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A Gospel Centered Advent Devotional for Moms

This year I’m partnering with 24 other women to create a gospel centered Advent Devotional designed specifically for moms and it's available at no cost to you! The devotional is designed to come straight to your email inbox. Each morning between December 1st and Christmas Day, you'll receive a short devotion on how the coming of Christ fulfills a specific longing common to motherhood along with questions for application/reflection. You don't have to remember anything, pay for anything, or print anything. Just visit this LINK to sign up!

Let Me Be A Woman: A Discussion on Biblical Femininity

 If Scripture is above all the story of God, then it reveals a God who honors and cares for women.  The first poem we read in the Bible is an ode to Eve and these lyrics are the only human words recorded pre-Fall. Following the Fall, Scripture’s attention to Eve remains.  Consider this: the protoevangelium—the first gospel announcement in Genesis 3:15—describes the promised Savior, not as the Son of God, but as the seed of the woman.  That’s incredible—but it’s not isolated.  Long before the resurrected Jesus made women His first witnesses, narratives of Old Testament women testified of Christ.

What Does It Mean for a Mom to Have Freedom in Christ?

What Does It Mean for a Mom to Have Freedom in Christ?

Is it biblical for a mother to work outside of the home?” The question was pitched at a small-group Bible study where I sat as the only mother working outside of the home. The women around me held strong opinions on the subject and my instinct was to defend myself. I didn’t want to be viewed as “unbiblical,” so I worked hard to justify my employment status. In the end, this question—offered as a “Bible discussion”—felt more like a test I had to pass.

Sadly, this scene is all too common. I’ve been in similar spaces before. Sometimes, I’ve played the part of the defendant, as seen above. Other times, I’ve been the plaintiff. I measure a sister by her position on some matter of secondary importance, and I’m tempted to define her by that one issue. Perhaps you’ve been there.

Helping Children See Christ in Scripture

Helping Children See Christ in Scripture

Many of us, regardless of our season of motherhood, are hard-pressed for time and energy. Our schedules are filled with homes, husbands, children, churches, jobs, friends, and the constant temptation to stay in-the-know of the hashtags, the trends, and the news. We are busy mothers with full hands. And somehow, amid the juggling of responsibilities, we are to nurture our children in the instruction of the Lord. The call to obey Ephesians 6:4 can feel like a tall order for the frazzled mom. A busy mom with full hands might “minimize” scripture for her children, teaching the Bible the way we teach our fairy tales—with a quick and simple “moral of the story” in view.

Seasons of Unpaid Work and Your Calling

Seasons of Unpaid Work and Your Calling

It was a Tuesday like most others: playground time with my young daughters. Who would have guessed that, amidst the gigging screams of my girls, I would find myself defending the deity of Christ in conversation with another mom who was a Black Hebrew Israelite? A deep theological debate—covering the Trinity, substitutionary atonement, and Pan-Africanism—hadn’t been on my radar as we headed to the playground. And yet, there I was, chatting with a relatively young mother of two in her attempt to proselytize.

Are Smart, Educated Women Still Called to the Church Nursery?

Are Smart, Educated Women Still Called to the Church Nursery?

Before I went into seminary, I worked as a regular volunteer in children’s ministry. My church at the time was small, so I taught Sunday school lessons to a “one-room schoolhouse” of tiny primaries and spunky middle-schoolers. However, after completing my program in theological studies, I avoided kids and preferred to teach adults. I wanted to give my time and service to those who could “best” understand the Scriptures, and children’s ministry didn’t seem like the place.

Octavia Albert 'Bleeds Bible'

Albert was a former slave, pastor’s wife, mother, teacher, writer and archivist of slave history. She’s said to have “chronicled two-hundred-fifty years of African American history.” Albert served as a mouthpiece for numerous ex-slaves in the era of Reconstruction. Her book, The House of Bondage, tells their stories as a challenge to the narrative of “paternalistic Christian slave owners [who] cared for, fed, and employed uneducated, untrained blacks.” In addition, Albert writes in praise of the God who triumphed gloriously over the evils of chattel slavery.

Octavia Albert was a gospel thinker, and a woman with “harvest dirt” beneath her feet.

Not Home Yet: Finding Solidarity as Sojourners

Not Home Yet: Finding Solidarity as Sojourners

Christians are exiles who, if nothing else, ought to understand what it feels like to be far from home, and to sympathize with and support those whose physical circumstance embodies our own spiritual condition. Believers might debate the right balance between compassion for displaced image bearers and sound national security, but in so doing, we must hold firmly in mind our own status as strangers. America, it turns out, is not where we belong either

Black Women in Church History: Elizabeth Keckley

Elizabeth Keckley was many things in her lifetime--a slave, a mother, a dressmaker, a free business owner, a White House regular, a companion of Mary Lincoln, and a Christian. Her book, Behind the Scenes: Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House, spins a tale of tribulations and perseverance.

It’s been said that “the greatest miracle of the Reformation is that enslaved Africans...imprisoned in a foreign land and surrounded by hostile wilderness, heard with clarity the learned oracles of Christ, [and] were spiritually set free.” If the black church is a  miracle, then Keckley’s life is a beautiful example of how slavery could never overcome the enduring faith of those redeemed by God in Christ.

Ava DuVernay’s 13th Explores the Troubling Roots of Mass Incarceration

Ava DuVernay’s 13th Explores the Troubling Roots of Mass Incarceration

Mark Twain’s ability to make sweeping social commentary through unassuming characters is on display throughout his classic novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The novel’s protagonist, Huck, assists a runaway slave named Jim without much abolitionist thought. Huck has no issues with the institution of slavery and maintains his cultural assumptions of slaves even as he helps one escape.

Nevertheless, Huck’s conscience suffers at times from his collaboration with Jim. In one instance, he finds Jim moaning to himself. He doesn’t wonder why -- he knows Jim misses his wife and children. Still, Huck tells the reader, “I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white folks does for ther’n. It don’t seem natural, but I reckon it’s so.”  

That scene always moves me. Jim, who runs away to escape being sold from his family, thinks of them and mourns. His pipe dream in freedom was to work for the purchase of his loved ones. But at this point in the book, the journey seems dubious and his hope fades. Huck notices his grief and marvels at a black man longing for his family in the same way a white person might -- and deems it unnatural.

Full article at Christ and Pop Culture.

Secondary Infertility: Trusting God when Pregnancy Stops

Secondary Infertility: Trusting God when Pregnancy Stops

My husband and I are the thankful parents of two precious daughters. We would be grateful for a third child and have prayed for over two years for this gift without conception.

I’m technically infertile with what is known as secondary infertility. Here, a couple that has already produced, at least one child, will suddenly face difficulty conceiving another. In most cases, couples are considered infertile after a year of trying without conception.

Both motherhood and the desire for more children have proved useful instruments in God’s hands, dissecting and revealing my heart. As I kneel today to pray for a third child, here are three truths that resound:

 

Human-Aminal Chimeras: Kramer’s Pigman Might Be Coming to a Lab Near You

Human-Aminal Chimeras: Kramer’s Pigman Might Be Coming to a Lab Near You

The National Institutes of Health is looking to fund research that infuses human stem cells into early animal embryos, creating a human-animal organism known as a chimera, a being composed of two or more genetically distinct species. The decision prompts many questions: for one, "what are we doing by mixing the traits of two species? What makes us human? Is it having 51 percent human cells?"

We cannot be unsure regarding the question of humanity. God distinguishes man and woman from all creation with the gift of His image. And it is the weight of that gift that defines our distinct dignity as human beings. How then do we engage with the possibility of part-human, part-animal lifeforms?

I'm grateful to tackle this topic at Christ and Pop Culture. And I'm always grateful for your read and thoughts. 

Evangelism, What do I say? - A Summary of the Gospel of Christ

Evangelism, What do I say? - A Summary of the Gospel of Christ

To evangelize is to share the message of the gospel. Our acts of service and mercy glorify God and are encouraged by Scripture (see James 1:27). Yet simply serving another is not evangelism. Evangelism requires words. It necessitates a message. And in truth, many of us do not always know what to say. What is the gospel? How does the Bible define it? Let’s look now at the below four-point-summary; I hope the following proves helpful as we seek to faithfully share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others!

Finding Our Hopefuls When Caught by Giant Despair

Finding Our Hopefuls When Caught by Giant Despair

It’s fascinating here to consider Gethsemane. Jesus’ soul was sorrowful to the point of death. He retreats—but not alone. He takes three friends with Him, and His request is that they remain awake and pray with Him. If the sinless Savior desired community in a time of suffering, how much more do we need friends? And surely this includes our pastors, elders, small group leaders, and those we tend to elevate and distance as more spiritual.

As a member of a church staff and a teacher of women, I have never stayed in Doubting Castle (to say so would be to minimize the torture of those who have), but I have strolled its grounds. I have known sudden and unexpected sadness, and my heart has pounded from the ache of anxiety. In these moments, I long for my Hopeful, a fellow pilgrim who will love me at my best and at my worst. A friend with whom I can be vulnerable and weak and not fear, because their love for me rests on the work of Someone greater than I. I’m thankful to share this level of candor with my husband but my soul yearns for more. I’m praying for friends who will receive me in my imperfection, knowing that another Person has been perfect on my behalf.

Read full article at Christ and Pop Culture

Do racial issues really “disappear” because of the Gospel? A response to John MacArthur.

Do racial issues really “disappear” because of the Gospel? A response to John MacArthur.

MacArthur is valiant for the truth. As a younger preacher, he was among the 334 evangelical leaders who gathered in Chicago in 1978 to formulate the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Just a decade into his pastorate, MacArthur joined luminaries including J. I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, and R. C. Sproul to defend Biblical inerrancy against liberalism’s assaults. Since then, he has remained steadfastly orthodox in his passion for the Scriptures. I’m thankful to say that my own theological formation has benefited greatly from his confident preaching.

So when The Master’s Seminary — of which MacArthur is president — released a YouTube video titled “Racism and Black Lives Matter” on July 8, 2016, I expected a strong application of the Gospel to today’s polarizing racial issues. What I heard instead was disappointing.

Read the full article at Christ and Pop Culture

Happy Single Parent Day: The Dynamics of Parenting Alone

Happy Single Parent Day: The Dynamics of Parenting Alone

My mother and father never married. I spent the first seven years of my life with my aunt, a single mother. I’ll spare you the details of my story and will simply say that I know what it’s like to yearn for a parent. I’ve tasted the bitterness that often hangs around a broken home. I’ve lingered near a weary mother, wishing I could share the load.

After Childhood Abuse, How Can I Trust Others with My Kids?

After Childhood Abuse, How Can I Trust Others with My Kids?

My first day watching porn was also my last. I was nine when an adult neighbor took me to a house where several of her friends were gathered. The men and women came knowing the agenda—to watch hours of pornographic videos. I was placed on a man’s lap, and the tapes were played. At one point, my neighbor asked if I “felt” anything. I said no, and the group laughed.

I remember the day now as the end of something immeasurably precious—the gift of being innocent and unashamed. I’ve often mourned for my nine-year-old self, her soul plundered and her naiveté stripped. I grieve for her and fear for my two small daughters. What images (and God forbid, touches) might be lurking, waiting to take their innocence? God help us.

Read the full article at Christianity Today.