Here and There (February 27)

“God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to.” ~Elisabeth Elliot~
Quiet Moments  –  A great reminder from Thankful Homemaker that although life may not turn out the way we’d hoped, God is still in control and our strength to cope is found in Him and Him alone.   “Not the life I envisioned – but it’s not about me.”
10 Ways to Live a Miserable Life  – A humbling checklist of how not to “do” life:  “A self-centered life will not lead to living an abundant life, it will just lead to a miserable life. All of these actions and attitudes are so easy to succumb to because our flesh will naturally default to them.  It’s a wise woman who recognizes these ways do not lead to a flourishing life but rather a rotten one.”
3 Important Questions for Your Single Years  – Bethany Baird at LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com reminds us:  “Don’t waste these years. God has given you these single years for a reason, so don’t squander them. Use them to point others to Christ.”  Good ideas here and book recommendations too!
Are We Christians Who Don’t Make Sense?  – “Wimpy theology makes wimpy women,” he said. We must be careful to get our theology straight, but even that’s not enough. We must be sure we’re living in (acting on) biblical truth!”
Holding Fast in the Storms of Life  – An encouraging post from Sally Clarkson on the rewards of being faithful during all the seasons of life.  “Gal. 6:9  Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not lose heart.  All family travel into the eyes of life-storms. It is not an evidence of a bad family, it is the reality of a fallen world, with rebellion and fallenness evident with every dark cloud.  And yet, wanting to love God and serve Him through it all, was the glue that held me, us, our own family, together when life threatened to tear all of us apart.”
8 Life Lessons to Teach Your Kids  – Some good ideas here.
Raccoons, Fleas, and “Happily Ever After”  – From Leslie Ludy: “Let Christ have His way, even if it means giving up everything you ever hoped for in life. Let Christ be your source of true fulfillment, even when your spouse lets you down. Your life may not ever look the way you pictured it, but you will find satisfaction and security that can’t be shaken by the circumstances or disappointments of life.”
The Greatest Illustrated Story  – The Galottis write: “Faith is confidence in things hoped for and conviction of things we can’t see. But God, because He made us, knows us, and wired us, has filled His world with paintings, sculptures, and set designs that illustrate His Story.” 
Inviting Children into the Prayer Closet  – Yes, pray for them and with them and also OVER them.  “When they are old, will they still remember the prayers I prayed?  When they see them answered, will they know without a doubt that it was God, extending grace to a praying mother and her children?  When the prayers go unanswered, will they say, “Even so, we trust Him?”  Will they learn to offer their own impassioned pleas to King Jesus? So many dreams and prayers.  My babies will hear them all.  And, so will my God.”
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Here and There (February 25)

“One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.” – Elisabeth Elliot

Meeting God in the Thick of Things  – A reminder here that God is with us right in the middle of everything going on.  “We forget that God is with us. He is near, even when pea soup is scorching on the stove and the baby is screaming for attention.  Don’t get me wrong, there are times when we do need to withdraw from all the noise of life. We need to carve out crevices for solitude and reflection and prayer. I’m just uncomfortable with a tendency I see in myself to think of retreat as the only way to meet God. I forget that He is in the midst of the fray as well.”

When I Forget to Breathe  – Encouragement for those who have experienced the heartbreak of miscarriage.

All I Have is Christ  – Examining our hearts for greed and a battle plan for resistance.  “Christian, we have a greater possession than the Arkenstone. We have a treasure infinitely greater than all the gold in Erebor. His name is Jesus. To be at home with him is our great reward. He is our better possession and abiding one. We are our Beloved’s, and he is ours.  And when he is our Great Possession, dragon-sickness has lost its power, and we are finally freed to possess the kingdom our Father created us to inherit. And even on that day when we finally have it all materially, our greed-free hearts will gladly say, “All I have is Christ.”

Loving Your Husband Before You Get Married  – Single or married, the goals are the same: “Problems in marriage are always the result of self-centeredness. So the time a person spends when he is single should be time spent in preparation for marriage. This is important even if he never gets married. This is because biblical preparation for marriage is nothing more than learning to follow Jesus Christ and love one’s neighbor. In other words, preparation for Christian marriage is basically the same as preparation for Christian living.”

A Plead for Innocence  – A case made here for becoming an expert on what is true…”John MacArthur: “Don’t study false doctrine, don’t study sin, don’t study error, stick with the truth and godly obedience.” It is well and good, I think, to have some familiarity with some of the most common false teachings and false teachers. We do well to know why we are not Mormons or Roman Catholics or why we believe same-sex marriage is wrong. But it can be dangerous to immerse ourselves in false teachings and false teachers. It can be dangerous to assume that we need to have a deep understanding of error in order to hold fast to what is true.”

Jesus Flips the Switch  – A great illustration here:  “Whatever suffering you’re currently experiencing, or whatever suffering comes to you in the future, you can trust that you’re held in the hands of a sovereign King, who knows your suffering, is sovereign over your suffering, is with you (“Emmanuel”) in the midst of your suffering, and has conquered your suffering. He flips the switch, allowing suffering to refine us, not destroy us. And he does so as the sovereign ruler over all things, “the first and the last, who died and came to life” (Revelation 2:8).”

Building Loving Relationships in Your Church Family  – Article from Thankful Homemaker on the messy business that is doing life together in our church family.  “Do you look at those in your church and see them as your family?  If you are in Christ then your brothers and sisters in the faith are your family. Sometimes because they are family we can treat them like our own immediate family members.  We can hold a grudge because they said something we didn’t appreciate.  We can judge them by their words or actions.  We can speak poorly of them to others.  We so often forget they – just like us – our sinners saved by grace who don’t always look or act like their heavenly Father but look and act more like their old selves before new life in Christ.”

Put a Little Love in Your Voice  – “The trouble isn’t necessarily what we say. It’s how we say it.”

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From Adam4d as only he can put it.

Here and There (February 23)

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When God Calls You Out  – “And he will prove his enough-ness to us. He will show us time and time again that all we need is found in him. All that we lack finds an abundance in his grace. Yes, we would fail. The weight is too much, and like Paul, we can’t carry this in our own strength. But God is there. His sovereign hand is our guide. His heart of mercy is our anchor. He will make our faith stand. He will be our God in Jesus Christ.”

Rejoicing in Lament  –  Todd Billings has been diagnosed with incurable cancer.  Here are 7 takeaways from his book, Rejoicing in Lament.

How to Deal With Wounding in the Church  – Some suggestions on dealing with hurt within the church body.

What Do We Say To Grieving People?  – “But here’s the truth. When you’ve gone through the loss of a loved one, it’s almost as if there is a barrier put up between you and every person in your world. And it’s not until that person acknowledges your loss that that barrier comes down. And it doesn’t have to be anything brilliant.”

One Reason Why We Lose Our Joy  – “Our joy is lost the moment we take our eyes off of Christ and put them on lesser things.  One of the main reasons we lose our joy is we become discontent and in doing that we forget our God is sovereign and in control of all the circumstances of our lives.”

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Here and There (February 20)

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Why we often don’t experience God’s Power  – “What is it that Scripture says? The power of God is made perfect in our weakness. In our past. In our difficult circumstances. In our current wrestlings. In our inability to be perfect and meet others’ standards for the “good” Christian. Maybe this explains why we don’t often see God’s power in our lives. We don’t like brokenness.”

Searching for Peace in Decision Making  – “We do not need additional revelation. We do not need signs and wonders; we do not need supernatural events. We have the Word of God to lead us and the Holy Spirit working within us and through His Word to guide us and to aid us in making our decisions.”

The Idolatry of Numbers  – “God’s numbering system is so different than ours. We bring our nothing, and He gives us His everything. Getting 127 “likes” on social media is a lot like getting breadcrumbs for dinner. Crumbs are fine to eat, but they really aren’t satisfying—especially compared to the feast of love that’s waiting for us in Him.”

What Does it Mean to Find Your Identity in Christ?  – “What does it actually feel like to find our identity in Christ in real time and amidst genuine struggle? How do we unite this great comprehensive category of sanctification to the concrete particulars of Scripture and everyday life?”

Pray for Those Who Abuse You  – “What are you praying for your enemies — the people who treat you badly? Here is a good place to start — the way you pray for yourself.”

Do You Believe in Magic?  – A book review for those who are interested in alternative medicine or know someone who is.  Just another perspective regarding the issue of health.

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Here and There (February 19)

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Women, Stop Submitting to Men?  – An interesting article by Russel D. Moore on a controversial topic.

Some links relevant to the unmarried:

20 Lessons on Dating & Love  – Samantha Loucks with some thoughtful suggestions.

Waiting for a Christ Built Man  – Leslie Ludy writes, “All too many young women lower their standards out of desperation – thinking that if they don’t snag the one guy who seems at least somewhat better than the rest, they will end up alone.  But this attitude demonstrates a lack of trust in God’s love for you and perfect plan for your life.  If you give Him the pen and allow Him to script your story, you don’t need to strive or manipulate in order to make a romance happen – He will bring the perfect guy into your life in His own perfect time and way.”

My Ugly Expectations for My Boyfriend  – Paula Hendricks over at liesyoungwomenbelieve.com shares, “As I looked at them, I realized how much culture had informed my expectations rather than God’s Word.”

And some items of interest for those of us in the trenches of parenting:

Stress is a Family KillJoy  – Jennifer Smith reminds us, “We need to be willing to reduce our stress with intentional efforts, including going to God through prayer before things escalate.”

What’s Wrong with Controlling our Children?  – Ever wondered?  Christy Halsell points out the difference between controlling our children and guiding them. “When my children didn’t do what I thought they should be doing, my mindset was that I had to make them do it.  I wish I knew then what I know now.  God doesn’t control me.   He doesn’t make me do what He thinks I should do.  Yes, I have consequences when I go too far in the wrong direction, but God doesn’t level those consequences at me with vengeance and disappointment.  He gives me consequences in love, understanding my bent for doing the things that aren’t for my best.  Love.  Understanding.  Those are characteristics I was lacking in my need to control my children.”

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“Grace” by Laura Story

My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused.
I see the things You do through me as great things I have done.
And now You gently break me, then lovingly You take me
And hold me as my father and mold me as my maker.
[Chorus:]
I ask you: “How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?”
And You answer: “My child, I love you.
And as long as you’re seeking My face,
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.
“At times I may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged,
Knowing that someone, somewhere could do a better job.
For who am I to serve You? I know I don’t deserve You.
And that’s the part that burns in my heart and keeps me hanging on.
[Chorus:]
As I walk with You, I’m learning what Your grace really means.
The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary.
So, instead of trying to repay You, I’m learning to simply obey You
By giving up my life to you For all that You’ve given to me.
[Chorus:]

Here and There (February 18)

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May I Continue in My Sin, Please?  – “When you and I sin, it is because we decide to. We actively set aside our Christ-righteousness, and we walk (or run) back to the tomb where our former self—dead, stinking, decaying, rotting, maggoty, filthy old formerly-known-as-you lay waiting for you to resurrect it and give it life once again. We dig it up and strap it on and away we go off to fulfill the wicked desires of our hearts. Like Dr. Frankenstein, once we breathe life into it we find it is very difficult to kill the monster.”

The Embrace That Never Lets Go  – Praying on behalf of those too weak to pray.

What Do We Do When Former Friends Do What They Do?  – “But how do we relate to former friends who are unrepentant for their actions toward us? And how do we respond to shallow apologies? What do you do when someone has sinned against you and wants to pretend as if nothing has happened?”

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Here and There (February 16)

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Kindle Deal highlighted:  Crushed  by Jessie Minassian $.99

Dear Mom Who Refuses to Rest  – “If you’re tired, it’s a good indication that you’ve neglected rest…and resting in Him.”

Changing Fools  – “It’s true of you today, and it’ll always be true of you until glory – your heart is susceptible to foolishness. But you also need to remember this: there is no foolishness too reckless for grace’s wisdom.”

Are You Satisfied in Jesus?  – “Imagine losing all contact with those you love. No opportunity to see your husband or friends or children, or even to hear their voices over the phone. Imagine being completely by yourself, twenty-four hours a day.  Would Jesus be enough to satisfy you?”

Contentment is Like a Discomobile  – A video (05:47) by Jessie Minassian from LifeLoveandGod.com  that explores the question: “A “content” single girl doesn’t long for a relationship on Valentine’s Day . . . does she?”

Would Everybody Please Leave Me Alone?  – “Jesus withdrew because he knew his first job was to fuel his soul by connecting with his Father—alone. He couldn’t pour out what he hadn’t first been given from God.”

10 Articles on Pornography  – A Tim Challies collection of important articles.

The Most Glorious Cure  – Do you ever think about what mark you will leave on this world when you are gone?  I do.  Here is a moving tribute to a young man who used his limited time here wisely.  “Elliott fought the good fight. He finished the race. The last time I spoke to him–a few days before he passed away–he talked about caring for his dear wife and longing for heaven. I asked him what song we could sing. He said, “In Christ Alone.” Very fitting. That’s how he lived, and that was the comfort in which he died.”

10 Scriptures for Everyday Encouragement  – 10 Scripture Verses from Creative Home Keeper that can be printed out for encouragement and reminders throughout the day.

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In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.