Thirty Pieces of Silver

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It’s Easter weekend. Time for dyeing Easter eggs, sporting our pastels and sandals (if you live in the South, that is), and for those who aren’t particularly religious, it’s a time to make it a point to go to church with family.

For those of us who take our relationship with God seriously, Easter, like every Sunday when we participate in communion, is a somber time to remember the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf.

While reading the accounts of the last few days and agonizing death of my Lord, I’m still brought to tears. The fact that He was God and yet so human makes me feel so close to Him through all of the excruciating pain, fear, and anxiety He experienced. I’m always amazed at how eagerly and wholeheartedly the people begged for and rejoiced in His physical execution.  It’s kind of the same sensation I experience when I study history of the Holocaust and shudder at just how many scores of people believed a lie and passionately followed, blindly, as their leader dictated to obliterate millions of innocent human beings. How could they not see how heinous Hitler’s plan and execution of that plan was? Similarly, how could the Hebrew people of Jesus’ time not see the love and the miraculous wonders that surrounded the Son of God? Did they just choose to be blind to the obvious?

Much more than even that, I cannot comprehend how someone who remained physically close to the Savior throughout his ministry, following Him as a disciple, could betray Him. We can reasonably infer that Judas watched as Jesus performed hundreds of miracles. Raising the dead, healing the sick, feeding 5000 with next to nothing, and so much more. He listened during all those intimate times after long days of teaching and healing as Jesus talked about His Father and the place He was preparing in heaven for those who serve Him. He watched as Jesus walked on the water like it was solid ground.

Doubtless, Judas didn’t have to ever question if this man was truly the Messiah. He knew deep within his heart that he was in the very physical presence of the Son of God.

And yet, despite that solid assurance, he sold my Lord for 30 pieces of silver to people he knew would berate, abuse, humiliate, and slaughter Him—the Holy Lamb of God.

As I understand it (I hope Bible scholars will correct me), 30 pieces of silver is the equivalent of about $950 today. At that time, it would have been enough to purchase a small farm. It wasn’t going to give him significant riches or fame. It wasn’t going to give him a life free of labor. It wasn’t going to give him any clout as a great, revered figure.  What material desire could have been so important for Judas to betray the Son of God for $950? What kind of earthly trade, no matter how great, could compare to a life eternal with God? Was his trade worth it? Even for a moment, did Judas feel like it was worth it? He obviously thought it would be, as this was a premeditated agenda of selfishness and greed.

As ludicrous and gut wrenchingly shallow as that trade seems to you and I, many of us make similar trades that give Judas a run for his money.

Judas was willing to trade a relationship with God and a home in heaven for 30 pieces of silver.

What’s your 30 pieces of silver?

Is it materialism? Are you so concerned with climbing the corporate ladder, making a profit and planning your retirement that you don’t take the time to study and grow in your knowledge of God’s will for your life? Are you so focused on saving and hoarding what you earn that you don’t share what you have with those in need or to help the church in her works?

Is it pleasure? Are you giving in to Satan’s ploys to temporarily indulge your appetite for sexual fulfillment? Are you trading a relationship with God for a few minutes of pleasure here and there engaging in sexual activity that you think no one knows about? Maybe even when you’re completely alone in the privacy of your home? Maybe it’s an addiction you’re dealing with, whether it be pornography or sex outside of a God approved marriage. Is feeding that addiction rather than repenting and seeking help more important to you than a home in heaven?

Is it peer pressure? Are you so concerned with being “politically correct” that you’re willing to defend and embrace the sins of others in the name of “tolerance”? Are you so worried about being accepted by a majority that you’re willing to trade an eternity with God for a few short years of popularity and comfort on earth?

Maybe your 30 pieces of silver is entertainment. Maybe you’re so obsessed with the nation’s top movies, shows, and books that you don’t really care if they’re filled with profanity, promiscuity, lasciviousness, and glorified worldliness. Maybe you choose to block out whatever your conscience, or Christians concerned for your soul, as the case may be, say about the dangers of numbing your heart and mind to the media’s infatuation with sin. Maybe you tell yourself it doesn’t affect you. Even if your entertainment choices are pure and wholesome, are you spending more time invested in entertainment (movies, books, TV shows, music) than you invest in Bible study, prayer, and the church? Is it more important that you make it to that ball game or that vacation destination than it is to be present for the services of the Lord’s church? Is it more important to catch up on your favorite show than it is to catch up on your Bible study? Is spending time just hanging out with your friends more important to you than teaching them how to get to heaven?

Perhaps you’ve fallen into society’s mold of obsession over self. Perhaps your quest for culture’s definition of happiness, beauty, and comfort is your 30 pieces of silver. Perhaps you’d rather focus your attention on making yourself feel good that you’re just simply apathetic about Jesus. Christianity is just something you do, rather than being who you are.

Whatever your 30 pieces of silver is, you will one day look back on this short moment of an earthy life and ask yourself as you stand alone in the presence of God to hear him declare your eternal fate, was it worth it?

Judas realized moments after he heard the sound of those coins dropping in his greedy, bloodstained hands that no amount of earthly gain was worth betraying the Son of God, but it was too late. The deed was done.

Will we recognize the horror of our wicked trade before it’s too late? Or will we have to stand before God, just like Judas, and admit that we were willing to trade everything Christ died to give us for our 30 pieces of silver?

Hebrews 6:4-6 says “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the holy spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding Him up to contempt.”

I am Judas every time I sin. It’s my greedy, bloodstained hands that crucify afresh the Son of God.

Don’t fall into Judas’ trap. Whatever your 30 pieces of silver is, however much that means to you, it’s not worth it. It’s not a fair trade. It will never be a worthwhile investment.

My 2 Cents on the Homosexuality Issue

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My husband wrote an article today that’s been shared like a thousand times and viewed like a million times. Okay, both of those numbers are slight exaggerations, but the point is, it’s been getting a lot of people thinking apparently. The reason is that it’s not your every day article. It’s about homosexuality, and as you all know, that’s quite the hot topic right now. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is: “What Does The Bible Really Say About Homosexuality?

I’m not going to write about what the Bible says about homosexuality. I’ve done that before and why say again what my brilliant, humble husband already just eloquently expressed? I’m going to take this in another direction.

Here’s the thing. I love gay people. LOVE them! I also love adulterers, fornicators, pedophiles, rapists, and murderers. I hate what they do, I despise their sin and the foothold Satan has on them, but I love them and want them to go to heaven.

I’ve read a lot of statements and arguments today from a lot of angry, rude people who are riled up over this particular issue. One of the arguments I read went something like this: “There are going to be gay people in America regardless of what the government says about it.  Giving them more legal rights isn’t going to change anything. And don’t harp on the sanctity of marriage either—straight married couples blew that a long time ago.”

I would just like us to all think about that statement for a moment. He’s right about that straight married couples thing. America looks a little silly using the sanctity of marriage argument at this point. Christians should still make that argument, of course, but our country doesn’t really have the right. After all, about half of American marriages end in divorce.

But there was a time, not too long ago, when divorce was something so shameful and rare that people only mentioned it in hushed tones. When my mom was a child, none of her friends at school were children of divorced parents, and the thought of her own parents divorcing was something she would have never imagined even in her wildest dreams. If someone did divorce back then, it was only because of scandalous adultery and everyone recognized adultery as sin.

Now, only a few short decades later, most children are growing up in broken homes. The new normal is heartbreaking environments in which children are raised by single parents, feel that they are a burden, feel like they have to take sides between two people who should be a solid rock of oneness, and other such childhood terrors which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Also until relatively recently, most people didn’t even know what abortion was. In the 50’s, no one would have dreamed that today, over a million lives would be taken every year in America through abortion.

I could say similar things about other sins that are now widely accepted.

But divorce and abortion aren’t the issues right now, are they? Homosexuality is what’s on the table.

My question is this: What’s next?

John Wesley once said that “what one generation tolerates the next generation will embrace.”

We stress tolerance so much. It’s suddenly everyone’s favorite word. I always find it so funny how the people who stress tolerance seem to accept and embrace every lifestyle except that of the God-fearing Christian.

But if you look at our history, Wesley’s words ring true. Think about it. Divorce. Premarital sex. Abortion. Euthanasia. Sexual expression and experimentation. And now same-sex marriage. While these things have been around forever, the acceptance and “tolerance” of them in our nation is a new thing, relatively speaking.

Where will it stop?

The answer is this: It won’t stop. When America decides to legalize something that God calls “an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13), any other “abominable” action will inevitably become “acceptable.” Today rallies of people defend same-sex marriage. The next generation will defend pedophilia. The next, bestiality. The next, only God knows.

Sound crazy? Think twice. Go ask your grandfather if he ever thought the day would come when our nation would be so boldly and vocally defending the sins that it is. When there’s no standard, there are no boundaries to the power Satan can and will have over our nation.

What can we do about it?

I’m not really talking to those of you who claim no allegiance to God and His Word right now. What hurts me is when I see members of Christ’s body tolerating, and even defending, what God clearly calls sin. Since when did sin stop being sin?

I don’t know what you plan on doing about all of this, but this is my personal game plan:

Love. Love is always the answer. As I said previously, I love gay people.  I just want to know, how much do you have to hate someone to show “tolerance” and “acceptance” of a sin you know will keep them from going to heaven? You see, it’s love that will drive us as Christians to be what the world calls “intolerant.” It’s love that will drive us to call it sin, and then do whatever we can to help those people conquer and repent of that sin.

Don’t Bow To Peer Pressure. Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? You think it was easy for them to stand alone amongst thousands who were bowing? Doubtless the reason why 99% of them were bowing to a phony statue the king conjured up was peer pressure alone. Don’t defend gay marriage just because it’s the cool thing to do. Take a stand for what’s right. Defend what’s right in letters to political leaders, letters to companies who are vocal in their support of one side or another, and simply among friends and colleagues

Pray. Pray for our nation. Pray for the leaders of our nation. I don’t know why people use the words, “It’s the least I can do” in reference to prayer. It’s the greatest thing you can do. And if there was ever was a need for it, it’s now.

Romans 12:9 reads “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”

That’s the best advice I have to offer. Abhor evil. Hold fast to what is good.





Salvation is Not a Crockpot

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I love anything that makes my life easier. Anything that will do my job FOR me. This is why I’m madly in love with things like my dishwasher, my washer and dryer, my crockpot, my microwave, my Kitchen-Aid mixer, Downy Wrinkle-Releaser Spray, cruise control, my GPS (Well really anything my iPhone will do for me—Siri is my best friend), the internet, and other modern time-savers that make my daily tasks so easy.

While these things make the everyday things a breeze, I think this easy, instant-gratification lifestyle that most of us live can make Christianity a lot harder. The devil has always been a master at distracting people from thinking about things like salvation, the consequences of sin, and eternity. But today, more than ever. He’s right there to make sure our days are filled with activity, entertainment, and obligations. I believe there was a time when Bible study, meditation, prayer, and just basic prioritizing were easier. Not too long ago, there was no Facebook, No Twitter, no TV….you get the idea.

Now before I start sounding like your grandma, let me just say that I’m writing this more for me than I am for you. I need to hear myself say it. A few weeks ago,  just within a few days of each other, the world lost three souls who I am confident went on to their reward in paradise. Mrs. Hope Shull focused her energies and talents on encouraging young people to fight the good fight. She was one of my biggest encouragers as a teenager and college student. She knew that living for God wasn’t easy, and she made it a point every day to inspire kids like me to see why we do what we do. She was never too busy to welcome you into her library office and just listen when you were discouraged. Mrs. Jane McWhorter was also an expert in encouragement. I remember times when she took the time to write me and edify me for no reason at all, and how much that meant to me. She was a Bible scholar, teaching scores of women through her published books, ladies days, classes and seminars. Her humble and selfless spirit, just like Mrs. Hope’s, made me want to be just like her. I was the closest, however, to the third soul we lost–a man named Arnold Wright. He didn’t write any books or conduct any gospel meetings—not here in the states anyway. He taught me to love souls. He taught me that nothing else matters except securing your own salvation and then seeking out people who love truth enough to accept it, so that you can share heaven with them one day. He taught me to get over myself and put myself in other peoples’ shoes.

But what these people taught me more than anything else is that no one else can do this whole Christianity thing for you. Our short time on this earth isn’t like a crockpot. We can’t just believe, repent and be baptized, and expect the hard part—living a faithful Christian life—to just get done on it’s own. There’s no quick fix for that. No one is going to do it for you while you live your life carelessly.

Philippians 2:12 says to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Your parents aren’t going to do that for you. It doesn’t happen just by going to church. Your salvation—my personal relationship with God—has to be a constant, daily, passionate all-in endeavor. Christianity can’t be something you do. It must be who you are.  It must be everything to you. That’s why, when referencing salvation, the Holy Spirit used words like “race,” “fight,” and “work” –all to be practiced with “fear and trembling.” None of that happens by accident. None of that happens without constant practice, self-examination, and ruthless determination…oh, and a little fear and trembling, as eternity is not something to sneeze at.

The passing of Mrs. Hope, Mrs. Jane, and Mr. Arnold broke my heart, as it did many others whose lives were touched by their examples. It’s my prayer that their deaths meant more than a crossing from this life to another. It’s my prayer that their passing, and the passing of every saint, causes us to reevaluate what we’re doing here on this earth. It’s just a fleeting moment of time in the eternal scheme of things.

I want to see them again. But I’ve got to remind myself daily that it won’t just happen by accident. It’s a race. They’ve won that race. I just have to keep running.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~Hebrews 12:1-2



Hope, at my college graduation ^


Mrs. Jane ^


Arnold, who always made me laugh ^