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 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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Here and There (April 20)

“I don’t have a vision except for Jesus Christ. I don’t want to be anything. I don’t want to be a big shot. I don’t want to be important. I don’t want to conquer the world. I just want to be pleasing to God today and that is enough. That is enough. and strive as I might, I haven’t obtained that goal so why should I look for another?”~Paul Washer

Top 5 Ways to Get Through Tough Phases With Preschoolers and Toddlers  – Some great suggestions here (and not just for little ones…).

How to Have a Closer Marriage (Why I Kill Spiders)  – “If you listen long enough, you can tell where people have been hurt, where they are particularly sore and sensitive. To love that person well, you’ve got to accept their vulnerability and protect it.”

Can a “Hint”…Hurt?  – “How are you possibly hinting at sexual sin?”

A review of the book One Last Thing: The Christian Porn Secret.  – “When Tara Faulkner discovers her fiancé’s secret habit, she’s ripped out of her fantasies of the perfect wedding and the happily-ever-after marriage, and faced with the kind of decision she’s never had to face.”

How to Respect a Husband Who Hasn’t Earned It  –  “If you are walking in the flesh – in your self-will – focused on what you do or don’t deserve, then all bets are off. Respecting your husband won’t have a chance. There are enough grievances in marriage to last a lifetime.  Offering this kind of respect is abnormal to our sinful nature because obeying what the Bible says is a matter of walking in the Spirit – something every true believer has the power to do.”

God’s Grace Will Find You  – “The grace of God will find you. No matter where you’ve gone or how far you’ve drifted, nowhere is out of the reach of God’s grace.”

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Here and There (April 13)

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Rachel writes from her blog A Mother Far From Home on The Best Parenting Advice I’ve Ever Gotten  – “Start out how you can hold out.”  (I’m saving this one to reread a few times.)

How to Truly Encourage the Spiritual Life of Your Husband  – Some ideas on what a wife can do to encourage her husband.

In her blog, Grace Covers Me takes us In Her Shoes: A Christian Woman Who’s Had an Abortion (Part One)  – “Let us not ever forget that the Church is a redeemed people. Each of us, by the grace of Christ, have been redeemed from our slavery to sin. Among our own, let us not forget, are those who, though made holy and righteous, wrestle with secret shame about the sin they’ve been redeemed from. Let us not forget, so that we might bring the light of grace into the dark and hidden, so that we might speak grace and be a tangible picture of God’s grace toward one another, so shame and condemnation are banished.”

The True Woman blog on the importance of honoring our Mother-in-Laws in Thanks for Raising the Man of My Dreams  – “Your mother-in-law has spent nights and days, months and years loving and shaping your husband. She has put in a lifetime of mothering, fulfilling endless needs, living out the very same call that you now many days find yourself drowning in. Most likely, experience has taught her a thing or two. Don’t allow culture to tell you that she has less value or a lesser place now that you have landed her son.”

Has God Ever Let You Down?  –  “What is your response to disappointment? Do you accept it well? Do you pout and get angry? We are so easily swayed and turn away from God in these moments. Many times we don’t realize it until we have gotten ourselves into such a mess…and then we don’t know where to go. Usually, we complicate matters and go everywhere but to the Lord.”

This paints a picture of Sacrificial Motherhood  – “Growing up I didn’t understand how important it was that my mom embraced the saying she kept hanging in our house. But I experienced it. I experienced her daily giving up her own comfort so I could be comfortable and secure. I received her life-giving care in ways I only know about now that I am on the other side of motherhood. I never heard her complain about lack of free time or sleep. I never heard resentment over her limitations as a mother to four children. I saw joy and felt love. And through it, I saw her live out what it means to have the mind of Christ flow out of her. She was content to sacrifice her time to meet her child’s needs.”

Dannah Gresh explores the question Does Teaching Purity Contradict God’s Grace?  – “But just as you cannot teach modesty without grace, you cannot teach grace without a thick theology of sin. And that requires us to teach guidelines for living such as purity and modesty.”

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Here and There (April 8)

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Notable Kindle deals:  The Christ-Centered Exposition Series ExodusEzra-NehemiahSong of SongsMatthewMarkGalatiansEphesians1&2 ThessaloniansJames1, 2, 3 John ($2.99 each). The Underestimated Gospel by Together for the Gospel ($2.99); The Measure of Success by Carolyn McCulley ($2.99); Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax ($1.99); Heroes and Monsters by Josh Riebock ($2.99).

How God Defines Success  – Hint: It’s probably not the same way the world does…

Becky Kopitzke writes on the remedy she discovered for all her husband’s annoying habits in When Hubby Leaves His Socks on the Floor.

A powerful article from Rosaria Butterfield on The Dead End of Sexual Sin  – “How should we think about sin that has become a daily part of our identity?”

Young Mothers, You Need Friends  – “Unless we’re careful, young moms, we will wake up one day and find that all of those incredibly fulfilling friendships that once overflowed in our pre-baby lives have melted away, gradually and without much fanfare.  We will feel the weird invisible weight of loneliness, and we may even try to force our kids or our parents or our husbands to fill those roles that should be uniquely set aside for dear friends.”

Help Me Face Today  – “The more we recognize fear as sin, combat it with Scripture, and give it over to our Father, the more Christlike we become. Clinging to God’s promises, we repeat them to unwanted thoughts that can put us through a terrible day before our feet ever leave the covers.”

Some reminders on Why We Are Going To Get Up And Do It All Again Tomorrow  – “And we will find strength in remembering that motherhood isn’t our job. It is our joy. It is not our obligation, but it is our opportunity. And these moments that seem unending, will all be over before we know it. You’ve got this, friend. We’re going to make it together.”

Good Friends Bring Friends to Jesus  – “If you believe the truth about who Jesus is and what Jesus has done then, to the extant that you care about your friends and want to see Jesus honored, you will tell them about him. This is what good friends have always done.”

“Our problem is not that we desire happiness. No, our problem is that we continue to foolishly believe that we can attain it apart from him. We think that if we just try hard enough, the next time we’ll get it right (whatever it is) and we’ll be happy. Instead of pushing through to the true source of all joy and happiness, we sinfully believe the false promises of lesser gods.”
― Elyse M. FitzpatrickBecause He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life

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