I recently read an article on selfishness from an issue of The Journal For Modern Ministry, a subscription I received as a birthday gift last year from a long-time friend. This article by Lou Priolo caught my attention, as selfishness is a sinful trait that marks, invariably, those we love, work with, minister to…and of course, ourselves. In my fight to love those who may act selfishly towards me in my life, I find my own struggle to love borne out of selfishness notwithstanding. Priolo points out that “selfishness is directly related to sinful fear.” There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 “Fear is the opposite of love,” he reminds us, and “love is the opposite of selfishness.” Fear of being hurt, rejected, or taken for granted often […]
Our family enjoys family devotional time around the breakfast table. Troy leads us through scripture memory (which Number 3 loves!) and a section from this book. The key to all learning is asking the right questions. Leading our children through the shorter catechism asks them the right questions and gives them a solid Biblical answer. If you ask the wrong questions, you may come up with great answers, but you will be heading in the wrong direction. Even if they don’t understand it right now, the right questions can been asked and the foundation laid. …unless your five yr. old repeats the first question of the shorter catechism like this: “What is man’s pwimawy porpoise?” See, wrong question leads to wrong answers!
“What we believe about God determines the quality of our marriage.” “It’s a wonderful, freeing thing to realize that the durability and quality of your marriage is not ultimately based on the strength of your commitment to your marriage. Rather, it’s based on something completely apart from your marriage: God’s truth; truth we find plain and clear on the pages of Scripture.” “What if you abandoned the idea that the problems and weaknesses in your marriage are caused by a lack of information, dedication, or communication? What if you saw your problems as they truly are: caused by a war within your own heart?” “‘Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.’ [Thomas Watson] means that until we truly understand the problem, we won’t savor the solution…My friends, when sin becomes bitter, marriage becomes sweet.” All quotes taken from this book.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 (NASB) Daily life has a way of feigning predictability, as we reply to it’s boasting with self-reliance and -sufficiency. And so, though reluctant at times, I have a deep love for the way my Savior shakes things up, and pencils in little experiences unscheduled in my family’s bursting Day Runner. This, for us, came in the form of unplanned house guests-strangers, really-who’ve stayed with us through the weekend, and into the first part of our week. Our new friends moved here from several states away, for the start of a new career, as well as a position at our school. Headmaster hubby was to help move them in on Saturday morning when their apartment fell through, leaving our guests at the beginning of their search all over again…with a loaded […]
My husband’s been getting up at 5:30 in the morning again…to pray. That’s about when I head back to bed after another groggy feeding that usually results in one spit-up, one blow-out, and one half-hour of trying to get back to sleep. Lest you think this comes naturally to my sweet husband, you are mistaken. Every morning he struggles with the same fog that rolls through my head, and yet, when I suggest that he won’t make it if he doesn’t get more sleep, this is his reply: “Babe, I won’t make it if I don’t pray…the Lord will provide.” This is a busy season of life in our household. Between a full house of children, a church plant, a school start-up, and various other relationships and commitments, we keep a steady pace around here. There is a joy in working hard and being productive…that is, until the joy is […]
Baby Livingstone will be two weeks old tomorrow. I’ve been on antibiotics for mastitis for almost 48 hours, and I am feeling significantly improved. The hemorrhaging at the hospital made the recovery at home more challenging then I had expected, but as the fatigue and aching turned into fever and pain, I acquiesced to getting medical attention. I had my first completely fever-free day yesterday in over a week. It was unbelievably wonderful to get in bed without chills, and to not wake up for a feeding covered in sweat. I finally feel like I’m on the road to recovery. I was thinking in bed the other night (while Ibuprofen gave no relief to my chills) about my limited understanding of suffering. I laid there exhausted, shivering, dreading the next feeding, unable to sleep, and feeling entitled to being bitter and grumpy. And yet, even in the midst of a […]
…my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” …For the lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. …Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it […]
I often complain about being out of shape. I have a myriad of excuses for why I find myself gasping for breath on a hike with my long-legged husband or taking an occasional jog with a friend. It’s not that I don’t exercise; I do. In fact, I made it through an hour-long Advanced Tae-Bo video the other day like a champ. But, alas, I have no endurance. I could not do Tae-Bo for a second hour—or every day for that matter. I work out when I have time, I pump some iron when I’ve eaten a few too many Joe Joe’s; but, no, I could not run a marathon. I realized this week, in the face of what seems to be a time of trial and spiritual warfare in and around our family, that we are running the race of our lives; that we are soldiers in a battle. […]
Paul was nearing the end of his life when he wrote these words: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15). We realize that our sins as Christians, though perhaps not as outwardly gross as before, are more heinous in the sight of God because they are sins against knowledge and against grace. We know better and we know His love, and yet we sin willfully. And then we go back to the cross and realize that Jesus bore even those willful sins in His body on the tree, and the realization of that infinite love compels us to deal with those very sins and to put them to death. Both the fear of God and the love of God motivate us to obedience, and that obedience proves they are authentic in our lives. –from The Practice of Godliness, by Jerry […]
“What must I have for life to be meaningful or happy?” Elyse Fitzpatrick poses this question in the first chapter of her book, Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone. The ladies group from church met last night to discuss Chapter 1. How timely this book is for the current condition of my heart. Though my momentary idols are not that of material comfort or notable prestige, they are those that clamor for my heart’s affections in more subtle ways. Could it be that my desire for an easy, well-rested, quiet, burden-free, unemotionally-taxing life has rivaled my love for my Father, however costly? Would I rather have a simple life of “collecting seashells” than one that is bruised and broken serving on the battlefield? My heart says no, but my actions often say otherwise. “If you’re willing to sin to obtain your goal or if you sin […]
Sometimes we find ourselves in a season of discouragement…heaviness of heart, perhaps, or disillusionment. To summon the right words to describe it even feels too great a task. No one seems to know, but the Lord…and that’s okay. Yet, when you stumble upon words that seem to have flowed from your own lips–the lips of faith you fight to keep, and not despair, you remember that God does know, and He provides. When The Saints Lyrics by Sara Groves Lord I have a heavy burden of all I’ve seen and know It’s more than I can handle But your word is burning like a fire shut up in my bones and I cannot let it go And when I’m weary and overwrought with so many battles left unfought I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars And when […]