Here and There (May 4)

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Don’t Pitch Your Tent Next To A Pit  – “When we come upon sin—whether we know what’s coming or not—we have to be prepared. We can’t pitch a tent nearby to check it out or find an “acceptable” way in. We must prepare. We must guard. We must fight. We must flee.”

When Doubt Is More Than Just A Season  – “My doubt did not fade until I lifted my face up from a tear-soaked carpet and set it with a steely gaze toward the reality that it might not ever get better, that I would continue wrestle, like Jacob, until God blessed me. I stopped looking at my wrestling with doubt as if it were a passing season. While God promises good for his people, he doesn’t guarantee that he will fulfill his promises on our schedules or even in our lifetimes.”

Why God’s Will Isn’t Always Clear  – “But one reason why God usually doesn’t give us specific guidance in our sometimes-perplexing decisions is that he places a higher priority on our being transformed than our being informed in order that we will be conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).”

5 Hindrances To Believing The Gospel Of Done  – A list taken from David Murray’s Book, The Happy Christian.  “Some of us are convinced that God let’s us in based on His Done, but we don’t believe we stay in by His Done.  Too many churches preach the Gospel to unbelievers and an anti-Gospel to believers.”

When The Church Hurts You  – “Every church has a lot of messy people: immature believers, self-centered believers, selfish believers, pride-filled and obnoxious believers, and yes, even some “professing believers” who are actually still spiritually dead—they aren’t even truly believers…But as messy as the Church is, God’s desire is not for you to walk away from His Bride. No, His desire is for you to benefit from, and contribute to, the Church—bringing Him glory.”

The Wisdom In Giving Your Friends Room To Sin  – “It is important that we give people broad borders to be who they really are. To trim grace down to what you want, expect, demand, or what you think you deserve will circumvent your role in what the Gospel can do through you for others. There is no sinner or sin outside of God’s ability to redeem. We must not restrict it by expecting people to not sin. Give them room to wobble.

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Here and There (May 3)

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The Emperor Of All Maladies  –  A comparison of Cancer and Sin.  Well worth the time to read.

It Is Insane To Kill Human Beings Because Of Their Cognitive Abilities  – “Every human being of every ability is made in the image of God.”

A God Greater Than Google  – “We have an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-wise God, but most of the time we’d rather entrust our questions to the internet. After all, the god at our fingertips is visible, controllable, instant, and seemingly omniscient, at least omniscient enough for us. But God didn’t invent the internet to replace himself.”

Good Things Come In Small Packages  – “Size isn’t the most important thing. What matters is what’s coming from the pulpit and the commitment of the people who congregate. And we can each make a difference wherever we are, to be a sincere disciple of Christ, no matter how big our church is.”

How Can I Get Better At Evangelism?  – (Hint: the answer is pretty much the same for Evangelism as it is for anything else: savoring Christ and slaying self.)

Discipline: Strict or Grace-Based? Somewhere In Between  – “The definition of self-government is the idea that a person learns to command himself, his impulses, his work habits, his emotions, His intellect and talents and rule over his will in a productive way. Children can begin this at a very early age, but it is also of utmost importance to adults–as one cannot be a mature believer unless one has mastered self-government and self-control and patience. The idea behind self-government is that all of us have a power and authority over life that comes from within that can help us to master problems, obstacles, and can use our self-will to achieve great things. Adults who make excuses for their lives or always blame others for their unhappiness or irresponsibility, find themselves like the little children, unruly, unhappy, and whining always about life.”

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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 (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 (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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Here & There (March 25)

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Impatience and the Abdication of My Throne  – “In my head, I know I will need to repent and trust Christ every day in this life, and I will not be perfected until I am glorified; until then, I must persevere in sanctification (1 John 3:1-3).  Still, I live sometimes as if I am surprised I sin and still need the cross and the LORD’s grace.  Do I want to be like Jesus, or do I want to hold onto my fig leaves? Every day, I must ask and answer this question.”

Too Much Skin, Girl  – “The clothes you wear reveal what is in your heart.  It is not right for a man to place all the blame on a woman.It is just as wrong for a woman to make this exclusively a man’s problem.”

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The Grace in Going to Church  – “We desperately need the weekly reminder that people need us to serve them and that we need God’s people to serve us.”

Come and Die  – “Have you ever seen a military recruitment poster or TV ad that showed wounded soldiers? Ever seen one that showed soldiers taking bullets, medics administering morphine to blood-gushing comrades, or an array of battle-hardened quadriplegics?”

When She Lashes Out at You  – “Hurt people…hurt people.”

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It Is Not Death To Die  

VERSE 1
It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

CHORUS
O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

VERSE 2
It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore

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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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