I may not comprehend your suffering or the hardships around me, but this I know to be true: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end (Lam 3:22). I can’t see everything like he can. But one day, for the rest of eternity, everything will be made right.
It’s a privilege to spend time with these girls, my friends, at the club. I’m 100% convinced the only difference between “them” and me is they don’t know yet how they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a Savior (Ps 139:14).
In the wake of these scandals, much of the SBC history of spiritual and sexual abuse will no doubt be blamed on Satan. And by all means, let’s give him some credit, just not the bulk share.
The blame lies with us.
The truth is, every sin is hypocritical if we don’t simultaneously recognize our need for a Savior. Only Jesus is perfect but thank God his reticent grace points us back to his gospel to help us repent and change, repent and change, repent and change.
We’re all weak, which means we all need one another to be steadfast in obeying Christ. How then should we seek to hold one another accountable? By relishing God’s grace, being realistic, offering kind correction and loving one another the whole time.
When we care for vulnerable people, we are taking a risk. It may end badly for us—there are no guarantees. But that shouldn’t deter us from loving people. The psalmist wants us to know that even when we experience the sum of all our fears, God is still blessing us. Because like David on his sickbed, God will sustain us when we suffer.
With meticulous intent, organizing the opposite of what our hearts naturally expect, God uses what appears scandalous to accomplish the good and glorious. He uses the shocking and sinful to show glory and redemption. He chooses the unlikely and unassuming to achieve greatness. Why? So that through the failing appearances of others, God’s glory astounds.
God uses children to get our attention, to reveal our sin, and to save us for our good and his glory. Our children are gifts partly because God is faithful to use them in order to get us ready for heaven. If God has given you the role of parent, the point isn’t for you to nail it.
The role of parent isn’t so much for you to produce a holy child as it is for God to produce a holy you.
To be mean is to insist on your own way at the expense of others. It’s the opposite of Christ’s kind gentleness. It is to throw away God’s faithfulness and exert your own pride as means to achieve selfish ends.
With each experience of someone being hateful towards us, God is giving us an opportunity. Sure, we might be taken aback, but that’s simply because we have expectations greater than depraved souls can meet all the time.
So today, remember what Christ has done for you. He died to make you debt-free. Repent, believe the gospel, trust Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf. And come before the Father who offers grace, hope and peace to all who believe. Christian, it is for freedom that Christ set you free!
Be free, indeed.
I thought completing a work for God through ungodly means would be fine with Him. I thought the ends would justify the means. I underestimated the holiness and authority of the God I sought to follow, fearing failure instead of Him.
But don’t worry. I didn’t get away with it.
Dark seasons come in all different shapes and sizes. As unique people we tend to cope in different ways, both good and bad. We tend to struggle at different times of the day or week. If you’re like me, I’ve long expected dark seasons to pass quicker than they actually do. I want to learn the lesson, grow in whatever it is, get over whatever the ailment and move on, and quickly. But God doesn’t work my way.
The best kind of self-care is to remember that it’s actually Jesus who perfectly cares for us. He never sleeps because he is always watching over us (Ps 121:4), he’s always praying for us (Rom 8:34) and he always understands us (Heb 4:15). When we are faithful to abide in him, he provides the rest, wisdom and energy needed to live well (1 Jn 4:16).
Jesus is better than his church and he always will be. He is the head of the church, the lover of the church, and so we can trust him with each other as we fail. We can trust that he knows the ins and the outs of his people. Because Jesus is faithful, the church can be faithful to know him better and therefore shout about him from the rooftops, not about each other.
The gospel is true no matter what. Jesus’ death on the cross is not moved by your lack of trusting God. Our sin is the reason for his sacrifice. To dwell on the good news of Jesus builds resilient faith. It reminds us that salvation has nothing to do with our finite selves and everything to do with our perfect Savior Jesus (Eph 2).
We make resolution after resolution, buy gimmick after gimmick. We follow whomever is doing whatever it is we think we want on whatever app we like the best. But unfortunately, we forget to ask ourselves the most fundamental question: why?
Christmas is about a man willing to give Himself for the sake of love. Our Christmas joy, then, must not be rooted in our earthly traditions. It must be firmly planted in a love of a perfect Person who sits at the right hand of a God who fulfills His promises (Eph 1:20-23). This is the Jesus of Christmas.
Shepherds peered down at a baby. The God of the universe had donned flesh and finally arrived. This was no parade of boisterous glory or overwhelming riches. There was no miraculous scene of sparkly pomp or flashy circumstance. Instead, a tiny human displayed God himself in the unlikeliest of places.
Friendships can be like those leaves. Sometimes they end just when we begin to believe they might really last forever. An ended friendship can be a deeply painful loss causing real grief.
The beautiful result is the incalculable possibilities for how to spend my time narrows into a list that Jesus pens. He strengthens me for the work and becomes the bridge to an intentionality capable of producing fruit beyond what I could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).