• A Mother’s Joy

    IMG_6404Joy is a major theme in the Bible. God blesses His people with the joy of salvation, with the joys of fellowship with Christ and other people, joys of work, of marriage, and the promise of eternal joy, with no sorrow or grief to interrupt it. God delights to see His people joyful. He has particularly created fathers and mothers to have joy in their children.

    And children bring their mothers much joy. In a perfect world, mothers would be joyful all the time. But this world is not perfect, and there are specific things that can rob a mother of joy. As Christians, we have the tools we need to identify the kill-joys around us, and cultivate the joy that God created us to have in our roles as mothers. Continue reading

  • Change For Struggling Marriages

    IMG_1141 This week’s post is a guest piece written by a couple who were both Christians when they were married, but who had significant relationship struggles in the first few years. They hope that their story encourages other Christian couples who are facing relational challenges, especially if they are hiding those struggles from those who could help.

    We were all huddled around a game at the dining room table. The snow was deep and the temperatures frigid; there was no better place to be than together in a warm kitchen. My husband patiently explained the strategy of the game (again) only to be hit with another volley of questions from confused kids. Continue reading

  • A Girl Born Facing Outside

    jeanetteliThe Chinese practice of killing a daughter in order to have a son did not come in with Communism’s one child policy. Before the revolution, poor families who could not afford to raise a girl abandoned their female babies at foundling homes, where most of them died. Jeanette Li was nearly one of those. A “girl born facing the outside,” her life is a story of grace overcoming impossible obstacles.

    You have probably never heard of her. Most westerners—even many Chinese Christians—have not. This is partly because she was a member of a small, uninfluential denomination, and partly because her story has been out of print for many years. Continue reading

  • Immediately Mom at Christmas

    IMG_1155You wake up, and immediately do your devotions before the children stir. They stir. They want breakfast immediately. Immediately after they eat, you get them ready and out the door to school before cleaning up the cereal that the toddler spilled. The dog needs to be let out immediately.

    Life can feel that way, can’t it? For moms, sometimes days are just a series of “immediately’s.” This is especially true during the holidays: immediately after the shopping is done, there’s the music program, then gifts to wrap, then immediately to bed because people are coming tomorrow and there’s a lot of food to finish before they arrive. As soon as we finish one thing, two more are waiting for us. Immediately. Continue reading

  • The Love of Christ

    Triumph_Name_Jesus_Baciccia“The love of Christ is eternal, because he is eternal. The love of Christ is like himself. The love of Christ, being the love of God, is infallibly effectual. It produces all the good things Christ desires to produce in his people. Christ loves life, grace and holiness into us. He loves us also into a covenant of love with himself. Christ loves us into heaven. How many millions of sins in every one of the elect, every sin sufficient to condemn them, has Christ’s love overcome! What mountains of unbelief has Christ’s love removed! Look at the behavior of any one saint. Consider his heart. See the many sinful stains and spots, the defilement and weakness with which his life is contaminated, and tell me whether the love that bears with all this is not to be admired? And is not Christ’s love the same to thousands every day? What streams of grace flow from Christ’s love every day!” John Owen, Communion With God

  • Apocalyptic Carols

    First_Nowell_stainer What do Christmas carols make you think of? Luke 2? Manger scenes? Candle-lit Christmas Eve services? Turkey dinners with family? That’s what they do for most people. Few of us think, “Oh, Christmas carols = the sky being peeled back and saints being caught up in the clouds.”

    It is true that the nativity is the main theme of carols. Several carols also point to Calvary: “Then let us all with one accord/ Sing praises to our heavenly Lord/ That hath made heaven and earth of nought,/ And with his blood mankind hath bought” (“The First Nowell”).

    But some of the best-known carols make reference to the second coming. Continue reading

  • Giving Thanks Always, For Everything

    pilgrim-thanksgiving-in-plymouth“…Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20)

    God’s Word calls us to life that is marked by songs of thanksgiving shared with each other, and directed together to God. God desires this as the tenor of our lives; he wants us to see, and to delight in his goodness. Yet because of our small vision and sin we have far more than we realize to give thanks for, or perhaps more than we want to give thanks for! Two preachers from the past help us out here, as they encourage us to grow in holistic thanksgiving. Continue reading

  • You Might As Well Not Pray

    1024px-Worried_little_girlI don’t like being away from my kids, under pretty much any circumstances. One summer, my parents had taken them camping while I stayed with my grandparents. “You’re worried about them, aren’t you?” my grandmother asked. I nodded. “Well, have you prayed about it?” “Of course!” “Well then why are you still worried? You might as well not pray.”

    Sensing my coming protest, she kept going: “Really. You can sit there and worry about them the whole time, or you can ask God to keep them safe and enjoy your time off. There’s no point in asking the Lord to handle it if you are going to sit here and fret.” Continue reading