Here and There (July 16)

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Marriage, Infidelity, and Ministry  – “No minister of the gospel ever committed adultery without being involved inappropriately with another person, and without having lustful desires precede that involvement. Adultery is the last stop on a long line of faithlessness. This sobering and painful reality points us to a very helpful strategy in our fight for purity. If we want to maximize our effectiveness in this battle we must be committed to waging the war as early as possible. An effective fight against adultery requires a fight against the kind of impurity that leads to it, and that requires a fight against the covetous desires of our hearts that lead to that. We are on the winning side of the struggle when we are depending on God’s grace to squash every covetous sexual desire long before it manifests in impurity and sexual immorality.”

To The Wife Who’s Husband Works Long Hours  – “Most importantly, pray together. Put God first so neither of you end up putting yourselves first.”

3 Truths to Move from Discontentment to Contentment  – “How do we fight to put on contentment and put off discontentment? We fight to grow in contentment, and kill discontent, by knowing and trusting that God is sovereignly working what is best, right, and good in our life because He is perfect in wisdom, knowledge, goodness, and love.”

Ten Tips to Kill Your Marriage  – “If you can’t embrace losing, as in being second in your marriage, then you will be the biggest loser of all (Ephesians 5:21). Not only will you go down swinging, but you will take your marriage down with you.”

What to do with-after a Stupid Promise to God?  – “God would rather forgive an empty promise in a maturing child than the offensive action of a wayward child still embracing their folly. God is more glorified through forgiving us for making-breaking stupid promises than he is through us keeping stupid promises and misrepresenting what it means to have “great faith” to the world.”

Four Characteristics of 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.”

Pascal’s Wager: Misleading, But Challenging  – “According to the Scriptures, that kind of choice is not saving faith. It is a purely natural thing, not a supernatural thing. We are drawn to something we do not know, assuming an extension of the happiness we have here. But saving faith is not like that. It is rooted in the sight and foretaste of happiness in supernatural things — God himself. According to the Scriptures, living faith is created in the dead soul by the miracle of new birth. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God” (1 John 5:1). That’s how the faith happens.”

Lessons for Young Men  – “Our world desperately needs men. Real men. Manly men. Godly men. Holy men. Courageous men. Men who fear no one because they fear their God more. Our culture despises true, biblical manhood. What our young people today who grow up in American society will not learn on their own, from their friends, from Hollywood, or simply by observing the way of culture is how to be a real, godly, courageous, man of God.”

Letter to Teens Unboxing Their First Smartphone  – “The way you use your technology reveals your heart.”

Guidance On How To Be A Man  – “My answer, and maybe yours as well, is that I so often forget who I am in Christ. Thousands of time a day, the world says to me “Be like this! Be like that!”, but never “Live out your life in Christ!”

Gospel-Centered Husbandship: Changing the Game by Changing Our Home  – “The opposite of a gospel-centered husband, I think, is a comfortable husband.”

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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 (April 17)

“Entitlement fuels complaint. When you think you deserve what you don’t have, you’ll grumble rather than celebrate the grace you’ve been freely given.” Paul David Tripp

Kindle deals: Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper ($4.99); A Shelter in the Storm by Paul Tripp ($2.99); Disability and the Gospel by Michael Beates ($2.99); Suffering and the Goodness of God by Robert Peterson ($4.99); When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper ($1.99); Caring for a Loved One with Cancer by June Hunt ($1.99); What Happens After I Die? by Michael Rogers ($2.99); Why, O God? by various ($3.99); An Infinite Journey by Andrew Davis ($4.99).

On Hating Sin and Loving Sinners  – “When we hate sin, we should hate ours first.  We should be brought low by it.  It should cause us to bow before a holy God, acknowledging our unworthiness.  And, it should make us rise again with the knowledge that it’s only by God’s grace and mercy that we ever take a right step.  Then, each day, when we have met our own sin and have set out to conquer it in the name of Jesus, we can greet others along the road and love them.  Really love them.  Because we will feel desperate to warn them about what sin really does to the heart and the soul.”

Just in case you’ve ever wondered What Should Christians Do On Sundays  – “Laura Ingalls and her family spent all day Saturday preparing for Sundays. (AndI start feeling convicted.) Saturdays they took baths, ironed their clothes, and made all the food for the next day. Then Sunday morning, they got all dressed up in their finest clothes, did their best hair, to have church, at home. No one else saw. No one else came. They did their (long, boring, even?) worship, and then sat quietly for the remainder of the day, until sundown. Gulp.”

J.D. Greear exploring the question Are You Weak Enough For God To Use You?  – “But weakness forces us to throw ourselves in desperation before God, and that is the only place—and the only posture—in which we can learn the four words that transform our lives: God is always faithful. You and I may never know that God is all we need until he is literally all we have.”

What Would Jesus Wear? Thoughts on fashion and the gospel.

This. Is. The. Day  – “Rejoicing in the day at hand means embracing the sovereign work of a loving God. Otherwise, I’ll be wishing for another day. Feeling bombarded by seemingly random circumstances. And I’ll be far from rejoicing when my head hits the pillow tonight.”

5 Ways the Gospel Transforms Your Work  – A summary of Tim Keller’s teachings about how the gospel impacts our work.

Who Can You “One Another” Today?  -“For example, what if we saw the “one anothers” in Scripture as imperatives (commands from Christ), essential to real Christianity, and not re-categorize them as suggestions, conveniences, and when-you-get-around-to-its?”

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Here and There (April 3)

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If you have a teen, you might be interested in taking a look at The Challies.com Summer Internship Program  – “I first began to consider creating an internship program while observing my son in his 9th grade public school. He professes faith and is often called upon to stand for what he believes, but both he and I see the need for continued learning and development. For that reason I decided to invest in his training through the summer. As I created the program, I saw value in opening it to other participants, both for his benefit and for theirs.”

I found a lot of encouragement in this article for those times When You Want to do Great Things for God…And He Asks You to Keep on Being a Mom  – “I have been created, gifted, and trained specifically for these children, today. I am their mother, for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).”

A book review on the latest from Cruciform Press  –  “Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord When Death Visits the Womb is a book that is needed for both those who’ve miscarried and those who hope to love someone who has.”

Some encouragement for all of us working at Bringing Up Children Who Have a Heart to Serve  – “So this mom is not doing it all by herself anymore. We’re working on serving together. Yeah, it’s slower, messier, and less efficient. But, oh, so much sweeter.”

Good advice here on Helping the Hurting  – “If you are going to give counsel, realize that your friend may have a crystal clear understanding of God’s sovereignty. Your friend may know the Word of God very well, but it doesn’t mean he or she does not hurt anyway! Often our emotions are in conflict with our theology and even the strongest warrior sometimes has to find a place to cry. Be the soft landing.”

A recommendation to Stop Praying Safe Momma Prayers  – “I used to pray “momma prayers.” “Keep them safe . . . help them to do well in school . . . help them get along with others . . .” Yet, my Holy Spirit-inspired desire for them to love God more than anything and be blessed by all that brings, has prompted me to ask Him to take them through whatever it takes to know He is enough when all else seems to fail them.”

Some wise words for When You Don’t Feel Like a “Good Enough” Christian  – “So instead of comparing yourself to them, instead of being intimidated by or jealous of  them… why not thank God for strategically placing them in your path? And never forget that your relationship with Jesus is a personal one. It won’t look like anyone else’s because you weren’t created to be anybody’s exact duplicate.”

Can I Please God and Clean the Kitchen?  – “It’s the 6th time through If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, the 5th diaper change, the 4th fight you’ve broken up, the 3rd load of laundry, still 2 hours until your husband gets home, and the one thing that seems to be a constant is your children’s bad attitude! For those of us in thisseason of life, spiritual growth can seem like a noble but distant aspiration. We would love to grow… if we could just get a moment of peace and quiet!”

Take a second and read What You Probably Need to Hear the Most Right Now.

Also, here are some current Kindle deals: The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB) or NKJV ($4.99); and The Jesus Answer Book by John MacArthur ($1.99).

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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 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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