The One for whom all things were created; the One who is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn of all creation; the One in whom all things hold together and is preeminent above all (Colossians 1:16); that Person condescended to be born as a poor carpenter! He made Himself nothing and suffered that He might make His enemies members of His own family. Jesus’ “hospitality” is out of this world!
If I had known that the little baby--whose sleeplessness often tested my patience--would grow up to pray for my rest, I would have maintained more joy on those weary nights. But I didn’t know; and there’s been many other moments of impatience and failure as a mom in my daughter’s young life. But love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
In Revelation 4 and 5, we see the throne of a transcendent God. And between the throne is the Lamb, once slain (crucified) and now standing (resurrected). He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Root of David; the heavens and the universe serenade Him for He alone is worthy to open the scroll--a symbol of God’s purposes for history--revealing and accomplishing all of God’s decrees. Sisters, the world is not spinning aimlessly. God is fulfilling His purposes...and He’s doing so through a worthy Lamb.
This week, I was reminded of prayers yet to be answered. For sometime now, we have made request of God for gifts we believe to be good and God honoring. We have prayed for years with no seeming or immediate “yes.” But God is God...and for that reason, we trust His “yes,” His “no” and His “wait” as good.
It’s interesting how discomfort can reveal the heart. The happy, pleasant wife and mother may not be as quick to smile and forgive when exhausted, late, frustrated, hungry, or hot. Most days, I like to think of myself as a “mature Christian;” and then comes the moment that exposes amazing weakness and reminds me of my desperate need for a long-suffering and gracious Sanctifier.
If you are in Christ today and, like me, are tempted by unexpected and difficult circumstances, please receive this good news: Jesus Christ is "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and by him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:15-17). Sister, remember that your Redeemer is the God of the whole earth, the Lord of Armies, what is too difficult for Him?
Often in our homes and children’s ministries, there is a temptation to “relax” Scripture for children. Perhaps we think that they are unable to understand “meaty” ideas and so we point them to quick moral applications and good behavior. This kind of Bible teaching however misses the intention of the Scriptures themselves, which is to bear witness of Christ (John 5:39).
The story of God’s redemption of sinners through the person and work of Christ Jesus is the best story we can tell our children. Let’s make sure that they hear it clearly in our Bible teaching. And may God, by His grace, make that narrative the framework from which they engage with all other stories.
Melissa Kruger is the Women's Ministry Coordinator at Uptown Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her husband, Michael Kruger, is the president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. She is the author of Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood. Melissa presented a workshop, of the same title, at the 2017 Gospel Coalition National Conference.
The central thesis of her talk was this: Read God's Word! More important than feeding our kids organic meals or securing their spot at the best school is a mother's personal commitment to the study of Scripture. I was encouraged by Melissa's challenge and hope you find her words helpful as you walk with God in your season of motherhood. See LINK to audio.
If the Lord used Augustine in the theological awakening of Martin Luther, then God used Monica’s prayers in the conversion of Augustine, her son! Monica’s influential role in the life and conversion of her renowned son has brought her name before many congregations, particularly on Mother’s Day. It’s my pleasure today to celebrate this mom and her commitment to relentless prayer. Below, please find a brief history on Monica. With it comes three lessons we can glean from her example.
Sisters, whether you work at-home with small and needy children or serve a mission outside the house, whether you are married or single, whatever your calling, your labor (even the most mundane task) matters to God. This Good Friday, remember that the Father gave Jesus the worst Job of all. So “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” of your salvation (Colossians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 10:31).
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.
As we read Matthew’s genealogy, we can rejoice that ours is a God who keeps His promises. If Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of Old Testament promises, then sisters we can be confident that He is the firstfruits of a full and glorious eternal kingdom to come (1 Corinthians 15:20-28). Read of Him in Matthew 1:1-17 and enjoy.
Christianity Today has published The Blessed Way, a 30-day reading plan through the Sermon on the Mount. The devotional is written by 30 Christian women and I'm VERY thankful to be one of these women!
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
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.
If my husband and I reduce the Gospel to mere obedience, we tempt our natural “law-keeper” with the false gospel of moralism. She could easily “act” like a church-going Christian without true repentance of sin and trust in Christ’s active obedience on her behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). Our prayer for her is salvation, not just "good behavior." A saving faith in Christ is far more than being “a good person” who treats others well and believes there’s a God.
On the other hand, if we excuse (and even praise) the bold autonomy of our youngest as “budding leadership,” we dangle the false gospel of self-fulfillment in her eyes and encourage a “best life now” mentality. We love her determination and cleverness...but we want more for her than that. Our prayer is for godly wisdom and boldness that comes from the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7).
Today is my birthday. I’m 35. I woke up this morning with a blog post on my mind; not a new one to write but one written four years ago on my 31st birthday. That post is below. I read it this morning and it encouraged me to pray for the grace to persevere. I want to run as though to win the prize...I don't want to waste my life (1 Corinthians 9:24).
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).
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.