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 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 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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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 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 and There (March 6 )

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Kindle Deals:  Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives by Wendy Alsup  $2.99

Three Muslim Misconceptions about Christians  – I appreciated this article even more after having just finished Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.  J.D. Greear looks at “a set of misconceptions that most Muslims have about Christians that keep them from even considering the gospel.”

The Dangers of Pet Sins  – “Pet sins are those sins we believe we have domesticated. We view them as small and insignificant. We don’t fight against them, we feed them, and in some ways they make us feel good. But there is no such things as domesticated sin. All sin, even our “pet sins” are dangerous.”
Josh Hamilton and the Monster that Hunts Us All  – And while on the topic of Pet Sins, “Temptation never takes a day off. We are all recovering sinners. Killing sin is a daily vocation for believers. As the Puritan John Owen put it, we must be daily killing sin or it will kill us (Rom. 8:13).”
How Not to be a Negative Person  –  Arabah Joy reminding “We can either magnify our circumstances….or we can magnify our God.”
Pantheistic Panic  – On his Wednesday’s Word, Paul Tripp writes:  “Every day I bump shoulders with confused and fearful non-Christians who try to make sense out of their life by worshiping a multiplicity of gods and who try to find meaning and purpose by employing a variety of futile tactics…Had it not been for the intervening grace of God, I would be just like them, and even though I now know the Truth and worship the living God, my fickle heart is still tempted to worship the same false gods they worship. And, what a wasted opportunity! Could it be that God put these non-Christians in my life, not for the purpose of annoying me, but so that I may be an instrument of revelation to their blind eyes?”
Two Words to Stop Self Condemnation  – Well worth the read.  Christine Hoover writes: “Instead of cycling back to vows and self-effort, we must learn to look at our insufficiencies and then add two words on the end of them: But God or But Christ.”
Tears in My Life Cereal  – Kara Tippetts over at Mundane Faithfulness lives in the reality of “But God or But Christ”.

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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.