Why I Sorta-Kinda-Actually Love Martin Luther

martin

Apart from the apostolic age, there is no one in history that I enjoy studying and learning about more than Martin Luther.

Weird, I know!

I did a Martin Luther tour in Germany. I have the 5 Solas of the Protestant Reformation tattooed on my leg. I get more stoked about Reformation Day than 87% of the year’s other holidays.

And I thought it’d be nice to share with you some of the reasons why he has such a special place in my heart–so maybe you don’t judge me so hard when you see me wear my “Here I stand, I can do no other” socks.

[Side note–the study of Church history, and therefore diving into doctrine–is a WONDERFUL way to grow in understanding & adoration of who God is. I highly recommend it :))

10 Things I Just Love About Martin Luther:

1.) He was a man of strong convictions and of courage. There are SO many examples of the Holy Spirit giving him strength of conviction, but one I love is when he was on trial at the Diet of Worms-vehemently disagreeing with over a thousand years of church tradition, and says, “My conscience is taken captive by the Word of God…To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

2.) He had sass. One time, when they asked him to recant his accusations that indulgences (people paying their way out of purgatory) was NOT Scriptural he responded with “I was wrong, I admit it, when I said that indulgences were ‘the pious defrauding of the faithful.’ I recant and say, ‘Indulgences are the most impious frauds and imposters of the most rascally pontiffs by which they deceive the souls and destroy the goods of the faithful.” Such sass.

3.) He had a WONDERFUL marriage! Luther and his wife Katie (whom he called My Kate <3) are #goals! Their relationship was full of strength, laughter, and delightful companionship. He said,”Next to God’s Word, there is no more precious treasure than holy matrimony. God’s highest gift on earth is a pious, cheerful, God-fearing, home-keeping wife.” And he advised that “The wife should make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry he leaves.”

4.) He was passionate about prayer. “No one can believe how powerful prayer is and what it can effect, except those who have learned it by experience. Whenever I have prayed earnestly, I have been heard and have obtained more than I prayed for. God sometimes delays, but He always comes.”

5.) He elevated the authority of Scripture. In a time where the only authority that mattered was the popes’ (and it was soooooo corrupt), Luther said “A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or council without.” And he even said that if there was anything in any of his books that were contrary to Scripture, he would be the first to throw them into the fire!

6.) He wasn’t superman. He wasn’t perfect, and he definitely said some very stupid things in his lifetime. He also experienced very difficult periods of depression and anxiety, and even seasons of demonic oppression. And yet, by the grace of God, and for His Name’s sake–his faith and legacy flourished.

7.) He was TRANSFORMED by the gospel. During his years as a monk, he was crippled by fear. Absolutely haunted by thoughts of a vengeful, merciless Majesty-and driven near to death by the reality that he could never satisfy that Judge. When the truth of God’s GRACE THROUGH FAITH ALONE was revealed to him through studying the original Biblical texts, he unequivocally became a NEW MAN. And that is awesome to see!

8.) He was a man of great humility– “All that I am and have is due to His grace and mercy, aye, to His precious blood and bitter sweat. Therefore, God willing, all of it is to be done to His honor, joyfully and sincerely. ”

9.) He fought against the devil while cooped up alone in a castle for refuge. And during that time he translated the New Testament from the original greek into German in 11 weeks! He brilliantly translated it into a common German dialect (which was a huge deal!) that united the German people and thusly aided in the blossoming of the Reformation.

10.) He deeply loved the word of God and wanted EVERYONE to be able to read it and love it like he did! About knowing God’s word he says“First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf.” And he thought EVERY person should have the Bible written “simply enough” for ever the simplest minded person to do the same.

Martin Luther was not perfect. He had sooooo many flaws (maybe I’ll write about them next Reformation Day!)-but I appreciate his life so much, not simply because it is a fascinating story, but because it stirs my heart to want to know the Word more deeply, treasure it’s authority more passionately, share it’s power more consistently, and delight in the grace it teaches more steadfastly. I want to pray more–and see it’s effect and power. I want my heart to overflow in gratitude for the cross more. I want to pray for and have a marriage that looks like Christ and the church-the way Kate and Martin’s did. His life motivates and encourages my heart. That is why I love his story. I hope what I shared did the same for you too!

 

(Many of my quotes were from the book “Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation” by Erwin Lutzer. I highly recommend it if you want to learn more! It’s an enjoyable and informative read!)

Grace Unmeasured

So a little while ago, I got together with these two amazing musicians to jam some of our favorite worship songs. The good news is I recorded it! The bad news is I lost ALL OF IT BUT THIS SONG (saaaaddddddd).

So here’s this song, which is a wonderful song! Although we certainly don’t execute it as perfectly as we’d like (I sincerely apologize for my pitches graces :(!)–we LOVED playing together! (also go to 1:00 to miss us starting over haha :))

VERSE 1
Grace unmeasured, vast and free
That knew me from eternity
That called me out before my birth
To bring You glory on this earth
Grace amazing, pure and deep
That saw me in my misery
That took my curse and owned my blame
So I could bear Your righteous name

CHORUS
Grace paid for my sins
And brought me to life
Grace clothes me with power
To do what is right
Grace will lead me to heaven
Where I’ll see Your face
And never cease
To thank You for Your grace

VERSE 2
Grace abounding, strong and true
That makes me long to be like You
That turns me from my selfish pride
To love the cross on which You died
Grace unending all my days
You’ll give me strength to run this race
And when my years on earth are through
The praise will all belong to You

© 2005 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

A 14 Year Old Boy’s Question That Took Me By Surprise

youngIt was an unexpected message from a high school student at our Youth Center. Normally, from him I get questions about what time events start, or how much things cost. But last week, I received this message:

“How do I get her to see how much she is worth?”

And it about broke my heart.

He and I messaged back and forth about it a little bit, and I told him I’d organize my thoughts and send them later, and here is what I sent him:

“I am so thankful for your question. Honestly, there are not enough guys in the world asking THIS sort of thing, and it makes me really proud that this is how you are thinking.

There are a couple of parts to this question, that I want to address:

  1. Why She Doesn’t See Her Worth
  2. How You Can Help
  3. How You Can’t Help

So first, why she doesn’t see her worth-your whole life you are going to meet women (and men!) who struggle with seeing themselves positively. For some people, it was a traumatic event in their childhood that made them feel worthless, others it’s just their personality-but for whatever reason they think very lowly of themselves. Usually they have thought this way for so long, that they can’t seem to STOP thinking this way. It’s like they’ve trained themselves to believe these lies about themselves, and they don’t know how to not think that way anymore. So though you look at her and can see beauty, and talent, and potential, when she looks at herself, she cannot see any of those things!

You CAN help in many ways. You can speak truth to her about her worth and value. You can tell her that the lies she tells herself are not true. You can challenge her thinking, and ask her to point out positive things about herself, and to not beat herself up so much. You can pray for her. If she is a Christian, you can tell her truth from the Bible about how God made her ON purpose FOR a purpose, and how he loves her! You can tell her that God says that she is “wonderfully made” and pray that she starts seeing herself the way that God sees her!

But also—this is not up to you. You CAN’T change her on your own. You can’t ever compliment her enough to make her change. You can’t ever convince her. SHE has to decide to see her worth on her own. It’s not your fault if she can’t see her worth-you didn’t fail as a boyfriend. It is something going on deep inside of her, maybe something ONLY God can fix. Maybe this is something that will push her towards God!

So in conclusion, there are lots of reasons why she may not see her worth, and in some ways you CAN help-but in some ways you can’t.  The best way is to pray and point her towards God because HE is the ONLY one who can really change someone’s heart to see how valuable they really are!”

 

 

Breakups Suck & God is Good

[BIG HEAVY SIGN]

After 6 months of dating, my boyfriend and I broke up on account of differing priorities in what we want a marriage relationship to look like.

And it sucks.

It sucks to invest deeply, and care deeply–only to not be allowed to do those things anymore.

It sucks to have hopes and dreams for a future, and have them punted to God only knows when, where, and with whom.

It sucks to really like/respect/admire/learn from/enjoy someone, but for that to not be enough for God to bring peace in staying together.

It sucks to have grown accustomed to having a deep friendship in your life, and need to now grow accustomed to being completely without them.

Have I mentioned that it just sucks?

I had a headache from crying. I didn’t have an appetite. I have been mourning a great loss, and I am disappointed that God’s will for our dating relationship didn’t end in “I do”.

But.

But I also know that God doesn’t waste ANYTHING-and He has countless purposes for our relationship-from start to finish. He taught us so much, and HE KNOWS what is best for us and works on our behalf! AND He also “comforts us in our affliction, so that we can comfort others” (2 Cor. 1:4).  So I am sure that he has plans for us both to better minister to others, because of the pain in breaking up.

But I also know that “there are no disappointments for those whose will is buried in the will of God” and that”God answers our prayers exactly the way we would if we knew everything God knows“–and I have to REST & TRUST that ALL OF THIS is best for us & for our ultimate good, because our Good Father brought it to pass.

But I also know that our dating relationship was a SUCCESS! My goals were to grow in sanctification, to be pure, and to figure out if we’re to wed–and we did ALL those things! Check. Check. Check. Praise the Lord!!

Breakups are a unique kind of awful. Even for two people genuinely praying “thy will be done”, and trusting a kind and sovereign King–it’s hard. But in the midst of the hard, I am so thankful that we can rest our heads on the pillow of God’s power and perfection, trust that He works all things together for our good (Rom. 8:28) and that God’s loving purpose for our lives will prevail (Prov. 19:21). And no matter your trial-whether loneliness, sickness, infertility, a past that haunts you, or fear that cripples you-these truths prevail: God is good. He is working on your behalf. He works all things together for your good. His will is best. He is trustworthy. He is the healer. He is the comforter. He is the redeemer. He loves you deeply.

will

Thanks for reading.

With Love,

Betty

 

Why I Cried Last Week

I both love and hate crying.

I love crying when it shows a person how deeply I care about them.

I hate crying when it’s just a movie/t.v show/commercial/clip of that one part in Lion King–and I JUST put on mascara.

But last week, my own tears surprised me, and I want to tell you why.

I had a run in with a young woman, about my age, who had a similar past to mine. She, like me, had a rough childhood, destructive parents, and was recused out of that environment and adopted by a Christian family. Here’s where our stories differ-because of her parent’s choices, she had fetal alcohol syndrome, has an IQ of 72, and is mentally unstable and self-destructive.  In my conversation with her, she blamed her current awful life choices on the example her birth parents showed her-even though she left their care by the time she was three.

Now this is why I cried—I did NOTHING to make my story different from hers. I have/had no control over my IQ, the parents who adopted me, the counselors who helped us, my talents, or my personality. AND I WAS OVERWHELMED by the kindness, grace, and mercy of God in my life. Tears welled up in the eyes of this daughter of God who so often forgets to be thankful. It’s not that I’m ungrateful, or unhappy with the life He has given me, it’s just that I literally do not even think about the things He has blessed me with. I’m nothing extraordinary by the world’s standards, but when I thought about all I COULD have been or could have lacked, I couldn’t hold back my tears of gratitude.

Friend, I know there are things about your life and about yourself that you struggle with. I do too! But take time to take your focus off those things, and look at what you do have. Look at what you have been blessed with. Look at all the unearned gifts God has graciously given you! Your mind, your talents, your interests, your freedoms, your joys, your health—He GAVE that to you. Out of love. For a purpose.

Because of our faith in a good & sovereign God, believers should be the most grateful and humble of all mankind. It doesn’t come naturally, we have to meditate on truth until it sinks into our hearts. And I have found, that when gratitude and trust becomes a default for my heart, a thousand problems are solved at once.