I tend to want to fix my kids with my power. I want to say and do all the things that will produce the desired effect in their hearts and behavior; to smooth out their rough edges with solid biblical parenting; to mend their flaws and melt their fears so that I can feel really good about my kind, obedient and happy kids.
In the Old Testament, they only had prophets and miraculous events. They only had the parting of the Red Sea, they only had a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud, they only had food falling from the sky (Ex 13). But we have Jesus—the full revelation of who God is, a final form of communication (Jn 1:1).
The world preaches a message of self-care and boundaries. It says, “this far and no more.” And it sounds good. It sounds good and is good to take care of yourself, to stand up for yourself and to have healthy boundaries in toxic relationships. But what does that look like for a Christian?
You can be a mother humble enough to fail because she trusts the God who doesn’t.
+ We’re looking for writers who are first practitioners—people who can write about ministry because they’re doing it.
+ We’re looking for articles that not only contribute to ongoing discussions, but advance the conversation toward practical application.
+ Does your piece address a taboo topic with theological clarity? Does it ask new and challenging questions about a familiar issue? Is it theologically precise as well as practical and helpful?
I choose easy, quick gratification because I don’t actually believe that at God’s right hand there are pleasures forevermore (Ps 16:11). When I spend time alone, I’m confronted with my fears. When I don’t want to feel afraid, I run to distractions.
I sat in front of my Bible discouraged and frustrated. For too many days to count, I had felt like I might as well be reading a dishwasher manual. There was a time when I would read my Bible like my life depended on it, but today I couldn’t make myself care.
If we aren't asking God to transform our leaders’ hearts, who are we to complain about their ungodly leadership? We are called to make our requests known to God (Phil 4:6), and that includes desires for transformation in the hearts of our leaders.
It's no shock when I'm impatient with my husband. He's slow and methodical. He doesn't do anything in a hurry. He’s the opposite of me in this way and I love it about him. It's clear I needed to marry a man who measures my temperament with his steadiness. This characteristic of my husband is a means of grace from God to help me grow.
It also drives me nuts.
Often our discomfort with a topic (sex, rape, homosexuality, suicide, etc) can be misinterpreted as discomfort with the person. As believers, we can respond to difficult stories and hard conversations with compassion for the people who share them with us.
He’s not nourishing and cherishing me, I would lament. I’d count down the moments until he arrived home from work, waiting for him to burst in the door and rescue me from my failures and frustrations. When he didn’t live up to my demands, I gave into despair. I tagged him “in” and checked myself “out.”
If our “Christianese” doesn’t align with the words of God himself, what language are we really speaking?
This year will mark the first Father’s Day I have ever spent without being able to see or speak to my dad. For 35 years, even after moving away from home 14 years ago, I have spent almost every Father's Day with him. But this year, I remember him.
Being particular isn’t the equivalent of being godly. Godliness isn’t perfection for those of us who are saved sinners; godliness is pursuing faithfulness and obedience amidst our repentance as we strive to please Christ—even with our failings.
While we often talk about motherhood being a high calling, it's not the highest. Being made more into the image of Jesus is the highest calling for us all.
The kind of thinking that attempts to bear the burdens of others as Christ instead of with Christ makes a ministry with foundations not in Jesus, but in the one who has put himself/herself in Jesus’ place. Such a ministry is thinking far too highly of itself (Rom 12:3).
We see in Matthew’s gospel account that Jesus’ ministry is bookended with disciple-making initiatives: “Come and be disciples. . .Go and make disciples” (Matt 4:19, 28:18-20). The refusal to focus on the baton pass is to reject your identity as a disciple of Jesus.
Realizing I've been unfriended. Finding out I wasn't invited. The sting of disapproval and rejection cuts to the heart. I don't like to admit it, but I desperately want to be liked.
The point is that you need to marry someone you can have a happy conversation with, someone who enjoys at least some of the things that you do. Marriage is not meant to be miserable.
Books that can skillfully apply the Word to practical life can teach us how to live with one another and love one another better. Well-written books can help us connect the eternal wisdom of God to the daily rhythms of life, and that’s a great thing, because that’s where he works (Ps 139:1-6)!