“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19
When I read Psalm 34:19 this morning, three friends immediately came to mind. One has a little girl in the middle of chemotherapy treatment. Another has a husband who is experiencing seizures while she is enduring severe morning sickness from her sixth pregnancy. Still another friend has a daughter with epilepsy, and only this week she learned that there may be some health concerns with her younger daughter as well. Talk about many afflictions! I cannot relate to the kind of suffering that my friends are enduring.
You too may be suffering many afflictions. They may be health or job related, they may be relational or spiritual. If so, may dear Mr. Spurgeon’s comments on this verse give you hope:
Many are the afflictions of the righteous. Thus are they made like Jesus their covenant head. Scripture does does not flatter us like the story books with the idea that goodness will secure us from trouble; on the contrary, we are again and again warned to expect tribulation while we are in this body. But – blessed “but,” how it takes the sting out of the previous sentence! – But the Lord delivers him out of them all. Through troops of ills Jehovah will lead his redeemed scatheless and triumphant. There is an end to the believer’s affliction, and a joyful end too.
My righteous friends, may this “blessed ‘but’” ring long and loud in your ears today! May the truth of the second half of this verse be greater to you than the first. Yes, we may have to suffer many afflictions in this lifetime. But God has promised to deliver us from every one! Not some of them, or most of them, but “them all!” Our trials will come to an end—a joyous triumphant end!
I pray these words will comfort my three dear friends, and all of you, today.
This week, our husbands, (and maybe yours) are attending the Together for the Gospel Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. And while they are joined “together” for the gospel, our friend, Laurie, over at “Ordinary Mother” wrote a wonderful post about how we are “apart” for the gospel. Maybe your husband is away on a business trip or serving in another capacity. I know that her post will encourage those of you that have given up your husbands this week. Read it here.
Every week here at girltalk we receive emails from single women who have questions about relationships with guys. How do I know if this is the guy I should marry? What do I do about my feelings for a guy when he hasn’t expressed any interest? How do I deal with a broken heart? What if my parent’s don’t approve of my relationship? How do I wait patiently for God to bring the right one for me? What if the right one never comes?
Many of these difficult questions require on-site advice from pastors and friends. However, on the Na blog today, Erin Sutherland shares how a little girl reminded her of God’s answer to all relationship questions—and indeed, to all of life’s questions. Be sure to check it out.
The blog Of First Importance boasts authors from Thomas Watson and Charles Spurgeon to JI Packer and Sinclair Ferguson. Every day, the owners of this blog post thoughts from these esteemed men on the topic of greatest importance: the gospel. Several days ago they posted this illuminating quote by Thomas Brooks. I immediately printed it out and pinned it up on the bulletin board above my desk:
“That Christian who has free grace, who has free justification, who has the mediatorial righteousness of Christ, who has the satisfaction of Christ, who has the covenant of grace most constantly in his sight, and most frequently warm upon his heart—that Christian, of all Christians in the world, is most free from a world of fears, and doubts, and scruples which do sadden, sink, perplex, and press down a world of other Christians, who daily eye more what Christ is a-doing in them, and what they are a-doing for Christ, than they do eye either his active or passive obedience. Christ has done great things for his people, and he has suffered great things for his people, and he has purchased great things for his people, and he has prepared great things for his people; yet many of his own dear people are so taken up with their own hearts, and with their own duties and graces, that Christ is little eyed by them or minded by them! This is the great reason why so many Christians, who will certainly go to heaven—do walk in darkness, and lie down in sorrow.” - Thomas Brooks, A Cabinet of Choice Jewels
I’m one of those Christians who is often more focused on what Christ is doing in me or what I should be doing for Him than the great things He has already suffered and done for me. I want to take this advice to heart and daily walk in the joy of my salvation.
A friend sent this to me and it gave me a good laugh. Definitely a show I would enjoy watching!
Hope you enjoy some spring weather this weekend!
Kristin for the girls
The next “Survivor” series:
married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six
kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes
is no fast food.
man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all
homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of
‘pretend’ bills with not enough money.
addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.
man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send
cards out on time.
man must also take each child to a doctor’s appointment, a dentist appointment
and a haircut appointment.
make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.
must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.
man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers
outside and keeping it presentable at all times.
men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores
men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear
uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows
one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back
aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or
slow down from other duties.
must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to
spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.
will need to read a book and then pray with the children each night and in the
morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00
test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be
required to know all of the following information: each child’s birthday, height,
weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor’s name. Also the child’s weight at
birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child’s favorite color,
middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest
fear and what they want to be when they grow up. The kids vote them off the
island based on performance. The last man wins only if…he still has enough
energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment’s notice.
the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for
the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right to be called Mother!
Today I pre-ordered my copy of a new book by our dear friend Carolyn McCulley entitled Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World. So what that it’s not due out until October 1, 2008. I’m just that excited about it. And you should be too.
Here’s how Carolyn describes the book:
The theme of the book is to explore what’s happened in the last 200 years in terms of feminist thinking and to sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly to understand our culture’s current thinking and how that compares/contrasts with what the Bible teaches. We’ll look at issues related to men, marriage, children, domesticity, sexuality, and the church. My goal is not to create an us/them self-righteous dialogue about feminism for two reasons: 1) Scripture teaches us that our real enemy is not flesh and blood; and 2) intellectual honesty demands that we acknowledge feminists initially addressed serious problems for women. We have derived some (limited) benefits from the three waves of feminism (1848 to today), but we need to be wise about how our culture thinks about key issues. Good observation does not make for correct interpretation. The interpretation has actually created many more problems for women. So that’s why in today’s world it’s truly radical for a woman to live in a counter-cultural way, glorifying God.
On second thought, maybe I don’t want to wait the six months plus the couple of days it will take my Amazon.com order to ship. Maybe, come October 1st, I’ll camp outside my local bookstore with other Carolyn McCulley fans to get the very first copy that hits the shelves.
In the meantime, we can all listen to Carolyn’s recent messages on Radical Womanhood shared with the women of CrossWay Community Church in Charlotte, NC a few weeks ago. They won’t last you until October but they’ll be great weekend listening.
My Grandma makes the best donuts in the world. Oh and her homemade bread, toasted with some butter—it really doesn’t get much better than that. My love for my mom’s mom goes a lot deeper than food of course, but I cannot write about her without at least mentioning her yummy cooking!
My mom dedicated her book, Feminine Appeal, to my grandma and wrote the final chapter as a tribute to her. These lines are the perfect description of this lady that I’m privileged to call “Grandma”…
“Now if you had the honor of meeting Margaret, you would at once be impressed by her joy. But her vivacious, delightful character is most conspicuous in the arena of her home. She’s always smiling or singing. She is excited by the simplest of pleasures. She loves to laugh—so hard the tears run down her cheeks. And all through the years she marshaled this joyful energy for the well-being of her family. Never once did her children hear her complain. And not until they had children of their own did they comprehend the sacrifices she had made, for all her sacrifices had been masked by her perpetual joy.”
My grandma is one of my heroes. She’s a woman whose life I want to emulate and I will never be able to thank her enough for the legacy that she has given me.
That is why my second daughter will bear her name: Margaret Janelle. We’ll call her “MJ” and Lord willing, she will meet her great-grandmother at the end of August.
Yep, it’s another girly!
We’ve been considering our words the past few days. But what should we do when someone else’s words about our husband are critical or complaining? In a recent post on my dad’s blog, Mom shares thoughts for pastors’ wives (and all wives, really) on “How to Help Your Husband When He’s Criticized.”
Mom brought our little series on words to its conclusion with this post about purposeful words.
Today is the final post in our little series on speech
. We’ve learned of the dangers of corrupting talk
and discovered that Ephesians 4:29
instead directs us to use edifying words
and appropriate words
. Finally, this verse also tells us that our words should be purposeful, “so that [they] may give grace to those who hear.”
What amazing power and potential there is in our speech! When we are purposeful and intentional to use edifying and appropriate words, this is the result: God promises that our words will impart grace to those who hear. Every conversation we have with another person carries this marvelous potential of passing on the grace of God. And we are a people in need of God’s grace, are we not?
So if a friend is condemned or legalistic, I want to give her justifying grace through my words. And if my husband is struggling with a particular sin, I want to give him sanctifying grace through my words. For a fellow church member who is suffering I want to give them comforting race through my words. If a child is disobedient, I want to give him or her convicting grace through my words. And if a friend is weary, I want to give her sustaining grace through my words.
There is no doubt that we will be talking today. No doubt. So in light of this verse, let’s purpose that each of our 25,000 words be edifying and appropriate, that we “may give grace to those who hear.”
More on words. Nicole took this one…
We’ve been studying words this week from a message my dad gave on Ephesians 4:29 entitled “Encourage.” We’ve learned that we are to put away all corrupting talk and instead speak edifying words. But not only should our words be edifying, they should also be “appropriate” or as it says in verse 29: “as fits the occasion.”
As women, we generally give due attention to our dress. When invited to a party, dinner, or event, we take great pains to ensure we are wearing proper attire. We would never attend a formal event in sweats, or waltz into a pool party in high heels.
However, I am not always nearly so careful with my words. I don’t stop to consider whether or not they “fit the occasion.” And yet, unlike my dress, words are of the greatest significance. For “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21)
That’s why Ephesians 4:29 is a much needed reminder to stop and listen before I speak. Proverbs 18:13 says: “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” And all to often I play the fool. Instead, I must consider the person to whom I am speaking. And I must choose the precise words that would serve them in that particular conversation.
First Thessalonians 5:14 is the “dress code” for our words. It tells us what words are appropriate for what occasion. “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
So let’s ask ourselves: does our child need to be admonished or forgiven? Does our friend need to be warned or comforted? Does our husband need to be counseled or encouraged?
We take great pains to dress appropriately for our own reputation, and yet when we speak appropriately, we bring honor and glory to God and bless those who hear.
“To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” (Prov. 15:23).