It’s been such an exciting week here at girltalk! We now have almost 800 members of The 5 O’Clock Club and over 300 members in The FAM Club. How encouraging to join with so many of you to rise early to seek God and pray and fast for our families!
We’ve published a few 5 O’Clock Club testimonies that will spur you on in your efforts to rise early. And by the way, today is the last day we’ll choose every 28th member to win a Starbucks card, so if you haven’t already, sign up by midnight tonight.
More encouragement for you club members coming next week, but today we want to take a detour from our “club talk.” There’s an article we don’t want you to miss. This past week, Albert Mohler shared a story, “Adopted for Life….and in Death” that deeply affected us all. It’s a reminder to continue to pray for the people of Haiti, even as the tragedy fades from the public consciousness. And it is a powerful picture of the grace of adoption we have received through Jesus Christ.
For the girls,
My oldest son Andrew turned nine last month. It seems like only yesterday when I took that pregnancy test which told me, with those 2 pink lines, that I was going to be a mother for the very first time.
Even though it was almost ten years ago now, I still clearly remember the first three months of my pregnancy with him. I remember what food I craved (cheese) and what food I detested (chicken). I remember talking about food, dreaming about food, planning my food. I even had a list of specific restaurants I needed to visit. Ruby Tuesdays and (coincidentally) Andrew’s, a diner near my work, topped the list. My body was telling me something: I needed food in order to care for and nourish the little one growing inside me.
The gospel is to our soul what food is to our body. Our souls need the gospel and we don’t just need it once a month or once a week, or even once a day. We need it constantly—breakfast, lunch and dinner and in between.
We need to be constantly reminding ourselves of these amazing truths: that God sent His only Son to earth, to live a perfect life and die in our place, paying the price of all of our sins so that we might receive salvation. We our justified, not because of anything we have done or will ever do, but through our Savior’s blood, shed at Calvary.
That’s wonderful truth, you may be thinking, but I thought you were going to give me time-saving tips. Instead you are telling me that even though I can’t remember where I put the keys or what day of the week it is, I’ve got to remember the gospel too!
Trust me, I understand. I’ve been there. But preaching the gospel to yourself is not another item on your to-do list, any more than eating is. The gospel is the fuel, the source of power, strength, peace and hope that will get us moms with young kids through today, tomorrow, and this crazy overwhelming season of our lives.
Without a steady diet of gospel truth our souls will shrivel and our strength will wane; but a steady diet of gospel truth will give us power to persevere, even in the most tiring of times.
But how do we find the time to preach the gospel to ourselves? Tomorrow we’ll suggest a few ideas.
As mothers who have trusted in Jesus Christ, we have the hope of the gospel.
The gospel begins with some bad news. It confirms the fact that we are all sinful, rebellious creatures. Rebellion is not unique to children today. In Psalm 51, King David laments, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (v. 5).
But the gospel doesn’t leave us with bad news. The message of the gospel is that Jesus Christ has come to save rebellious sinners: mothers and children. He lived a perfect, rebellion-free life, fully submitted to His Father, and died a cruel death as our substitute. Then He rose from the dead and is seated now at the right hand of God, the Father.
The truth of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is our hope as mothers. In his book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp concurs:
“You have reason for hope as parents who desire to see your children have faith. The hope is in the power of the gospel. The gospel is suited to the human condition. The gospel is attractive. God has already shown great mercy to your children. He has given them a place of rich privilege. He has placed them in a home where they have heard His truth. They have seen the transforming power of grace in the lives of His people. Your prayer and expectation is that the gospel will overcome their resistance as it has yours.”
The gospel message should provide us with tremendous heart-strengthening, soul-encouraging hope: Jesus Christ is “mighty to save” (Isa. 63:1).
Like many Americans I was astounded by the 700 billion dollars recently required to save our banking system. That amount of money is hard to comprehend.
But the cost to rescue me from sin, as my pastor reminded me on Sunday, was infinitely greater than any economic bailout:
“You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
Consider the cost and grieve. Consider the cost and worship.
Today was “one of those days.” I woke up late and could barely keep my eyes open as I began my morning routine. I was behind schedule. All of my well thought out plans for my morning seemed lost. On days like this, the temptation to live by my emotions looms large. Complaining and grumbling were on my tongue. And then I read this, “We are TODAY accepted in the Beloved, TODAY absolved from sin, TODAY acquitted at the bar of God. Oh! Soul-transporting thought.” Mr. Spurgeon strikes again. My grumbling heart stood rebuked. Today is one of those days—one of those amazing days, which find me standing before the bar of God acquitted from all of my sin because of the death of Jesus Christ on my behalf. Yes, Mr. Spurgeon, this is a “soul transporting” thought.
Regardless of what this day holds for you, may the truth of your acceptance in the Beloved reign first in your heart.
Yesterday Mom shared the example of my Aunt Sharon’s serving joyfully in the midst of suffering. There’s someone else we’d like you to meet today. Her name is Joanna Linn and she is thirteen years old. I want to encourage you to read her story. Joanna too is experiencing suffering, although of a very different nature than that of Aunt Sharon’s. Yet, she remarkably displays the same joyful confidence in God. Joanna and Aunt Sharon are like those James referred to as “an example of suffering and patience” and living proof that “the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:10-11). Their lives provoke me to constantly strive for joy in the midst of my own comparatively small temptations and challenges. I pray this testimony—shared at a Titus 2 Women’s Meeting at our church in April—will encourage you in whatever trials you may face today.
It’s been a very busy season for me. I keep saying, “Next week things will slow down.” Rrrrrrrright. I’ve been saying that for about fifteen years now. Currently we’re in the middle of renovations to our house (they are knocking down a wall today and I hope the upstairs doesn’t fall with it!), it’s past time for my son to be potty trained, and I’m teaching a writing class for my little brother and his friends and I have thirteen essays on the “Sea Wasp” to read.
In the midst of this, I was asked to edit a book that’s coming out in a couple of months. It’s a book by my dad, and it’s entitled: Living the Cross Centered Life. I hope some of my comments were helpful to Dad, but I think the real benefit was to my soul. Even though I’ve heard my dad preach countless sermons on this topic, and even though I’ve read his other books on the cross over and over, I still desperately needed to hear this message again.
I often tell my son to “look at mommy’s eyes” when I want to get his attention to tell him something important. By reading this book, I felt as if my heavenly Father was saying to me, “Look in Jesus’ eyes. Take your eyes off the busyness, off your ‘trials,’ and even off your sin (I’ve paid for that), and be captured once again by the cross. For only one thing is needful. Only one thing matters. And it’s my cross.”
As Dad writes:
“In the midst of our various responsibilities and many possible areas of service in the kingdom of God, one overarching truth should motivate all our work and affect every part of who we are: Christ died for our sins. This…is the main thing. Nothing else—not even things that are biblical and honorable—are of equal or greater importance than this: God sent His Son to the cross to bear His wrath for sinners like you and me. If there’s anything in life we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel. And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others; I mean passionate in thinking about the gospel, reflecting upon it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world and all of life.”
So how about you? What are you passionate about—-is it thinking, reflecting, and rejoicing in the gospel? Does the truth of Christ’s sacrifice for sins on our behalf truly color the way you look at all of life?
To color our worldview with the gospel, we must meditate on the cross. Here’s just one verse that helps me to do that: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Life is full. But I can’t afford to wait until next week when things slow down to meditate on the gospel. I need the truths of the cross to brilliantly color my world right now, today!