Jan 20

A Prayer for the New President

2009 at 11:09 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney

Inaug1-300x199 On this historic occasion, Dr. Albert Mohler provides an exemplary prayer on behalf of Barack Obama. He concludes with these thoughts:

“Christians are, first of all, citizens of a heavenly kingdom. The followers of Christ know no allegiance of ultimate rank to any government or earthly authority. Yet, the Bible clearly teaches that God has given us the gifts of law, government, and ruling authorities for our good. We are instructed to pray for “rulers and all who have authority” and to be faithful in praying “so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God” [1 Timothy 2:2].

As Barack Obama prepares to take the oath of office and become the 44th President of the United States, Christians should be thinking about how to pray for the new President. I offer this prayer as a place to start, as we observe the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States together.”


Read Dr. Mohler’s prayer here.

Jan 19

Best Deals of the Season

2009 at 2:49 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management

Stockxpertcom_id13018101_jpg_c4bc73894f19e3aae8cce06583d77d94 If it’s true that our lives are made up of God-ordained seasons, and that each season holds out many opportunities—or to use our shopping analogy, bargains—but that only some are really worth buying, how do we know which to grab and which to pass up?

“The way we should go and the thing we should do” (Jer 42:3) is found only by prayerful study of God’s Word. In Scripture alone are the signs marking the true bargains for each season of our lives.

So what are they? What are the best deals for teenage girls, single women, moms with young kids, the empty nester?

Over the next few weeks we’ll consider this question, beginning with teenage girls (and their moms). We’ll study Scripture to learn how to “walk carefully” and “make the best use of [our time]” in each of these seasons.

Along the way we want to hear from you: How have you learned to buy up these deals in this season of your life? Or, to put it more plainly, how have you made these God-ordained opportunities the top priorities in your life?

Shop-talk for teenagers starts tomorrow.

Jan 16

God of Our Seasons

2009 at 4:15 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management

Yrvqfrlo Scripture provides ample evidence that God sets the boundaries for each season. God determines when one closes and a new one begins. He is in complete charge and sovereignly rules over every season of our lives. And his purpose for our lives in each season ultimately cannot be frustrated.

Proverbs 16:9 declares, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”

Nebuchadnezzar said about God, “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” (Dan. 4;35).

The prophet Jeremiah professed, “ I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not man who walks to direct his steps.” (Jer. 10:23).

All too often, we arrogantly think we are in charge. We imagine that we’re planning and deciding our life’s course. Who are we kidding? We need to humble ourselves and acknowledge, “God you are in charge. And I humbly accept your plan for the changing seasons of my life.”

We can trust this God who is in charge because we know his purposes are always directed for his glory and our good (Rom 8:28). As author Elisabeth Elliot insists, “Everything that happens to you has come through the hedge of His love.”

What comfort and rest this brings to our hearts!

As we seek to make the best use of time in every season, we can be confident that God’s divine wisdom and perfect love direct his purposes in our lives.

But maybe you’re still wondering: what does it look like to make the best use of time in my season?

Next week we’ll suggest some of the best bargains to be found in the different seasons of our lives.

We hope you’ll find a few deals that are too good to pass up!

(This week’s series was adapted from our book, Shopping for Time)

Jan 15

Changing Seasons

2009 at 4:32 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management

Think back five years ago. Was your life different from the way it is now?

Maybe you weren’t even a Christian at that time. Perhaps you have since gotten married or graduated or changed jobs or moved to a new place or had a baby (or two or more!). You may have experienced a life-altering tragedy or a surprising success.

Even if you don’t feel as if your life is dramatically different, change has occurred, however imperceptibly. You’ve probably walked through relational changes, experienced physical changes, learned new skills, or developed new interests.

Stockxpertcom_id26793341_jpg_bb3ac5c1c10b546b587aaadbb75e69e9 Most significantly, if you are a believer, Christ has been conforming you to his image. Undoubtedly your life is different from the way it was five years ago. And the same will be true five years from now.

That’s because our lives are made up of changing seasons.

It tells us so in Ecclesiastes: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (3:1). This passage goes on to list fourteen couplets that cover the range of human activity.

Our lives are never static or stationary. New seasons keep rolling in—each with its own unique joys and challenges. In fact, just about the time we adjust to our present season, it’s time to make way for a new one!

A woman may pass through many seasons in her lifetime. Here are a few:

Childhood
Adolescence
Singleness
Marriage
Childbearing
Mothering preschool children
Mothering school-aged children
Mothering teenaged children
Empty-nesting
Menopause
Caregiving to elderly parents
Grandmothering
Widowhood

This is not an exhaustive list. There may be additional seasons you will experience and ones you will never pass through. For example, certain women may remain single throughout there lifetime, and not every woman will experience widowhood.

But we must understand the reality of our changing seasons if we want to “look carefully how we walk” and “make the best use of our time.” For the best deals vary from season to season. Last year’s bargain might be this year’s foolish purchase.

So, we must walk through each season with open eyes in order to make the best choices.

But our comfort is this: God orders the seasons of our lives.

Tomorrow we’ll consider this truth.

Jan 14

Good or Best?

2009 at 5:04 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management

Stockxpertcom_id13018101_jpg_c4bc73 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:5-16

The phrase, “making the best,” means to “buy up, rescue from loss, or improve” the use of time. It is a metaphor taken from the merchants and traders of the ancient Near East, who aggressively pursued the best deals when they would buy, sell, or trade. (We told you this idea of “shopping for time” comes straight from Scripture!)

The idea of this verse is that we are to approach life in the same way we go after bargains. We need to discern the best opportunities life has to offer. Then we must seize those opportunities and make them our highest priorities.

Every day presents us with countless options for how to spend our time. However, only some are truly great deals. Only a few things are really important.

Our job is to figure out what those prime deals are—these key opportunities—and devote all our time and energy to them.

This means choosing not to do a thousand other things. It means saying no to a lot of enticing options.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Obviously, we don’t want the “bad deals” to keep us from what is truly valuable. We don’t want sinful pursuits to deter us from what is God glorifying. But it’s often the good things such as a ministry opportunity, a relational pursuit, a money-making venture, a leisure activity, or a hobby that hinders us from making the best choices.

It’s frequently the good things that distract us from the best things.

So how do we learn to spot the best deals and ignore the bad ones? What are the secrets to discovering life’s most excellent bargains? In the coming days, we will discuss how to become savvy shoppers of time.

But first there is one fundamental principle we must understand. We’ll consider it tomorrow.

Jan 13

Look Carefully

2009 at 5:57 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:5-16

Girl walking Look carefully. It’s a sobering command, is it not? It means that we are to walk with the utmost accuracy, with extreme care, with caution.

We are not to trudge blindly or routinely through our days. We shouldn’t just let life happen and try to deal with the results, be what they may. We should not allow one day to flow into the next, being concerned only with the present moment.

No, we must look around. We must develop keen eyes. We must examine our lives. We must evaluate our present manner of living and consider how to prepare for the future.

After all, we wouldn’t dream of sauntering through a clothing store with our eyes closed, picking up whatever we touch, placing it on the counter, and hoping it would turn into a wardrobe. No, we carefully walk through the store with our eyes wide open. We consider style. We study the price tag. We evaluate quality.

This verse in Ephesians tells us to live the way we shop—carefully.

It means we look…

backward on our life thus far, so that we might avoid past errors and repeat former victories;
forward to consider where a plan or course of action may lead;
inside our hearts to examine our motives and the reasons for the choices that we make;
around and take stock of our present fruitfulness;
beside us for critique, help, and wisdom from fellow believers;

and most of all…

Look up and seek guidance from our Heavenly Father through prayer and His Word.

This is how to be intentional, purposeful, and, as this verse says, wise in the way we walk.

Jan 12

Life’s Best Bargains

2009 at 2:49 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management

We women take our shopping seriously—especially in these tough economic times.

We scour the Sunday paper for coupons and sales. We haunt thrift stores. We track down bargains better than a hound dog on a scent. We’re experts in our trade. We know which time of year to shop for what items. We know which supermarket has the best produce and where to find the best deals online.

The reality is, however, we don’t often manage the time God has granted us on this earth with the same intentionality or skill that we bring to shopping.

Stockxpertcom_id13018101_jpg_c4bc73 While we constantly—almost unconsciously—plan, evaluate, strategize, and make wise choices when shopping, we often neglect to do so with the most important matters of our lives.

We wouldn’t dream of going to the grocery store without a shopping list, or buying a car without haggling over the sticker price, or purchasing new shoes without checking the price tag, but we throw away our time as if we had an endless supply.

As a result, we often miss out on the best deals life has to offer and end up paying big time in guilt, anxiety, and a lack of confidence that we’re really doing the will of God. More often than not, we’re overwhelmed by life’s choices and demands. Perhaps, most unfortunately, we lack fruitfulness in Christ’s kingdom.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. We can know for certain that we are doing all God wants us to do. Peace and joy and rest can be an everyday experience. We can live a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called (Eph 4:1).

How? By becoming shoppers of time. This isn’t our bright idea. It comes straight from Scripture. Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us how to live like we shop: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

This week we’ll consider what Scripture means when it tells us to shop for time.

Jan 10

Friday Funnies

2009 at 12:09 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Friday Funnies

My friend Noël Piper sent us this great video with the following greeting:

“Thought you might like to show your readers, especially the southern
ones, how we in the frozen north entertain ourselves during the winter.”

Enjoy,
Carolyn for my daughters

(And yes, that is John Piper making a snow angel!)

Jan 9

That We May Grow

2009 at 2:27 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Time Management

Stockxpertcom_id129199_jpg_3087568b Prayer.

Preaching the gospel to our souls.

Reading.

Rising early.

These are our simple goals for growth.

Yet we cannot fulfill any resolution apart from the grace of our Triune God.

So we pray:

“Father, I pray today that you may count us worthy of your calling. Enable us to become increasingly holy, self-denying, loving, full of integrity, steeped in the knowledge of you and your Word, ever delighted and eager to trust and obey you. We are not strong enough or disciplined enough to live up to your calling on our own. But I ask that you will so work in our lives that we may grow in all things that please you so that you ultimately judge us to be living up to the calling that we have received….Lord Jesus, thank you that you are transforming us into your likeness with ever increasing glory by your marvelous grace. It is only by your grace that we can become fruitful. It is only by your grace that we can persevere. It is only by your grace that we can mature. It is your grace that enables us to love others more. It is your grace that enables us to cherish holiness and a deepening knowledge of God. Therefore I ask all these things on the basis of your grace.” (DA Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation, Chapter 3, 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, emphasis mine)