Here and There (July 20)

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After Domestic Violence, Why Should a Christian Wife Call the Police, Not a Pastor, First?  – “Abused women who are Christians may try to understand their suffering by believing it is “God’s will” or “part of God’s plan for my life.” Yet we believe this runs contrary to the biblical image of a kind, merciful, and loving God who promises to be present to us in our suffering.”

Too “Busy” for God’s Word?  – “There is never an excuse for neglecting your time in prayer, reading of the Word, and personal worship of God. You may not have time for intense academic study, but just as you make time to nourish yourself with physical food, you must take time to nourish your soul as well.”

God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle  – “Suffering doesn’t ask if you’re ready. It may come slowly or with a vengeance, but it doesn’t ask permission, and it doesn’t care about convenience. There’s never a good time for your life to be wrecked. But the saying “God will never give you more than you can handle” tells me Ihave what it takes. It tells me I can bear whatever comes my way. It tells me God permits trials according to my ability to endure. Think about what this conventional wisdom does: it points people inward.  Yet the Bible points us Godward.”

Here is Truth  – “Genuine change is more than stopping wrong behavior; there must be repentance which includes an understanding that the actions are not glorifying to God; there must be a change in the manner of life that we live. Genuine repentance is accompanied by a desire to obey. We cannot separate thinking from obedience-they are inseparable. ”

4 Really Good Money Questions  – These are 4 great questions that bring biblical wisdom to bear on the way we use our money.

7 Questions Leaders Should Use Often  – “Questions are a powerful tool for every leader. The greatest leaders I know ask lots of questions.”

And 7 Statements Every Leader Needs To Use Often  – “One of the goals of a leader should be to encourage, strengthen and challenge a team to continually improve. Almost as a cheerleader rousing the crowd at a game, the leader uses his or her influence to bring out the best in others.”

7 Areas of Unbiblical Conscience Binding  – “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in anything, contrary to his Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship”

One Reason Children Rebel Against Their Parents  – “If we are not modeling the life of Christ to our children (1 Corinthians 11:1), then the chances of them rejecting Christ by the time they become teenagers is exponentially higher than parents who humbly present Christ to their children while they are young.”

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Here and There (July 9)

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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 1)

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My Fearful Night of Shortsightedness  – “God cannot be summed up in one character trait. He is both powerful and personal. Transcendent and immanent. I could not make sense of my fear until I saw both sides of this coin.”

Kevin DeYoung writes in Not That Bright  – “You don’t have to bear the burdens of the planet, just bear witness to the one who can. You don’t have die for the sins of the world, just introduce people to the one who has. You are not the light. Ouch, and hallelujah!”

Some help for those in the toddler trenches with Self-Control for ToddlersThe Christian and Common Grace  – “Temporal sufferings, like temporal blessings, are an opportunity to bring glory to God. If we who have Christ as our model don’t believe that, a lost and dying world never will.”

A thoughtful article, Beware the Unloved Women  – “Jesus He died to pay for sins, that we might have forgiveness of sins. Then He rose again, proving He is God and we can believe what He promised. To the unloved woman who repents from coping with her longings in her own way and determines to follow Christ, He gives a new heart with godly desires. Then He gives power to have a gentle and quiet spirit and to love others. Trust in Him and you will know the love of God Himself.”

Never Sorry Enough  – “As is so often the case in life, I was holding someone else to standard I could not hold myself. I can never be sorry enough. He can never be sorry enough. But I can imitate God in granting free and full forgiveness and in letting the matter rest.”

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Here and There (March 30)

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Kindle deals: Jesus Unmasked by Todd Friel ($4.49)

The true test of our worldview is what we find entertaining. —Albert Mohler

The root of the problem is that We Complain Because We Forget  – “The antidote to spiritual amnesia is making every effort to recall and remember God’s gracious deliverance. The fact that you — a sinner who was an enemy of God — are now a beloved child is a miracle. Don’t let that wonder ever fade. Remember.”

Help for anyone on the frontlines in Parenting Your Middle School Girl  – “She is going to go on a ride.  You do not have to go with her.”

Erin Davis on 5 Ways You Might Be Accidentally Blowing It in regards to being a representative of Jesus Christ.  “I will not represent Christ perfectly, but then I remember that even those imperfections and mistakes tell a story about Jesus. He is a God who rescues sinners and turns them into ambassadors for the best news ever. He is a God who sees my mistakes and wants me on His team anyway. He is a God who weaves my little story into His cosmic story and then asks me to share that story with others. I will not do it perfectly. Neither will you. Perfection isn’t the assignment. Living every moment for Christ is.”

The struggle is real to fight pride’s preoccupation with me and to Think of Yourself Less  – “As C.S. Lewis said, true humility is “not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.” We can spend a lot of time thinking less of ourselves but we only end up thinking a lot about ourselves. The problem of pride does not boil down to whether we think high thoughts or low thoughts about ourselves but that we think lots of thoughts about ourselves.”

In case you’ve ever found yourself wondering How to Pray When Someone You Love is Stuck in Sin  – “The truth is, we all have a sin problem. That’s why we need Jesus so much. But if someone you love is trapped in a pattern of sin, or refuses to repent from sin the stakes can seem sky high. When I don’t know what to pray, I pray God’s Word. With that in mind, here are ten ways to pray for someone stuck in sin straight from Scripture.”

An interesting article that gives 10 Pointers for “Untrained” Preachers 

For anyone looking for a good read, here are some links with suggestions (LOTS of them!)  – 5 Best Books for Women.  And Top 10 Gospel Books for Children (and others)

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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 and There (March 11)

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An article well worth the read on The Fellowship of Suffering  – “If you are suffering, your first reaction, especially if you are early on in your suffering, is likely to find others whose suffering reconciled. The estranged couple who worked it out. The cancer patient who recovered. The parents of a rebellious child who saw their child return to the faith. But as your suffering continues, you’ll find a deep treasure in those who have endured without earthly resolution to their pain. Their perseverance will bless you as they know this world is not our home and look to the treasure that lies ahead.”

A Simple Guide to Reading and Applying the Bible with Jesus as the Hero  – “This guide is designed for Sunday school teachers, home Bible study leaders, and the Christian who is trying to be faithful to read and apply the Bible on a consistent basis.”

Parenting Means Wrestling Demons  – “If we go into the work of parenting with a Precious Moments romanticism, it won’t be long before despair sets in. It’s just too hard if we think it’s going to be easy. It’s essential to know, especially when the going gets tough, that we arefighting hell.”

Misty Krasawski brings A Scriptural Perscription for Anxiety  – “Is it possible that at least some of our anxiety is rooted in a failure to humble ourselves?  Might we find a prescription for anxiety in an unlikely place–a position of humility?”

Biblical counsel for depression in this article on Confession Meets Depression from CCEF  – “If you are a big-time confessor of sin when you are depressed—and there are a few of you—then please skip this. But if you are prone to depression, and confession is not high on your list, this might help.”

The last of J.D. Greear’s 4 part series on Everyday Faith:  Young Men, Don’t Murder Your Soul  – “Don’t be bought off by the petty little passions that promise so much and deliver so little. Look to the grace of God, so you can trade them in for real passion and real pleasure.”

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