The Great Commission is Both Obligation and Gift – “While not detracting from the importance of measuring strategies and goals in seeking to fulfill Christ’s commands, we must not lose sight of the fact that far more important than having a plan is relying on a Person.”

Domino’s Founder Gets Contraceptive Mandate Blocked – I’m not a legal scholar but this seems like an important development in regards to the concerns that many organizations have with President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and the accompanying contraceptive mandate.

Five Myths About Bible Translation – This post looks at five things people are prone to think regarding how the Bible is translated, and reveals the truth about each of them.

The ‘Work’ of Marriage Revisited – Is marriage supposed to constitute hard work? This post makes the persuasive point that, especially as years and busyness increase. intentionality is required to ensure that the bonds of intimacy deepen. Whether you want to call that work or something else is up to you.

Dying to Myself – “Jesus said we have to die to ourselves to follow him (Mark 8:34-37). Sometimes it’s dramatic. Sometimes it comes at great cost, and sometimes people are encouraged. Most of the time, though, we die to ourselves quite privately. So privately, in fact, that even those closest to us don’t know. We die to ourselves by keeping our mouths shut, forgiving others when they slight us, and moving on.”

Rushing & Pausing – “The bottom line is that oftentimes I create an atmosphere of stress and perceived need when there is none. I’m really feeling like there’s not a positive outcome by insisting that every moment in life serves to make you feel like you’re late for the next one.”

Even the Small Things

March 19, 2013 — 2 Comments
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A medical diagnosis we didn’t expect.

Our desire for a spouse or children.

The job we can’t seem to get.

We are driven to our knees for these things because it doesn’t take long for us to realize that they are outside of our control. Even the most “how-to” guides can’t ensure that we will obtain these things. They are in the hands of a sovereign God and our dependence on Him is evident when, despite our desire to the contrary, we are unable to accomplish them on our own.

However, it’s not just the big things in life that are in God’s hands. Even the small things reside within His palms. Which means when the small things in life go awry we can trust that they didn’t do so without Him being unaware. And just like He can give us what we need to persevere in the big things, He can equip us with everything we need to continue to glorify Him in the small ones.

Like when the kids won’t sleep which mean neither will you.

Or when everyone else on the road is seemingly in need of a driving lesson.

Or the to-do list is too long and time is too short.

These things may be small, but our God is big. He not only cares about these details, He is fully able to meet our needs in them. And when we fully place our trust in Him for the small things we are more apt to glorify Him – in both big, and small, ways.

 

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. – Mt. 6:28-29

 

Pursued – Some important lessons from Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well.

King of the Sing-Along – If your church is like a lot of churches, you sung a Chris Tomlin song this last weekend. In fact, as the article notes, “on any given Sunday, 20 to 30 million people would be singing” one of Tomlin’s tunes. Learn more about the man behind this popular worship music. (H/T)

9 Reasons You Can Face Anything – “Motivational glib like that will pack out self-help seminars. But sooner or later, and hopefully sooner, we learn how bankrupt it all is. We are not in charge, and that’s a good thing.”

The “Nones” by Age – This article looks at the rise of the “religious unaffiliated” by age groups. Perhaps the most noteworthy finding – the increase is not just among the young. (H/T)

Nearly Half of All First Births in America Out of Wedlock – This is sad for a number of reasons not the least of which, as the article notes, is the impact on children when this occurs.

Just Trust

March 18, 2013 — 2 Comments
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God’s justice seems to be one of His most derided attributes. People often would rather picture a God who overlooks offenses, and forgoes all punishment because they equate these actions with “love.” Of course, most of these same people would not like the criminal justice system to do these very same things if they found themselves the victim of some sort of crime. If this were the case, if the courts and legal representative simply disregarded the offense against them, they would rightly cry “injustice.” And yet when it’s us who offends, we are apt to want our trespass overlooked.

What people overlook is that God’s justice is one of the primary reasons that we can trust Him. My husband reminded me of this connection recently and as I contemplated it further I realized how true it is. Because God is just, we know that the promises that He makes will be fulfilled. After all, an unjust god, a god who was unconcerned with remaining the same “yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8) would have no qualms about changing their minds and negating the vows that they have made. An unjust god may not punish our sins, it’s true, but there would also be no guarantee that we would be disciplined equitably for our sins. in other words the “time” might not fit the “crime.” We would be at the mercy of an unjust god’s daily inclinations – unsure what the expectations were and what the consequences for our actions may be. God’s justice may not be an attribute that we naturally celebrate, because we are not inclined to be at the receiving end of what that justice merits, but because He is just we can have confidence that our trust in Him is secure.

The fact that our trust in God is predicated, at least in part, on His justice, may not be something that we often consider. However, any teacher could probably tell you which of their students have a home where justice is distributed equitably and consistently because these are the students who rarely “act out,” who are confident and “well-adjusted” individuals. In the homes where expectations and consequences are inconsistent, children don’t have the security of knowing what each day may hold and whether their actions will be met with applause or reproof. Similarly, God’s justice provides His children with security. We can trust that in Him there are no “shifting shadows” (see James 1:17) and consequently, we can trust in how He dispenses both justice and grace.

 

How Firm a Foundation Story and Free Download – Tim Challies tells the story behind the hymn “How Firm a Foundation” and offers readers a free download.

What To Do When You Can’t See Straight – “If you want to rejoice in the Lord always and not be anxious about anything then you need to see that the Lord is at hand. There is no better place to be reminded of how the Lord is at hand than through his word the Bible.”

Perfected – Upon seeing your sick mom’s weakened condition, the author observed that it “it did make me think about our relationship with Christ and our current condition as we wait for him to arrive. Like Mom, we are weak, unstable and riddled with pain. But as soon as Christ comes, we will be perfect.”

Consider Yourself – “So then, how do we contend for the one, true faith while striving for peace and unity in the church? At first glance, some might think these two commands are mutually exclusive. However, God’s call to contend for purity and God’s call to strive for peace and unity are fundamentally intertwined.” (H/T)

The New Testament’s Favorite Old Testament Stories – I found this really interesting. It’s a compilation of which Old Testament stories are most often referenced in the New Testament.  The author states, “”The last time I read through the New Testament, I decided it might be fruitful and interesting to keep track of all of the occurrences where the author made reference to narratives in the Old Testament. ” Here are the results of that research.” (H/T)

 

Free eBook: The Soul Winner or How to Lead Sinners to the Saviour by Charles Spurgeon (H/T)

Kindle Deal: The Case for Easter – I haven’t read this book but it seems apropos for the coming celebration of our Savior’s resurrection.  (H/T)

Note To Self: Don’t Forget This – “But according to God’s word, I do have things in common with women all over the world. One big thing we have in common is that we need to be reminded to remember. For our good, God communicates this theme throughout the entirety of the Bible.”

The Gospel: Accept No Substitutes – “It is possible to transmit the gospel in a way that never really gets to the root of the problem. Sometimes we share Jesus in such a way that we simply invite people to receive more of what they already want.”

The Anti-Beatitudes, As Taught By Satan – What if Satan were to prepare his own list of acts and attitudes he would commend? This post takes a shot at what it would look like.

Jesus Is Turning Your Shame into a Showcase of His Grace – “Faith is what pleases God (Hebrews 11:6) and faith is what releases the grace of God in your life (Ephesians 2:8; Luke 8:48). Do you want deliverance from your shame? Come to Jesus believing. Come desperately determined to touch him. And if faith is weak, cry out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) and “increase [my] faith!” (Luke 17:5).”

St. Patrick’s Day – A reminder of the history behind St. Patrick’s Day from the History Channel.

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Goodbye, Faith in Humanity – Writing about a recent report on Nazi concentration camp and human beings’ propensity for sin, the author states, “In one of the most enlightened, intellectually accomplished, progressive societies in the world, you had widespread cultural corruption on a level that staggers the mind. Either by direct involvement or culpable acquiescence, they all knew.”

Missouri Church Receives Bill for $666; Offers to Pay More – This just made me smile.

The Blogs, The Battles and the Gospels – This is a really helpful post from Tim Challies about engaging in online debates. Of course, most of this could be summed up in my mom’s old adage that “if it’s not nice nor necessary, don’t say [or write] it.”

The Scandal of the Cross – “On the way to the cross two thousand years ago, Jesus took the ultimate indignity and the ultimate pain to bring us back to the dignity of a relationship with God and the healing of our souls. Will you remember that this was done for you and receive his gift?”

Kindle Deal: Give Me This Mountain – I’m a big fan of this book by Dr. Helen Roseveare who was a medical missionary in the Congo and survived a brutal attack and returned to continue the ministry God had given her. The Kindle edition is currently priced at only $2.99. [H/T]

 

This post contains an affiliate link.

When It’s My Kid

March 14, 2013 — 6 Comments

Moms have an instinctive desire to protect. It’s why we’re usually the first resort to kiss boo-boos and to hug away tears. The nervous mom you see pacing back and forth as her kid climbs to the top of the playground jungle gym – that’s for the same reason. Moms are wired to want to keep their children from harm. This is the cause of many sleepless nights and many desperate prayers.

One of the prayers I often offered before my child was born was that she would be great in God’s Kingdom. After she was born the reality of this prayer hit me. There was a direct conflict between this request and my desire to protect her. Those who are great in God’s Kingdom have lives punctuated by ridicule, hurt and difficulties (see John 15:20; John 16:33). Most, if not all, are called to lay aside some of the comforts and conveniences of this life in order to serve God more faithfully. Those who are great in God’s Kingdom follow in the steps of His Son, and that is a path marked by challenges and pain.

Yet in praying this prayer for my little one I am acknowledging that there is something greater than what this world has to offer. In recognizing that the accolades here do not compare to the commendations in Heaven, I am preparing her, as well as myself,  for what I hope will be a life characterized by service and sacrifice for His Kingdom. In entrusting her to His care I’m recognizing that my ability to protect her is limited but His ability to provide for her is not. I desire to shield her, it’s true, but my greater desire is that she will be a partaker of Christ’s riches and live a life that glorifies Him (see Phil. 4:19; I Peter 5:10).

The costs of discipleship are high. Perhaps there’s no greater awareness of this than when it’s your kid that must pay them. But asking now that my kid may be worthy of the honor will hopefully make me better prepared to to support her when that day comes. And in doing so may I place her where she always belonged anyway – safely in the Heavenly Father’s hands.

A Hurried Life Hurts the Mission – “One of the simplest ways of being out of step with the world is not living to keep up with it. I am not advocating a life of laziness but rather a pursuit of presence. It’s a perseverance in abiding, not a fleeing for fleeting moments.” (H/T)

New Research: 64% of Americans Believe Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage Is Inevitable – The title speaks for itself. Read the article for a thorough recap of what the new research reveals, including people’s thoughts on whether a pastor should be able to refuse to preform a marriage of a same-sex individuals.

Those Grammar Gaffes Will Get You – An interesting article about grammar mistakes, and those you think are errors but in reality are not! Here’s to prepositions at the end of sentences!

Goodbye Google Reader – As you may have heard Google has announced plans to discontinue Google Reader. CNET has some alternative RSS readers for you to consider.

How To Let Peace Rule – “If we’re to find peace, we must become a pupil of He who is our Peace, Jesus Christ. He who is the Word. And this bit of Word, ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,’ is a fine educator.”

A Vision for A Christian University – Some practical and help thoughts about establishing, and maintaining, a Christian school of higher education.

 

 

 

Entrusted to Share

March 13, 2013 — 2 Comments
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Childhoods are littered with pinky swears and “cross-my-hearts” as secrets are shared and promises are extracted to keep them confidential. As one child conveys their dreams and crushes to another, they are entrusting their friend with news that they want to keep private. In fact, most of the time when we think of an entrustment we think of something that is supposed to be protected. We deposit money in a bank because we trust that they will keep it until we need it. We obtain safes to guard our most valuable possessions. When we trust someone or some institution with something that is ours we are doing so in the hopes that it will not be given to another.

However, God has entrusted us with something for the expressed purpose of giving it away. He has given us the gospel of salvation, not to keep it to ourselves but to share it with others. Unlike other entrustments, our task is to broadcast this news far and wide. Our goal should be for as many people to hear it as possible.

Unfortunately, we often treat the Gospel more like schoolyard secrets. We are reluctant to broach the topic of eternity with another afraid that we might somehow offend them. We are reticent to discuss salvation because we fear the questions we may not be able to answer. Instead of freely sharing the gift that we have been given, we are content to keep it confidential, only partially admitting to ourselves that as we do so, we are complicit in the condemnation of others.

However, we would do well to remember what Paul wrote about what it means to be entrusted with the Gospel. According to I Thessalonians 2:4 the reason that they were given the message of salvation is because they were found to be “approved by God.” Knowing about repentance and faith isn’t simply a gift then, but a responsibility. We have been approved by God for the good work of sharing His message with others. It is an honor that we should not take lightly, it is a task we should not neglect.

So the next time someone asks you to keep something “just between us” let us remember the message that God has expressly commanded that we not keep to ourselves (Mt. 28:16-20). Let’s be diligent with sharing what He has entrusted us with that many more may come to know Him.