Some courageous women from Christ Church have started their own blog called Women Freed where they tell their stories of past abuse and the road to healing.
Thomas Watson, said “A holy heart knows there is nothing lost by obedience” (Religion Our True Interest). He gives this example: “A heathen exercising much cruelty to a Christian, asked him in scorn, what great miracle his master Christ ever did? The Christian replied, ‘This miracle, that though you use me thus cruelly, I can forgive you.'”
I have sent so many people to Dr. Grant Horner’s Bible reading program, that I thought I should just put up the link here for you all. If you’re looking for a good daily reading program, this is my favorite. I know there are dozens of good Bible-reading systems, and really, as long as we are in the Word, that’s the real point. But the thing I like about this one is it has me reading ten chapters a day in ten different books, so I am all over the Bible all the time. Don’t be daunted by the ten chapters a day. You will be surprised how quickly you can do this once you get started.
The next favorite is Handbook to Prayer, Praying Scripture Back to God by Kenneth Boa. This little book has three months of prayers, one per day. It covers adoration, confession, renewal, petition, intercession, affirmation, thanksgiving, and a closing prayer each day. Each section is filled with Scriptures as well as different suggested subjects listed for petitions and intercessions. I have really benefited from using this daily prayer book.
My favorite devotional reading is The Loveliness of Christ by Samuel Rutherford. But I have lifted many favorite quotations out of books by Thomas Watson as well. And John Bunyan. And Matthew Henry. And Jeremiah Burroughs. And Charles Read More
One of the things we regularly hear is how wonderful our Christian community is here in our little town. And it really is. We have many faithful churches, a Christian college downtown, Logos School, home-school groups, Canon Press, and many flourishing businesses owned and operated by Christian people. We have many opportunities to celebrate together at weddings, showers, potlucks, prayer groups, book groups, Bible studies, psalm sings, and women’s fellowship gatherings. And when a need arises through illness or loss, meals are made and varieties of help are sent. And I only know the half of it. Most of this happens from the ground up. It is not always “organized” by the church proper, but rather the saints are simply active, engaged, and hungry to give and serve one another. It is such an outpouring, it is hard to believe unless you have seen it with your own eyes. God has clearly blessed our community in a remarkable way.
Not only has God blessed us with rich fellowship, but He also blesses us with an occasional outburst of slander against our church. Back in the 1980’s, it was confined to the front page of our daily small-town paper and the letters-to-the-editor section. (Nothing like slander to sell papers when there’s not much else happening.) Then as the years went by, the internet provided an easy way to sponsor a slanderous outburst (no editors to deal with, so everyone can participate in spreading lies and venting bitterness, even with bad spelling).And so it goes.
I haven’t kept track, but it seems to erupt every few years. In fact, this is the second time I have had a beautiful grandchild born in the midst of “public calumny” against my husband. (I couldn’t keep the news out of this post that Moses Henry Jankovic was born two days ago!) I have come to believe that this strange phenomenon is a significant part of the reason for the rich blessings of our community life that I described above. Here’s why I believe this: Jesus said so.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11).
In other words, when our church and pastor are lied about, we are blessed. And so our church community benefits from these large doses of slander every so often because they are actually large doses of blessing. Our job is to rejoice and be extra glad during these times because a reward for us is accumulating in heaven. I believe this Read More
The go-to verses regarding contentment are found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (4:11-13).
Here are a few observations about this text.
Paul had to learn contentment. It is not natural for us to be contented. We are sometimes hard to please! So we ought to determine to be learners alongside the apostle Paul. We are in good company.
Paul learned in “whatever state” he was in. So this means every situation is a learning opportunity. We don’t have to enroll in a special contentment class. We’re already in it! The contentment lesson is always on the blackboard, and we are always invited to learn it.
Contentment is needed in basically two areas: things we have and don’t want, and things we want and don’t have. That about sums it up. You might make a list of things that fall in these two categories, and see how your contentment is faring.
Who teaches us the contentment lesson? Christ does. He not only teaches, but also strengthens His students. And why do we need strength? Because contentment is not an easy lesson to learn. Like so many things in the Christian life, contentment is simple, but it is not easy.
Now let’s look at another passage that mentions contentment. Hebrews 13:5: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
What is our ultimate reason for contentment? He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. He is committed to His people and He keeps His word.
Contentment is the perspective we bring to the way we read our own story. We read our lives by faith, trusting that God is teaching us to trust Him. Contentment is a deep satisfaction with the will of God in our lives.
Discontent is an alternative way of reading our story. This requires no learning, for we are born knowing how to grumble, murmur, and complain.
Is it hard to be content? Yes. In fact it’s impossible. But you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
I love this picture. It is a little volunteer snap dragon that showed up in my retaining wall, and it is happily doing what God has called it to do in the toughest of places. And it keeps blooming! This is what good works are all about.
The short book of Titus has quite a bit to say to us about good works, and I think we women need to be encouraged that so much of what we do in our homes for our families, as well as what we do for the broader Christian community, falls under this category of “good works.” We are all capable and qualified for everyday good works, works that flow out of our calling, whatever that might be. We don’t have to look for “designer” good works, but rather we should be content to offer our talents and time and energy to God to give ourselves away to the people who need us. The people here, right now. Not the imaginary people who live far away, but the ones in our lives now. That means the little people, the old people, the hungry people, even the grouchy people who don’t say thanks.
God has set us apart as “His own special people, zealous for good works” (2:14). He gave Himself for us, redeemed us, purified us for Himself, and now He has given us good things to do. We are to be eager, enthusiastic, and passionate about this business of good works. Not half-hearted, not willy-nilly, but seriously devoted.
In chapter three he tells us to “be ready for every good work” (verse 1). We are to be on our toes, looking out for Read More