Here and There (March 30)

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Kindle deals: Jesus Unmasked by Todd Friel ($4.49)

The true test of our worldview is what we find entertaining. —Albert Mohler

The root of the problem is that We Complain Because We Forget  – “The antidote to spiritual amnesia is making every effort to recall and remember God’s gracious deliverance. The fact that you — a sinner who was an enemy of God — are now a beloved child is a miracle. Don’t let that wonder ever fade. Remember.”

Help for anyone on the frontlines in Parenting Your Middle School Girl  – “She is going to go on a ride.  You do not have to go with her.”

Erin Davis on 5 Ways You Might Be Accidentally Blowing It in regards to being a representative of Jesus Christ.  “I will not represent Christ perfectly, but then I remember that even those imperfections and mistakes tell a story about Jesus. He is a God who rescues sinners and turns them into ambassadors for the best news ever. He is a God who sees my mistakes and wants me on His team anyway. He is a God who weaves my little story into His cosmic story and then asks me to share that story with others. I will not do it perfectly. Neither will you. Perfection isn’t the assignment. Living every moment for Christ is.”

The struggle is real to fight pride’s preoccupation with me and to Think of Yourself Less  – “As C.S. Lewis said, true humility is “not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.” We can spend a lot of time thinking less of ourselves but we only end up thinking a lot about ourselves. The problem of pride does not boil down to whether we think high thoughts or low thoughts about ourselves but that we think lots of thoughts about ourselves.”

In case you’ve ever found yourself wondering How to Pray When Someone You Love is Stuck in Sin  – “The truth is, we all have a sin problem. That’s why we need Jesus so much. But if someone you love is trapped in a pattern of sin, or refuses to repent from sin the stakes can seem sky high. When I don’t know what to pray, I pray God’s Word. With that in mind, here are ten ways to pray for someone stuck in sin straight from Scripture.”

An interesting article that gives 10 Pointers for “Untrained” Preachers 

For anyone looking for a good read, here are some links with suggestions (LOTS of them!)  – 5 Best Books for Women.  And Top 10 Gospel Books for Children (and others)

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Here & There (March 27 )

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The Bare Essentials: What I Tell My Daughters About Modesty  – “Modesty has far more to do with our hearts, than it does with our clothing. Anyone getting all caught up in the apparel is probably missing the point.”

The Influence of Godly Mothers and Grandmothers  – “There are many things we can pass on to our children but the most important is the example of our faith in Jesus.”

When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, Follow the Flour Mounds  – “As Christians we often expect—for ourselves and for others—that God will give us all the answers eventually. Sure, we might have to wait patiently, but if we just hang in there, God will show us how it all fits together. We throw around “God works all things together for good” (Rom. 8:28), all the while implying that the fulfillment of this verse includes an explanation. But that is not the wisdom of God.”

He Knows  – “The questions remain.  The mourning.  The various hurts that come with being human.  The paralyzing fear.  The brokenness.  The exhaustion. Take heart.  God knows.  He knows how this is all going to work out.  How all of the pieces fit together.  He knows which questions we haven’t thought of asking yet, and He knows the answer to every single one.  God knows what He is doing in your life. And, He knew generations before you were born.”

Witch Doctors, Football and Understanding Africa – “You cannot understand Africa until you understand this worldview.  You cannot understand African politics, African poverty, African culture, and even the African Church until you understand animism.”

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I will praise You Lord my God
Even in my brokenness
I will praise You Lord
I will praise You Lord my God
Even in my desperation
I will praise You Lord

And I can’t understand
All that You allow
I just can’t see the reason
But my life is in Your hands
And though I cannot see You
I choose to trust You

Even when my heart is torn I will praise (trust) You Lord
Even when I feel deserted I will praise (trust) You Lord
Even in my darkest valley I will praise (trust) You Lord
And when my world is shattered and it seems all hope is gone
Yet I will praise You Lord

I will trust You Lord my God
Even in my loneliness
I will trust You Lord
I will trust You Lord my God
Even when I cannot hear You
I will trust You Lord

And I will not forget
That You hung on a cross
Lord You bled and died for me
And if I have to suffer
I know that You’ve been there
And I know that You’re here now

Here & There (March 25)

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Impatience and the Abdication of My Throne  – “In my head, I know I will need to repent and trust Christ every day in this life, and I will not be perfected until I am glorified; until then, I must persevere in sanctification (1 John 3:1-3).  Still, I live sometimes as if I am surprised I sin and still need the cross and the LORD’s grace.  Do I want to be like Jesus, or do I want to hold onto my fig leaves? Every day, I must ask and answer this question.”

Too Much Skin, Girl  – “The clothes you wear reveal what is in your heart.  It is not right for a man to place all the blame on a woman.It is just as wrong for a woman to make this exclusively a man’s problem.”

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The Grace in Going to Church  – “We desperately need the weekly reminder that people need us to serve them and that we need God’s people to serve us.”

Come and Die  – “Have you ever seen a military recruitment poster or TV ad that showed wounded soldiers? Ever seen one that showed soldiers taking bullets, medics administering morphine to blood-gushing comrades, or an array of battle-hardened quadriplegics?”

When She Lashes Out at You  – “Hurt people…hurt people.”

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It Is Not Death To Die  

VERSE 1
It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

CHORUS
O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

VERSE 2
It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore

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Here & There (March 23)

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Tim Challies encourages us to examine our motives when social media posting involves our own children and to consider What Is Your Exit Plan?  – “The thing is, sooner or later your kids will become their own people, and have their own network of friends and followers. And when this happens they will find that for the past 13 years you have been building their online profile… What kind of profile will they walk into when they are old enough to care?”

How Changing This One Bad Habit Changed Our Home For Good  – I’ve known this to be true in my own life as well…

This article by Mark Altrogge got me to thinking about the Things I Would Do Differently If I Were Raising My Children Again.

Paula Hendricks with some thoughtful points here on the recent Cinderella movie.  “So when you encounter those bullies at school or at home or at work, remember this: You may not have a fairy godmother to rescue you, but you have the living God on your side. This God is pleased—not when you suffer for doing wrong—but for doing right.”

Just for a change of pace, I share an article called The Anti-Bucket List.  “Why put pressure on ourselves to achieve a huge list of things that aren’t that meaningful? Why feel guilty if we’re not pursuing them? Why not let them go?”

Although not a huge fan of Personality-type articles, I found the ideas expressed in Why the Type-A Mom Needs A lot of Kids interesting. She writes, “I’m here to tell you that having more kids has helped soften some of my rough edges. It’s helped me stop thinking I was in control when really God is in control. It’s helped me try my best, but let it go when I mess up. It’s helped me realize that my rewards in heaven aren’t based on how clean the house is or how straight the closets are.”

J.D. Greear  with thoughts on why Our Everyday Obedience is Our Best Witness – “What gives us the power to live in a truly Christian way? Not more religious tasks. They may work for a while, but they’re exhausting if we’re using them to change ourselves. No, as Paul says, the grace of God gives us the power to walk away from sin and choose holiness. It’s not as we try harder that we become more like Christ. It’s as we learn to steep ourselves in the story of what God has done for us, looking upward to the glory of the God who saved us, backward to the price he paid for us, and forward to what he’s making us. “

A comprehensive list here of Bible Study Helps for Busy Moms that anyone will find helpful.

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Here & There (March 20)

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Jennifer Rothschild shares her thoughts on how to Turn Worry Into Peace.

Some great counsel from Samantha Louck for those times When Your Heart Needs a Pep Talk  – “So sometimes, our hearts need a pep talk. Mine needs one almost every day. I’m weak, sinful, and desperate for the joy of my Savior to shine into my aching heart. Because it’s Him we’re really aching for.”

A well written article over at The Gospel Coalition by Jill Barlow that examines the question, What if Singleness IS my Fairy Tale?    God knows my singleness and my barrenness, but it is as easy as breathing to think that if I am single at my age, there is little hope of being married and having children. The odds are simply not in my favor. To meet a godly, single man now seems an impossibility. What if singleness, rather than marriage, is my fairy tale? His Word tells me that I have everything I need for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called me to his own glory and excellence. Everything.”

Moms Need Theology Too  – Think Theology is just for Pastors and Seminary Professors?  Think again…  “For many of us moms, the mere thought of studying theology seems way beyond what our daily life can handle. We might think, At this stage in my life, I can’t learn theology. My life is consumed and overwhelmed with the daily duties of motherhood…But the truth is we desperately need theology for all our daily duties of motherhood. We need theology for bedtime battles, feeding worries, the grocery store, and everything else in between.”

J. D. Greear writes on Why God Doesn’t Remove Our Sinful Cravings Immediately  – “The persistence of pain in our lives—especially the pain of battling against sin—shouldn’t make us complacent. God didn’t leave the Canaanites so that Israel would eventually get comfortable with them being around. It was just the opposite: he left the Canaanites so that Israel would learn to fight. So when you are tempted to despair because you continue to struggle, remember what God is doing through your circumstances. Look to Christ, whose resurrection guarantees victory. Look to Christ, who fought for you when you were his enemy. Look to Christ, the only Savior who can give you the strength to stand, and who will pick you up every time you fall. Look to Christ, and fight.”

In light of the current trends of “Mandom”, Paul Tripp examines what it means to be a man in Man Does Not Live By Man Skills Alone  – “As a man, I don’t just need to be rescued from the pressures, deficiencies, prejudices, and imbalances of the surrounding culture. No, I need to be rescued from my sin—from myself. It is humbling to note that the greatest danger to any man exist inside of him, not outside of him. Sin makes me willing to be less than the man God designed me to be, and for that, I need forgiveness and transforming grace. The next generation of men need may need to be challenged to be real men. But more than anything, they need to be introduced to the Savior who alone can make that possible.”

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Here & There (March 18)

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From Lesbianism to Complementarianism  – One woman’s story of the transformation that occurred when she met the Savior.

The Introverted Pastor’s Wife  – Christine Hoover shares her thoughts on working with the way God made us.  She is writing from the perspective of a Pastor’s wife, but there are lots of take aways for everyone.

Am I Invisible Here or What?  –  Becky Kopitzke reminding us Moms that “You are not invisible. You are doing the work, day in and day out. Your children see it. They feel it. They know it, whether they can wrap words around it or not. And it’s this kind of loving home you’ve created that makes them feel safe enough to test your patience in the first place.”

An article pointing out 10 Ways to Show Respect to Your Children  – “Respect is one of those things that is more caught than taught.  It is much easier to model it than it is to verbalize to a child what it actually is. And I never, ever, ever do this perfectly.  Daily I fail, but it is where the Lord has pierced my heart lately.”

Here’s a challenge and a look at 5 Things People Blame the Church…and Shouldn’t –  “Here’s the challenge: Be part of the solution. And the solution is not to walk away or be endlessly critical.”

Mark Altrogge writes on How to be Happy When Someone Leaves Your Church  –  “Over the years, Jesus somehow got it through my thick skull that – amazingly, as it says in the Bible – there is ONE church. One body, one Spirit, one faith.”

4 Practical Characteristics of Christian Legalism  – “Legalism is something we all lean toward in one way or another. Humanity has been plagued by this from the very beginning as we see in Job’s friends. Why is this? Well, we like to have everything under control. We don’t like risk. We don’t like it when things get uncomfortable. And showing grace, to ourselves and others, takes the ball out of our court. Rule, laws, and lists of requirements are so much easier than grace and freedom.”

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Here & There (March 16 )

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The Comparison Trap  – “Our struggles with sin aren’t identical. You may be strong where I am weak and vice versa. The Holy Spirit may be focusing His lens on an area in your life that is different from mine. The means may be different and the day-to-day outworking as well. But this is His work. Not mine. Not yours. It’s His prerogative to prune and produce fruit as He pleases for which none of us can take the credit.”

The history behind The Most Misused Verse in the Bible  – Why do we twist God’s promises—and how can we stop doing so?

Heidi Jo Fulk brings encouragement writing about A Tumor, a Setback, and a Renewed Mind  – “When faced with the trials and pain God allows in our lives, we can choose to respond with gratitude, love, service, and obedience through the power of the Holy Spirit. We can choose to focus on what God is doing in and through us in the midst of the difficulties that may be happening to us. Suffering may just be the path to becoming newly fueled to love, serve, and obey your Savior and Sustainer. How will you respond to God in the midst of the difficulties you’re facing?”

Older Men, Younger Men Need You  – Paul Maxwell writes “Older men, the younger men in your life need you more than you might know.”

Note to self:  Don’t Follow Your Heart  – “No, our hearts will not save us. We need to be saved from our hearts.  Our hearts were never designed to be followed, but to be led. Our hearts were never designed to be gods in whom we believe; they were designed to believe in God.”

“Here are nine marks that your church–even one that believes the Bible, preaches the gospel, and embraces good ecclesiology–may be unhealthy”:  9 Marks of an Unhealthy Church.

Some thoughts on Running to God With Your Doubts  – “Nowhere in Scripture does God condemn His children as they run to Him with their questions. Our gracious God tells us we can indeed ask Him to remind us of what we knew before. He knows we need Him to tell us over and over again that He loves us and that He won’t ever leave us. He knows life and the circumstances we face will cause our sinful human hearts to despair and to question what He has told us before.”

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