Here and There (May 13)

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Kindle Deals:   The Next Story by Tim Challies ($1.99); The Pastor’s Kid by Barnabas Piper ($2.99); Jesus and the Gospels by Craig Blomberg ($4.99); The Pilgrim’s Regress by C.S. Lewis ($1.99) Warren Wiersbe books: Be Mature (James); Be Joyful (Philippians)

Singles: Distinguishing Between Good and Great  – “Remember: the first step to building a great marriage is often breaking off a mediocre dating relationship. It doesn’t have to be tragic or miserable, just mediocre. If you keep hanging on to “almost good enough” you may never find “great enough that I never want to lose it.”

10 Ways to Enjoy Your Child Today  – “The older generation tells us with love:“Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. It passes before you know it. Savor it now. It’s your one chance.”And we politely while somewhat annoyed respond: “Yes, I know. I know. I hear that a lot. And I want to. I really do. That’s why I had kids. To enjoy them. But the days, they just fly by. And before I know it, they are another day older. Meanwhile I still haven’t brushed my teeth. Or hair. So savoring them. Well, it’s harder than you know.”

Drinking It Straight  –  The Word of God compared to Coffee.  “The problem all along was that people had diluted the coffee, or added something to it, thinking that this would make it more enjoyable. When they added to it, they changed it entirely, so that it wasn’t really coffee anymore.”

Exposed By My Children For What I Really Look Like  – No matter what my mom weighed or wore, I always thought she was the most beautiful lady ever…

The Problem With Mother’s Day  – ” Don’t forget the reality of your situation on Mother’s Day, whatever it may be:  God is sovereign.  He is good. And, we can trust Him.”

For When You Have Nothing Left To Give  – “If your faith is shattered, your supply line is down and you’ve no way to access the provisions He’s providing. If your faith is weak today and you have nothing left to give, I encourage you to sit awhile with God’s word.”

I Looked For Love In Your Eyes  – A heartbreaking look at the devastation pornography causes.  A must read for anyone who may be inclined to think it’s “no big deal”.

When Trials Steal Your Joy  – “For the Christian, struggles are not meaningless. God has greater designs that we cannot always see or understand, but we can choose to see His goodness in them. We don’t have to like our circumstances, but we do have to trust that God is loving us in them.”

How Do I Know I’m a Christian?  – “Do you love God?  Do you love his commands?  Do you love his people?  If you don’t, it’s a sign you have death.  If you do, it’s sign that you have life. And that means confidence instead of condemnation.”

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Here and There (May 11)

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Kindle deals: Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson ($1.99); Forever Mom by Mary Ostyn ($1.99); Crazy BusyTaking God at His Word, and The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung ($2.99 each); Don’t Call It a Comebackby Kevin DeYoung and me and others ($2.99); One Way Love by Tullian Tchividjian ($1.99); Jesus or Nothing by Dan DeWitt ($2.99)

Some Hard Questions For Mothers  – “Is my role as a mother more about my need to be needed than raising children to maturity and independence?” “Do I fear not being needed by those under my care?” “Am I using my role as a mother to fill voids left by past hurts?”

Either “OK” or “Thank You”  – Everyday life and the Father’s will.  “We Christian Hedonists believe that God is most glorified in us when we’re most satisfied in him. We’ll highlight this truth in our books. We’ll tweet about it all day long. We’ll sing about it on Sunday mornings. But then things don’t go our way…”

God’s Bigger Than My Cancer  –  Learning lament and joy in darkness.  “Cancer changes your perception of life. Each day comes to us as a gift from the gracious hand of God — whether it is the last day of a short life or the first day of a long and healthy life. But living into the reality that each day is a gift also involves coming to recognize a stark, biblical truth that is deeply countercultural: God is not our debtor.”

Dear Mom Who Secretly Dreads Mother’s Day  – “This day is ultimately not about you, or your mothering, or the mothers in your life. It’s about the story Jesus is choosing to write through the picture of motherhood in and around your life. And that’s worth celebrating…and He certainly isn’t through with you yet.”

Mom!  – A short film about you and your mom.

Don’t Let Pride Steal Your Joy  – “In thinking ourselves far greater than really we are, we see truly great things far smaller than they really are. The lie of pride becomes a damned lie when we see God as smaller, and less important than he is. And in trying to make truly great things subservient to our false supremacy, pride shrinks our capacity to experience joy and wonder. In seeking to be gods and goddesses, we learn to only value what magnifies our glory or satisfies our appetites. We yawn at the Grand Canyon and fawn at the mirror.”

When God Closes The Womb  – Being childless on Mother’s Day.  “When God closes the womb He has other things in store. It isn’t about being mean or punishing me for past sin, it is because of His great Love for me… The big question for me has and continues to be “Is God Enough?”

On The Path To The Cancer Ward  – “I’ve discovered that grief travels in three directions: past, present, and future. The trauma of what we’ve gone through; the struggle to accept our changed lives; the fearful anticipation of what is to come. Sadness is a backpack of rocks you carry: you forget for a while, stop and enjoy the view, but always it’s there, some days too heavy to bear…Humble yourself under God’s hand. Cast your fears on him. Resist Satan’s attempts to undermine your faith. Remember you’re not alone. Remember this is just for a little while. Remember God will lift you up and restore you and make you strong.”

Wise words To The Sons And Daughters Of Divorce  – “I don’t think I have found more help in my own journey of healing than in seeking help from others who have walked the same paths — who have had to do the hard work of finding Christ through the weeds of having divorced parents. Look for other sons and daughters — of God, and of divorced parents — and walk with them.  You are not pathetic. You are not alone. You deserve to be deeply loved, and you are deeply loved by God. He will carry and keep you.”

Loving Difficult People  – “So when that child has you on the brink of tears, or you’ve just received a harsh and critical email about your ministry, or you’re confronted with that extended family member who drives you up the wall, ask God for grace not to run away, but to keep engaging in love that hard-to-love person. God will be honored and our hearts will find deeper satisfaction as we seek to love people just as Christ loved us when we were his enemies.”

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Here and There (May 4)

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Don’t Pitch Your Tent Next To A Pit  – “When we come upon sin—whether we know what’s coming or not—we have to be prepared. We can’t pitch a tent nearby to check it out or find an “acceptable” way in. We must prepare. We must guard. We must fight. We must flee.”

When Doubt Is More Than Just A Season  – “My doubt did not fade until I lifted my face up from a tear-soaked carpet and set it with a steely gaze toward the reality that it might not ever get better, that I would continue wrestle, like Jacob, until God blessed me. I stopped looking at my wrestling with doubt as if it were a passing season. While God promises good for his people, he doesn’t guarantee that he will fulfill his promises on our schedules or even in our lifetimes.”

Why God’s Will Isn’t Always Clear  – “But one reason why God usually doesn’t give us specific guidance in our sometimes-perplexing decisions is that he places a higher priority on our being transformed than our being informed in order that we will be conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).”

5 Hindrances To Believing The Gospel Of Done  – A list taken from David Murray’s Book, The Happy Christian.  “Some of us are convinced that God let’s us in based on His Done, but we don’t believe we stay in by His Done.  Too many churches preach the Gospel to unbelievers and an anti-Gospel to believers.”

When The Church Hurts You  – “Every church has a lot of messy people: immature believers, self-centered believers, selfish believers, pride-filled and obnoxious believers, and yes, even some “professing believers” who are actually still spiritually dead—they aren’t even truly believers…But as messy as the Church is, God’s desire is not for you to walk away from His Bride. No, His desire is for you to benefit from, and contribute to, the Church—bringing Him glory.”

The Wisdom In Giving Your Friends Room To Sin  – “It is important that we give people broad borders to be who they really are. To trim grace down to what you want, expect, demand, or what you think you deserve will circumvent your role in what the Gospel can do through you for others. There is no sinner or sin outside of God’s ability to redeem. We must not restrict it by expecting people to not sin. Give them room to wobble.

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Here and There (May 3)

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The Emperor Of All Maladies  –  A comparison of Cancer and Sin.  Well worth the time to read.

It Is Insane To Kill Human Beings Because Of Their Cognitive Abilities  – “Every human being of every ability is made in the image of God.”

A God Greater Than Google  – “We have an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-wise God, but most of the time we’d rather entrust our questions to the internet. After all, the god at our fingertips is visible, controllable, instant, and seemingly omniscient, at least omniscient enough for us. But God didn’t invent the internet to replace himself.”

Good Things Come In Small Packages  – “Size isn’t the most important thing. What matters is what’s coming from the pulpit and the commitment of the people who congregate. And we can each make a difference wherever we are, to be a sincere disciple of Christ, no matter how big our church is.”

How Can I Get Better At Evangelism?  – (Hint: the answer is pretty much the same for Evangelism as it is for anything else: savoring Christ and slaying self.)

Discipline: Strict or Grace-Based? Somewhere In Between  – “The definition of self-government is the idea that a person learns to command himself, his impulses, his work habits, his emotions, His intellect and talents and rule over his will in a productive way. Children can begin this at a very early age, but it is also of utmost importance to adults–as one cannot be a mature believer unless one has mastered self-government and self-control and patience. The idea behind self-government is that all of us have a power and authority over life that comes from within that can help us to master problems, obstacles, and can use our self-will to achieve great things. Adults who make excuses for their lives or always blame others for their unhappiness or irresponsibility, find themselves like the little children, unruly, unhappy, and whining always about life.”

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Here and There (May 2)

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Why It Is Important To Know Who The Biggest Sinner In The Room Is  – from Rick Thomas: “I have nothing to hide and nothing to protect because I’m a fully free child of God.

Nothing To Fear But Every Single Thing  – “I am not alone. Though I am prone to fear, I walk with women who know my struggles, toward a God who leads us out of fear and into trust.”

Go Forth And Multiply  – “Some women struggle with infertility and post-partum depression, while others fall pregnant instantly, sailing through pregnancy and motherhood. Some women can have multiple children and not be overwhelmed by it all. We are all different. And our families are different. Wise womanhood involves knowing our motivations, our identity, our limitations, our primary function as a wife, and most importantly, that our God is sovereign over the good blessing of children”

The Rare Jewel Of Christian Contentment  – “Of course, the Gospel is the solution to our propensity to unfaithfulness. When we see with the eyes of faith what God has done for us in Christ we will guard our hearts against a lack of commitment to His work in the church…May God grant that we all diligently labor to find and keep the rare jewel of Christian commitment in our own lives.”

Ask Often, What Does The Bible Say?  – “What’s the most significant issue in your life right now? What major decision is before you? Be sure to ask, “What does the Bible say about this?”

I Can Do All Things  – “But the irony is that, by taking this verse out of context, many people have actually turned it on its head—making it mean the opposite of what it actually means.”

Hyper-Headship And The Scandal Of Domestic Abuse In The Church  – Justin Taylor summarizing an important sermon by Jason Meyer.

God Owes Me Nothing  – “Why do I live like God owes me something? Could it be that I’m really serving myself when I think I’m serving God?”

Embers To Flames  – A Pastor’s perspective on the Baltimore riots. “The root of the problem with the teens that began these riots and the many others who joined in was not, what was outside of them but what was inside of them.  Have you ever considered what man is capable of, when he thinks he can actually get away with it?”

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Here and There (May 1)

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The One Question That Can Also Be An Answer  – “Perhaps you know someone who is struggling. Perhaps you don’t know for sure, but you can sense it. Try the one question that can also be an answer.”

God Moves In A Mysterious Way  – “God Moves” was originally titled “Conflict: Light Shining out of Darkness.” Cowper knew first-hand that life is warfare.

What To Do When Your Marriage Is Falling Apart  – “Marriage is hard but it doesn’t have to be impossible.”

Why Do You Talk About Jesus All The Time?  – A visual from Adam4d.

Three Ways To Remember God’s Grace  – “Remembering who God is and who we are is the antidote to grumbling. If we see our world, our lives, and our circumstances through the lens of Jesus’s cross, everything will come into focus. And that clarity of sight will awaken joy in us. It is looking through this lens that we find a deep sense of what it means to be loved by a good and kind heavenly Father.”

Examine our Choices.  – “We make choices in our lives, big and small, each day. Some choices have little effect on us, and other choices can change the trajectory of our whole lives.”

The Crucial Difference Between Condemnation and Conviction  – “What is the difference between condemnation, which is wrong, and conviction of sin, which is good?”

When Your’e A Mom Who Doesn’t Know Where To Start  – “The messy, sometimes painful process of growing and changing and being molded into someone who looks like Christ is so worth it.”

How To Be Productive According To The Bible  – “The Bible contains truth that applies to all of life and has a tremendous amount to say about how we live our lives and work our jobs. The Bible’s view of work and productivity is vastly different from our culture’s view.”

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