Marriage & Family
Posted 3/10/14 at 10:03 AM | Tim Challies
Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day ten:
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)
Sin enslaves. It promises joy and life but delivers only deeper and deeper levels of captivity. Freedom from sin and its ugly consequences seems like nothing more than a mirage or an empty promise when, time and time again, you present yourself to sin as its obedient slave. You hear yourself saying things like, “I just can’t help it” or “I tried but couldn’t do it.” The enemy will do everything in his power to convince you that you are enslaved to sin. He will do all he can to make you believe you are powerless to conquer it.
There is just a grain of truth in what our Accuser says: In your own strength you are, indeed, powerless. But if you are in Christ you have been set free from sin’s enslavement. You no longer have to live in your own strength—you can now live in the strength of another. The power of sin has been broken in your life. The Son has set you free from your slavery. And now he invites and commands you to live in the joy of that freedom. Be free! FULL POST
Posted 3/9/14 at 7:27 AM | Tim Challies
Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day nine:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Friendship is a great gift from God. Spiritual friendship, a friendship shared in Christ, is an even greater gift. Proverbs assures us that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (17:17). A brother is born for the times when we are going toe-to-toe with our sin, battling hard against it, committed to putting it to death. In such times we need friends to pray for us, to support us, to speak truth to us, to speak the gospel to us.
Sin thrives in darkness. When we find ourselves up to our neck in sin, our tendency is to run and hide, especially from friends. Our guilt makes us run from accountability and friendship. Don’t do that. See the godly friendships that God has given you as the gifts that they are. As you battle against sin and as you battle for sexual purity, invite a friend into your struggles. Invite him to pray with you and for you, invite him to ask you deep and difficult questions, invite him to travel with you on this journey. And when the 31 Days of Purity are over, that friendship will only be getting underway. FULL POST
Posted 3/8/14 at 3:40 PM | Ann Frailey
or Potholder or any other eye grabber. Because it isn’t all about me. And because names make a difference. If you have a child with the ability to move their bodies to unknown destinations (that could be anywhere from 6 months to 60 years) you know how scary loving a child can be. Kids do the darndest things. They climb things never meant to be climbed, they attempt to fly without wings, they go out with friends who have just learned to drive, they learn to drive! and they live and breath and experience life in a dangerous world. If you are anything like me, you stuff your anxieties into your pockets and pray to God that your child will be safe and live long enough to learn how to spell their names and hopefully even know what their name means to you. It really helps to have a name that does, in fact, mean something. And I am not talking about that special camping trip you and your hubby took where you saw the full moon and thus you named your child Fullness. I mean a name that they can ponder and discover its depths. I am talking about a name with history. Why does everyone want to invent a new name? Yes, someone had to be the first Mary, Jane, Fred and Alexander – but I rather pity the poor soul who had to start out life with a completely new name that was just some nice sounding letters thrown together. FULL POST
Posted 3/7/14 at 11:13 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |
By David Murray
I had three best friends growing up. I went on on separate vacations with each of them. Each time, within 48 hours, we were no longer best friends. When you see most people close up for a longer period of time, and when most people see me close up for more than an hour or two, the flaws and foibles grow incredibly glaring and galling.
Same goes for family reunions doesn’t it? In most cases they’re best kept short – maybe a couple of days – because after that the law of diminishing returns sets in, old and new tensions flare, and everybody wants to get back home again pretty quickly.
Colleagues (and congregations) who initially thought we were the best thing since the iPad, soon begin to wonder, “What in the world were we thinking of?” What began as ”How can we get this guy?” can rapidly become “How can we get rid of this guy?” One hour interviews reveal nothing compared to the reverse-epiphany of working beside someone for a week or two. “She is sooooo annoying!” FULL POST
Posted 3/7/14 at 9:03 AM | Tim Challies
Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day seven:
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)
We are at war. Our enemies—the world, the flesh, and the devil—are forever opposed to us. A constant battle rages inside us, outside us, and all around us. As men we’ve been created to be brave and bold, to stand firm and fearless in battle. All throughout the New Testament we are told to stand, to stand strong in this fight. And yet there is one area where we are commanded to flee: “Flee youthful passions.” We are to flee lust, to run fast and far from the desire and the opportunity to commit sexual sin. “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched” (Proverbs 6:27-28)? Of course not. Only a fool would even try. FULL POST
Posted 3/6/14 at 4:25 PM | Bill Blacquiere
I think the “least of these” Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25 include the children I met last month in China. These are little ones who are abandoned and forgotten because they don’t fit the image of a perfect child and are considered “difficult to place” for adoption. We must do something to help them.
What makes these children “difficult to place” are mild-to-moderate conditions such as congenital heart defects, cleft palates, or delayed social, mental, or physical abilities—and sometimes a missing finger. These conditions can be mostly resolved through corrective surgery and consistent health care. Sometimes these issues resolve themselves as a child grows, even in an orphanage. But I believe healing by the power of a loving family is much more likely.
Under the Safe Harbor laws, China has established “cottages,” where parents can abandon their unwanted, “flawed” children. Labeled difficult to place, they live within government walls called “child welfare institutes”----what we know as orphanages. If a child is not matched with a loving and protective family, he is eventually pushed out to the streets, where he is vulnerable to a life of crime or being trafficked—or he is moved to an adult government facility. It is good news that protective environments have been developed for these unwanted children, but we simply cannot leave them institutionalized or abandoned. FULL POST
Posted 3/6/14 at 2:09 PM | Brian Wallace
Sometimes when we see younger adults making foolish decisions with their money, we simply shake our heads in disbelief. Don't they know? This infographic examines the various ways in which young adults under 30 can make better financial decisions.
Posted 3/6/14 at 11:21 AM | Trace Embry |
It has been said that we become weary of pleasure before we become weary of pain.
Why? Well, with pain you have the relief of the pain to look forward to. The relief becomes the light at the end of the tunnel.
As humans we can go crazy chasing after the next pleasure. The reality is, pleasure will never satisfy. Just look at the culture’s top pop stars to see a myriad of examples.
One result of chasing after pleasure is anhedonia. Anhedonia is a destruction of the pleasure center of the brain. In fact, according to Dr. Archibald Hart in Thrilled to Death, 80% of the American population suffers from anhedonia. This is one reason why our kid’s attention span seems to be getting shorter.
One contributing factor to anhedonia within our homes is the amount of media we allow ourselves to consume. So how do you prevent anhedonia from developing in you kid’s lives. Below are two quick steps. FULL POST
Posted 3/6/14 at 9:19 AM | Tim Challies
Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day six:
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)
Every sin that you have ever committed has been put on record. Every sexual sin. Every lustful thought. Every shameful action. Every dark secret. Everything. And just one one of those God-belittling sins is sufficient to cast you into hell for eternity. This is your record of debt. What a sobering, terrifying thought!
Yet it is equally true that if you are among those whom God has “made alive together with Christ,” the record is no longer yours. That record of debt that stands against you is cancelled. You are no longer in debt. You will not endure even the smallest measure of the wrath of God against you, because Jesus already endured it all. He paid your debt in full. There is not one sin on your record of debt (past, present, or future!) that has not been paid by Jesus. Rest in that today. Rest in that every day. FULL POST
Posted 3/5/14 at 9:16 AM | Tim Challies |
Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day five:
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psalm 32:1-5)
It took God’s heavy hand of discipline for David to understand a simple truth: we need to confess our sin to God. We do not confess our sin so God will know what we have done—he already knows every deed, and even every thought and intention of the heart. We confess that sin for our own benefit, to acknowledge it before him and to seek his forgiveness. Though God assures us that at the moment of our salvation all of our sin is forgiven—past, present, future—still we need to confess our sin before the Lord as an acknowledgement that every sin is ultimately directed at him, that every sin stems from a lack of delight in what he promises, and that we have knowingly, willingly, damaged our fellowship with him. FULL POST