A friend sent this video along to my dad. It will bring you into your weekend with a smile.
Back here Monday,
Janelle for the girltalkers
A friend sent this video along to my dad. It will bring you into your weekend with a smile.
Back here Monday,
Janelle for the girltalkers
I’m loving this book! Over the last week we read chapter three and it was packed full of wisdom and insight. On page 46 John Ensor writes, “When it comes to doing things right in matters of the heart, the first right thing we can ever do, the one right thing we must do, in order to get all the other things right, is to give our hearts to God.” He continues on page 47 saying, “If we do not seek our happiness in God and make him our perfect and everlasting happiness, then every good thing becomes a substitute for God; it becomes an idol.” As soon as I read these quotes I was reminded of the excellent messages my Dad recently gave at the New Attitude conference on the topic of idols. I wasn’t able to attend this conference, but the folks from New Attitude have graciously made the messages available for free online. Thanks, guys! I took some time in my morning devotions a few weeks ago to work through these messages, taking notes and seeking to examine my life. Can I encourage you to do the same? These messages are a perfect partner to this chapter. Click here to get the messages and happy listening.
It’s been a true Maryland summer this week. Hot and humid. As soon as you step outside in the morning you are enveloped in a layer of sticky moisture. Popsicles and the pool are absolute necessities right now. I pulled the sprinkler out for Caly and we went to town. It doesn’t take much to excite a 16 month old—just a little water from a faucet.
Wanted to let you in on the fun…
Not only when we are at our wits’ end, but even when we have our wits about us, we should pray. Not only when we are sad, but even when we are happy we should approach the throne of grace. Not only in adversity, but also in prosperity, we should make our requests known to God.
There is never a moment of our lives when we do not need God’s help and mercy. For that reason, we should always pray. It has been said of Mr. Spurgeon that he never prayed more than five minutes at a time. But he never went more than five minutes without praying. We would do well to follow his example.
So why don’t we make full use of the two short and comprehensive prayers found in Psalm 30:10: “Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!” and “O Lord, be my helper!” We do not have to find extra time in our day or even stop what we are doing; we can offer up these brief petitions anytime, anywhere. Let’s not wait another five minutes to seek the Lord in prayer.
After attempting to offer a couple of practical tips for her situation, I sought to remind her of the One who is our “very present help” and encouraged her to pour out her heart to Him, just as the psalmist, David did in Psalm 30:8: “To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy.”
Charles Spurgeon expanded on this verse: “Prayer is the unfailing resource of God’s people. If they are driven to their wits’ end, they may still go to the mercy-seat. Let us never forget to pray, and let us never doubt the success of prayer. Prayer will succeed where all else fails.”
Maybe it’s your little children, or your not-so-little children. Possibly it’s your in-laws or an aged parent. Or perhaps it is your boss or your co-workers. Are you feeling at your “wits end” with any relationship at present? Let’s not view our “wits’ end” as an end per say, but a beginning—the very point at which we cry out to the Lord for mercy. In fact, we should perceive our wits’ end as really a wonderful place to be—it’s the place where we have no other recourse but to cry out to God for help. And consider what will happen as we do: “They…were at their wits’ end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.” Ps. 107:27, 28
Like all of you I was affected by the sacrificial love displayed by the mothers we profiled the last two weeks. These women spend their lives for their children and have endured trials I simply cannot relate to. I can only admire the grace of God at work in their lives and be provoked by their example. It will be wonderful to see these women receive their eternal rewards on that last day and hear “well done” by our Lord and Savior. I’ll be cheering them on from the back!
For me mothering has not been a test of significant trials or life threatening diseases. My little boys have not experienced any sickness beyond the normal coughs, colds, ear infections and stomach viruses. We have been blessed with good health. I know that it’s a gift we do not deserve and I am freshly inspired to be grateful for it.
That being said, motherhood has not come to me without its own set of temptations to fear and anxiety. These temptations come to all of us - just in different shapes and sizes. Mine are small, but left to myself and my sinful thinking they can become very big.
One small, yet often-too-big fear is about my middle son, Liam. At an early age, Brian and I began to notice some delays in his speech. When we would go to his doctor and answer the standard questions he was never falling in the “normal” range. In fact, the doctor’s developmental questions almost seemed designed to exacerbate my fears. (You know the ones I’m talking about - Does your child stack blocks? Draw a circle? Say twenty words or more?) By two years of age, Liam was still not talking much or answering my questions- he would simply repeat the question back to me.
At times, I would respond to these delays with fear and anxiety. I wanted him to be typical, just like any other kid. I would worry about his future. Would he be able to grow up and become a husband, father, and provide for a family? These are not bad things to want for our children. But I was not trusting God for the perfect way he had created my Liam.
God’s Word and his promises always speak to our fears. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Psalm 139:13 says “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Our heavenly Father forms our children according to his perfect design. That is a truth in which we can rest.
Today, my Liam is four years old, and his speech is improving thanks to special education classes offered through the county. I still don’t know what his future holds, but I do know that whatever God’s plans are for Liam - they are full of hope.
This week’s Friday Funny is home grown. But you can tell it’s not from Janelle by the poor photographic quality. I saw this sign in the window of the my local dollar store and it cracked me up.
In case you can’t read the text, it says “ANY ITEM $1” in big letters…and then in smaller letters in parenthesis, an important qualifier: “(MOST OF THE ITEMS).”
Obviously we need you to keep sending in your Friday Funnies so we don’t have to resort to using our own!
Monday’s when we’ll see you next,
Nicole for the other girls
This week (June 20th, to be exact) marks two years since my daughters and I launched girltalk. For those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning or even if you’ve been following along only for a short while, probably know this about us: We love to recommend good books! From as early as the second day of this blog’s commencement, we were offering book suggestions for your summer reading. A year ago, as a way to promote the pleasurable discipline of reading, we inaugurated The Girltalk Book Club (of which we are presently reading our third book together.) As recently as yesterday, we were commending a book for your children. And for as long as it is God’s will that we continue this blog, we will advocate buying and reading good books —books that point us to The Greatest Book of all.
All this to say: I have another book recommendation for you today – a must have for your library. Yes, I know… today is Friday, book club day…and we are supposed to be talking about chapter two of our current selection: Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart. Actually, it was our reading assignment this past week that got me thinking about the invaluable resource of good books. John Ensor makes the following observation in his second chapter, “What the Heart Wants:”
“I am a sinful man subject to temptations and an insecure man subject to the need for peer approval. This need for approval from others (in the Bible it is called the fear of man) is the point of entry for most sin. It is the breach in our nature by which sin recruits and makes new disciples” (p. 34).
The fear of man is “the point of entry for most sin.” Did you catch that the first time? It was easy to miss in a chapter so densely packed with wisdom as this one. And yet, the implications of this truth reach far beyond matters of the heart and affect every area of our lives. The fear of man, the desire for the approval of others, the attraction to those things that “attractive” people say are attractive (even if they defy God’s Word) is a powerful motivator in our lives.
Consider for a moment: Is there any sin in your life—in your relationships, your job, your hobbies, your money, your time, that you are pursuing because of the fear of man—because the world around you gives this desire, its stamp of approval?
If you think this may be so, here’s where my book recommendation comes in. Because this topic of “the fear of man” is thoroughly and biblically addressed in When People Are Big and God is Small by Ed Welch.
Many of you may have already read this book, but even so, may I encourage you to reread it at the conclusion of our book club? Because John Ensor is on to something—if we want to do things right in all matters of life, we must heed the warnings of Scripture and beware the snare of the fear of man (Pr. 29:25).
Yesterday we pointed you to a sermon by John Piper on the glories of the new heaven and the new earth. Deep truths for adult minds. Today, we are pleased to recommend a book that communicates these deep, biblical truths to our children.
To me, a well-crafted children’s book is simple enough to engage my child’s imagination, and profound enough to evoke my own emotions. Such is Randy Alcorn’s Wait Until Then.
This story of a boy suffering from cerebral palsy and his grandpa is an invaluable resource for several reasons. First, it introduces the reality of suffering to children—such as mine—who are totally unfamiliar with pain or trial; yet it doesn’t overwhelm their still tender understanding or tempt them to fear.
Also, by creating a main character who has a disability, Mr. Alcorn helps children who don’t have a disability relate to and understand—at least a little bit—those who do. But most importantly, this book contains a clear gospel message and creates anticipation for heaven.
In addition to the excellent written content, you and your children will surely enjoy the vivid—almost real looking—illustrations by Doran Ben-Ami. And the final picture is especially sweet.
As we conclude this all-too-brief series, we want to thank those of you who wrote to tell us of the joy and blessing that your disabled child, sibling or friend is to you. No doubt, we could continue indefinitely to marvel at the grace of our Lord as expressed in the lives of these precious children. And the good news is that someday, we will.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold I am making all things new.’” Revelation 21:3-5
What do you say to the parent whose child will never have a mental ability beyond six months?
In his sermon, “The Triumph of the Gospel in the New Heavens and the New Earth” pastor John Piper answers this very question:
“You read to them, with tears and with the joy of hope (“sorrowful yet always rejoicing”) Romans 8:18-25.”
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
1. God promises that there will be liberation for this creation from its bondage and decay. V. 21: “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption.”
Your disabled son will have an eternity to run and leap to the glory of God—and this world will have seemed like a light and momentary affliction.
2. This liberation from its natural order will be a participation in the freedom of the glory of God. V. 21: ” the creation . . . will . . . obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
Your child will not be changed to fit the new glorified universe. The new universe will be changed to fit the glory of your child. He will not have to adapt anymore; everything in creation will be adapted to him.
3. The arrival of the new liberated creation is compared to a birth; so there’s not only continuity with this world, but also discontinuity. V. 22: “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”
Will my disabled son ever grow up? Will he eat on his own? Will he be able to make anything? God will make this world in a way that nothing is wasted. Your son will eat with Jesus. God will give him full development, for his maximum joy and God’s maximum joy.
What’s the deepest assurance and highest hope we can give these parents?
4. The hope of having redeemed bodies in the new creation is secured by our salvation which we received in the gospel—but this (receiving new bodies) is not our best hope. Vv. 23-24: “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.”
The ultimate gift and good of the gospel is not the redeemed bodies, not propitiation, not justification, not forgiveness of sins—these are all means. The ultimate good of the gospel is the glory of God himself in the his crucified and risen Son. 1 Pet. 3:18: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.”
The risen Christ will never lay down his risen body, but will keep it as an emblem of Calvary, where God’s grace was displayed most fully. We will sing of the slain lamb forever.