Every month, we’ll be sharing a collection of blogs or articles on topics that are relevant for our church body. We hope it edifies you, makes you think, or teaches you something that you can apply in your life. Here’s to learning and Good Reads!
Shortly after my second miscarriage, my heart filled with doubt about the goodness of God. Though I had initially experienced a sense of peace, as I moved forward, I had no desire to be with God. I tried to read the Word, pray; and spend time with God, but the thought of Him just made my heart sick. I didn’t want Him. Every time I read the Bible, I saw how God had control of fertility, and it made me angry. Though some of these stories ended well, I didn’t know the end of our story. How can I trust God and go to him when he totally uprooted my dream? He seemed distant and unkind in this particular season of my life.
A lack of integrity in small things rarely ends with the small things. Please note: I am not suggesting that lying and deceiving others about a race is a small matter, but surely embezzlement and involvement with cocaine are more devastating. And a lack of integrity in so-called minor areas of one’s life typically grows and multiplies to other areas. Here are three common ways a lack of integrity multiplies in someone’s life….
So how can leaders recognize our drift from humility to pride? Look for entitlement. Entitlement always rises as pride rises. It is impossible to be filled with humility and a sense of entitlement at the same time. Whenever we feel we are owed something, it is because we have forgotten that God is the One who gives all good things.
The message of Christ’s redemptive love and free gift of forgiveness for all has been the force behind centuries of social change. Christians who understand the implications of this gospel can’t help but find ways to apply its principles as they live and work in secular society. For obvious reasons, however, cultural engagement brings with it unique challenges and complications. Many find themselves wanting to charge in, speak prophetically, criticize openly, and then expect to wait and watch for meaningful change to occur. But as Christians work to identify issues of concern in communities—either our own or those elsewhere—a posture of respect becomes critical.
In our sinful state, our hearts wander into covetousness, comparison, and criticism when it comes to the gifts God gives his people. Instead of seeing what God has graciously given—our spiritual gifts, opportunities, and influence—we often fixate on what he hasn’t given us.
One way of learning how to do something is by watching someone else do it poorly. Consider how Samson went about finding a wife. I once heard a dating talk entitled, “The dos and don’ts of dating.” Unfortunately, in chapters 14–16 of the book of Judges, we find only the don’ts of dating. There are no dos in Samson’s story. He did everything wrongly.
Apologizing is hard because it goes against our grain. Our natural bent is to think we have it all together and to let our pride insulate us from our faults. But when you say “I am sorry” and you acknowledge that you have done something less than stellar, you have to come face to face with the fact that you don’t have everything down perfectly. It can take it out of you emotionally to have to say “sorry.” It can bring disappointment, not just with how you view yourself, but also in how you think others view you. It can bring friends along with it, so that past failures and mistakes are remembered and cause added torment.
Your children need something more than to be fortified against sin. They need to be inspired toward God. Tell them, with all the confidence that Proverbs 8 warrants of his joyous wisdom across the whole of life. Prove to them, by the very ethos of your home, that the Lord is good. Let them see that faith in you, and the glory of the Lord will be hard for them to resist.
The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield:
What did God use to draw a radical, committed unbeliever to himself? Did God take her to an evangelistic rally? Or, since she had her doctorate in literature, did he use something in print? No, God used an invitation to dinner in a modest home, from a humble couple who lived out the gospel daily, simply, and authentically. With this story of her conversion as a backdrop, Rosaria Butterfield invites us into her home to show us how God can use this same “radical, ordinary hospitality” to bring the gospel to our lost friends and neighbors. Such hospitality sees our homes as not our own, but as God’s tools for the furtherance of his kingdom as we welcome those who look, think, believe, and act differently from us into our everyday, sometimes messy lives—helping them see what true Christian faith really looks like.