Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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4 Things Worse Than Not Learning To Read In Kindergarten: I was so helped by this! And I know there is K mom’s everywhere currently freaking out over there K kid not learning to read quick enough. So please do yourself a favor by reading this.

Don’t Be Embarrassed By Your Ordinary Church: Is your church ordinary? Small? Well, my Christian friend, if it is preaching the gospel and endeavoring to help others to know and follow Jesus then it is not insignificant. It is powerfully important and surpassingly glorious.

Parenting In Paradox: I was really helped by this one! It takes balance and discernment to parent patiently, and this post really helps to guide us in how to do it.

Are You Flexible For The Gospel?: And what does this mean? The aim is not to become so international and culturally flexible that one does not fit in anywhere; the aim, rather, is to become so understanding and flexible that one can soon fit in and further the gospel anywhere. Can you do this?

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Confronting The Current Church Leadership Crisis: I’m so encouraged to see more people writing about this. There seems to be an awakening to the surge of domineering pastors disguised as ‘good leaders’.

Troubleshooting The Celebrity Pastor Problem: In kinda the same vein as the last article, I love that this is being written about so much more. And I do believe that his first two suggestions are maybe the most important.

A White Church No More: No wonder this article made Donald Trump mad…because its nothing but truth. Moore does it again by pin-pointing an evangelical problem and writing about it masterfully (he’s one of my writing hero’s). If you haven’t read this one yet. Please do.

Proverbs – The Bible Project: I sure love these videos. They are so helpful.

Van Morrison – Enlightenment: Any small amount of coolness you may have thought about me will surely leak away for good now. Because as it may seem, I have the music taste of a 67-year-old man. I have been re-listening to a lot of Van these days. And I am unashamed at my love for him.

Van Morrison – One Irish Rover: Here is another classic. My daughter and I dance around to both of these songs.

 

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Mother’s Day Amidst The Flames…

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Yesterday my kids came home from school; swung the door wide and rambunctiously fought each other up the stairs to see who would win. Mid-way through my daughter caught a glimpse of me then sabatoged her own win by pausing. She rummaged through her backpack and pulled out a card, then handed me a cup of dirt with a handcrafted flower stuck in it. Her smile was expectant of my reaction. And she stared at me intently until I was done reading the card, then jumped and wrapped her arms around me in delight of my joyful response.

How could I not respond with joy?

My sons gift would be next. Also a cup of dirt only with a real seed planted in it. A seed that will produce a surprise, as we both have no idea what kind of plant it is. However his card is clear. He writes…I luv yow mome and the cisses. It’s the best I’ve seen him write a sentence yet. Sure it’s filled with all kinds of mistakes, but they are beautiful to me. Because the fact that he concentrated long enough to write it at all is a huge victory. We all hugged and laughed.

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Yesterday my mother’s day came early.

And it was especially significant, because as I heard my children run and stomp and giggle and shout up the stairs of our home, I kept thinking of the people right now grabbing the little things they can out of their home to flee. In Fort McMurray right now, families are putting aside school festivities and mother’s day plans in order to find refuge somewhere that is not up in flames. Wild fires with great speed have torched through home after home and the devastation mounts with each day.

What does motherhood look like amidst the flames?

Whether it be the literal flames of Fort McMurray or the fiery trial you find yourself in now. A prodigal teen, a nocturnal newborn, a recently let-go husband. Trouble will find us as mother’s and require us to choose our course of action. How will we respond? And there are times we must flee. Like the mothers strapping their young ones in gassed up Van’s ready to beat it out of Fort McMurray. And there are times to stay put.

But in both cases we ought never be surprised.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. ~ 1 Peter 4:12

There are trials brought upon us because of our faith and then there are sufferings that come just because the world is broken. And in both cases, we must not be surprised.

Sadly too often I’m caught off guard. Especially because I had some unreasonable belief that being a mother would be a magical journey of euphoric joy. Never did I concern myself with possibilities of disabilities or intellectual challenges. My kids would never be sent to the principles office or require special needs care.

It all took me by surprise.

And it never should have.

Motherhood by its very nature lives and grows right down deep in the flames. Sometimes those flames scorch and scar…and sometimes they are licks of loving warmth. Like yesterdays hug from my daughter and written words of my son. Euphoria engulfed me. Then I’m scorched again when brother punch’s sister and the burns of discipline returns.

Our motherhood induced sanctification is one that must take root in the heat. We must live there without confusion of its burning. And when we give ourselves fully to Christ and regularly find our joy in Him alone, by His grace we grow in godliness. We ought to find courage and strength in the knowledge that we share in Christ’s suffering. And there is no trial He can’t relate to.

Does this make our trials easy peasy? Of course not. But where is our refuge if not in Christ? Our beautiful cozy homes are liable to burn down. Our children fail us with their sinful choices. And we fail ourselves with our sinful response.

What then?

Where do we go when all seems lost or when we weary from the fight? He is always there. He doesn’t just call us to shape up from the cool above…He is the burning bush, with us in the fiery furnace. Encouraging us on.

So wherever you find yourself this coming Mother’s Day…consumed with grief or magically loved on.

Make your only refuge…Christ. Even amongst the licking flames.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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The Video Edition…

Water Pt. 1: If you like dance. then you’ll love this. It is just beautiful.

Water Pt.2: And this follow-up is also beautiful and I paticularily love the song.

Don Carson On The Ground Of Our Assurance: Ever question your salvation? Or worry about how good your faith is? Watch this short clip and be reminded about where our assurance lies. It was a breath of air for me.

Beautifully True: How can we know the Bible is true? God opens our eyes to his unique beauty on the canvas of Scripture.

Bears Den – Above The Clouds Of Pompeii: Here is a lovely and sad song about a mother and son. Its been on repeat lately for me.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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What Is Spiritual Abuse?: Although this is part of a Reformed “Spotlight” conversation I by no means believe this is only a problem in the Reformed church. But it is still a very important conversation given the amount this is happening nowadays. So pay attention.

Evangelicals And Toxic Masculinity: This is SO important! Manhood is much more than a girlfriend on your arm or a letter on a varsity jacket. But it’s also much more than how many Christian conferences one can attend, and how many bookshelves adorn your walls. Before confessional Christians can speak prophetically to toxic masculinity out there, we must first be honest about it in here.

Why I Write Scary Stories For Kids: Should we keep our kids from hearing scary stories? N.D Wilson would say, no. The goal isn’t to steer kids into stories of darkness because those are the stories that grip readers. The goal is to put the darkness in its place.

Prince Of Peace – Hillsong: Admittedly I have a love/hate relationship with Hillsong. Most of the time I find them trite and over-produced. But my snobbery is put in its place when all of a sudden one of their songs hits me again. This is the most recent one.

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Today’s Worries And Today’s Bread…

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I’m not someone who has ever created a 5 year plan. It’s just not how I roll. I’m also not a spontaneous kind of person either. That is also just not in my nature. And I think the reason for both is very clear. Worry.

It’s hard for me to think that far ahead because it’s like throwing anxiety-meat to my brain-lion. I feriously start panicing about my kids. How will they be doing in school? What kind of challenges will they face? Maybe they’ll be bullied! Will they be falling away from the faith? What if their future is just one big nightmare! And where will my husband and I be? Will we be struggling in our marriage? Will we be in a different country? What if we’re in terrible debt!

It’s ridiculous.

But spontaneity is also too risky because details need to be sorted before I can feel secure about virtually anything. My peace of mind in both these area’s hang in the balance.

Last night my life group was pondering about our human need to know the future. And it made me want to think through this desire we have to know what tomorrow or the next 5 years holds for us.

I believe we desperately want some measure of peace, which is why so many of us purchase it by entertaining modern-day Balaam’s, like the prosperity gospel. It itch’s that scratch of desired foreknowledge. If I give this much money to the church, then I will most certainly, without a doubt, get ten fold. Or if I pray this Old Testament prayer every single morning, health will be restored to me.

It’s a sneaky version of fortune-telling without the creepy crystal ball. It’s also faulty.

And it makes us feel good to think we have some control over tomorrow and the next day and beyond. It’s just far more challenging to trust the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:34,

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The Israelites had to learn this every single evening in the desert when they watched each one of the left over manna melt away into nothing. They were forced to have faith that tomorrow morning a new crop of fresh manna would be provided by the Lord for their nourishment. But only for that day. Because tomorrow would care for itself.

In fact any attempts at stashing some of the goods away for the night would ensure maggots and a stench unworthy of edibility.

God most certainly was commanding a level of obedience, but not just for the sake of it. He was desperate to make it clear to His people that He loved them enough to provide for their basic needs. You need food? Here it is!

This is why we are taught to pray, give us this day our daily bread, and not this week or month or year. We will worry about tomorrows bread, tomorrow.

And this is the beautiful message of Scripture – Do not turn to other gods for the fulfillment of your needs and desires, seek first His kingdom and righteousness and because of His great love, all that is necessary will be added to you. When we seek His kingdom and righteousness our desires change and our worry disappears.

But the best part about all this, is that though the physical bread for our bellies may run out one day, our greatest needs are still met in Jesus Christ, the bread of life. This beautiful picture is made clear in John 6:30-33,

So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”  Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

So there is no reason to worry, and no cause for fear! Because Jesus shall be our sweet and perfect bread for the day.

Five years from now, who knows where I’ll be. However I can be certain that wherever I am there will be trouble. And there will likely be some form of trouble awaiting me a week from now. But Jesus is my manna. And every morning He is good.

So all that we have is today.

And I pray that this day will be spent feasting on the abundant bread of life, seeking first His kingdom, and leaving all worry for the maggots.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

letmedirect

Flower Mound Women’s Bible Study: This is a Bible Study led by Jen Wilkin and all of her studies are here on podcast. I have been doing the Joshua study at home and it is great! So here is a wonderful resource for women!

Porch Preaching: This may well come off as totally offensive. But it was interesting and challenging to read. It made me ask myself the all important question of, “how do I respond when false-gospel evangelists knock on my door?” Food for thought.

Six Questions About Physician-Assisted Death: This is big news right now, and this might be a helpful read for those of us with questions. I encourage everyone to research this topic to understand it better.

Joshua: Here is a helpful little video giving a brief explanation of this often controversial book. And I’m studying this book, so it is particularly interesting to me right now.

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