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 (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 (February 19)

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Women, Stop Submitting to Men?  – An interesting article by Russel D. Moore on a controversial topic.

Some links relevant to the unmarried:

20 Lessons on Dating & Love  – Samantha Loucks with some thoughtful suggestions.

Waiting for a Christ Built Man  – Leslie Ludy writes, “All too many young women lower their standards out of desperation – thinking that if they don’t snag the one guy who seems at least somewhat better than the rest, they will end up alone.  But this attitude demonstrates a lack of trust in God’s love for you and perfect plan for your life.  If you give Him the pen and allow Him to script your story, you don’t need to strive or manipulate in order to make a romance happen – He will bring the perfect guy into your life in His own perfect time and way.”

My Ugly Expectations for My Boyfriend  – Paula Hendricks over at liesyoungwomenbelieve.com shares, “As I looked at them, I realized how much culture had informed my expectations rather than God’s Word.”

And some items of interest for those of us in the trenches of parenting:

Stress is a Family KillJoy  – Jennifer Smith reminds us, “We need to be willing to reduce our stress with intentional efforts, including going to God through prayer before things escalate.”

What’s Wrong with Controlling our Children?  – Ever wondered?  Christy Halsell points out the difference between controlling our children and guiding them. “When my children didn’t do what I thought they should be doing, my mindset was that I had to make them do it.  I wish I knew then what I know now.  God doesn’t control me.   He doesn’t make me do what He thinks I should do.  Yes, I have consequences when I go too far in the wrong direction, but God doesn’t level those consequences at me with vengeance and disappointment.  He gives me consequences in love, understanding my bent for doing the things that aren’t for my best.  Love.  Understanding.  Those are characteristics I was lacking in my need to control my children.”

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“Grace” by Laura Story

My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused.
I see the things You do through me as great things I have done.
And now You gently break me, then lovingly You take me
And hold me as my father and mold me as my maker.
[Chorus:]
I ask you: “How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?”
And You answer: “My child, I love you.
And as long as you’re seeking My face,
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.
“At times I may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged,
Knowing that someone, somewhere could do a better job.
For who am I to serve You? I know I don’t deserve You.
And that’s the part that burns in my heart and keeps me hanging on.
[Chorus:]
As I walk with You, I’m learning what Your grace really means.
The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary.
So, instead of trying to repay You, I’m learning to simply obey You
By giving up my life to you For all that You’ve given to me.
[Chorus:]

Here and There (February 13)

“I want to think that my biggest problem in life is the evil world that surrounds me, when in reality, my biggest problem in life is the evil heart that exists inside of me.”  Paul David Tripp
No Grey Area;  I’m Still Not Reading (or Watching) Fifty Shades  – The soon to be released movie 50 Shades of Grey has created a huge cultural conversation.  I will not attempt to re-say what has already been said by those more qualified, but will simply add my voice by agreeing and sharing their words.  When it comes to the damage that pornography and erotica brings in all its forms, the warnings cannot be said too loudly or too frequently or from enough sources: DON’T GO THERE.  Just don’t.
Valentine’s Day Hopes  – “God is for you. He is working for your good on this Valentine’s Day.”
Remembering the Unquantifiable Love of God  – “So this Valentine’s Day, as the world keeps a tally of love, may we never forget that God’s love for us is greater than anything we can imagine. It is greater than googolplex and more than the stars in the sky. It is immeasurable, steadfast, and permanent. And that same amazing love has been given to us to extend it to others. May we give that love, without keeping score, knowing that God’s love for us keeps no record, because in Jesus, our debts have been marked: “paid in full.”
I Know God Loves Me, But Does He Like Me?  – Mark Altrogge answers the question.

23 Things That Love Is  – “With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, here’s a gospel-centered reminder about how to love. But, you don’t have to be romantically in love to find this list practical. Every healthy relationship requires love and sacrifice, so if you’re a parent, child, sibling, neighbor, pastor, or co-worker, this list is for you.”

Sexual Desire and the Single Girl  – “During those long years of singleness, this is where the rubber met the road: Would I listen to my passions, or would I listen to His promises?”
Are You a Spiritual Baby?  – You might just be a spiritual baby if…
I Was Born Weak  – “Weak faith is a lot like a weak muscle. Faith begins weak and it remains weak when it is not exercised. God calls us to live by faith and calls us to use our faith—our faith in him and in his promises. But so often our faith remains weak because it remains unused.”
Contentment is a Choice  – Ruth Soukup at The Better Mom encourages us to ask ourselves the question, “When will I be satisfied?”
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How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom