But as a brilliant novelist, she understood people. Society might be different now than it was two hundred years ago: human nature is the same. And it’s Austen’s keen insight into people’s thought and behavior patterns that leave lessons for pastors, congregations, and individual members in our churches today. Here is one lesson from each of her three best-loved novels. Continue reading
Getting married during school is a multi-generational tradition in my family. Grandpa started it: many aunts, uncles, and siblings on both sides have also made it a habit. So we have heard all the usual objections: “You’re too young;” “It’s financially unwise;” “You won’t finish your degree;” “Babies will end your career before you can start it;” and so on. Some people have assumed that the weddings must be shotgun weddings — why else would you get married before you have a degree and a job? Others think that parents will indulge and provide financial support until there is enough money for a nice house. A few think that home must have been a horrible place for us to make such a reckless choice. Continue reading
When we think about parenting, the word “books” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But reading to our children is a fundamental aspect of parenting little people, though we rarely talk about it in the context of raising children.
Most of us are already reading to our children. It is something that mothers in particular already do, whether it’s the classic bedtime story or another scenario. Thinking carefully about reading to our kids can help us do it better in a way that will help us and them better steward the gift of intellect that God gives each one of us. John Stodt said that “the secret of holy living lies in the mind.” Books help us steward our children’s minds because it is what we know and understand that drives and directs how we feel and what we do. Reading out loud to our children is a potentially a powerful parenting tool when it is done intentionally and biblically. Here are five reasons to read out loud to our kids. Continue reading
Joy 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
The 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
You 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
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
I 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