Motherhood & Sanctity

Motherhood, with its joy and toil, is a useful instrument in God's hand for our sanctification. And yet the Word of God remains the primary means of God's work in us (John 17:17).  

Filtering by Category: Sufficiency of Christ

Christmas Humiliation?

As I read the story of Christ’s birth, I wonder: what “looks” did Mary endure when “found” to be with child in Matthew 1:18? Did her cheeks burn under the gaze of Nazareth? Did she suffer shame at the eyes of a doubting Joseph (Matthew 1:19)?

It’s amazing to consider that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law” and under the ignominy of a curious pregnancy (Galatians 4:4).

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Parental Failures and the Gospel

I'm thankful to the Reformed African American Network for their re-post of my 2014 article, Parental Failures and the Gospel. The beginning paragraphs follow and the full post can be found here. Always grateful for your read!

I could begin this post with countless descriptions of my parental failures. Moments when anger got the best of me; times when a little patience would have made all the difference; or just plain insecurities in making the right decisions for my children at every moment and at every stage of their development.

You might agree that feelings of inadequacy are common to parents; whether relatively new like me or seasoned with experience, we feel the weight of the responsibility and the immensity of the task. But in some ways, feelings of inadequacy can be a blessing!

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Bathsheba: Sin Consumed by Mercy

And who is listed as an ancestral mother of this Great Son? Bathsheba herself (Matthew 1:6)! Of David’s eight wives, she is chosen to carry the line of the Messiah. Bathsheba is listed as a distant mother of the sinless Christ, the one who is made to be sin, that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Now that’s amazing grace! In Christ, “even [the believer’s] most blasphemous sins are insignificant in comparison with the mercies of God.”[1]

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Abigail: Seek Wisdom from Above

This is a woman whose wisdom is from above, her words are not conceited but are “pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). And the LORD remembers Abigail. Her foolish husband, Nabal is struck dead by the LORD ten days after this incident and David is free to request the hand of this beautiful and discerning woman (1 Samuel 25:38-42).

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Naomi and the Sovereignty of God in Human Suffering

If common experience makes for good friendship, Naomi and Job would have gotten along well. Speaking of the loss of his own health, property and children, Job states: “For the arrows of the Almighty are in me; my spirit drinks their poison; the terrors of God are arrayed against me” (Job 6:4). Naomi and Job knew pain well. And they knew God well, for they attribute their suffering to Him. In short, the two never deny God the honor of His sovereignty amid their pain.

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Christians: Clean Saints with Dirty Feet

In other words, atonement of sin is settled for those whose trust is in Christ alone. So then God doesn’t love you less when you sin today and more when you obey tomorrow. Instead He loves you because you are His—an adopted son/daughter, made clean through His Son and sealed and preserved by His Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14).

But what of your persistent sins? Here, we find that Christ still washes the feet of His disciples. What do I mean? “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean” (John 13:10). Those justified in Christ are Simul Justus et Peccator—at the same time just (or righteous) and sinner. We are positioned in Christ and are seen by God through His imputed righteousness yet inherently we sin. We are clean saints with dirty feet. But just as our justification is achieved by God alone, so is our sanctification enabled by Him alone.

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Warning to Self: Don’t Make your Child your Idol

I love my children easily and naturally and of course there is nothing wrong with that. But I also have a heart that is desperately idolatrous and prone to leave the God I love. Whenever I place my full satisfaction in something created, whenever I wholly delight my mind in something made, whenever I wrap my value and identity in someone or something apart from Christ, I have molded an idol.  And sadly, these self-made gods are easily made; evidence of the residual effects of sin that dwell even in the justified heart (Romans 7:14-25).

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God's Grace to a Pharisee like Me

I would have been a good monk and a great Pharisee. I like rules. I like order. I like disciplining myself, especially if it brings the commendation of others, particularly those in authority. This inclination is constant and often reveals itself in self-judgment. I can be hard on myself—all the while justifying my strict tendencies as a desire for progressive sanctification. But even godly pursuits can be perverted if not seen in light of the gospel.

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Parental Failures and the Gospel

I often feel inadequate as a parent and I thank God for it!  For it drives me to lower my head, bend my knees and seek His perfect strength in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). The blessing is not in the weakness or inadequacy itself but in the humility it offers that draws me nearer to God for help--which then increases my dependence and confidence in the One who  works in me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Praise be to God from whom all blessings flow!

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