Nov 15

What?  No Prize???

2005 at 2:27 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

1581345089_1Okay girls, I just noticed that my mom started a contest (see yesterday’s post) and didn’t offer any prizes!!! (In her defense, she said that she had a prize all along, but forgot to mention it.) I’m here to rescue this contest. I will personally be rewarding the winner of this contest with a copy of Noel Piper’s book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions. So, hop on the e-mail and send us your ideas…

Nov 14

Thanksgiving Countdown: Day 10

2005 at 4:44 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

Ahol346rDid you realize there are only ten days until Thanksgiving? For women, this holiday can be both fun and overwhelming—something you both anticipate and dread. You’re excited at the prospect of a wonderful family memory, a delicious meal complete with pumpkin pie, a relaxing nap after turkey dinner, and going ‘round the table sharing grateful hearts.

But all the cooking that leads up to that idyllic turkey-carving-moment can be daunting. And then there’s cleanup. (Speaking of which, when will they create that china-safe dishwasher?)

Well, we can’t do your dishes for you, but we will try, over the next ten days, to supply you with some Mahaney-family Thanksgiving traditions, thoughts, recipes, and other fun stuff, of course.

To begin our Thanksgiving countdown, we want to share a quote with you from Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper. In the first chapter, she helps us to step back and view this holiday, and all family traditions, from a wider perspective: their role in teaching our children about God. But whether or not we have children, I think Noel’s thoughts should provoke us all. She writes:

“You can’t bequeath God to your children. You can leave them the fur coat from your mother, the forested acres from your father, the carved cane from your Uncle Claude, and the clock from your grandmother, but they can’t inherit God from you. God can only be inherited from God…We only become God’s children through our faith, not through our parent’s faith…Now although we can’t bequeath God to our children, we can help them know him and understand him in ways that prepare them to believe in his name. ‘Everyday’ and ‘especially’ traditions in a family are an important part of that teaching, of picturing who God is and what he’s done in our home and in the world. Traditions are a vital way of displaying our greatest treasure, of showing what—Who—is most important to us.”

Traditions are one way we can show that God is most important to us. Thanksgiving is a wonderful reminder of the faithfulness and provision of God. It’s also a way to promote family unity and closeness, to have fun and enjoy one another’s company for the glory of God. It’s a chance to pause and consider Christ, who is our joy.

What are ways that you treasure Christ and make fun family memories in your home on Thanksgiving? We want to hear from you. Yes, it’s contest time again on the Girl Talk Blog! We are soliciting Thanksgiving traditions from our readers and we will post a winner next Monday. Simply click on the “Email Me” link on the left-hand sidebar to submit your entry. And to our international friends—we’d love to hear from you too: Do you celebrate a thanksgiving-type holiday in your culture, and if so, what special traditions do you have?

For all of you, we pray these next ten days will be marked by the peace of Christ. Of all people, we have the most to be grateful for: we have our Savior!

Nov 14

A Special Greeting

2005 at 11:45 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney

Recently, we got Site Meter for our blog. We discovered that our readership extends far beyond what we had ever imagined. In this past week alone, the blog has been read in about 45 countries…from Kenya to Korea, from the Philippines to Ukraine, from Bolivia to Pakistan, from the United Kingdom to India.

Now that we know you’re out there, we want to extend a very special welcome to all of our readers beyond the borders of the United States. We are honored you would “visit” and we pray that you will be encouraged and challenged by conversations on biblical womanhood from God’s Word.

Although we represent a variety of different cultures, languages, and backgrounds, the gospel unites us as one family. While we may never have the privilege of meeting you personally, we look forward to that day when we will all stand before God’s throne, worshipping together.

In the meantime, if there are ways we can encourage or serve you, please don’t hesitate to email us. We pray that God would continue to strengthen your hearts, wherever in the world you might be serving Him!

Nov 11

Friday Funnies

2005 at 7:31 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Friday Funnies

Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the Friday Funnies!

This humorous story doubles as a gentle reminder for all of us to honor God in all arenas of life—including behind the wheel!

Bumper Sticker Hypocrisy

“A police officer pulled a driver aside and asked for his license and registration. “What’s wrong, officer,” the driver asked. “I didn’t go through any red lights, and I certainly wasn’t speeding,”

“No, you weren’t,” said the officer, “but I saw you waving your fist as you swerved around the lady driving in the left lane, and I further observed your flushed and angry face as you shouted at the driver of the Hummer who cut you off, and how you pounded your steering wheel when the traffic came to a stop near the bridge.”

“Is that a crime, officer?”

“No, but when I saw the ‘Jesus loves you and so do I’ bumper sticker on the car, I figured this car had to be stolen.”

Citation: Adapted from Homiletics Magazine (May 2004); submitted by Gino Grunberg, Gig Harbor, Washington. Copyright 2005, PreachingToday.com and Christianity Today International.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” this weekend! (2 Cor. 13:14)

Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle

Nov 11

Personal Reflection Part Six

2005 at 5:32 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Spiritual Growth

When we were little, my dad would sometimes tease us by saying: “I’ve got bad news and I’ve got good news…which do you want to hear first?” In this case, the “bad” news is that this is the final post of the Personal Reflection by David Powlison. However, the good news is that this concluding portion contains recommendations from Dr. Powlison of Scriptures, articles, and books for further study in the areas of anger, anxiety, and escapism.

And the very good news is that God has blessed Dr. Powlison with an abundance of biblical wisdom which is available in many other articles and books. We hope, that like us, you too have become big David Powlison fans (if you weren’t already). And we want to vigorously encourage you to take advantage of the resources available by him, and the other godly folks at the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation.

We want to mention just a few before offering the conclusion to the Personal Reflection.

1. The Journal of Biblical Counseling, edited by David Powlison—we’ve mentioned it before on this blog, but if you haven’t yet subscribed to THE Journal (that’s what we call it around our house), do it now! Better yet, consider it as a truly life-changing Christmas gift for friends and family.

2. Seeing with New Eyes—this excellent book by David Powlison includes many of his best articles from the Journal, including several recommended below.

3. Speaking Truth in Love: Counsel in Community—Dr. Powlison’s new book, due out this month!

Personal Reflection, cont.
by David Powlison

For Further Study

Anxiety:
• 1 Peter 5:7 offers a particularly condensed version of themes we have been discussing: “Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.” A specific promise from God meets us in the variety of our cares. As you really hear this promise and call, anxiety must yield to faith. The parable of the sower has a pointed challenge to the corrosive power of anxiety (Matt. 13:22, Mark 4:19, Luke 8:14).

• “Peace, be Still: Learning Psalm 131 by Heart” (Journal of Biblical Counseling, 18:2 and in Seeing with New Eyes, P&R, 2003). This psalm is the finest example of how restless souls learn peacefulness!

• “Don’t Worry” (Journal of Biblical Counseling, 21:2 and in Seeing with New Eyes, P&R, 2003)

Anger:
• Galatians 5:6, 5:13-6:10. Notice how the sins related to anger comprise 8 of the 15 works of the flesh that Paul samples in 5:19-21, as well as his introductory and concluding examples (5:15 and 5:25). Notice how it addresses both motives (lusts/cravings of the flesh as voices that contend with the voice and desires of the Holy Spirit) and lifestyle (works of the flesh, the behaviors and emotions that contend with the fruit of the Spirit). Notice how repeatedly, specifically, and variously God reveals himself in order to produce faith working through love.

• 3 articles on anger by David Powlison (Journal of Biblical Counseling, 14:1, 14:2, 16:1)

Escapism/addiction:
• Consider the dozens of psalms of refuge. Each calls us to the opposite of sinful escapism in the midst of the pressures of life. Psalm 55 is particularly vivid on the impulse to escape troubles, rightly directed.

• Galatians 5:13-6:10 (see above). Notice that the first three and last two works of the flesh are escapist sins. See also Romans 13:12-14. Here the first of four examples are in the escapist family of sins (and the last two are anger-family sins). Notice how horizontal sins are addressed in relation to heart issues (when desires of the flesh rule—deeds of the darkness; when faith puts on the Lord Jesus Christ—daylight lifestyle)

• Ed Welch, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave (P&R, 2001)

Trials:
• “Suffering and Psalm 119” (Journal of Biblical Counseling, 22:4, Speaking Truth in Love, 2005) God has much bigger goals than just solving our personal problems. He wants us to KNOW Him—and along the way that changes us, too. Psalm 119 is an example of the interpersonal/conversational nature of living, talking faith.

Nov 11

Personal Reflection Part Five

2005 at 1:18 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Spiritual Growth

This week we have received biblical and intensely relevant counsel for overcoming the sins of anger, anxiety, and escapism. As common as these sins are, we face many other temptations as well: selfishness, arrogance, lust, greed, vanity…and I’m just getting started.

Mindful of this reality, Dr. Powlison has provided us with eight questions that will help us recognize what sinful desire is ruling our heart, identify what the Bible says to us in our specific situation, and take actives steps to repent and change.

In my own efforts to apply God’s Word to my life, nothing has helped me more than these eight questions. I’ve used them countless times, and I have no doubt you will too.

Personal Reflection, cont.
by Dr. David Powlison

Questions

1. What is your situation? What are you facing?

2. How do you react? How are you typically tempted to react?

3. What rules you, capturing your heart? What do you want? Fear? Believe?

4. What does God in Christ say and do that enters, addresses, and changes everything?

5. Respond to God from the heart. Listen. Turn. Trust. Come. Seek. Ask. Talk. Transact.

6. Respond constructively into your situation. Speak. Act. Don’t do.

Nov 10

“Nerds Rule!” Dad responds.

2005 at 12:15 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw

The Mahaney fam has always loved to laugh. Not only with each other, but my dad raised us to cultivate humility by training us to laugh at ourselves. This love for laughter was once again experienced by each of us this morning as we read Dr. Albert Mohler’s blog. Today, Dr. Mohler wrote a very kind review on my dad’s recent book, Humility: True Greatness. But on his blog, Dr. Mohler took the opportunity to “roast” my dad, and no one was laughing louder than Dad was.

Dr. Mohler, your claim that “nerds rule” has been duly noted and although he’s on his way to the airport right now, my dad has responded…He says that “Nerds do rule and it is a very happy day for all who played right field in gym class softball!”

My dad went on to comment, “I’m so grateful that nerds do indeed rule. I am so appreciative that men like Dr. Mohler are leading the church, and I am following him. I am one of his biggest fans. Actually, most of my smart friends are nerds and though I have the deepest respect for them, I have seen them throw a ball and it’s not a pretty sight. So I encourage my scholarly friends to study away and leave the athletics to me.”

Dad has nothing but the deepest respect for Dr. Mohler and he thoroughly enjoys it when his friends take the opportunity to mock him. Ladies, this is yet another example of the difference between men and women. They call this “affection.”

Nov 10

Personal Reflection Part Four

2005 at 10:25 am   |   by Kristin Chesemore Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Spiritual Growth

I spend most of my days joyfully chasing three small boys. However, there are some days when I’m the one who wants to run away and hide in the bathroom. For those of us mothers with young children, the desire to “escape” and find comfort, relief, and pleasure in something other than God is a pronounced temptation. But all of us can succumb to this ungodly way of dealing with trials, both big and small. In this portion of his Personal Reflection, Dr. Powlison will offer us a guide to how, “Faith works out into a right longing to escape trouble and to help others in their troubles.” (Click here to read the previous posts in this series.)

Personal Reflection, cont.
by Dr. David Powlison

Escapism

1. Ponder the following passages from Psalm 31.

“In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge…Into your hand I commit my spirit…You have seen my affliction; you have known the troubles of my soul…Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress. My eye is wasted away from grief…Make your face to shine upon your servant; save me in your lovingkindness. How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you have wrought for those who take refuge in you, before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of your presence from the conspiracies of man; you keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues…Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD.”

Read it over 3-4 times. Take it slowly. Emphasize different sentences, phrases, words. Notice the troubles he faces, and how open he is about his experience. Jesus quoted this psalm as he was dying. Notice also how persistently he calls on the character and promises of God. What most strikes you about this passage as you think about it in comparison to the “false refuges” where you tend to turn when the heat is on?

2. Now work through our six questions.

Situtation:
What difficult circumstances trigger your avoidance and escapism?

________________________________________________________________________

Reaction: How do you tend to express pleasure-, safety-, and comfort-seeking (thoughts and fantasies, ‘addictions, ‘vices’, emotions, behavioral choices to avoid or procrastinate)?

________________________________________________________________________

Motive:
What “false refuges” do you flee to? What things, activities, and feelings do you turn into your god, your strong tower of safety, your comforter from trouble?

________________________________________________________________________

Message: What specific things does God reveal about Himself (right in this passage), that bid to do battle with your escapism? ______________________________. Fan out into the surrounding sentences, backwards and forwards into the psalm.

Turn:
Bring the real you, in your real world, to this real Savior and Father. Have a real conversation about what matters. Talk to God about all these things. Look how honest David (and Jesus) are in this psalm. They honestly experience the difficult circumstances, and come to God about these experiences, interacting with specific things about God.

Respond: What are you now called to do (and to not do)? What specific action will express how faith-working-through-love replaces false-refuge-working-through escapism? What are innocent pleasures? What can and should you do right now? Or when you get back home later today? Or tomorrow when you face your typical difficulties?

________________________________________________________________________

3. Worship is the opposite of being an escaper and false refugee.
What “consolations to delight your soul” do the hymns, (“Jesus what a friend for sinners” & “How firm a foundation” ) offer, give, proclaim, embrace, hope in, delight in?

Nov 9

Personal Reflection Part Three

2005 at 9:49 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Spiritual Growth

The girls and I planned who would post this week by determining which topic was most applicable to each of us, so that we could provide a personal introduction. I had a difficult time choosing, because I struggle—equally I think—with all three of these sins. (By the way, if you are checking out the blog for the first time this week, you will need to read Monday and Tuesday’s entries to understand what I’m talking about.) Needless to say, I am benefiting greatly from Dr.Powlison’s invaluable biblical counsel. In fact, so much so, I have taken a brief detour from my normal study during my morning devotions and I’m studying this material instead.

Speaking of detours, we will not be doing our normal Q & A post today. We think that the wisdom Dr. Powlison is providing will serve to answer many of the questions we receive far better than we could. We hope you agree and we pray that you are benefiting from this rich counsel as much as we are!

Personal Reflection, cont.
by David Powlison

Anger

1. Ponder the following passage from Ephesians.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 4:29-5:2).

Read it over 3-4 times. Take it slowly. Emphasize different sentences, phrases, words. Where do you tend to misfire in this area? Notice how God boxes us in: you can’t “keep to yourself” (bitterness), or “go to the other person” (wrath and anger), or “go to other people” (clamor and slander)! We are driven to deal with our attitudes before God, and then deal constructively and mercifully with others. Notice how persistently Paul puts specifics about the Lord into the picture. He knows we need strong and sweet-tasting medicine in order to deal with anger. What most strikes you about this passage?

2. Now work through our six questions.

Situation: What circumstances trigger your anger or complaining? What pushes your buttons?

________________________________________________________________________

Reaction: How do you express anger (thoughts, emotions, actions)?

________________________________________________________________________

Motive: What are your “buttons”?
I want _____________________.
I must have____________________.
At all costs, I don’t want _______________ and must avoid it.

Message: What specific things does God reveal about Himself (right in this passage), that bid to do battle with your angry reactions?

________________________________________________________________________

You might also start to fan out into the surrounding sentences in Ephesians.

Turn: Bring the real you in your real world to this Savior and Father. Have a conversation about what matters. Talk to God about these things. It is a huge step to verbalize out loud that our “buttons” (idols, cravings) are core sins, and to verbalize that we need the very mercies that are held out as our example. Christ is not a “model” that we watch from afar and then seek to emulate. Rather, he actually treats us with mercy, so we experience his mercy. By doing mercy to us, he teaches us up close and personal to show mercy to others.

Respond: What are you now called to do (and to not do)? What specific actions express how faith-working-through-love replaces craving-working-through-anger? What can and must you do right now that is merciful? Or when you get back home later today?

________________________________________________________________________

3. Worship is the opposite of anger & grumbling.
What “consolations to delight your soul” do the hymns, (“Jesus, what a friend for sinners” & “How firm a foundation”) offer, give, proclaim, embrace, hope in, delight in?

Nov 8

Personal Reflection Part Two

2005 at 4:29 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Spiritual Growth

This Personal Reflection on anxiety is excellent application of the little paragraph that we read this morning. I call this a “sit down and stay a while” kind of post. I would encourage each of you to set aside some time to work through this material. Don’t read it and quickly move on. There isn’t one of us who can claim innocence when it comes to the sin of anxiety. Dr. Powlison is both direct and gentle in his words as he leads us through a Scriptural perspective and a plan of action for change. I am so grateful for this material as I daily fight my own battle against anxiety.

So have a seat, (at this point, I would also recommend getting your favorite snack), and ask the Lord to speak to you as you read.

Personal Reflection, cont.
by David Powlison

Anxiety

1. Ponder the following passage from Psalm 94.

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19).

Read it over 3-4 times. Take it slowly. Emphasize different words and phrases. Where do you tend to misfire regarding worry, fear, uncertainty, obsession? What most strikes you now as you think about how this voice of faith talks about his experience of both anxiety and the Lord?

2. Now work through our six questions.

Situation: What circumstances tend to arouse your specific worries and preoccupations?

________________________________________________________________________

Reaction: How does anxiety typically show up in you? (thought patterns, feelings, behaviors, inner obsession)

________________________________________________________________________

Motive: What erases God from your universe, hijacking the controls of your heart? Get as specific as possible. Our lusts and lies are evasive and deceitful, but to identify them is like publishing a picture of your enemy.

I want __________________________________________.
I fear (don’t want) _______________________________.
I believe ________________________________________.
If only ________________________, then everything would be fine.

Message: What specific “consolations” bid to delight you and reclaim you? Start to branch out from Psalm 94:19, working backwards and forwards into the surrounding sentences. What brought this worried man delight? You might also consider Psalm 103, Numbers 6:24-26, or Exodus 34:5-10 to prime your pump.

________________________________________________________________________

Turn: Bring the real you, in your real world, to your real Savior. Weave together situation, reaction, motive, and message. Pick one specific “consolation” to focus on. Have an honest conversation with your Father about what matters—out loud, not just spinning words within the anxious chambers of your mind! Honor Him. Give Him thanks. Need Him. Ask. Plead. Confess. Delight. Notice. Remember.

Respond: What are you now called to do (and to not do)? What specific actions will express how faith-working-through-love replaces idolatry-working-through-worry? What exactly can and should you do right now? Later today? Tomorrow?

________________________________________________________________________

3. Worship is the opposite of anxiety.
What “consolations to delight your soul” do the hymns, (“Jesus, what a friend of sinners” & “How firm a foundation”) offer, give, proclaim, embrace, hope in, delight in?