On Saturday, I had breakfast with two of my close friends. While sipping our hot drinks and eating our bagels, the conversation turned to the struggles we have at times with fear—fear about our children, fear about our blindness to sin, fear about our future….
But that is not how the conversation ended.
We went from confessing our fears to talking about our need to trust God more. Our need to exercise faith. We reminded each other of God’s great faithfulness toward us.
Because fear is not neutral. Fear is sin. And we must fight our fears with faith in God’s character and His precious promises—promises that flow from Christ’s work on the cross.
Here are Biblical promises that impart faith for my fears (along with commentary by Charles Spurgeon):
“The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.” Psalm 102:28
“[This verse] is full of good cheer to us; we may plead for the Lord’s favor to our offspring…. God does not neglect the children of his servants…Grace is not hereditary, yet God loves to be served by the same family time out of mind…. We may, therefore, not only for our own sakes but also out of love to the church of God, daily pray that our sons and daughters may be saved, and kept by divine grace even unto the end—established before the Lord.”
Charles Spurgeon, Psalms , Series editors, Alister McGrath and J.I. Packer (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1993), p. 70.
My blindness to sin:
“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” Psalm 51:6
“God is teaching [the repentant Christian] truth concerning his nature, which he had not before perceived. The love of the heart, the mystery of its fall, and the way of its purification – this hidden wisdom we must all attain; and it is a great blessing to be able to believe that the Lord will ‘make us know it.’”
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Psalm 23:6
“These twin guardian angels will always be with me. Just as when great princes go abroad and must not go unattended, so it is with the believer. Goodness and mercy follow him always – the black days as well as the bright days. Goodness supplies our needs, and mercy blots out our sins.”
Are you tempted to fear today? God has provided numerous promises in His Word. Find a specific promise from which you can derive faith and banish fear.
Here is a promise to get you started:
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
“God makes a perfect work of it. He clears away both our fears and their causes, all of them without exception.”
Previous three quotes taken from Charles Spurgeon, Psalms , Series editors, Alister McGrath and J.I. Packer (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1993), p.211-212, 91, 132.
On July 4 each year, we Americans may pause (perhaps only for a moment) in between barbecues and beach balls and “bombs bursting in air” to think about the men who founded our country. But not, too often, do we think about the women’s role.
In her book, Founding Mothers, Cokie Roberts profiles the women who lived at the center of the American Revolution. “It’s safe to say,” she notes, “that most of the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, fought the Revolution, and formed the government couldn’t have done it without the women.”
Speaking specifically about Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams (one of the most influential founding fathers) she comments, “Not only did John turn to Abigail for information and counsel, she was the person who made it possible for him to do what he did” (Cokie Roberts, Founding Mothers (New York, NY: William Morrow, 2004), xvi).
None of us are married to nation founders. However, all of us—married or single—have been created by God to be “helpers.” Equal to man in worth and value, we have, nevertheless, a different role. We have been given a specific, honorable, and challenging task: to “make it possible” for kingdom work to move forward.
Whether as a wife we advise, comfort, encourage, and assist our husband, or as a single woman we help others in the church and reach out to the lost—we are making possible, not just a work of historical significance, but of eternal significance.
So, how can you glorify God by being a helper today? What great work can you carry forward, simply by doing your part?
And finally, consider: What if those dynamic feminine heroes of the revolution had been “liberated” from their “oppressed” helper role (as women supposedly are today)? I wonder if we would even be celebrating Independence Day.
As we sign off each Friday, we want to send you into the weekend with a smile. Proverbs says, “A joyful heart is good medicine” (17:22).
To inaugurate this weekly post I want to tell you about a conversation between a mom (in our church) and her young daughter. The mom (who will remain anonymous) submitted this story in response to the question, “What is the funniest thing your child has ever said?” Here’s her reply:
“My daughter and I were passing by a well-known lingerie store in the mall. Upon seeing a picture of a model in the window, she turned to me and said: ‘Don’t worry, Mommy, you don’t look anything like that!’”
Have a great weekend!
Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
P.S. If you have a brief (one paragraph) humorous story you’d like to submit for our consideration, please e-mail us by clicking the “Email Me” link on the sidebar.
I thought I’d follow Nicole’s summer reading recommendations (see post dated June 21) with my favorite picks for little people. Brian and I have enjoyed reading these books to our five-year-old son, Andrew. More importantly, they have been valuable tools to introduce the gospel to his young mind.
Read Aloud Bible Stories: Volume 1 by Ella K. Lindvall
Amazon.com says that this “Gold Medallion Book Award” and “C.S. Lewis Honor Book” winner is for 4-8 year olds. However, because of the simple language, Andrew could memorize the stories at age two. Volume 2, Volume 3, and Volume 4 are also available.
My 1st Book Of Questions and Answers by Carine MacKenzie
Sinclair Ferguson writes that this book is “God-centered, Christ-honoring, Character-building.” What more could I ask for in a book for my children? Also check out My 1st Book Of Memory Verses , My 1st Book Of Bible Prayers , and My First Book of Bible Promises .
The Gospel for Children by John B. Leuzarder
This book explains the gospel message in a way that is easy for children to understand.
The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm
“Simple words and striking illustrations unfold the storyline of God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation,” is the apt description on the Crossway website.
Ages 5 and up
The Priest With Dirty Clothes by R.C. Sproul
Andrew really loves this story. He is just beginning to understand its meaning and significance of justification. Also by R.C. Sproul: The King Without a Shadow .
Dangerous Journey by Oliver Hunkin
This is a tremendous adaptation of the classic Pilgrim’s Progress for little children. However, It will probably be at least a year before Andrew reads this, as the pictures are a little scary.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Of course every child should read this classic series!
The Chronicles of Narnia Drama
Radio Theatre from Focus on the Family
And one music cd for children of all ages…
Awesome God - Andrew sings the songs around the house, and my two-year-old, Liam, is constantly begging me to “play compare” (track 10 “For You are Holy”).
This is a prayer that I adapted from The Valley of Vision which I pray regularly for my four adorable nephews and look forward to praying for my little baby as well…
“Apply Your redemption to their hearts, by justifying their persons, and sanctifying their natures. Teach them to place their happiness in Thee, the blessed God, never seeking life among the dead things of earth, or asking for that which satisfies the deluded; but may they prize the light of Thy smile, implore the joy of Thy salvation, find their heaven in Thee.”
—From prayer entitled “Fourth Day Evening: God All-Sufficient”
Arthur Bennet, ed. Valley of Vision (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975, 2003), p. 392.
I have never been a big fan of the month of February. I know, how can I like one month and not another? But stick with me here. February is just one of those months that seemed to somehow sneak into the line-up. I mean, we have September through November and the leaves are turning and you get to drink apple cider. In December and January we get holidays and days off school and work. March begins to give us hope for spring which arrives with April and May. June, July, and August are full of heat and vacations. What about poor little February? It’s just stuck in between January and March. Someone probably put Valentines Day in there in hopes of helping it along.
A couple of weeks ago, February took on new life for me. February is exactly nine months away. Lord willing, February will be the month in which my first child is born.
I know, I know, time for all of the girlie details. Well, a couple weeks back, I was getting a little suspicious so I decided to go to the grocery store and get one of those pregnancy tests. Of course, at the store, I kept seeing people that I knew so I grabbed a bag of Doritos and hid the test behind the bag so that no one would see. I got home and stared in amazement as the little test had two lines. What an incredible combination of excitement and panic all mixed into one. (You see, the panic comes from many years of being present as my Mom, my aunts, and now my sisters, sit around and reminisce about all of their labor and delivery stories—not helpful for one that faints upon seeing a doctor’s office.) Back to my story. After my Mom reminded me that there was “no way out but through,” I began to plot how I wanted to tell my husband, Mike. This was a Thursday night and Father’s Day was only two days away. It just couldn’t have been more perfect. I decided that after he fell asleep on Saturday night, I would sneak out and decorate his car so that when he left for church on Sunday morning he would be totally surprised. Sure enough, from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday night/Sunday morning, I could be seen blowing up what seemed like a million balloons, hanging bibs from mirrors, and writing on all of the windows with soap. So I didn’t sleep much that night, but it was worth it. The next morning, Mike headed out the door to church (he goes in pretty early cuz he works at the church) and before I could even pull up the blinds to watch, he ran back in, shocked and totally excited. (You see, he didn’t have any of the panic cuz there is no hospital with needles awaiting him.) It was such a memorable Father’s Day for us both. Mike drove around for days with our decorated car until the rain washed all of the soap off.
I, meanwhile, feel as if I am living a different life. I’m pretending that my belly fat is already the baby showing. I can take naps whenever I want and people just smile at me. I eat everything that the baby wants and I am fervently praying that I don’t get sick!
Each day is an opportunity for me to thank the Lord for the way that He has so richly blessed me, and to acknowledge His sovereign hold upon the little life that is growing inside of me.
I can’t wait for February!
Here are some shots of Mikey and the car…
Yesterday we talked about using our God-given gifts to serve others. Who are the people in your world that you have the privilege of serving today? Remember—as you serve others, you are ultimately serving the Savior. Below are two quotes from Charles Spurgeon that I hope will encourage you in this endeavor.
“I think I know of no delight on earth that is higher than that of knowing that you really are with all your heart adoringly serving God.” Tom Carter, Spurgeon at His Best (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1991), p. 188.
“As long as there is breath in our bodies, let us serve Christ. As long as we can think, as long as we can speak, as long as we can work, let us serve him. Let us even serve him with our last gasp. And, if it be possible, let us try to set some work going that will glorify him when we are dead and gone. Let us scatter some seed that may spring up when we are sleeping beneath the hillock in the cemetery.” Tom Carter, Spurgeon at His Best (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1991), p. 189.
So let’s “serve the Lord with gladness” today! (Ps. 100:2)
I thought you might enjoy this recipe for fresh-squeezed lemonade that I served at my luncheon.
Fresh Lemonade Syrup
3 c. sugar
1 c. boiling water
3 c. lemon juce (about 16 lemons)
2 T. grated lemon peel
In a 1-1/2 quart heat-proof container, dissolve sugar in boiling water. Cool. Add lemon juice and peel; mix well. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Yields 5-1/2 cups syrup (number of batches varies depending on concentration of lemonade).
To prepare lemonade: For 1 serving, combine 1/4 to 1/3 cup syrup and 3/4 cup cold water in a glass; stir well. For 8 servings, combine 2-2/3 cups syrup and 5 cups cold water in a 2 quart pitcher; stir well.
(This recipe was given to me by my friend, Jenny Detwiler)
On Sunday, I hosted a luncheon for twelve women in my church (Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg, MD) who have faithfully and sacrificially served in the Titus 2 Women’s Ministry that I have been privileged to lead. The purpose of this luncheon was to say “thank you.”
There was no way that the food, the gifts, or my words could adequately convey my gratitude—or more importantly, the Lord’s pleasure—for their service. However, I made a feeble attempt to express my heart. While seated around my dining room table, I shared with each woman one phrase (which I then elaborated on) that I thought best captured her unique contribution.
For example, to Barbara I communicated: You beautify everything you touch; to Dawn: Your heart for hospitality is only matched by the delicious food you serve; to Clara: Your wit and wisdom are priceless gifts to me; to Betsy: You are my Barnabas, my faithful encourager; to Marie: You are a servant of servants, and so on.
As I was reflecting on each woman, I was struck by the diverse—yet indispensable—assortment of gifts represented in this one group. How kind of God to give gifts! How kind of these women to use their gifts for God’s glory!
I couldn’t help but think of 1 Peter 4:10-11: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace….in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
May I present you with 3 simple challenges?
1. Remember that you have been given a gift by God.
2. Ask God how you can use your gift to serve others in your local church. (Of course there may be limitations if you are “in the middle of motherhood.”)
3. Don’t let this day end without thanking someone close to you for using their God-given gifts to serve others and glorify God.
As I wrote yesterday, there are, sadly, many women who seek attention through immodest dress. However, by the grace of God, there are also women who have chosen to glorify God by dressing modestly. The following is a letter my Dad received from one such teenager, Emily.
“I wanted to thank you for the message on modesty that you presented at my church several months ago. I have a fourteen-year-old brother who is always asking me, ‘why do the girls dress like that?’ I usually consider myself as dressing modestly. I check my clothes with my Dad and my brother before I wear them. But I had to go back, with the ‘Modesty Heart Check’ you provided for us. It has been a challenge, a means of grace for my friends and me. I have seen it hung on the mirrors of many of my friends as they exclaimed, ‘if you stick it there, there is just no way of getting around it.’ It has also been much easier to bring things to people about their clothing, or point something out to them, because they have heard the message. I have seen a lot of changes in the way some of the girls dress as a result of your message. Thank you!! Emily”
The thanks goes to you, Emily, and to every woman committed to honoring God through modest dress!
(Per request, you can download the “Modesty Heart Check,” that Emily mentioned by clicking here.)