Today David Powlison guest-posts at Between Two Worlds and his thoughts on prayer have the potential to raise the noise level of your quiet times (yes, moms with toddlers, that is possible!). Here’s an excerpt, but you really need to read the entire article for yourself:
”It’s fair to say that having a “quiet time” is a misnomer. We should more properly have a “noisy time.” By talking out loud we live the reality that we are talking with another person, not simply talking to ourselves inside our own heads….I’ve known many people whose relationship with God was significantly transformed as they started to speak up with their Father. Previously, “prayer” fizzled out in the internal buzz of self-talk and distractions, worries and responsibilities. Previously, what they thought of as prayer involved certain religious feelings, or a set of seemingly spiritual thoughts, or a vague sense of comfort, awe, and dependency on a higher power. Prayer meandered, and was virtually indistinguishable from thoughts, sometimes indistinguishable from anxieties and obsessions. But as they began to talk aloud to the God who is there, who is not silent, who listens, and who acts, they began to deal with him person-to-person….Out loud prayer became living evidence of an increasingly honest and significant relationship. As they became vocal, their faith was either born or grew up.”
Our dear friend Lucy sent us this video and it was so funny we thought it deserved a day all to itself. Originally from a Good Morning America piece, it stars Anita Renfroe (of “Mom’s Overture” fame) and explores the question, “What does your bag say about your personality?” One of us is a purse schizophrenic (can you guess who?), while the rest of us are a blend of more than one of these “purse-onalities.” What are you?
Okay girls, I have one more thing from my dad that I think you will find super helpful. Along with Josh Harris and Jeff Purswell, he has begun podcasting! My husband Mike can’t stop telling me about how significant these podcasts have been to him personally. Their most recent podcast entitled “The Pastor & His Soul” is not just for pastors. We are posting about it on girltalk because it is packed full of biblical truth that applies to all of us. So click here to give it a listen.
Imagine what Peter and John, Mary Magdalene and Mary, Jesus’ mother must have felt the day after the resurrection. I picture them opening their eyes in the morning, and it all coming back with a rush. The tomb is empty! Jesus is alive! But did it really happen or was it just a dream? What overwhelming emotion when they realized once again that it was true! The Savior has risen from the dead! Can you imagine the ecstatic joy? Can you imagine the waves of peace? The uncontainable excitement? It was the morning after the pivotal event in all of human history! Salvation had come to mankind!
It was a day unlike any other day.
Fast-forward two thousand years to today, the day after the day we celebrate Resurrection Sunday. All too often we go back to work or school (or spring break) or the daily routine, little bothering to remember what we celebrated yesterday. We enjoy the ham sandwiches and polish off the deviled eggs (Dad always called them “angel eggs”). But today shouldn’t be “just another day.” For the power of the resurrection is as real as it was the day after that first Easter Sunday. The good news is just as marvelous. The peace and joy and excitement are just as amazing. The Savior is alive! He is risen! That’s why we as Christians should be what author Peter Lewis calls “Easter People.” We should celebrate the resurrection every day!
So to help you make today and every day, Resurrection Day, we want to encourage you to watch this message by Dad, kindly made available to all of us from our good friends at Ligonier Ministries.
“The proof that God saves is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Imagine for a moment that Jesus died on the cross without ever rising from the grave. In that case, how could we be certain that Jesus really had dealt with our sin and all its terrible consequences; guilt, alienation, suffering and death? At most we could say, ‘Perhaps God has accepted the cross of Christ as the atonement for my sin, but I cannot know for certain.’ We would have no receipt to show that the price of our redemption had been paid in full. We would have no token of affection to show that we had been reconciled to God. Nor would we have any reason to believe in the resurrection of our own bodies. If God did not raise Jesus, how could he be expected to raise anyone else?....[But] God has raised Jesus from the dead. By doing so, God showed that Jesus did not die in vain, that his sacrifice was accepted. The crucifixion, which was the verdict of sinful men, was overturned on appeal. God rendered his verdict on Jesus Christ in the resurrection, which is God’s seal of approval on the crucifixion, the proof that his justice is satisfied. By raising Jesus from the dead, God has attested that Jesus is the Saviour ‘who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.’” Philip Ryken, The Message of Salvation
May your Easter weekend be filled with the joy of our resurrected Savior! Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin and Janelle
So we recognize that it is pride to shrink from service simply because we aren’t “the best.” But even if we humbly step up to the plate and take a swing at it, there’s still the reality of our own inadequacy. We still lack what it takes to get the job done! What are we to do?
Jerry Bridges (not a descendant of Charles as far as we know), in his book Transforming Grace quotes John Owen in answer to this question:
“Yet the duties God requires of us are not in proportion to the strength we possess in ourselves. Rather, they are proportional to the resources available to us in Christ. We do not have the ability in ourselves to accomplish the least of God’s tasks. This is a law of grace. When we recognize it is impossible for us to perform a duty in our own strength, we will discover the secret of its accomplishment. But alas, this is a secret we often fail to discover.”
Instead of measuring a task against our own feeble abilities, or comparing our gifts to others (for, as Jerry Bridges points out, that’s what they are, after all: gifts of grace), let’s draw upon the limitless resources of Christ. Let’s not fail to discover this great secret of accomplishment.
When I’m tempted to avoid work I don’t feel gifted to do, this quote by Charles Bridges pushes me out of my comfort zone. I shared it with my young friend and I thought it would encourage you as well:
“Of some departments of our work, however, we are apt to say—‘I have no gift, no talent for it.’ But surely dependence upon the promise of heavenly wisdom would obtain a competent measure to meet the demand. Or should it even be withheld, how profitable would be that humbling exercise of faith—‘most gladly to glory in our infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon us!’ But nothing is more paralyzing to faith—nothing more clogs the wheels of exertion, than repining indolence [fretful laziness] indulged under the cover of humility.”
“Sometimes I don’t want to serve when it is something I don’t think I’m very good at” the young woman humbly confessed to me. The ugly truth behind her reluctance? Pride. This woman realized that she wants to be “the best” at whatever she puts her hand to, and if she can’t be the best, well, then she’d rather not even try.
Oh, how I can relate! I wrestle with the same temptation. But I’m grateful for my husband who has modeled humility in service for me. Whatever endeavor he undertakes, he acknowledges (to himself and others): “I know there are many people who can do this better than me.” Then he seeks to faithfully serve in whatever ways God has called him to, regardless of how gifted he feels to do it. His goal is to obey God and bless others.
Using our gifts requires humility. For as I’ve often reminded my girls (and myself!): “There’s always going to be someone better than you at what you do.” There’s always going to be the smarter kid in the class, the more outgoing friend, the more talented co-worker, the more organized homemaker, the more capable homeschool teacher, the more energetic servant, the more gifted than you at whatever you do. And you know what? These people have been strategically placed in our lives to expose our pride and help us serve with humility.
How much easier it would be to stick to arenas where we think we shine. But we should do our best even when we may not be the best. We should be willing to risk making mistakes, to allow others to see where we lack gifting and need help.
And when we humbly serve—even when we’re not the best—we’ll be pleasantly surprised at how God can use our meager gifts to encourage others and bring glory to Him!
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3