Stop Sending Out Good Vibes

I wrote a bit over at Desiring God today regarding the far-reaching chasm between life in the flesh and life in the Spirit and how it transforms our very words. Below is an excerpt. You can read the full article here.

Let’s freshly resolve to mean what we say. And when we do speak, we should use new phrases — phrases from God. The word of God empowers us to give real hope instead of following the fads of our culture. God’s words are heart-penetrating, Christ-illuminating, and sufficient to bring real change in this world.

We have an amazing opportunity to display the glory of God to every single person we come into contact with — even virtually. We don’t have to ultra-spiritualize everything, but we can search our hearts (and vocabulary) for phrases that promote life by the Spirit, rather than by the flesh.

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How Big Is Your God?

how big is your GodHere is an excerpt from an article I recently wrote over at Desiring God regarding God’s insurmountable nature met by his immeasurable grace for believers in Christ Jesus. You can read the full article here.

Yet here we are, full access to God through his word and power (Ephesians 1:17–19). This insurmountable, unfathomable, incalculable God reveals himself to children, calling forth praise even from infants (Matthew 21:15–16). We can “know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3), not because our minds have ascended the infinite, but because God in his infinitude accommodates our lowliness. We have Christ’s righteousness, grace upon grace, and the fulfillment of countless promises, not because of our works, but all because of our big God’s lavish grace. What have we not to be joyful for?

God’s grace cannot be weighed (1 Peter 1:10–12). His power cannot be measured (Ephesians 1:19). And it is given to us — sinners against the insurmountable God — by grace.

 

Fatherhood from a Mother’s Perspective

ROADTRIP

Though it is intended for celebration, Father’s Day is often like a fiery iron brander to an already hurting heart, declaring one yet again as fatherless, or with a different kind of searing pain, unwanted.

Many of us can attest to some kind of broken or nonexistent relationship with our fathers, some with more agony than many of us can fathom. This morning as I prayed for my own earthly father and my husband, I paused to consider such a weighty role in light of where I now stand – a wife and mother of three children with our fourth soon arriving. To say that being a parent is challenging is like saying Mount Everest is beautiful and should be fun to pursue. Both are accurate and exciting, but there is a distinct and simultaneous ferociousness about both – if the evaluation and ascent are improper, consequences of such a commitment do not leave you merely disappointed. It is life and death.

Fatherhood is weighty. Manhood is weighty. I speak not only from observation, but from the complementing parties of womanhood and motherhood. When my husband and I first married, I concluded that marriage articulated my sinfulness and produced gratitude for my salvation far more than anything else. Then I became a mother. I am certain the same is for fathers.

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

This is not a suggested posture Paul was recommending for the men at the church of Corinth. It was a frequent command in the Septuagint – a wartime call. Fathers should hear this call and let it echo deep into their souls. It is not optional. There is an age-old war being raged against the household of God, and that war has to be fought first and foremost in the homes of believers. In a culture that promotes men doing the opposite of what this verse suggests, we need fathers to do just what it says – acting like men and working heartily to “not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Children are heavy-laden with anger towards their fathers due to the lack of presence in their lives emotionally and physically. Sadly, this anger produces a wound in the heart of a child that proves lasting and real into adulthood. Thus, the call is great. The outcome is heavy.

Act like men.

Imagine the soldier that guards the gates of the camp, allowing the enemy no entrance and blocking any imminent attempts of ambush. That is the watchfulness fathers must exude for their children. It is more than the necessary work of providing financially for your family, keeping the yard, and disciplining the children. We, mothers and children, desperately need guards keeping watch for the enemy. We need fathers hoping in the only Sovereign, their Commander in Chief, for their strength and power to protect, lead, and sustain their families in love.

But how?

The gospel of Jesus Christ.

A father is an image-bearer of our Heavenly Father. It is certain that how you love your children will serve as glimpses into God’s love for his children. Aim to make those as accurate as possible. Proclaim to them what in you (and every single one of us) diminishes the Father’s image, namely a fallen nature in desperate need of saving. Give them the gospel.

It is possible to appear as a valiant father but be a coward in one’s home. Social platforms promote such misrepresentations where one can project themselves to be one way but in actuality be a sunken, puny vessel. One can profess Christ more on Facebook in a week than you have to your child in a year. It is evident which is harder. Yet a father, a man so enticed by the sovereign call of God to Jesus Christ, indulging daily in the Word of God, pleading for wisdom, proclaiming the gospel to his household and all outside, working diligently in a broken world, and every single day putting on love and walking the perimeter of his family’s camp will be able to stand firm.

Fathers, may the risen Lord and his imminent return give you keen awareness. May the bitterness of sin in yourself and your family so shake your soul that you are moved by the powerful working of the indwelling Spirit to fight against the enemy forces that are waiting to devour. May the Bible stand as your surest word and communing with God as your greatest duty. It will move you to action for your family’s good and God’s glory.

May your fatherhood brand your children’s hearts with such wantedness and love due to the power of Christ at work within you. Act like men.

Why We Educate Our Girls | Desiring God

Yes and amen. My greatest zeal in educating our daughter came first by the desire for her to open God’s Word and be able to read it herself, understanding the span of her language enough for such a glorious task. As we continue to acquaint her in grammar skills, theology, history of the world, science, math and more, I hope that she can not only wade through the metanarrative of Scripture but marvel in the brush strokes of detail, and above all, find herself completely enthralled by the glorious God revealed in it. I have found that every single instance of our day provides a platform for educating our children about the world around them and the God who made it all. Our current season of youthfulness and play mixed with sit-down learning time, helping others, and wild adventures are blessed in heaven by a God who loves the little children and calls them to come to Him. 

As a complementarian, I feel zero restraint in education for Norah. God, who lets light shine out of darkness and reveals in our hearts His light of glory in the face of Jesus Christ, is marvelously knowable through His Word and new faith-eyes. Such knowledge is not limited to men, but meant for us all to devote our lives to delve deep in seeking out the glory and reflecting it to the world. Yet in posture of life, I will gladly continue to teach the biblical womanhood I have come to know and seek to walk in as designed by God. As women of God, what a glorious task we have to demonstrate the complementing roles we were made to fill here on this earth to nurture, express truths decisively, work diligently in the homes and outside for the glory of God. 

I pray other daughters throughout the world can have freedom for education as well, most of all that they may come to know the God who sent his Son into the world to save sinners. 


http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/why-we-educate-our-girls

Hopes for 2017 

With just a few days before the start of a new year, I encourage you to make accurate, God-pleasing resolutions filled with hope in God and not yourself, results for the glory of God and not your own, and expectations of abundant joy. As we spend the days before 2017 evaluating what hasn’t gone as planned this past year, maybe even the aspirations that turned to hogwash, don’t lose heart. As I formulate my booklist, fitness/health goals, a vision to enhance my communion with God through spiritual disciplines, and relational goals amongst my family and community, here are a few questions I’m asking myself:
1. Is this resolve to do better founded upon faith in God and hope in his sustaining grace through Christ or an attempt to stand before God on my own merit? 

Galatians 2:16 clearly tells us that “we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”

2. Is this resolve due to proper evaluation of my heart and the lifestyle that flows from it or formed by the striving of others and hopes of being like them? 

3. Am I truly hoping to know God to a greater degree, increasing in likeness to Him, at his Word through this resolution, whatever it may be? 

We can share in Paul’s hope that he penned to the Philippians “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).

4. Are my relational goals (marriage, children, covenant community, missions) steeped in hope to share my own soul and learn the soul of others or simply to better them to reduce conflict and see exterior modifications? 

Paul and Timothy’s tender soul-sharing to the Thessalonians provide for us a hope for the relationships in our lives: “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8).

5. Have I prayed for God to help me in these endeavors, not to simply be my aid (though surely my source of all strength to strive well) but my goal? 

He is surely the ability-giver, eternal channel, and the very treasure of all our laboring. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

And a few images that make my heart tingle  inside (the random donkey is from an amazing trip with my husband 😜) as I consider this past year and hope in God for the next: 

Keep Your Heart, Then Your Home

I was recently over at Desiring God blog sharing some thoughts on the necessary work of internal housekeeping. I find it to be true, day in and day out, that the Lord is faithful, certainly most willing and able, to aid us in our fight of faith. 

A clean home provides minimal joy in light of eternity because we know this world is passing away, and Christ has gone to prepare a home for us. Yet a frequently-tended heart provides eternal rewards that we cannot see fully in this lifetime, but can taste in part.

I shared a few thoughts on self-glory within our local churches over at Desiring God yesterday. What a real struggle for believers! Head over to DG to read some hope for the self-exalter.

The desire to be set apart is good and right only when it is found under the umbrella of grace, when we recognize that we are right before God only through the righteousness of his Son, and we are now set apart to bring praise to the glory of his grace in this world.

It is not wrong to desire to be influential with the glorious gospel of grace that has been entrusted to us. Gospel-loving hearts love sharing in the gracious privilege of being used in its advancement. But as we share, we must sift our hearts’ motives with the reality that we have been grafted into the household of God for this very purpose: to behold Christ the Son, not hoping to receive a measure of that glory for ourselves.