Author Archive for Nancy Ann

Busy Bible Reading

When I was a young mom, reading the Bible regularly was always a challenge for me. I went in spurts and starts. I always loved reading the Bible, but not enough to make it happen every day. I remember I used to wonder what it was that hindered me. After all, I made dinner every day even though I didn’t always feel like it. I showered. I brushed my teeth. I did countless other duties day in and day out. Why was Bible reading so hard to fit it? Actually,  I  made it way too hard on myself and set up ridiculous and unrealistic standards and hurdles.

First of all, I was tempted to stop and analyze my problem. “Why don’t I read my Bible more? I wonder what the problem is?” What  I should have done instead was say to myself, “I know! Rather than trying to figure out why I don’t read my Bible more, why don’t I just pick it up and read it right now?” If only I had thought of that back then. Even if I had only read a verse or two, it would have been much better than contemplating the causes of my erratic Bible reading.

Second, I think I was coming to the Bible trying to be a super-Bible-reader. I was going to the Bible looking for a “devotional experience,” and I seldom had one. So I figured that I must not be reading deeply enough or thoughtfully Continue reading ‘Busy Bible Reading’

Abundant Life

Jesus said, “I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Christ came to bring us spiritual life where there was spiritual death. Not only did He bring life, but He brought life plus. Big-sized life. More life. Life is good, but abundant life is better.

Here I’d like to look at just three aspects of this abundant life: living fully, living completely, and living comfortably.

1. In Christ we can live fully, the way He intended in our creation. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). And in verse 16: “And of His fullness we have received, and grace for grace.” Jesus is full of grace and truth, and we receive his fullness. Do you feel empty? Receive His fullness, grace upon grace.

2. In Christ we can live completely, because we are made complete in Him.  “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him…”

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good Continue reading ‘Abundant Life’

Another Testimony

 Rachel wrote her testimony a few posts back, and I thought it was time to follow her good example.

My parents were good people who raised us four kids to be God-fearing Protestants. Dad had grown up Methodist, and Mom’s family attended the Episcopal Church. We attended church regularly, at least often enough that it was not foreign to me. My folks taught us to pray before dinner and at bedtime. I always believed that Jesus was the Son of God. We had no denominational affiliation because Dad was in the military, so on the air base we attended the Protestant service.

Dad retired from the military, and I started junior-high school in southern Texas. My family attended the Presbyterian Church, and I became actively involved in the youth group and the choir. In fact, I joined the church. During those years I remember going forward at a big revival meeting in a stadium that a friend had taken me to. It was quite an emotional event, and I really thought I had changed. But every day as I looked in the mirror, I was sorry to see the change fading away. But I continued to participate in church activities and youth group retreats. Church became more of a social function than anything else. I had many wonderful friends during those years, and some of them are faithful Christians today.

After high-school graduation we moved to Idaho, and I started college as an English lit major. I never even considered trying to find a church to attend; it just didn’t occur to me. Academics were never as important to me as the social life, but I managed to pull decent grades. I led a very self-centered, egocentric life enjoying my friends and parties, much as I had in high school. However, the 70′s were a time of social upheaval and students in particular were looking for meaning in what they saw as a meaningless world.

I was being fed a message of hopelessness and meaninglessness by my English professors. I remember one in Continue reading ‘Another Testimony’

Over-Hope

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“I hope to over-hope and over-believe my troubles” (Samuel Rutherford).

Troubles can make a person feel very alone. Does anyone really know how you feel or what you’re up against? The answer is no, no one can really know. Except Jesus, who is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He knows your troubles, and He walks with you through them. He is the foundation of all our hope. We believe in Him. So when we hope to over-hope, it is not a vague kind of hope that is embroidered on a pillow or painted on a coffee cup with a little picture of a bird. We don’t hope in hope. We hope in God who raises the dead. We don’t believe in belief. We believe in God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. In Him we can over-hope and over-believe our troubles because we know He works it all for our good and His glory. We wait expectantly to see the outcome He has for us in Christ. And this gives us gospel hope.

Two Things You Should Know About

One is that Femina now has its very own phone app! We are pretty thrilled about that.

Second thing to note is the Spring Sale over at Logos Press.

 

Work is Fruit

Recently, I think it was in answer to a question, my husband said, “Work is fruit.” We often think of the fruit as the result of our work rather than the work itself. We think the fruit is the harvest, not the plowing and the planting. So bend your mind around this with me.

When we are made new in Christ, we realize our redemptive and creation purpose, which is to do good works. Look at Titus 2:14: “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” He saves us from our bad works and sets us doing, eagerly doing, good works. That’s death and resurrection in a nutshell!

We work out what He works in (Phil. 2:13). We do not work in order to gain our salvation or to gain God’s good opinion of us. His good opinion is freely bestowed on us in Christ, while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). But having received grace and forgiveness, we are made to be diligent and fruitful, and both the work and the fruit are gifts from God.

For me, this means I can look at my day and the work I have to do in it with a different attitude. Zealous for it. Eager to get started, eyes open. Good works are not drudgery, not monotonous, not menial if I see them as fruit. What kind of works does God have for us? His ideas include those of the worthy widow in 1Timothy 5:10: “”if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.”

These are broad categories that include millions of opportunities and details. Hospitality. Child-rearing. Homemaking. Service to the saints. Reaching out to those who are hurting. And everything else. This gives us tremendous scope for understanding what we were redeemed to do. And now we have been made to be eager to get to work. We are His own special people, chomping at the bit for the good works He has laid out for us each day (Eph. 2:10). Each one is a gift, an opportunity, a sign that we have been made new and that we belong to Him.

This means we are to be outward focused with our eyes peeled for the good works that are waiting for us each day. Look at all the good works God has specially made for you. Be zealous to do them. Not because you have to. Not because you’ll feel guilty or look bad if you don’t. But because you are redeemed and purified, ready for fruit.