard for how we are to love others:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, NASB)
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (1 John 4:20-21, NASB)

Sometimes that love means confronting sin. Sometimes it means forgiving others for how they’ve sinned against us. Sometimes it means leaving family and friends behind to follow Christ. Love can be painful.

Love is so much more than a passing feeling. It’s more than romance. It’s more than blind acceptance. Love, true love, is active and self-sacrificial. It puts the needs of others before itself. It’s a fruit of the Spirit and evidence of the saving love we’ve been given. We love God and others because He first loved us. This Christmas season, may we remember the love that God has shown us in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and may we demonstrate that love for others in all that we do.

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35, NASB)

Christian, Where is Your Joy?

Four common themes discussed during the Advent/Christmas season are Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. The last two weeks, I’ve posted articles on hope and peace. Today, I want to consider joy.

What is joy? As Christians, what is the source of our joy? What does joy look like in our daily lives? Should a believer’s life be marked by joy? And what if it isn’t?

Merriam-Webster defines joy this way, “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” I think this is a useful definition. Joy is that wonderful feeling we get when our children smile for the first time. It’s that sense of happiness when our family is gathered together for the holidays. Joy is that emotion we feel when we get a raise or a promotion at work. It’s the feeling comes with knowing we are loved. It’s even that sense of anticipation we have when we look at the presents under the Christmas tree.

Of course, ultimately, joy is more than a transient emotion or feeling. Consider this:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit’s work in the life of believer. That means that it is something more than an emotion we have in the right circumstances. Our joy, as Christians, is rooted in something much deeper. It’s source is in the work of Christ for our salvation.

Consider the angel’s declaration when Jesus was born:

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of 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. (Luke 2:10-11 ESV)

What is this “good news of great joy?” The Savior has come! Jesus has been born. Of course, that’s not the whole story. Jesus’ birth was just the beginning. He lived and died for us. And most importantly, He rose again. Through His life, death, and resurrection, He has saved us from our sins! What a glorious thing! We are forgiven. We are made new. He has won the victory and secured our future. Nothing can separate us from His love.

The Savior has come, and He will come again. In the face of this truth, how can we be anything but joyful? No matter our circumstances, no matter the pain, sorrow, grief, fears, dangers, heartaches we face, we are His, and He will never leave us. And one day, He will come and take us home. That is the source of our joy. And it can’t be shaken.

As a side note, I do not mean to suggest that Christians do not struggle with sadness and depression. Christians can and do suffer from depression. But even in the depth of depression, it is possible to turn our eyes to the source of our joy and to remember that depression doesn’t separate us from Him. We can have joy in the knowledge of our salvation even when we don’t feel it.

Joy doesn’t mean that we go through life with happy-clappy attitudes and smiles plastered on our faces. There is a time for rejoicing and a time for sorrow. It’s appropriate to grieve and cry at times. But in those times, we have not lost our joy. We still have that sense of anticipation. Christ is the only joy that lasts.

So what should joy look like in our daily lives? First, our lives should be filled with worship and praise. We have been saved from our sins. They are remembered no more. We are loved, adopted, children of God. We have hope in our resurrection. Our response should be to worship the One who has called us, redeemed us, atoned for us.

Second, we should share our joy with others. Because of how much we love our families, friends, and neighbors, we must share with them the source of our joy. There is no gift more precious in the world than the salvation we have received through Jesus. There is nothing more joyful in this life than seeing others come to Christ. How can we keep silent?

Given the source of our joy, the reality of His resurrection, the security of our salvation, how can we not be joyful? But what about Christians who aren’t? I’m sure we all know Christians who don’t exactly embody joy.

From grumps and cranks to Eeyores and curmudgeons, there are some believers who seem to be happiest when they’re miserable, cantankerous, and grumbling. While I can appreciate that there are those who are naturally pessimistic and grouchy, I don’t think it’s right to revel in those character flaws. The image of the cranky old man yelling at the kids to “get off his lawn” is comedic, but who wants to live that way? It doesn’t seem to fit with the picture of the believer that we see in the fruit of the Spirit.

The world around us is full of reasons to fuss and complain. Our jobs aren’t going well. Our families are crazy. Our health is failing. The government isn’t doing a good job. The politicians we voted for didn’t get elected. The ones we elected broke their promises. The weather is bad: too hot or too cold. The drivers on the roads are idjits. There are so many reasons to be in a bad mood. But when we’re tempted to give in to our emotions, let’s remember the source of our joy.

Let us sing for joy this Christmas! Joy to the world, the Savior has come! And He will come again!

The God of Peace

The second Advent focus is peace. Peace means so much more than the kids are quiet and not arguing so I can read my favorite book. It’s also more than an absence of war between nations. What follows is an article I wrote a few years ago about the true meaning of peace.

In November 2012, my family and I went to College Station for an RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) reunion. RUF has been on campus at Texas A&M for more than 25 years. The best part of the whole weekend was hearing my former campus minister, Chris Yates, preach. I am so thankful for him and his family and for all I learned in my years at RUF.

Pastor Yates preached from 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24:
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.(NASB)

While I’m not going to summarize the whole of his excellent sermon (you can listen to it here), I want to share and expound on one of the points he made.

Pastor Yates opened by discussing what it means that God is a “God of peace.” Since it comes in the opening or closing parts of Paul’s letters, it is easy to skim over it and not really consider the importance of those words. What kind of peace is Paul referring to? Political peace? No, there wasn’t political peace in Paul’s day any more than there is today. How about world peace? Is there world peace? Was there then? No, there isn’t and wasn’t. Well, since Paul isn’t lying, it must mean something else. What other kind of peace is there?

Pastor Yates then pointed us to the verse in Luke 2:14:

Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. (NASB)

And then to the hymn, Hark the Herald Angels Sing:

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

The peace that Paul refers to is the peace of “God and sinners reconciled.” What joyful news this is! As the country preacher once said, “God ain’t mad no more!”

This was such a timely reminder for me. I had had a particularly difficult week, and not just the disappointing election results. In troubled times, it is easy to despair. But when we remember that God, through the work of Christ, has defeated sin and death and has reconciled us to Himself, we can lift our eyes and rejoice. When we remember that God is still at work, in the world and in our lives sanctifying us, we can be at peace. Because we are at peace with God, we can be at peace in our lives. What better news is there?

In our culture, it’s in vogue to treat this glorious gospel message with disdain, and not just outside the church. Plenty of scholars, theologians, and pastors will say that it’s wrong to focus on the salvation of God’s people. As Peter Enns has said, “The gospel is not about how you get saved.” They say we’re missing the big picture of the work that God is doing to redeem the cosmos. As Dr. Tim Keller has said:

The whole purpose of salvation is to cleanse and purify this material world. … [T]he whole purpose of salvation is to make this world a great place. … God sees this world as not a temporary means to an end of salvation, but actually salvation is a temporary means to an end – to the renewal of creation. Saving souls is a means to an end of cultural renewal.

It seems to me that while it is certainly true that God is at work in the world and that there is an ultimate renewal/restoration/re-creation coming that will include the whole of the creation, that as a culture we’ve lost sight of the depths and seriousness of our sin. The weight of our sins, from Adam down to the believers yet to be born, was so severe, the cost of our sins was so high, the chasm between God and man brought about by our sin was so great, that the Son of God DIED to pay the penalty. Let me say that again. The Son of God DIED. Because of me. Because He LOVES me. Because He has called me by name and written my name on the palm of His hand. Do you not feel the weight of that? Is there anything that could possibly be better news?

Apart from Christ, we are sinners, separated from God, bearing the weight of our sins, unable to save ourselves, but that’s not the end of the story. The God of peace has come, has redeemed His people, is at work sanctifying them Himself, and will come again to present them as holy and blameless. This Sunday, I was reminded of His love for me, of all He has done, is doing, and will do for me. Oh, what joy!

When we sang “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted” that Sunday, these words struck me anew:

Ye who think of sin but lightly,
Nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed!
See Who bears the awful load!
’Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man, and Son of God.

Thank God for the peace He’s given us through Christ!

Christian, Where is your Hope?

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NASB)

Hope is the first of the four themes for advent. All too often we speak of hope in a wishful way. “I hope I make it to work on time.” “I hope you’re feeling better.” “Hopefully, my children will sleep tonight.” This kind of uncertain, wishful thinking is not what it means to have hope in Christ. In Christ, we have assurance. We have security. We have a Savior who has come, fulfilling the prophecies of old, and who will come again! Maranatha!

One advent season, I began thinking about where I often put my hope, and where it ought to be. To remind myself, I made a list of where my hope should not be:

  • My hope is not in my finances.
  • My hope is not in my health.
  • My hope is not in my children.
  • My hope is not in my husband and his love for me.
  • My hope is not in my career or my professional success.
  • My hope is not in my ability to control my life.
  • My hope is not in my appearance.
  • My hope is not in my self-reliance or independence.
  • My hope is not in those around me.
  • My hope is not in me.

All of these things are fleeting. All will ultimately disappoint. None will satisfy. None will save. None are secure. If I have everything the world offers, I could lose it tomorrow. My only hope is in Christ. He will not fail.

The Heidelberg Catechism teaches us where our comfort or hope comes from as believers:

What is your only comfort in life and death?

That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.

Christ is our only sure hope. Our salvation is secure in Him. God has saved us, God is saving us, God will save us. Past, present, and future. All are certain in Him. We have great hope.

As the words of the hymn say, “He then is all my Hope and Stay.” Rejoice today in the hope of Christ!

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne. — Edward Mote

Getting to the Root

With the recent discussions about the Genevan Commons Facebook group, there is something important that I think needs to be addressed. The reason Aimee Byrd and I (and many others) are under attack is that we are seen as a threat to certain beliefs that some hold dear. Despite claims to the contrary, we are Biblical, Reformed, orthodox, and confessional in our beliefs and in what we write and say.

As I’ve written elsewhere, I am not a feminist or an egalitarian by any actual definitions of the terms. The same goes for Aimee Byrd. We both affirm the following beliefs regarding men, women, and gender:

  • God made humans, male and female, in His own image (see Gen. 1:26–27)
  • in Christ, men and women are equal before God (see Gal. 3:28)
  • women and men are interdependent and should serve each other (see 1 Cor. 11:11–12)
  • marriage was designed to be between one man and one woman—ideally for life (see Gen. 2:24)
  • husbands are called to sacrificial, servant leadership of their wives and to love them as Christ loves the church (see Eph. 5:25–33)
  • wives are called to yield voluntarily to their husbands—to submit to them as the church submits to Christ (see Eph. 5:22–24)
  • only qualified men should be ordained leaders in the church (see 1 Tim. 3:1–13)
Rachel Green Miller, Beyond Authority and Submission, 15-16.

As Byrd wrote in Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:

God made man and woman: he instituted marriage to be a unity between one man and one woman; sex is a fruit of this unifying bond; and life is a gift from God. Men and women are not androgynous. Gender is not fluid … Men and women are very much alike. And yet they are also distinct.

Aimee Byrd, Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 19.

Our beliefs are consistent with the Scriptures and with the confessional standards of our Reformed denomination. So what’s the problem? While the attacks are frequently framed in terms of our being unbiblical, anti-confessional, and part of a “reformed downgrade,” the underlying concern is the threat we pose to patriarchy.

These men see themselves engaged in a war for “patriarchy” and against “feminism.” Michael Spangler, in a series of posts that ran on the Daily Genevan blog, explained his concerns:

The enemy is feminism. By feminism I mean the ideology that disputes the following facts:

1. God made men stronger, and appointed them to public work, and to rule in family, church, and state. (1 Sam. 4:9; 1 Cor. 16:13; Gen. 3:19; Prov. 31:23; 1 Tim. 3:1; 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:23; 1 Tim. 3:4; 1 Tim. 2:8, 12; 3:2; Titus 1:6; Ex. 18:21; Prov. 31:23; Num. 1:2–3)

2. God made women weaker, and appointed them to domestic work, and to submit to the rule of men. (1 Peter 3:7; 1 Tim. 2:14; Prov. 31:27; 1 Tim. 2:15; 5:14; Titus 2:5; 1 Cor. 11:7–9; Eph. 5:22; 1 Cor. 14:35; Ps. 68:12; Isa. 3:12)

A good one-word summary of these facts of nature, and of Scripture, is patriarchy, “father-rule.” Feminism is its opposite. The desire that unites all feminists is, as they say, to “smash the patriarchy.”

Michael Spangler, https://web.archive.org/web/20200516192941/http://www.thedailygenevan.com/blog/2020/5/12/Feminism_In_The_Reformed_Churches_1_The_Leaders

Before we go on, it’s important to clarify how these terms are being used. When I say that these men are defending “patriarchy,” I don’t mean “patriarchy” as a nebulous boogieman comprised of any type of male leadership or masculinity. I’m using the term as they define it. For example, Blake Blount (The Daily Genevan) defines patriarchy as “a universally recognized (except by modern Westerners) feature of the world, and the resulting attempt to live with the grain of nature.” Spangler writes, “Patriarchy is not merely a matter of ‘thus saith nature,’ but all the more, ‘thus saith the Lord.’”

“Feminism,” as they define it, is anything that disputes that ideology. Any disagreement with their belief in the natural rule of men over women in all spheres of life or in “the natural inferiority of the female sex” is evidence of “feminism.” According to them, “feminism infiltrated our culture at large and is destroying our churches,” “feminism is a form of unbelief,” and “feminism ruins everything.”

It’s not enough that Aimee and I (and others similarly condemned as “feminists”) believe that men and women are distinct and complementary, that husbands are leaders of their families, that wives should submit to their husbands, that marriage should be between one man and one woman, that sex should be within the bonds of marriage, that abortion is wrong, that motherhood is a blessing, and that only qualified men should be ordained in our churches. Until we agree with their beliefs about the nature of men and women, we will be marked as enemies:

This is how feminism creeps in: by first questioning the scriptural command for women to be keepers of the home while slowly eroding created and natural distinctions between men and women. Feminists might give lip service to the notion that pastors are to be men but once they are done removing all the distinctions by teaching and preaching to many men, that notion will be a quaint relic easily discarded. …

Women like Aimee Byrd, Rachel Greene Miller {sic}, Beth Moore, and Valerie Hobbs have begun the process of asking “has God really said?” At first, they have tried to get beyond submission and authority. And then next, they play the victim card as recoverees from biblical masculinity and femininity.

Joseph Spurgeon, https://web.archive.org/web/20200524043557/https://crosspolitic.com/jim-im-a-pastor-not-a-doctor-feminism-aimee-byrd-and-mark-jones/

And what do they believe about the nature or ontology of men and women? Here are a few examples.

Shane Anderson:

Michael Spangler:

since the Greeks and Romans were at their best merely seasoned nature guides, pointing out truths that should be obvious to all who live on earth. Such truths as, that women’s bodies and souls show that they were made for bearing and nursing children, and for the quiet refuge of the home. That men’s bodies and souls testify to their place as public aggressors, powerfully pursuing a vocation, not the softer life of domesticity. That families ordered according to these realities are consistently happier. …

Why, we ask Paul, may women not preach (1 Tim. 2:12)? Because, as Satan knew, they are by nature more easily deceived (v. 14; cf. 1 Peter 3:7; 2 Tim. 3:6). The weaker vessel is not made for the rigors of the gospel ministry. They shouldn’t preach, because they can’t.

Michael Spangler https://web.archive.org/web/20200615131239/http://www.thedailygenevan.com/blog/2020/5/16/Feminism_In_The_Reformed_Churches_3_The_Book_Tactics

Steven Wedgeworth:

Of course, very few people in Western cultures today are willing to state that male leadership is a natural law and that it should be taken as a general truth for all of human social life …

Women are not permitted to lead in the church because they are not permitted to hold positions of leadership in general. This is not only a matter of individual gifts but also of a kind of sexual hierarchy. The teaching office is an office of “superiority.” Ecclesiastical ordination is a subset of the larger question of political authority. Hierarchy is front and center. …

God’s command is exegeted not only from the text of Scripture but also the book of nature. It exists within the very fabric of creation. Male-only ordination is not only right. It is fitting.

Steven Wedgeworth, https://web.archive.org/web/20200609101308/https://calvinistinternational.com/2019/01/16/male-only-ordination-is-natural-why-the-church-is-a-model-of-reality/

Similar concerns about ontology or natural theology/law appear in many critical reviews of our books:

It is evident that Mrs. Miller defines men and women as substantially equivalent and that the “co-laboring” she sees in Scripture is a partnership of ontological equals. The only differentiation she allows is found in the stubborn realities of biology in the home and ordination in the church. Biology plainly teaches that women are built to bear children, and one cannot contradict biology. Paul plainly teaches male only ordination, and one cannot contradict the apostle.

But wisdom is found in knowing the causes of things. Why did Paul teach what he did? This is never addressed in Mrs. Miller’s book. The reason for this lacuna is a failure to wrestle with relevant ontology. There is some ontological discussion in chapters 1 and 7, but none of it is relevant to the question of men and women, masculinity and femininity. This is where Mrs. Miller’s book fails. This is also where most of today’s voices who speak to this question are failing as well.

Bennie Castle, https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3R6N9N21E499D/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1629956112

There’s also a non-existent Reformed ontology of males and females, which is the biggest weakness in the book.

Mark Jones, https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RWRG5U7O417UJ/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B07XFRQGJK

Does natural law or natural theology have anything to teach us about the inherent ontological differences between men and women as those differences relate to authority and submission? If so, how might that affect our understanding of male and female roles in the church and society (apart from the limited question of ordination)?

Jonathan Master, https://web.archive.org/web/20200623040228/https://www.reformation21.org/blog/questions-for-aimee

These beliefs about the nature of men and women play out in practical ways, as evidenced in the comments from the Genevan Commons group. I wrote Beyond Authority and Submission because of my concerns about what is being taught about the nature of men and women and because of how women are being treated:

The world is watching how the church treats women, how it responds
to abuse, and how it protects the vulnerable—or fails them. When women are belittled, when men in authority dismiss abuse charges and circle the wagons, when churches and institutions fail to protect the weak and vulnerable, the world sees this and judges. And it’s not only the individuals and particular churches that are judged. The gospel, Christianity, the universal church, and Christ Himself are judged by our response to abuse. As Paul warned, the gospel is in danger of being reviled because of our actions.

Rachel Green Miller, Beyond Authority and Submission, 241.

Because I want to be faithful to Scripture, and I want to uphold our Reformed confessions, I will continue to work to address areas such as these where extrabiblical and unbiblical ideas and beliefs are influencing what’s taught in our churches. What’s going on at the root of these discussions is too important to ignore.

Update: True Woman 101

A few years ago, I wrote a review of True Woman 101: Divine Design, a book by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss. One of the concerns I mentioned was a quote from the book about the Trinity. Here’s the quote as it appears in my review:

The first relationship mirrored the image of God. In the Trinity, individual and distinct beings are joined in an inseparable unity. The individual members (Father, Son, and Spirit) are joined as part of the collective whole (God).

(93, all page numbers from the ebook version)

In my review, I wrote that “I realize that this is most likely an example of sloppy word choice, but it’s very, very important how we talk about the Trinity.”

Yesterday, a couple of women reached out to me to ask about my review. In our discussions, I discovered that the quoted section from True Woman 101 has been edited since I read the book and wrote my review. The quoted section now says:

The first relationship appears to reflect the image of God. In the Trinity, individual and distinct persons are joined in an inseparable unity. The individual persons (Father, Son, and Spirit) are joined as part of the ONE (God).

The new quote is a marked improvement over the original. The language describing the Trinity is better than what I quoted in my review, but still problematic. I’m glad the authors, editors, and/or publisher made this change. I continue to have concerns about the book, but that concern has been addressed.

In case you’d like to compare the quotes, I was able to find the following through Amazon “Look inside” and Google book preview by searching for “Trinity.” Amazon’s “Look inside” feature shows the original quote as I gave it in my review:

Google book preview shows the updated version:

Theology Gals Journals

Coleen and I are excited to announce the new Theology Gals journals. These sermon notebooks, memory workbooks, and Bible study journals are now available through Amazon.

Sermon Notebooks

We’ve put together three sermon notebooks to use during Sunday worship. The first is for younger children. The Younger Children’s Sermon Notebook for Kids has fun and engaging journal pages designed to help your children focus and remember key details. Also included are pages for coloring or drawing. Perfect for children as they learn to read and write.

For older kids, we have the Sermon Notebook for Kids: Older Children. The Older Children’s Sermon Notebook for Kids has fun and engaging journal pages designed to help your children focus and remember key details. Also included are pages for addtional note taking. Perfect for older children as they learn to take notes.

We also have a sermon notebook for teens and adults. This 52-week Sermon Notebook provides you with two pages for note taking each week: a weekly sermon outline page with sections to record the sermon passage, speaker, date, keywords, and prayer requests and lined notepaper for additional notes.

Memory Work Journals

Do you want to teach your children the Reformed catechisms but aren’t sure where to start? Would you like a guide to help you plan and record Scripture verse memorization? Memorizing Scripture verses and catechism questions and answers helps us learn what we believe. The Memory Work Journal Volume 1 includes the Catechism for Young Children based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Lord’s Prayer, and a selection of Bible verses and passages. The memory work journals are available in print and Kindle.

The Memory Work Journal Volume 2 includes the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Apostles’ Creed, and a selection of Bible verses and passages. Ideal for middle school and older. Available in print and Kindle versions.

The Memory Work Journal Volume 3 includes the Heidelberg Catechism, the Nicene Creed, and a selection of Bible verses and passages. Perfect for older children and teens. Available in print and Kindle versions.

Bible Study and Prayer Journals

Would you like to read the Bible through in a year, but you aren’t sure where to start? This BIble reading plan alternates between Old Testament and New Testament books completing one book at a time. On the weekends, you’ll read from the Psalms on Saturdays and a chapter from Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, or Song of Songs on Sundays. This plan allows you to get the feel for the flow of each book while also providing time to focus on smaller portions of the Wisdom Literature. The Bible in a Year journal alternates weekly Bible reading assignments with journal pages. The journal pages can be used to copy down verses or passages to refer back to or to take notes about what you’ve read.

Bible reading and prayer are two of the ordinary means of grace that God uses to build us up in Christ. A Bible Study and Prayer Journal gives you a place to record your weekly prayers and Bible reading. Journal pages are provided for you to take notes, to write out memory verses, or to keep track of questions for further study. Prayer list pages alternate with the journal pages.

A Marathon, Not a Sprint

Like many of us, I’ve been struggling with anxiety this week. Our lives are full of uncertainty, and everyone is trying to figure out how to live, work, parent, and school while stuck at home. Since we already homeschool, our day to day lives are pretty much the same, although I’m a little concerned about the dwindling t.p. supply.

So I was a little surprised by how anxious and emotional I was feeling towards the end of the week. And then it dawned on me, the social distancing and isolation is bringing back really unpleasant memories of my pregnancy with my youngest.

I was extremely sick with my last pregnancy. I had hyperemesis gravidarum which basically means I couldn’t stop throwing up, and I lost a lot of weight. I couldn’t even keep water down. From week 7 to week 24, I rarely left the house.

I missed family gatherings, birthdays, Easter, and week after week of church. It was awful, and the worst part (besides the relentless nausea) was not knowing when I’d feel better. The strain was as much emotional as it was physical.

I realized at some point that what I was going through was a marathon and not a sprint. It didn’t help to push myself or get mad when I couldn’t do everything I was used to doing. I needed to be patient, rest, and learn to live with my limitations. I also had to lower my expectations and adjust my priorities.

So here’s my encouragement for everyone stuck at home trying to balance work and life and parenting and school. First thing, go easy on yourself and your family. Everyone is stressed. No one is coping as well as we’d like to be.

Next, be realistic with your expectations. At the end of each day, if everyone is fed, clothed, relatively clean, and the house is still standing, you’ve done what you needed to today. That’s priority one.

You don’t need to live up to anyone else’s standards. It’s ok if you can’t do everything. Your kids will be ok even if they don’t learn anything while they’re home. We’re in survival mode. It won’t last forever. As hard as it seems right now, things will go back to normal eventually. So hug your family, get some rest, trust in the Lord, do what you can, and try not to worry about what you can’t.

P.S. if you’re feeling especially stressed, I strongly recommend limiting your time on social media and watching/reading the news. Get outside if you can and do something active. Coleen and I talked with Ashley Glassick in recent episode on Anxiety, Depression, and Self Care. I hope our discussion encourages you.

Theology Gals Series on Essential Doctrines

Coleen Sharp and I have just wrapped up our series on essential doctrines. I’m putting the links here in case you haven’t had a chance to listen to the full series. We had a great set of topics, and I hope you’ll find them helpful. Our next series will be on the church. I’m looking forward to sharing those with you too.

Creeds and Confessions: We started the series with an episode on the importance of the creeds and confessions.

The Trinity – Eternal Functional Subordination with Glenn Butner: In this episode, Coleen and I interviewed Glenn Butner on the doctrine of the Trinity and eternal subordination with Glenn Butner. Glenn’s book is extremely helpful: The Son Who Learned Obedience: A Theological Case Against the Eternal Submission of the Son

Federal Vision: A Gospel Issue: We did 2 episodes on federal vision and why it’s a threat to the gospel. Part 1 focuses on the history and doctrines of Federal Vision and explain how Federal Vision is a threat to the gospel. 

Federal Vision: A Gospel Issue: In part 2, we continue our discussion Federal Vision and respond to typical statements about the topic. 

The Humanity of Christ: Coleen and I talk about the nature of Christ. In particular we address a couple of questions about empathy and servant leadership.

The Importance of Understanding the Law and Gospel: We talk about the importance of law and gospel and show the emphasis on law and gospel in the Reformed Faith.

Understanding the Law: This week Coleen and I discussed the three divisions and uses of the law. 

What is the Gospel? with Pastor John Fonville: This week is part one of a two part series with John Fonville. In part one we focus on the gospel and law and gospel.

Antinomianism and Legalism with John Fonville: This week is part two of a two part series with John Fonville. In part two we discuss antinomianism and legalism. 

Assurance: Coleen and I discussed the topic of assurance. One of the dangers of false teaching like we’ve been addressing in this series is the undermining of assurance.

The Work of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is often overlooked or misunderstood. Coleen and I discussed who the Spirit is and what He does in the life of believers.

Good Works: Despite claims to the contrary, Coleen and I are not antinomians. We strongly believe Christians should do good works. As R. Scott Clark writes, the question isn’t whether but why.

Essential Doctrines: Series Wrap Up: In this episode, we wrap up and summarize our series on essential doctrines. We also briefly discuss what’s up next.