Saturday, October 12, 2013

a little bird told me

Life is good.

God is Good

This paper hangs on my refrigerator. The top line is the printed heading of a grocery list/note paper. The second line is printed in my daughter's careful second-grade scrawl. I'm the one who put a line through the first good.  Because it's not always good. Sometimes it's really sad. Or rough. Harsh. Scary. Draining. Oh yes, sometimes it is so very good. 

But ...

"There is only one who is good." - Jesus (Matthew 19:17)

As in, only God is good always and in all things. Really and Truly Good.

This paper has been on my refrigerator for several years. Six words and a heart. Not even my own words, but words I need every single day. I'm still amazed at the way God proclaimed the truth through the chaos and tornado of my life through something so simple. Through my little girl. I still don't even know what she was thinking, but it is true revelation. Because He knew I'd need to live by it, remember it, treasure it, savor it. This truth. This bread. This rock.

Life is messy-good, blessing-good, happy-good, trial-filled-good, crazy-good. It's hard and painful and complicated and strange. It's confusing and it leaves us wanting more. 

I'm so glad. So thankful

Because He has more for us. True Good. Himself. Forever without these same earthly conditions on good. He is and has plain good in store for us. Today and every day it is found within His presence if we will come and enter. One Day - we will be delivered into only Good, always Good. This glorious hope for eternity in His Presence is what keeps me going when life is not good. At all. 

This too will pass. 

So, in light of all of that hope and good, and not so good ... I'd like to extend my Saturday invitation to you, Sweet Reader. Have you ever wanted to ask a question about life, God, the Bible, relationships, people, church, or anything? (That last one is scary, but that's why I need the Holy Spirit to write through me.) Go ahead and ask me!  I'll do some research and write back to you next week here in the nest. My answers come from the Bible, revelation from God (as He generously gives - see James 1), and personal experience. And then, when it comes up in your conversations with others, you can always say, "Well, a little bird once told me ..." *wink*

Go ahead, courageous soul - type your question right down there in the comments box and keep it anonymous. I think it's also fun to sign it with a clever salutation, like "Drowning In Sorrow" or "Wishing Life Was Easy" or "Wondering What You Think"

I can't wait to read your questions!

- Robyn


  1. Why do bad things happen to good people?

    1. Since you were my first question, I answered it here in my Saturday post. Thank you for asking and I really do appreciate your vulnerability. The other questions I will be answering below as replies to your comments. Thanks!

  2. If Jesus is really coming back to save us all, why hasn't he freaking done it yet? Hasn't it gotten bad enough?

    1. Dear Despairing,

      I can tell life has pained you, and no trite, cliché answers will work for you. I won’t even try that. Those formulaic answers that Christians sometimes give would not comfort you, and could even turn you away from Him.

      If you’re truly seeking Christ and the truth He has to offer, please keep reading.

      I believe Christ is waiting patiently, yet urgently, for us. Why? Because I see that the Bible says this:

      "The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act." -2 Peter 3:9

      God is waiting for the Lost to come to repentance, the Saved to reach the Lost, and the Redeemed to come to Sanctification. This life is preparation for Eternity, and Jesus would like to come back for a Bride who is ready. And so He awaits us with great anticipation, sending His Spirit to help us by bringing conviction and winning souls, guiding us to righteousness as we surrender to His loving sanctification, and giving us inspiration and strength love others the way He loved us by imploring them with the Gospel to come along too.

      And that, in my humble view, is why He hasn’t come yet. Has it gotten worse instead of better? Of course, but He knew that would happen too. I am truly sorrowful that your life is difficult, but that doesn't mean God is ignoring you or out to get you. Perhaps He is even wooing you or developing your character. It could be, like He has done for me, He is having to permit a bit of hunger for the eternal so you will be ready for paradise. But make no mistake, He will come. The question is, will you be ready, and who will you be bringing with you?

      Please also refer to the following Scriptures in your quest, Dear One: 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 and Mark 13:3-27
      I hope that does help. Hold on to the One who holds you.

      In His Hand,

  3. Why should I believe the Bible? It's just a bunch of fairy tales.

    1. Dear Fairy Tales,

      I couldn’t disagree with you more, and I’d put my life on the line to defend the Bible’s Truth. This isn’t terribly convincing, considering the current rate of suicide bombers who likely do the same in the name of their faith. But at one point in history, Martyrdom *was* the convincing factor why many people put their faith in Christ and His Word of Truth. Because the early apostles and followers of Christianity were willing to die for their faith, many people believed. Check out the account of Stephen in Acts 6-7.

      I like your question, though, and I think it’s a good one to ask yourself about whatever book of faith you use. Why do I believe what I believe? Here are a few of the reasons I trust the Bible above all else.

      1. The Bible has been miraculously preserved, in accuracy that blows away any other ancient text. Google it. Tons of research backs me up.
      2. It was written and compiled over time, and the prophesies given in earlier texts actually came to pass, confirmed in later ones. Check out 1 Kings 13:1-10 compared to 2 Kings 23:15-20, and Isaiah 45 (written around 680 B.C.) and Ezra 1 (written around 440 B.C.). In the Bible God tells us what is going to happen and then … IT DOES ACTUALLY HAPPEN! God does what He says He will do, and that is why we can trust Him.
      3. The Bible has changed my life, and there are millions who would and have said the same thing. Now, I love a good novel, and books are some of my best friends. I know and love books. But there is nothing like the Bible for showing me who I am, what I need, who God is, how He loves and has always loved His people, and what is faith and hope. I am literally a new person since reading the Bible. And I could guarantee that if you would read it with an open heart, you would be convinced too. What God says about His Word is absolutely true to me:

      “Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. The Scriptures train God’s servants to do all kinds of good deeds.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

      “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” –Hebrews 4:12
      “No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.” –Deuteronomy 30:14-16
      “God’s way is perfect.
      All the LORD’s promises prove true.
      He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” –Psalm 18:30

      I hope that helps, or at least gets you thinking. Thank you so much for your question.

      In His Hand,


  4. You Christians are so intolerant and hypocritical. Why would anyone ever want to follow your so-called Savior when you all act so opposite of what he supposedly stands for?

    1. Dear Hurt,

      It's hard for me to give you the care you need through a screen. I can tell you have been hurt by at least one person who claimed to be a Christian, and for that I truly apologize. Jesus' followers don't always represent Him well, though we ought to. I believe it breaks the Savior's heart when we act hypocritically, claiming to be holy or better, when we are every bit as in need of a Redeemer as anyone. Whoever betrayed you most likely has some repenting to do, but my hope, his/her hope - indeed your hope too - lies in the Blood of Christ, who offers forgiveness to us all unconditionally. All we need do is open our hands to receive that grace, and He wants to restore us up from our repentant state on our knees to standing boldly before His throne of mercy.

      It's true that Christians act in opposition of what Christ stands for, which is above all Grace. When we fail to extend grace, forgiveness, and mercy to others and instead walk in hatred or judgment of those who don't yet know Him - I agree with you: no one would ever want to follow Him.

      Fortunately, God is greater than His Church.

      I implore you, Dear Soul, please do not give up on Christ because He has been misrepresented to you by people. People are all flawed, and we make mistakes. We think we know what Jesus would want, and we're often wrong. The thing is, Jesus IS perfect. God doesn't make mistakes and never sins. The focal point of my faith is that I serve a Holy God. He is Faithful. In fact, check out this verse:

      "God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?" -Numbers 23:29

      I would ask you to give Him a chance, though His representatives and followers are sometimes fatally flawed. Because He truly does love you and want you.

      "It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
      Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing." - Ephesians 2:4-10 (Msg)

      I hope that in some small way, what I have said will bring you hope and healing. Keep searching, He is here.

      In His Hand,


  5. Wow. Sounds like a lot of people are searching out there. Praying the Holy Spirit gives you the words for them. Where in the Bible does it say that premarital sex is wrong. Need it for a friend who is engaged and is certain she's getting married to this guy, so her thought is, "What's wrong with having sex with my husband?"

    She understands one man for one woman but since this is her "one man," she doesn't see the issue.

    She's a black and white, it needs to say directly type person, so any help is appreciated.

    1. Dear Pre-marital Counselor,

      I would encourage you to explain the definition of adultery or sexual impurity as any sexual relationship with someone OTHER than a spouse. I do believe this is a biblically sound definition.

      Also, remember that to a follower of Christ, naming something a sin is not for the sake of condemnation (Rom. 8:1), but for the purpose of confession and immediate freedom.

      "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." -Hebrews 13:14

      Ask them how they think God would ask them to keep their marriage bed pure. The truth is, it is only with a spouse, because it is the guarantee/vow we give one another that we will remain sexually moral and monogamous. Right now she has no guarantee that he won’t be sleeping with someone else, because she has no other standing (legally or in God’s eyes) than what every other woman in his life has. A marriage is their gift of purity to one another and we don’t have anything else that does that.

      "But a man who commits adultery has no sense;
      whoever does so destroys himself." -Proverbs 6:32

      “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." - 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

      Though an argument of interpretation may debate the matter of "where does it say you can't have sex" or "that's old-fashioned" or it's not "sin", we know in our hearts that we are not honoring God with our bodies by sleeping with a man who is not our husband ... so we can confidently say it's not God's plan for us.

      This is a tough conversation, one not to be had unless this couple is really wanting to know what you think, and what the Bible actually says. Above all, I would offer forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and freedom in His mercy. Our God is a God of second chances, and people who have chosen sexual sin especially need to hear that.

      I hope that helps!

      In His Hand,


  6. What would you say to a young couple who claim to be Christians, are in church all the time, read their Bibles, pray, etc., but their lifestyles are still so secular - hard drinking, violent/horror/sex-filled movies, bad language, love decorating for/celebrating Halloween and other dark things, etc.

    Very sweet couple but there doesn't seem to be any transformation. Am I too sensitive and convicted? Should I even say anything, and if so, how? Where is the line on these moral issues... Each individual?

    1. Dear Sensitive and Convicted,

      I’m so thankful for your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and His conviction, and that you have made choices in your own life than honor Him. Please keep that sensitivity. My sister-in-law sent me a quote a few weeks ago which has been ringing in my heart.

      “By grace and in grace we scour every corner of our hearts, every square inch of our lives, and probe our minds to find anything that is not in submission to Jesus Christ, and we eradicate it altogether for the glory of God.” –Matt Chandler

      Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is the only One who can bring this level of conviction. That does not mean we won’t have gifts of opportunity to speak the truth of God’s Word, and guide them *gradually* into His likeness. But let us walk in caution and care, lest we create an atmosphere of condescension, as some of my above readers have expressed.

      Here are a few recommendations:
      1. Build a relationship, and if you already have one, make it more firm. Have them over to your house and don’t be ashamed to kindly demonstrate that you don’t decorate for Halloween. Model with your loving-kindness what godliness looks like (and isn’t that what the Master did for us?).
      2. Pray. You can be on your knees, asking the Father to send the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to their hearts about the potential evils they are exposing their hearts to. Your prayers will go much farther than your words because you cannot bring a person to his or her knees in repentance. That is a gift only God gives. “For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
      3. Watch for the open door to speak the truth in love. Take them directly to Scripture, not just your opinions or traditions. One obvious door I pray and wait for when I see sin in the lives of others is when they actually ask you a question like, “What’s your take on married couples watching porn?” If you have done #1 and #2 well, I can almost guarantee this open door will come, because God will trust you to bring the truth in a way that will be received. If you try to jump to 3 without first doing 1 and 2 … Trouble. Shame. Condemnation.

      Last thing: Remember that we all travel a different path to holiness, though they are all paved by Christ. It takes some people longer than others to get to that sensitivity and passion to obey, but that's okay. God's grace covers that too. Who knows, they could be sensitive about different matters (like speeding or gambling or dressing modestly) and are praying for someone else that they will come to conviction too. We are ALL in need of sanctification. We are all clay being molded by the Loving Potter.

      And could I ask you something? What was it about me that made you trust me enough to ask this question?

      I hope that helps! Keep ‘em coming, Sensitive. I love your hunger for holiness!

      In His Hand,


    2. I have come to trust your writing and the things you allow the Holy Spirit to say through you. It is obvious this is not of yourself but a gift coming from God.

    3. Thank you. I can't tell you how much that means. Put simply, that's my life goal. <3

  7. Amen, Robyn!! I have been thinking about this a lot lately. There is joy and peace for us, despite our circumstances, because God IS good. We can rest, be content and trust because we are safe in His arms.

    John 10:10 amazes me over and over:

    "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." (Amplified)

    Jesus didn't die on the cross for us to have a "meh" existence. We don't have to slog through life burdened, joyless and riddled with anxiety and worry. The Bible says Jesus came so we can LIVE! And not just exist....but live a life of abundance, overflowing with joy.

    Praise Him!


    1. Erin -
      Thank you so much for your hope-filled words. You're right, God did send His Son to die so we could have abundance. Not just money (some people try to say that), but spiritual blessings. Joy and peace and eternal security and hope. I'm so thankful for an abundance of those things, through my Savior.

      Many blessings to you today, Friend. I love you.

      In His Hand,


  8. Why do people say that God turned His back during the crucifixion? Where is the evidence for this? Jesus FEELING forsaken does not calculate to God turning His back. Where does this come from?

    ~ Very Confused and Curious

    1. Dear Confused and Curious,

      Thank you so much for your question. I too have heard this in church and wondered the same.

      I believe the theology of it is that God must forsake, or turn away from, all sin.

      "Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.” - Ezra 9:15

      Since the sin of the world was laid on Christ there on the Cross, since He took all of our vile, wicked, defiling sin (I cry now, even as I picture my beautiful Savior heaped with my own disgusting sinfulness and evil), it draws a conclusion in our minds that God had to turn away from His own Son in that moment. His holiness could not be simultaneously present with our sin.

      “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” - 1 Peter 2:24

      I've always read Jesus' quoting of Psalm 22 as a confirmation of the prophesy that this is indeed what the Redeemer would experience. This was what He came to do. It does not remove His anguish, for it destroyed Him to be apart from the Father, even for a moment, but He still surrendered to it, believing the Father would come back on the third day.

      My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
      Why are you so far from saving me,
      so far from my cries of anguish?
      My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
      by night, but I find no rest.
      - Psalm 22:1-2

      Though I cannot find right now a passage that says God ACTUALLY turned His back on His Son while there on the Cross, I do believe it is a sound theological argument that since the sin was heaped upon Him and the Father can not be in the presence of sin, there was a turning of His back.

      For a moment.

      Of course we know that The Holy Spirit came back to resurrect Him in power, and the unity of the Trinity was re-established. What's even more, we who have received His grace were united then too! He brought us, and brings us before the Godhead cleansed of the sin He had to take and pay for there on the Cross. Indeed, this is the beauty of the Cross, the glory of the Gospel! Some people wonder why we wear this symbol of execution. But we know. Without it, God would have had to turn His back on us too. By it Jesus took our sin away.

      I leave you with one of my favorite hymns:

      I hope that helps. I love you.

      In His Hand,


  9. What are your thoughts on allowing kids to trick-or-treat? My kids go to a Christian school. They don't do Halloween at the school, but instead a "storybook character parade." The kids dress up as story characters and they have a little party. Similar to a "fall festival" that some churches have. The kids still get to dress up and have fun, but no mention of Halloween.

    As a Christian parent, I don't want my kids to grow up thinking everyone who trick or treats is a demon, creepy and people to avoid. Some Christian families really forbid all trick or treat and I'm just not sure how I feel about it. We don't celebrate Satan or even acknowledge the "holiday" of Halloween in that sense. But since my kids are older now, they are interested in going door-to-door for some candy. In their minds, totally fun and harmless. Also, I've heard some Christians say that, by forbidding trick or treat, you're missing a good opportunity to meet your neighbors and be a light in the community, maybe invite people to church, etc.

    Obviously everyone has an opinion on this. I want yours!

    ~Just Wishing Halloween Wasn't an Issue

    1. Dear Just Wishing,

      Thank you so much for asking. This is a sensitive topic this time of year, and I feel the tension around our community as well. Here's my take:

      The reason I think it's important NOT to participate in Halloween is that the Bible says not to imitate evil (3 John 11), and I believe that is what the heart of Halloween is all about. While most people don't actually DO evil things on this holiday, we are glorifying the imitation of being evil if we dress up as monsters and devils and demonic characters that are the opposite of God. Mind you, SOME people DO evil things on Halloween, and I'll let you google that one to verify the truth. Vile, horrific things happen on October 31st, including sexualization and murder of children in satanic ritualistic seances. (By the way, did you also know Easter is a high time for these evils as well?)

      In addition, the Bible tells us to avoid all appearances of evil (2 Corinthians 7:1). Once again, I don't think dressing up like a monster and threatening to play a nasty trick on your neighbors so they'll bribe you off with candy falls into that category either. Just sayin.

      And while we've morphed it into things that are light-hearted and kid-friendly, we steer the ship in our homes as parents and we have the opportunity to teach our children that sometimes God's kids act differently than the rest of society, and this is a good, biblical, godly thing.

      Okay, another beef to pick with Halloween: The Bible tells us over 365 times NOT TO FEAR. As in, here's My command: Don't be afraid. And if we instigate our own fear or the fear of others, how is that not disobedience to God's command? When people go to haunted houses they are going for the thrill of fear, which is in my mind, just as sinful as shooting up heroin because you're making fear your drug and your god. Not cool, I say!

      Alright, now that I'm off that soapbox, how can we redeem this day of the year?

      The same way we redeem every day - by walking in Grace. Here are a few of my suggestions.
      1. Attend a fall festival and invite your unsaved neighbors too. These events aren't just so you can go into your Christian bubble and be "safe", they're so you can be proactive in fighting against the evil. So don't just go, invite some other kids too, and hold it on the 31st if you dare - make it more fun than trick or treat so kids will want to come to church more than they want to imitate evil. This is counter-cultural, yes. Which is what we're supposed to be sometimes.
      2. Pass out candy with church invitations, but not in a scary costume. Of course dressing up isn't evil in itself, so throw on a lion suit and let your kids have fun blessing the neighbors and inviting them to church with you. Don't be condescending or judgemental, and don't make people feel shame. Instead, love your neighbor by GIVING - candy and the Gospel if you can. Redeem the time!
      3. Teach your kids. If they're getting older, then be sure to teach them age-appropriate reasons why you don't celebrate the same way as other kids do, and how we CAN honor God by not imitating evil or instigating our own fear. Turn off the porch light, grab a Bible and a bowl of candy, and have a family devotion about what is good and what is not, and how sometimes it's necessary to say NO to what everyone else says YES to.

      "Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship. Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete." -Romans 12:1-2 (VOICE)

      I hope that helps. Happy October!

      In His Hand,


  10. In one of your replies to last week's questions, you wrote that we should stay away from imitating evil...

    Please do not be upset or offended by the following question - I truly do not mean it to cause conflict - but I too am searching and wish to find the truth in what God is saying.

    If you feel that we should not be imitating evil, why then do you have a tattoo, and how do you reconcile this with what you wrote about pulling away from the world and not imitating evil?

    Thanks for your thoughtful and Christ-centered posts.

    - Searching for Truth in All Things

    1. Dear Searching for Truth in All Things,

      Thanks for asking - I'm not offended or upset at all. I wish more people would ask me about my tattoo! Sometimes I think maybe they make assumptions instead of asking, and I'm super-glad you did.

      I don't believe all tattoos are imitating evil, just as I don't believe all hair-cuts are imitating evil.

      “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
      ... or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord." - Leviticus 19:27-18

      Some of the Levitical Laws, when they are filtered through the Cross of grace do not apply to us in our dispensation.
      See the books of Galatians and Colossians for more on our freedom from the Law through Grace. Also, God changed some of the food regulations in the New Testament too - See Acts 10. I believe that we have been released to cut the sides of our hair and have tattoos, as long as they are not of inappropriate things.

      For those of you who do not know, I have a tattoo of the word *Yahweh* on my hand. I wanted to write His name on my hand as a sign of love and devotion, just as I believe He has my name tattooed on His hand as well for the same reasons.

      "Can a mother forget the infant at her breast,
      walk away from the baby she bore?
      But even if mothers forget,
      I’d never forget you—never.
      Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands." -Isaiah 49:15-16 (Msg)

      Another translation says,
      "Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me." [Amp]

      Some tattoos are evil, yes. Some Halloween costumes are evil too. I don't think it's imitating evil to dress up in a princess costume. And I don't think it's inherently evil or imitating evil to have a tattoo.

      I hope that helps you understand more about tattoos, or at least my take on them.

      Keep Searching! He will indeed reveal His love and truth to you.

      In His Hand,