In lieu of the Friday Funnies, we want to encourage you to seize these few moments to continue to pray for the suffering people of Haiti. As Dr. Al Mohler has so movingly written:
“The earthquake reminds us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only real message of hope. The cross of Christ declares that Jesus loves Haiti—and the Haitian people are the objects of his love. Christ would have us show the Haitian nation his love, and share his Gospel. In the midst of this unspeakable tragedy, Christ would have us rush to aid the suffering people of Haiti, and rush to tell the Haitian people of his love, his cross, and salvation in his name alone. Everything about the tragedy in Haiti points to our need for redemption. This tragedy may lead to a new openness to the Gospel among the Haitian people. That will be to the glory of God. In the meantime, Christ’s people must do everything we can to alleviate the suffering, bind up the wounded, and comfort the grieving”
If you would still like to contribute to Sovereign Grace Ministry’s Disaster Relief Fund, you can do so here.
As a teenager, I visited Haiti twice on short-term mission trips. Seeing firsthand the severe poverty in that country had a profound impact on my young life. But it is impossible for me to imagine the suffering that so many are experiencing after this devastating earthquake. We want to encourage all of you to join us in praying for the people of Haiti, and especially that the gospel would go forward in the midst of this tragedy.
Sovereign Grace Ministries is able to provide aid through contacts in Haiti and the Dominican Republic and they have set up a Disaster Relief fund to which you can contribute. Here is more information:
In response to the devastating earthquake that occurred in Haiti on Tuesday, Sovereign Grace Ministries has opened a Disaster Relief fund to help deliver food, medicine, and other needed aid there. We will distribute the funds we raise primarily through existing ministry contacts we have on the island—both in Haiti and the Dominican Republic—who are already involved in relief efforts. ??If you want to join us in our support of these efforts, you can donate to the Disaster Relief fund on our website or by calling 800.736.2202. On behalf of our friends in Haiti, thank you for considering this opportunity to give. Regardless of your ability to make a donation, please join us in praying that those affected by the earthquake would receive aid quickly, and that despite these hardships the gospel would continue to go forward in that nation.??
Mary wanted to sit at Jesus’ feet by deliberately ignoring distractions—namely, Martha and her anxious busyness.But we need to be alert to what distracts us from keeping our daily appointment to read God’s word and pray.
Maybe it’s a hobby, the newspaper or a magazine, watching TV, listening to your ipod, staying up to late at night, loving sleep too much, blogging, keeping up with facebook, following twitter, texting, etc.
We must do whatever it takes to say “no” to the distractions that keep us from the one thing that is necessary: sitting at Jesus’ feet.
A while back, I found that the Internet was becoming a distraction. I was using the five minutes it took for my coffee to brew each morning to quickly check my email, or headline news, or maybe a blog or two, before starting my devotions.
I’d check a headline and then I just had to read the story; or I’d check a blog I enjoy, and I just had to check out the link they recommended, or I’d get caught up not just looking at my email, but answering it.
Before I knew it, five minutes would turn into twenty minutes and then my quiet time would be cut short.
So, I knew I needed to make a choice. I had to choose to say no to this distraction! I resolved to not look at email or blogs or headline news until after my time of Bible study and prayer.
What about you? Is there a distraction in your life that you need to say “no” to?
Whatever it takes ladies, let’s be ruthless about not allowing anything to distract us from seeking God through His Word and prayer.
To recap our “sitting” series, we’ve considered:
WHAT we are to sit and listen to: Jesus’ teaching. It is the one thing that is necessary.
WHERE we are to sit and listen: at Jesus’ feet, with humble hearts, eager to listen and learn.
WHEN we need to sit: even in busy seasons we must consistently seek God through His Word and prayer.
WHY do we sit: because we need God’s grace, not as a way to earn His approval.
The final question is HOW. How do we sit at Jesus’ feet?
Then answer is in Luke 10:42: “Mary has chosen the good potion.”
Mary didn’t just think about sitting and listening or talk to others about it. She chose to sit and listen. We must choose to sit and listen.
“It’s easier to serve than commune” observed the great preacher Charles Spurgeon. It’s easier to do what Martha did than what Mary did. So we need “great grace” to follow Mary’s example—to choose to sit and listen.
Two things will help us to choose the good portion:
1. eliminate distractions
2. develop a plan
More to come…
…as a way to earn God’s approval. It can’t be done. No string of quiet times in a row can meet the standard of a holy God. No amount of Scripture reading or prayer can earn His forgiveness.
Jesus Christ is the only person who ever met with God’s approval. He lived a perfect life and died in our place, receiving the wrath of God that we deserved. He rose again, and stands “before the throne of God above”—the perfect, spotless righteousness of those who trust in Him.
As believers we are justified—declared righteous, forgiven, and accepted by God—through grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone. We do not earn or forfeit our justification before God based on our performance.
Our good works, our faithfulness to sit and listen, our diligence to seek the Lord through prayer and Scripture do not add to Christ’s finished work.
Ephesians 2:8-9 sets the record straight: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
We must keep this truth ever before us as we resolve to sit at the Savior’s feet. It is necessary and beneficial; but it is never, never, never a means to earn God’s forgiveness or acceptance.
B.B. Warfield empathically hammered home this point when he said:
“There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live…It is always on His ‘blood and righteousness’ alone that we can rest.”
Are you discouraged or condemned by your failure to sit and listen?
Then revel in this truth: We have a Savior who died for our sins. His blood and righteousness alone makes us acceptable to God.
Kristy sent us this adorable picture of her boys and the funny story behind it. Don’t forget to pull out your camera for our Pick One Spot Contest!
Nicole for my mom and sisters
Hi Girl Talk Ladies! I just had to send this because it made me laugh so much. I was considering entering your contest for “Pick One Spot” so I had my camera up in my room…I was still deciding what spot to tackle. Today, I allowed my two older boys (3 and 2) to watch a show on my bed while I took a quick shower and the baby napped. My oldest called to me in the bathroom and asked if they could play with “the paper.” I vaguely remember having some post-it notes on my dresser, so I said sure. What’s a couple post-it notes scattered around?
Oops. So much for saving the wrapping paper for next Christmas!
As we’ve mentioned before, Mom was very intentional in training my sisters and me in homemaking—for which I am very grateful. Most of this training occurred in the home and she was our teacher. But she also tapped friends in the church to teach us candy making and sewing and together we took classes through the county and our local craft store.
Some lessons took off, and others fell flat. The bow-making class at Michaels, for example, was a complete waste of the registration fee. We had a good laugh about it this Christmas when I showed up to the family gathering with beautifully tied bows on my presents. Mom thought those lessons had finally paid off (fifteen years later) only to discover I had used pre-tied, elastic ribbons. Oh well!
The cooking classes, on the other hand, were worth every penny (easy to say when it wasn’t my money, but I think it is true!). They sparked a life-long love of cooking and the Lord knew that one day I would have three boys who love to eat. One of our favorite classes was Italian Cooking where a local wife and mother taught us how to cook some of her family’s favorite recipes. We still make many of her dishes today. This week, I whipped up a batch of her minestrone soup and put extra jars in the freezer. Mmmmm…perfect for winter! Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!
4 slices bacon
2 onions, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 cans chicken broth
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with juices
5 cups shredded cabbage
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In large pot cook bacon over medium heat until browned and crisp. Remove; drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon and set aside. Drain off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from pot. Add onions, carrots, and garlic. Cook stirring often about 8 minutes. Add chicken broth, tomatoes with juice, wine, parsley, bay leaf, basil, salt, pepper and rosemary. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add cabbage. Cook 10 minutes longer. Remove bay leaf. Serve with ditalini cooked separately. Top with crumbled bacon and Parmesan cheese—freshly grated.
For the girltalkers, the New Year usually sparks a cleaning and organizing frenzy. We blame Mom for this condition. Last week Nicole went on a crazy two-day organizing spree. She’s insane! But Mom and I were jealous of her newly organized home; so today we tackled our kitchen. We are giving each and every cabinet a thorough clean. Writing this post is my chance to sit down for a few minutes!
All this organizing reminded me of one of my favorite girltalk contests: Pick One Spot! Oh, I loved that contest! We asked y’all to:
1. PICK ONE SPOT in your house that was in dire need of some TLC
2. Take a “before” picture
3. Proceed to give said spot some TLC
4. Take an “after” picture, and
5. Send your pics to us for a chance to win some prizes.
Your entries were amazing! The transformed spots were just short of miraculous!
So, I’m bringing that contest back. Join us in our New Year organizing frenzy and try for a prize while you’re at it. Pick One Spot in your house—it can be a room, a closet, or even a corner and follow the directions above.
Grand-prize winner gets $100 gift card to a “home” store of your choice. Deadline is in two weeks: January 22.
OK, I’m getting up from the computer now and so should you. We’ve got work to do!
When CJ leaves for work at the end of the day, he tells Tony, his assistant, and Nora, his secretary: “We’ll try again tomorrow,”
That’s short for: “Well friends, we worked hard today, but once again we failed to accomplish everything we hoped. Maybe we even made mistakes, used poor judgment, or experienced setbacks. We are frail and finite creatures. Only God gets His to-do list done. And only God does it perfectly, every day. So, let’s humbly acknowledge our weakness and insufficiency in contrast to His strength and sovereignty. But let’s not give up in despair. If God wills, let’s come back tomorrow and by His grace, do our best to serve Him faithfully, for His glory!”
Let’s try again tomorrow.
I think CJ’s little phrase can help us in the New Year.
Are you discouraged by unfulfilled resolutions from years past? Maybe you’ve already failed to keep your resolutions for 2010.
I can easily get discouraged when I consider this past year: My recipes remain half-organized on my computer. My reading list is only two-thirds completed. Certain relationships I wanted to invest in remain untended. My unbelief still dogs me.
But I read more books this year than if I’d never resolved to read at all. I’ve taken more initiative with people, even if not as much as I would have liked. And the recipes are half way-organized instead of one big mess! By God’s grace, I think I’ve even grown in faith, however slow my progress.
I may not have completed my to-do list for 2009. But I’ve done more than if I never tried at all.
So, I’m going to try again this year. I’m going to make new resolutions to glorify God. I’m going to seek to make them humbly—recognizing my weakness and inability to complete them all perfectly.
But in the words of Paul: “one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14). I want to press on to be more like Jesus and be with Him more often in 2010.
As we bid goodbye to 2009, I say to you: “Let’s try again this year.”
We’ve all made our New Year’s resolutions: Spend (a little) less money on shoes, organize the kitchen cabinets, dig out the exercise DVD from under the bed, check the facebook feed fewer times per day.
But wait. Have we resolved to do the one thing that is necessary in 2010?
Donald Whitney, in a timely sermon at CLC yesterday, challenged us to pursue holiness: “without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).
“Our purpose in life—if we have the Holy Spirit” he says, “is godliness: you want to be like Jesus, and you want to be with Jesus.”
And there’s only one way for that to happen.
By practicing the spiritual disciplines.
By sitting at Jesus’ feet.
“Godly people are godly people primarily because they are disciplined people. And it has always been that way” insists Dr. Whitney:
“You can go all the way back through the history of the church and all the famous heroes of church history. You can be sure that all those men and women became godly men and women – not because God zapped them in some way that he hasn’t zapped you….Those great men and women of faith became more like Jesus the same way you and I do: by means of sustained, unspectacular, routine discipline. Godly people are godly people because they are disciplined people. It’s always been so.”
To help us be more disciplined, godly people, we have an exciting new feature coming soon to girltalk. So stay tuned.
But today, I want to urge you to listen to this message by Dr. Whitney. It will strengthen your desire and resolve to be more like Jesus and be with Jesus more often in 2010.
Let’s sit in the new year together.