Today was “one of those days.” I woke up late and could barely keep my eyes open as I began my morning routine. I was behind schedule. All of my well thought out plans for my morning seemed lost. On days like this, the temptation to live by my emotions looms large. Complaining and grumbling were on my tongue. And then I read this, “We are TODAY accepted in the Beloved, TODAY absolved from sin, TODAY acquitted at the bar of God. Oh! Soul-transporting thought.” Mr. Spurgeon strikes again. My grumbling heart stood rebuked. Today is one of those days—one of those amazing days, which find me standing before the bar of God acquitted from all of my sin because of the death of Jesus Christ on my behalf. Yes, Mr. Spurgeon, this is a “soul transporting” thought.
Regardless of what this day holds for you, may the truth of your acceptance in the Beloved reign first in your heart.
Yesterday, I had lunch at Red Robin with my dear friend, Marie. We hadn’t been together since she and her family moved about 45 minutes north to Frederick, Maryland where her husband assumed the role of Senior Pastor for the newly planted Sovereign Grace Church of Frederick. She and I had lots of catching up to do!
However, it was only moments after our initial exchange of “How are you? How’s the family? What did you do for Thanksgiving?” when Marie announced with pencil and paper in hand: “I have one question before we begin. How can I be praying for you?”
After brief reflection, I conveyed three areas for which I would appreciate her prayers. She wrote each one down, thanked me for sharing and then assured me she would pray.
I know she will. And I am deeply grateful.
I’m also provoked by her example. Hebrews 10:24 challenges us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Marie did that for me yesterday. Though I’m sure she didn’t realize it, her love expressed in her good deed to pray for me spurs me on to love others more fervently and to be more diligent to do good deeds for them. Thank you, Marie!
During my morning devotions, I was struck by the singular encouraging message found in two distinct verses in two separate books of the Bible highlighted by two different commentators. How wonderful is the unified encouragement of Scripture!
Currently I am studying the book of Genesis, and today Genesis 6:18 was a part of my daily reading: “But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.”
Bruce Waltke comments: “This key expression emphasizes that God preserves humanity in its basic family structure. His salvation extends to the children” (Genesis: A Commentary, p. 136).
The second encouraging verse is from the Psalms: “The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you” (Psalm 102:28).
Charles Spurgeon pointed out:
“This verse is full of good cheer to us; we may plead for the Lord’s favor to our offspring…. God does not neglect the children of his servants….Grace is not hereditary, yet God loves to be served by the same family time out of mind. We may, therefore, not only for our own sakes but also out of love to the church of God, daily pray that our sons and daughters may be saved, and kept by divine grace even unto the end—established before the Lord” (Psalms Volume II, p. 70).
Are you praying for an unconverted son or daughter today? Scripture would encourage you, in the further words of Mr. Spurgeon: “Oh, do not give up praying, for Christ is ‘mighty to save.’ You are powerless to reclaim the rebel, but your Lord is Almighty….the best proof of which lies in the fact that He has saved you” (Morning and Evening, Jan. 14).
Consider the saving power of Christ in your own life, and with marveling faith, bring your prayers for the soul of your child to the throne of God today—right now!
Have I got a super great resource for you today!
I may be a little biased, but the fall edition of the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (published by CBMW published by and posted online with permission by Sovereign Grace Ministries) just came out featuring several of my favorite people. Yep, among the many contributing female authors, you will find Mom and Nicole along with our great friend Carolyn McCulley. Mom and Nicole have two articles taken from Girl Talk on homemaking (”Homemaking Internship” and “Future Homemakers”) and Carolyn has an excellent piece entitled, “When You Don’t Have a Better Half: Encouraging Biblical Roles as a Single Woman.” Enjoy your read!
Sorry we didn’t get the Friday Funnies up on Friday this week…we were a little distracted with Thanksgiving celebrations. But before the holiday weekend comes to a close we thought you’d enjoy this story that several of our readers sent us. See you all on Monday!
for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
PREGNANT TURKEY STORY
One year at Thanksgiving, my mom went to my sister’s house for the traditional feast.
Knowing how gullible my sister is, my mom decided to play a trick.
She told my sister that she needed something from the store.
When my sister left, my mom took the turkey out of the oven, removed the stuffing, stuffed a Cornish hen, and inserted it into the turkey, and re-stuffed the turkey. She then placed the bird(s) back in the oven.
When it was time for dinner, my sister pulled the turkey out of the oven and proceeded to remove the stuffing. When her serving spoon hit something, she reached in and pulled out the little bird.
With a look of total shock on her face, my mother exclaimed, “Patricia, you’ve cooked a pregnant bird!” At the realization of this horrifying news, my sister started to cry.
It took the family two hours to convince her that turkeys lay eggs!
It was a muddy day for the annual Turkey Bowl, but that didn’t stop us! We had a blast and a few of us (I won’t name names) are feeling a little sore tonight. Oh and as far as the Kristin and Chad rivalry, well, this year Kristin conceded that Chad has pulled far ahead of her in the athletic department and she is no longer able to cover him. But at least her team won!
Today began with homemade cinnamon rolls (which Nicole manged not to burn—yeah!) and was followed by turkey, ping pong, more turkey, lots of laughing, kiddos everywhere, and tons of fun. Take particular note of the pics with Mom and Steve and Brian. She defeated them (actually smoked them) in ping pong. Sorry guys.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! This is the big Mahaney holiday of the year. While many couples trade off spending Thanksgiving/Christmas with one side or the other, we have chosen to focus on Thanksgiving which allows our daughters to make their in-laws a priority at Christmas.
For anyone who is interested, we will be posting a photo-diary of the Mahaney Thanksgiving over the next several days. We’re sure to provide you with a few laughs, and you’ll want to find out who triumphs in the great football rivalry: Kristin or Chad! Also, check back for a special Thanksgiving Friday Funny.
As we make our final preparations for the Thanksgiving meal, for memories and for people, we must not neglect to prepare for gratefulness. This prayer from The Valley of Vision is a wonderful way to begin the Thanksgiving day or Thanksgiving meal. Contemplation on this quote from our favorite Mr. Charles Spurgeon will also stir up up gratefulness to God for His many blessings:
“The fear of a man who really knows the love and goodness of God, will be somewhat of this kind: He will fear lest he should really be, or should seem to be, ungrateful. ‘What’ he asks, ‘can I do? I am drowned in mercy. It is not as though my ship were sailing in a sea of mercy; I have been so loaded with the favour of the Lord that my vessel has gone right down, and the ocean of God’s love and mercy has rolled right over the masthead. What can I do O Lord? If thou had given me only a little mercy, I might have done something, in return, to express my gratitude. But oh! Thy great mercy in electing me, in redeeming me, in converting me, and in preserving me, and in all the goodness of thy providence toward me;—what can I do in return for all these favour? I feel struck dumb; and I am afraid, lest I should have a dumb heart as well as a dumb tongue; I fear lest I should grieve Thee by anything that looks like ingratitude.”
May your Thanksgiving be full of moments of gratitude as you contemplate the drowning mercies of our God!
“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” 1 Chronicles 16:34
Not only should we prepare for people, but we should also prepare for memories. Why is this so important? Noel Piper, in her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions explains:
“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.
Many of you probably have traditions your family has cherished for years. Here are some of our readers’ favorites. In the Mahaney family, the Turkey Bowl is the longest-standing Thanksgiving tradition. (Check in on Friday to find out who was victorious in the great Kristin-Chad rivalry). For Chad, “coupon books” are a continuation of a tradition we began when our girls were little.
However, each year, as the family grows and changes, we make new memories together, just as cherished as the old. What memories can you make this year with cherished family or friends—memories that ultimately point to The One who is most important to us?
As we round the weekend corner and face Thanksgiving week, no doubt many preparations are underway for the big holiday meal. Here at girltalk, we want to draw from previous posts and suggest three important ways to prepare to glorify God this Thanksgiving Holiday: Prepare for People, Prepare for Memories, and Prepare for Gratefulness.
Since the holidays typically provide opportunities to spend time with extended family, it is important that we prepare to honor God on these occasions. This year (and every year that follows, of course!) let’s choose the way of the prudent, described in Proverbs 22:3: “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
In other words, we need to think about the unique temptations that we face each holiday when we are with our families (this is seeing danger), and then we need to devise a plan to not sin and please God instead (this is hiding ourselves). Below is a simple 2-part plan that is guaranteed to help us honor God if we but implement it:
1. Pray to get ready.
Prayer is an act of humility. It is an honest acknowledgment that we can do nothing apart from God’s help. We can’t even spend God-honoring time with relatives without His aid. Therefore let’s pray. And do you know what will happen when we do? James 4:6 informs us that God will give us grace. Grace to not sin. Grace to love others. Grace to please God this holiday season.
2. Get ready to love.?
First Corinthians 13:4-8 shows us “the way of love.” In order to get our hearts ready to love that family member whom we may have trouble loving, it can be helpful to insert their name into this passage. How can I be patient and kind with “Uncle Harry?” How can I make sure I am not envying or boasting when I interact with “Suzy?” What is my plan to not be irritable with my mom or resentful toward my dad? And then let’s ask the Holy Spirit to equip us to love in this way.
We do not want to be like “the simple” in our proverb who “go on and suffer,” or more specifically in this case, who go on to reap the same consequences of sin year after year at our family celebrations. Instead, we must be prudent. So, let’s pray. Let’s love. And let’s be thankful for the family and friends God has placed in our lives—even the difficult ones!
P.S. Holiday celebrations with family are also a wonderful opportunity for the gospel. Listen to this outstanding message by Eric Simmons to prepare for evangelism.