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).
When the biblical authors talk about peace, they’re far less concerned with our circumstances than our hearts.
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 are talkers. Our talking isn’t just a way we pass the time. There is much more going on with our desire to speak. Part of the reason we speak compulsively is an attempt to rule and subdue the earth, because we image a God of spoken power.
When something horrible happens, something that seems unfair or unexplainable, we grasp for meaning in our suffering. More than that we try to reconcile our experience with our conception of God. The problem is, if we don’t trust His character first and foremost over what we are able to see, we will demand that in all of our trials, He answer to us. This is sin.
The inclination to create realities in which we are best served and most comfortable is a pervasive sin pattern we all share. But it stops us from getting to real hope that is offered because we settle for the cheap comfort of our own saccharine imaginings.
I resented others who said they had a great first year. I was envious of those who were popping out kids with no problem while we couldn’t even figure out sex. I hated when people joked about “doing it” all the time as newlyweds.
And as I saw my sinful responses to my trial grow, I realized that maybe I had worshiped my hopes for sex more than my God.
When I really think about it, the reason I want 2015 to end is that I think I deserve better. I am a pretty nice person. My husband and I both work for our church. We love our families. We recycle. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to have more kids. We deserve to live until we are old and die together holding hands . . . right?
Untold numbers of potential, missional-city-dwellers are internalizing Amanda's murder as yet another sign that “the city” is not for them.
Yes, Amanda Blackburn’s death should move us; but it should move us toward action, not fear.
If I’m a terrible parent, I’ll have terrible children. If I’m a horrible wife, my marriage suffers. If I don’t teach my bible courses well, these women could walk away not knowing the gospel. If I counsel someone poorly, they could miss the healing of God. If I don’t organize a meal plan, my family could be eating PB&J all week. If I don’t budget well, we’ll go into debt. All real scenarios, all real consequences. The fear however, is lodged in the idea that if the worse case scenarios happens and I drop the ball, the consequence is going to give me a result that I don’t want.
Through nostalgia, we're really offering one another hope. If you are unable to bear the present, you can escape your pain in the fantasy of the past until the circumstance changes. Depression ensues because no one can be sure the future holds the “better days” to which we look back and in which we hope.
We’ve all been there; we’ve all seen it. Three beautiful children, a handsome husband, the new Lexus making a slight appearance in front of their Anthropologie-esque home with their new puppy making its debut on your Instagram feed. One of these pictures was in my feed recently. The caption read “I’m so in love with these people. #Blessed #Godisgood.” In that moment I was genuinely thankful with her. Then I glanced down to read the comments.
Fast-forward six years, a couple of gray hairs, a couple extra pounds and two babies later. Don’t get me wrong my husband is still handsome but, the thought of moving overseas no longer sounded sweet, romantic or easy. It sounded down right terrifying. Thinking about moving our family to another country, away from family and friends, and to a place where we can’t communicate easily or face to face is so stressful and overwhelming.