Here and There (July 9)

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Current Kindle deals: Make, Mature, and Multiply by Brandon Smith ($0.99); Called Together by Jonathan Dodson & Brad Watson ($0.99); The Stories We Live by Sean Post ($0.99); everPresent by Jeremy Writebol ($0.99); Reading God’s Story Chronological Bible ($2.99); HCSB Digital Reference Bible ($2.99); The Keys to the Chronicles by Marvin Hinten ($0.99); Mere Humanity by Donald Williams ($2.99).

What a Bikini Taught Me About Modesty  –  “Suddenly I realized that my bikini was not advertising my God-given value, but advertising the beauty of my body to a world that would never appreciate it the way God intended…Modesty is humility in action…In every decision we make, we shouldn’t be asking “How far can I go?” or “How much can I get away with?” but “How holy can I be?” 

Dear Girl, You Can’t Shed Shame by Shedding Clothes  – “They say women who cover themselves do so because they lack self confidence; that if they were really free, they would shed those standards and their “modest” clothes along with it.  But the dichotomy they propose is a false one.  Our world sees no shame in nakedness, so they seek to glorify it.  Our God sees glory in nakedness, so He shields it from shame…Shame did not come from modesty. Modesty – the covering – came to deflect shame. God Himself clothed man and woman to shield their beauty from the evil of this world.”

The Gospel Coalition has 20 Quotes from Rosaria Butterfield’s New Book on Sexual Identity  – “The image of me and everyone I love suffering in hell crashed over me like shark-infested waves of a raging sea. Suffering in hell not because we were gay, but because we were proud. We wanted to be autonomous. . . . I counted the costs and I did not like the math.” (23)  “Jesus met sinners at the table, but he did not join them in their choice sins. He sat with them, but he did not sin with them. And we ought not expect Jesus to sin with us today.” (31)

Identity in Relationships  – “Finding identity in your spouse will never work. No sinner can be your mighty fortress; only God can, as the classic hymn reminds us. Perhaps even more importantly: when you look to another person for identity, you’re not loving them; you’re using them to love yourself...Human relationships are unable to provide us with life, contentment, happiness, and joy, so when we ask them to be our source of identity, it’s only a matter of time before they fail us. We can never be reminded of this enough: our identity is only safe in one Person – Jesus Christ!

On Mt. Moriah You Can See the Whole Bible  – “Jesus wrote the last chapter of Moriah. He made this mountain his own. He climbed Mt. Moriah, to enter his Father’s house, time and again. He taught on this mountain. He turned over the tables of the money-changers like a madman on this mountain. On Moriah, he declared, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will rebuild it.” He spend the last week of his life on this mountain. And he brought this mountain’s story to its peak.  Jesus was not killed in Bethlehem as a baby, or in Galilee or Samaria as an adult. He couldn’t be, for it was necessary for him to die in Jerusalem, where Moriah is. He is the promised Seed of Abraham, the new and better Isaac. He is the promised Son of David, the new and better Solomon. He is the tabernacle and temple of God. And he is the Son who is not spared, but given up for us all. At his death, the angels outside Eden sheathe their swords and welcome us back into the paradise of God. He is the lamb of God, upon the altar of the cross, who transforms Golgotha into Moriah. He is the substitute, by whose sacrifice we are not just spared, but welcomed into the life and family of the Father.”

How and Why to Talk to Your Children About LGBT  – “Our attitude toward gays should be loving because, as we say, “There I would be too if it were not for the grace of God.” Your children should not hear hate or anger from you when you talk about the gay community.  If you do hate them, then your children will either (1) emulate your anger or (2) embrace the gays version of love—a love devoid of biblical conviction. Therefore, your starting point should be a level playing field: there are no righteous people, no not one (Romans 3:10-12).”

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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 (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 (March 3)

Some noteworthy Kindle deals: Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full and Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman ($3.99 each); Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin ($3.99); True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney ($3.99); Practical Theology for Women by Wendy Alsup ($2.99); Found: God’s Will by John MacArthur ($1.99); Anxious for Nothing by John MacArthur ($3.03);  Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior $3.99

Adopted  – A unique way of delivering the good news…

Older Women, Your True Beauty Will Not Fade  –  Pt. 2 in J.D. Greear’s Everyday Faith series.  ““Older women can sometimes quit caring what people think, so they lose their filters on speaking their mind or talking badly about people. When you’re young, you have two things that can mask quite a bit: your natural physical beauty and your filters. But when those two fade—as they do with age—then the masks are gone, and if you have an ugly spirit, it’ll show.”

A Pattern Among Fallen Pastors  – Lessons for us all.  A university professor’s study of 246 men in full-time ministry who experienced moral failure within a two-year period of time and 4 common characteristics of their lives.

A cartoon take on how and how not-to-be generous, just for a laugh.

What God Really Wants for Moms of Young Children  – A gentle reminder from Lisa Jacobson, “This is not a season to take on more, but to live with less.”

God is not Punishing You for Your Past Sins  –  If you have repented and put your faith in Jesus, your sins are already paid for once and for all, by the only One who truly could.  If you are carrying around guilt over past sins, lay them down and let them go.  The blood of Jesus is more than sufficient.

The Worst Ever Honeymoon  –  Just for laughs, David Murray shares his honeymoon story.

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Here and There (February 11)

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“Because of Jesus—there is always hope, even in the darkest moments of your life.”  Tim Keller

Some great Kindle Deals – Comforts from the Cross  by Elyse Fitzpatrick ($2.99);  New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp ($4.99) 

Reward System for Kids (That Works!)
Adam4d  –  One of the tragedies of growing up is that we get used to things…
Think Small  – Some reminders from the Out of the Ordinary authors for women of every age dealing with faith testing circumstances.  “What do you need today, or if you can’t think even that far ahead, what do you need in the next minutes or hours? Ask your heavenly Father for it, since he’s promised to provide everything you need (Matthew 6:25-34). What do you need to do right now? Ask for strength to do it. Trust God to give you all you really need, including strength to do what you need to do, minute by minute, hour by hour, for all of today. Trust him to carry you through whatever trial he brings into your life. And if you can’t trust God (I’ve been there; it happens.), ask him to give you faith to rely on him to keep his promises.”
The Heavens Declare the Glory of God  – Kevin DeYoung beautifully reminds us of a few statistics about our universe and the God Who spoke it all into existence.
Getting the Gospel Right  – What is “the Gospel”?  Would you know how to define it if you were asked?  This article is a long read, but breaks it down well.
Do You Live by the Goodness Gospel?  – Well written article by Christine Hoover encouraging us to examine our understanding and practice of the gospel in our daily lives.  Her new book, From Good to Grace: Letting Go of the Goodness Gospel is available now.  “The good news (which is the definition of “gospel”, by the way) is that trying to be good after salvation isn’t the true gospel, and the enslaved life is not what our God offers. He offers grace and freedom. So let us, I say, move together from good to grace.”
O The Precious Blood by Sovereign Grace.  One of my favorites.
TrustGod

Here and There (February 4)

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To The Mom Of Little Ones: No, You Can’t Do It All   “God, grant us the wisdom to throw off the world’s ridiculous expectations of what motherhood should be. Grant us vision for what is important. Grant us the freedom to do what you want us to do – and no more. Grant us peace when our nails are chipped, our furniture dusty, our abs  flabby, and our clothes outdated…because we know we’ve been busy doing what matters.”

Seven Lessons From Fifty Shades Of Grey  “Our world desperately needs a good dose of real love? So, as 50 Shades of Grey hits the screens, let’s love God well by honoring him wholeheartedly with our eyes, ears, hearts and minds. Let’s love our brothers and sisters well by encouraging them with truth rather than lies. Let’s love our unbelieving neighbors by showing them how beautiful and alluring purity looks. And let’s love ourselves by committing ourselves wholeheartedly to living in light of the immense love that has been lavished on us. “See what a great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)”

Church on Fire: Persecution in Niger   “In our world today, more than 40 percent still have not heard or had access to the gospel, including nearly 70 percent of Niger. Christ does not call us to pursue danger, but he asks our obedience to his calling. Time and again, God has demonstrated his power over the enemy’s attacks and his ability to save. Whether it was the day my teammates and I were surrounded by a mob and about to be burned alive with a fire already lit under our vehicle, the illegal arrest warrants issued as vendettas, being chased from villages by shovels or rocks, or perhaps, the random death threat, nothing surprises God. Rather, it is an opportunity for his glory to be displayed. Still, there may come a day when physical deliverance doesn’t occur. Let it be known on that day, God is still faithful, and the greatest deliverance will have actually occurred. Whether we live or whether we die, Christ is our life, and his glory is the reward.”

Some Thoughts For Those Who Are Considering Divorce  A thoughtful article from Randy Alcorn with suggestions for those who may be contemplating divorce but can also be helpful to those who are experiencing any form of suffering and the temptation to take action.

The Gospel in Three Directions  The truths here are presented so clearly, I’ll be rereading this a few times to take it all in.  Well worth the time to study this out and get it nailed down.  “…religion says you should not, while the gospel says you need not. Religion is constantly shouting, “You shouldn’t sleep with your boyfriend! You shouldn’t get drunk! You shouldn’t lose your temper!” That’s not good news to people struggling with those issues. That’s condemnation. But the gospel says, “You need not give yourself to your boyfriend, because God’s love will never fail you. You need not get drunk, because Jesus offers a more sure refuge. You need not lose your temper, because God is in control.”  Sin is always making promises it can’t keep. Religion doesn’t do anything to expose them; it just adds more false promises. But the gospel exposes every lie by showing us a God who is better.”

Will You Go Out With Me? Rules For Biblical Dating There are only three rules in this article but they are excellent ones.  A highly recommended read.

Pwasher