Monday, April 14, 2014

Just Do Something Quote #2

Another quote from Kevin DeYoung's book, Just Do Something, published recently by Moody Publishers:

“What I am saying is that we should stop thinking of God’s will like a corn maze, or a tight-rope, or a bull’s-eye, or a choose-your-own-adventure novel.”  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung

A new book out by Moody Publishers, Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung, is the one book every Christian should read this year (along with their Bible, of course!). In fact, I am going to feature some excerpts from the book in upcoming daily posts to encourage folks to do just that. 

Let's begin with this one:

     "So here's the real heart of the matter: Does God have a secret will of direction that He expects us to figure out before we do anything? And the answer is no. Yes, God has a specific plan for our lives. And yes, we can be assured that He works things for our good in Christ Jesus. And yes, looking back we will often be able to trace God's hand in bringing us to where we are. But while we are free to ask God for wisdom, He does not burden us with the task of divining His will of direction for our lives ahead of time.
     The second half of that last sentence is crucial. God does have a specific plan for our lives, but it is not one that He expects us to figure out before we make a decision."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Unless I First Believe

Quote of the Day~

“I seek not, O Lord, to search out Thy depth, but I desire in some measure to understand Thy truth, which my heart believeth and loveth. Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this too I believe, that unless I first believe, I shall not understand."

from the Devotions of St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury

Monday, April 7, 2014

Speaking of Motherhood...

In speaking of motherhood, if God has made us mothers and parents, then we are, as our first priority after our marriages, to be the mother and parent

We ought to be surprised at how that statement ruffles feathers. But I count it worth it to be thought less of in order to have motherhood thought more highly of; to crack, even just a little, the culturally imposed and self-centered worldview that says, if you have children, motherhood is just one of many equal priorities.

To those already parenting in a way that pleases God and His priorities (not yourself or your priorities), then I encourage you by affirming that your little (or teenage) charges are not born saints. They have the same inherited sin nature as all of us. So when you obey God in your parenting, I am here to implore you to not be dismayed when your children choose a different path. Do not blame yourself every time they decide opposite of the Lord. They must find their way with God just as we did. Continue to model and guide in Christlikeness and longsuffering, in a firm and loving presence. 

And do not let anyone tell you that you are the reason for your child’s waywardness. God will convict where conviction is called for. We do not require help with conviction from strangers, distant relatives, unacquainted church members or “parenting experts.”  
Certainly we can seek Godly input in our parenting, first from our Godly husbands. But Godly input from truly Godly people outside the home is a rare thing indeed. And people outside do not know our child the way we, our husband and God does. 

Parent, be the parent God teaches you to be. And leave the rest in His able hands.

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:19-34

Sunday, April 6, 2014

If I Had Life to Do Over Again

If I had it to do all over again, I would read the Bible every morning, taking absolutely serious everything it said, and then do it, for the sole purpose of pleasing God. My discipline and priority every day would be to apply its wisdom through the power of the living Holy Spirit within me. 

But many of us want to do everything but what we really should. We do other than what we really must.

“Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified;...”
1 Thessalonians 4:1-3 (emphasis mine).

Friday, April 4, 2014

And the Truth Shall Set You Free

There are two facets to being contemporarily “sensitive”: The first is on the receiving end: not wanting our faults to be pointed out to us or people to ever disagree with us or someone to be better than us at something, and then getting hurt when they are or they do.

The second is on the giver’s end: feeling obligated to be “sensitive,” i.e. never pointing out someone’s strengths because it might make someone within earshot who lacks those same strengths feel bad, and never speaking from experience or conviction because it might clash with someone else’s experience or conviction.

But here’s the deal: it was the times in life where people firmly and honestly leveled with me that I changed for the better. Did I like it at the time? Of course not! But I like it now, because it was the courage of those willing to be honest and speak truth that resulted in my seeing progress in shedding baggage, getting a life and getting over “it” (and there are so many “its” to get over, aren’t there?).

One of the things I love most about being a Christian is that Jesus is my best and final critic. He never lets me get away with anything (I may get away with it in the world, but not with Him). I have come to rely and depend on His conviction to show me where I need to change. His love and equipping is what allows me to actually do it.

Jesus can also use people to speak His truth to us. Funny how He has a way of pointing out things we often already know about ourselves but were hoping nobody else noticed! It’s when people do notice and say something that can be the catalyst that moves us to deal with “it,” whatever “it,” at any point in time, is.

Our standing in Christ and knowing we are created by God on purpose—on His purpose!—allows us to bravely weather the truths about our shortcomings and not be threatened by other’s strengths. If we are maturing in Christ, then God is growing our heart, mind, gifts and talents—our uniqueness—more and more (for His purpose and glory, not ours). It is in that confidence that I can celebrate someone else’s gift when it is not my gift and find joy and contentment in not having the same personality, circumstances, or abilities of somebody else.

It is knowing who we truly are from Christ’s perspective that leads us to then BE and live out the best of who we truly are that He designed us to be. But this transformation can never happen if we fail to learn and accept who we are not and who He never intended us to be.

Read an insightful article about "sensitivity" here:

Ephesians 4:15-16: “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”