Archive | May, 2013

How We Define Ourselves | Today’s Christian Woman

29 May

gods story What is our place in God’s story? Where do we fit in? How can we acknowledge God as the chief character in our lives and what does it look like when we do?

At TACC this past Sunday we heard Rev. John Howe’s words from 1694 paint a vivid portrait of what our new Christian lives can look like, “. . . a mighty power from God coming upon their souls, conforming them to God, addicting them to God, uniting them with God, making them to center in God, taking them off from all this world. . . . It is a great thing to be a Christian!”

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” Ephesians 4:22-24

The following article discusses how parents can focus on internal transformation and other-centeredness while guiding their children towards a life featuring God. It can also be viewed from an adult perspective and applied to our own lives as we seek to live a God authored life for His glory.

How We Define Ourselves (excerpt)

What would it look like if we parented a generation of young people to define themselves by what they did do? What if they were defined by their actions of justice and mercy, forgiveness and love, strength and courage, generosity and humility and faithfulness?

The danger in merely focusing on our children’s outward behavior without the inner transformation is that sometimes our children will align their behavior to our mandates to please us or receive approval. They can end up doing or not doing these things without true spiritual healing inside. Without this supernatural transformation, we may have moral or obedient children, but we don’t necessarily have spiritual children.

Before long, after the external motivations for obedient behavior are eliminated, our children will grow up and determine life for themselves: They will have been transformed by God’s Spirit, or they will have chosen to live sinfully without any desire to change, or they will hide their sin and live a double life. But a spiritual life is one that is transformed and out of hiding.

As children, our world is very small. We see everything from our vantage point and how it affects us directly or indirectly. It’s only as we mature (hopefully) that we begin to see the world as much more complex, and we begin to see our role as servants addressing the needs of those around us. Therefore, one role of the Christian parent is to train our children to shift from self-centeredness to other-centeredness.

Of course, this selflessness comes from knowing Jesus personally and committing our very lives to the power that is available to us from God.

While today’s culture is telling our children that life is “all about me,” we can direct them to think about the fact that life is really “all about God.” God’s Word is basically a love story—a story of the lover pursuing his created ones in order to have a personal relationship with each one of them. In his story, he is the main character; he is the perfect Lover and the perfect Redeemer.

Sometimes I am tempted to believe that I am the main character, that the story is really about me—because after all, I am in every scene. But that’s a lie.

Can you see how dangerous Satan’s lie is? If he can get me to believe that this life is a story centered around me and my happiness, then I will see life as a series of events that allow me either to succeed or fail in this endeavor. I begin to subtly make decisions that will be to my own benefit.

The entire article by Michelle Anthony can be viewed here:How We Define Ourselves | Today’s Christian Woman.

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Why Women Need Women – She Worships

24 May

women-praying-handsRuth and Naomi, Mary and Elizabeth, the women at the cross; all cultivated friendships centered around and reflective of Christ. The type of love and encouragement they demonstrated with each other is what we should seek to emulate. At TACC Women’s Ministries the goal is to “be intentional about coming alongside each other – meeting needs, encouraging and serving, learning, teaching, growing, and reaching out – in ways that build us up as a community of women.”  Open your eyes, ears, arms, and heart to new friendship possibilities!

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

WHY WOMEN NEED WOMEN

On Friday I was having the WORST day! Fortunately, I had plans that night. It was my first “girls night” since I moved to the area. And boy was the timing PERFECT! We got dressed up, went to a cute little downtown area in a local village, ate Thai and talked the night away. By the end of the evening all my grumpiness had melted away and I felt like myself again. That sweet fellowship with my girl friends was just what the doctor ordered.

Later that night as I thanked God for the gift of friendship, I remembered a blog I wrote a couple years ago called “Too Good for Girl Time?“.  Female friendship is such a blessing and a valuable resource for Christian women–one that is too often underestimated.

For the complete article: Why Women Need Women – She Worships.

Praying for My Husband | CBMW

21 May

woman-prayingDo you pray for your husband or about him? Do you ask God to make changes to him or effect an outcome that would really be for your benefit? Oftentimes we bring marital disagreements to God with the intent of changing our spouse when it is really ourselves that need our hearts adjusted.

“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” Psalm 66:18-20

Praying for My Husband

It was dinner time and I stood in the kitchen cutting up vegetables for a salad. Feeling bone weary, I prayed in my heart, “God, please bring my husband home from work on time tonight.” I stood in front of the sink to rinse off a cucumber and heard a loud crash coming from my boy’s room, followed by the sound of crying. Sighing, I turned off the water and headed for their room, still praying that my husband would hurry home. Not too long ago, I realized that most of my prayers for my husband centered on me and my needs. They stemmed more from my selfishness.  I prayed he would come home on time, prayed he would get the bonus we hoped for, and prayed he would watch the kids so I could sleep in. I even prayed that God would change all the things that frustrated me about him.

It was in reading Paul’s prayers to the churches in Ephesus, Colossians and Philippi where I learned the heart of prayer. Paul’s prayers centered on the spiritual growth of the people he was writing to.  For example, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” Ephesians 1:17-19. Paul essentially prayed through the gospel. He prayed for the power of the gospel to change and transform the believers he wrote to. While Paul certainly prayed for God’s provision and for other practical needs, the core and foundation of his prayers for others centered on their walk with Christ.

I want to pray for my husband the way Paul prayed for the New Testament churches. I want to pray for the gospel to be at work in my husband’s heart each day. I want to pray for the gospel to be the lens through which he views all of life. And I want him to be strengthened and empowered by the truths of gospel as he lives out God’s calling for him.Praying for the gospel to be at work in my husband’s heart and life is transforming, not only for him, but for me as well. I learn to let go of trying to change things about my husband and trust in God to do the changing He desires. Focusing on the gospel in my prayers changes the posture of my heart from relying on my strength to resting in the power of God’s grace. As I pray for the gospel to be at work in my husband’s heart, I am also reminded of how much I too need the gospel each and every day. It also reminds me that all of life is a gift of grace and that prayer is the entrance into receiving that grace.

The article in its entirety can be viewed here: Praying for My Husband | CBMW | The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Love that Heals | Reaching Out to Our Neighbors in Love

19 May

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What if you have it all wrong and the grumpy neighbor on your block is really you? What if you discovered the conclusion you had drawn about your neighbor was incorrect? How would you ever discover these truths without reaching out to your neighbors in a purposeful and loving way. The only true way to find out about someone is by listening and the only way to get that opportunity is through interaction. Develop a passion for the lost and love your neighbor by building a relationship with them.

“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” Romans 15:2

Love that Heals

What does it mean to love my neighbor as myself?

One rainy Saturday, I stared out the kitchen window as I washed dishes. Another wave of tornadoes had ravaged small towns across the nation. The news was filled with dramatic stories, and I was weary. Weary of disasters, devastation, and more tears. Weary of the conflict that will not be resolved this side of heaven.

What does the Bible require me to do about this? To love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself (Luke 10:27). This is much easier said than done. The legalist inside of me answers back: But how many? How many do I have to help? Who is my neighbor? And just like the lawyer who asked Jesus who exactly his neighbor was (Luke 10:29), the legalist was given a story.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word neighbor? A grumpy man who complains about kids on his lawn? Fun friends who share a meal? Partiers who block your driveway? Nameless people who move in and out? The question “Who is my neighbor?” for us today might be something more like “Who is my family?” We know we have intimate and invasive obligations to our moms and dads, brothers and sisters, spouses, and children. Yet in the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus is telling us that we, too, need to extend our circle.

The article in its entirety can be viewed here: Love that Heals | Today’s Christian Woman.

The Next Time You Have a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day . . .

15 May

thessWhen things go wrong in your life do you still hold on to joy? If not, open the “eyes of your heart” and fix them on the hope of Heaven given to you when Christ died on the cross. There is no suffering that we will encounter that will ever approach the level of what Jesus endured on our behalf. No matter how painful or grievous the experience, keeping hope in God makes joy less elusive.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” Romans 12:12

The Next Time You Have a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day . . .

Have you ever read the classic children’s story Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? When you first read the story, you think Alexander did have an unusual number of negative things happen to him, so no wonder he had a terrible day. But then you realize that Alexander’s day was filled with irritations and stressors typical to us all. They are simply part of being alive in this far-from-perfect world that suffers under the curse.

It should be good news to Alexander and to us that God is going to take away all pain, suffering, death, and tears, so we can live forever with Him and His people on the New Earth, in absolute peace, health, beauty, and happiness (Rev. 21–22). Wow! If you remind yourself of this, won’t it put what seems like a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day in perspective?

Ponder that you deserve eternity in Hell, but Jesus went to the cross so you will get what you don’t deserve, eternity with Him in Heaven.

For the article in its entirety: True Woman | The Next Time You Have a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day . . ..

Joy for Every Season of Motherhood | The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

12 May

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On this Mother’s Day we celebrate all women; mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and pray whatever season of life you are in you are counting all as joy!

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,” Philippians 1:3-5

Joy for Every Season of Motherhood

“Honey, one day it will be quiet and you will miss the noise, the messes, the chaos. Before you know it, they will all be grown. So for now, knowing there is rest ahead, find joy today.” But it was one of those days where I didn’t feel joy. I wasn’t even fighting for it. I was like Peter walking on the water to meet Jesus, looking around at the waves, and I was sinking. God used my mom that morning to make me think, lead me to His Word, and redirect my gaze upon Him, and there I found joy despite the waves.

In faith, I look ahead, and I’m encouraged to press on and embrace this calling and these fleeting days. Yes, there is a joyful satisfaction and even rest ahead one day, but God has joy for me now. The writer of Hebrews compares a life of faith to a runner in a race. It’s a long race, one that requires endurance and most definitely faith. The call is to throw off any weight that hinders, to run with endurance, and here is the key, to fix our eyes on the finished line, the prize–Jesus.  And get this, He runs with us giving us faith and perfecting it along the way (Hebrews 12:2)!  Then, God has given us the most beautiful picture and example to follow. Jesus himself, for the joy set before him, endured opposition, ran his race to the cross, took the wrath of God upon himself, and gave his life for us. He now sits at the right hand of the throne of God in the satisfied joy of His Father. When I consider these glorious things, I can have joy because: My joy is present because it is fixed in the past work of Christ, sustained in the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, and set before me in the future glory and presence of my Heavenly Father.

The article in its entirety: Joy for Every Season of Motherhood | CBMW | The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Clothed and in Our Right Minds – Mentoring Moments

9 May

Recently a friend asked, “What are you wearing?” It wasn’t meant to be a red carpet sort of question rather, it was meant to be introspective. It’s something we all might consider. Are we draped in anger, judgment, cynicism, pride, or clothed in our Savior Jesus Christ? Which reflection do you think others would find more approachable and inviting?

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Clothed and in Our Right Minds

What kind of spiritual fashion statement would the Body of Christ make today if we clothed ourselves in Colossians 3:12?

For the remainder: Clothed and in Our Right Minds – Mentoring Moments.

Fullness of Joy – Mentoring Moments

6 May

womencommunityThe more we acknowledge the joy found in Christ the more joyous we become. Jesus Christ and his death on the cross created the possibility of an immeasurable, indescribable, undefinable joy. Foster joy by coming alongside your sisters, “so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 15:6.

Fullness of Joy

”…so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” [John 17:13b]

There are some very real and glorious promises given by God. Joy is one of them, but joy is the fruit. Like any fruit it grows out of something—it’s part of an ecological system…so also is the joy of the Lord.

The full post can be read at: Fullness of Joy – Mentoring Moment

Whether I Live or Die, God Wins – The Gospel Coalition Blog

2 May

Many of you are planning  on attending the “My Life God’s Story” event at TACC on Saturday. Have you thought about your own pages in God’s narrative? Personal testimony is a powerful way to tell others how God has authored your story.

Revelation 12:11a, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”

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Whether I Live or Die, God Wins

The Storyframes Collective is a collaborative effort between The Gospel Coalition and the Austin Stone Church for the purpose of celebrating the extraordinary work of God in the lives of ordinary people. Through excellence in the art of storytelling (film, photojournalism, spoken word, and writing), this project aims to recount God’s redemptive, transforming work in the lives of our brothers and sisters. In form, this website collects encouraging stories about God’s grace. In function, we want these stories to inspire you to praise God.

As a collective, we hope that people from around the world will join us in collecting and telling the amazing stories of God’s grace and the power of the gospel. We hope this project will increase your faith, encourage your spirit, and open your eyes to the extraordinary work of God every day in your life and in the lives of others around you.

While these stories differ in characters, formats, and locations, they share the same hero: God. Whether highlighting addiction recovery, healing, renewal, transformation, or any other form of good news, they testify to God’s power and grace, made available to us through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

We hope you not only enjoy reading, hearing, and seeing these stories, but also take time to observe the stories of those around you. Tell others the story of what God has done for the world in Jesus Christ, and tell us your story—what God has done in you.

The following article links to a website collection that artistically binds the stories of people who praise the sovereign work of God in their lives: Whether I Live or Die, God Wins – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

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