“so that we are no longer….children”

ephesiansOn maturity from Let’s Study Ephesians by Sinclair B. Ferguson:

The ministry of the Word enables us to mature so that we are no longer…children. Children grow in stages. As infants they are unsteady on their feet and easily knocked over; they are readily distracted; they lack the necessary experience to distinguish the insignificant from the really valuable; they are easily taken in by the superficial; they find it difficult to see things in the long term.

The same is true spiritually. Immature believers are today exposed to ‘the latest thing’, the most recent ‘wind of doctrine; that blows through the evangelical church. The marketing of literature, television preachers, seminars, videos, DVDs and the like almost necessitates novelty. The pride of the human heart does not like to be thought old-fashioned. A new wind blows through each year, a hurricane every few years. Many are swept off their feet by teaching that may begin with an open but misinterpreted Bible and ends with a deceived mind.

But the prolonged, intensive, faithful exposition of God’s Word delivers us from immaturity. Indeed, as the psalmist notes, knowing Scripture can give us more understanding then our teachers and make us wiser than our enemies (Ps. 119:98-99). Study and meditation, application and obedience develop in us the ability to see clearly, to distinguish between what is true and false, and also between what is good and what is really best. We are then not deceived by false teaching. The truth of the gospel makes our spiritual antennae sensitive.

 

what I’m reading in 2015

Yes, another list. I can’t help myself. Please pop in and comment on what you’re reading.

JANUARY

~ About a Boy – Nick Hornby
~ The Overlook – Michael Connelly
~ What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage – Paul David Tripp
~ Stop Walking on Eggshells – Paul T. Mason, Randi Kreger
~ Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith – Scotty Smith
~ Caught Off Guard: Encounters With the Unexpected God – William P. Smith

FEBRUARY

~ Be Careful What You Wish For (Clifton Chronicles Book 4) – Jeffrey Archer
~ The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough
~ Misery – Stephen King

MARCH

~ Knowing God By Name: A Personal Encounter – Mary Kassian
~ The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

APRIL

~ A Man Called Ove: A Novel – Fredrik Backman
~ I’m Too Young For This!: The Natural Hormone Solution to Enjoy Perimenopause – Suzanne Somers
~ The Dogs of Rome – Conor Fitzgerald

(Just so you know: Every time you click on one of the Amazon links and make a purchase, a few pennies are eventually passed along to me. They eventually add up and feed my book habit. Thanks ever so much!)

what’s going on

Well, it’s official: I’m a Florida resident again. We moved last weekend, and we’re both still recovering from the total chaos and exhaustion. My office is closed today, so I’m enjoying a day at home to put things in order. I can’t tell you how glad I am about that! When the nest is a mess, I can’t rest. :)

Paul and I are so very thankful that the move part is over. God graciously provided excellent weather (sunny and cool), and Paul’s son and three of his friends went above and beyond in heavy lifting and cheerful dispositions. As I shared on instagram, I walked about 9 miles inside my house on Saturday. I’m covered in bruises, and my hands and nails will take a while to recover from cleaning two houses.

But we’re in, even if we’re still digging out.

I’m still working in Thomasville (in a couple of months, I’ll begin working two days here in Tallahassee), so I have the best of both worlds. I’m looking forward to getting to know Tallahassee better, and Paul and I already have a list of restaurants we want to try.

So this Good Friday finds me very grateful — grateful for God’s lavish provision for me. He’s surrounded me with His people and shows me His loving care daily in countless ways, large and small. For me to ever utter a complaint shows me just how desperately my heart needs a Savior, and He has provided!

ephesiansI’ll leave you with this passage on Ephesians 2:4-7 from Sinclair Ferguson’s Let Study Ephesians! – a book I’m slowly working through:

The gospel truly reveals the deepest heartbeat of God towards us. Jesus’ work did not — nor did it need to — persuade an angry Father to love his wayward children. The atonement is not a form of inner-trinitarian blackmail. No: the Father loved us and did not spare his own Son for our salvation (Rom. 8:32); the Son loved us and ‘did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped…’ (Phil 2:6); the Spirit loved us (Rom. 15:30) and is not ashamed to indwell and sanctify us.

Why should it be so important for Paul to emphasize this? Because we can misinterpret ‘the gospel’ message to mean that God loved us because Christ died for us, as if the sheer amount of suffering he experienced made the Father relent of his hatred towards us and now begin to love us and be kind to us.

Our spiritual forefathers used to speak about the way Christians ‘live below the level of their privileges’. This is a case in point. If only we would settle our hearts on what the apostle says here about the character of God! Think about these three statements – they merit a lifetime of meditation:

1. God is rich in mercy.

2. God has loved us with great love.

3. God has shown kindness to us which expresses the immeasurable (the word is the root of our word ‘hyperbole’) riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.

Grateful!
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monday night miscellany

Another collection of randomness:

~ I love me some Dennis Prager. And he’s spot on:

…when Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the United Nations about the threat Iran poses to his country’s survival and about the metastasizing cancer of Islamist violence, he, unfortunately, stands alone.

Virtually everyone listening knows he is telling the truth. And most dislike him for it. Appeasers hate those who confront evil.

~ Sitting is deadly. I was far more active as a stay-at-home-mom/homeschooler. Now that I’m at a desk all day, I’m grateful that my workplace encourages me to move. I have an exercise ball/chair, and we’re involved in an 8-week step challenge that keeps me focused on moving.

~ Confessions of a Kindle Convert. If you know me at all, you know I love books. But I’ll be honest: I need to get rid of many of them. We’re in the thick of moving, and packing and hauling books is no fun at all. I actually uttered these words to Paul yesterday: “I need to get rid of some books.” **shudder**

~ Starve your idols to death.

~ 5 small Georgia towns with great shopping.

~ the audacity:

Forty years of provision, forty years of tangible, edible grace, and what do they have to say to God in response? This: “We loathe this worthless food.”

We loathe this worthless food!

The audacity! The. Audacity. At least when I think these things, I’m savvy enough to couch these emotions in more subtle disgruntlement. “I’m just tired,” “I’m weary,” “It just seems like the onslaught never stops.”

~ Don’t follow your heart:

The truth is, no one lies to us more than our own hearts. No one. If our hearts are compasses, they are Jack Sparrow compasses. They don’t tell us the truth, they just tell us what we want. If our hearts are guides, they are Gothels. They are not benevolent, they are pathologically selfish. In fact, if we do what our hearts tell us to do we will pervert and impoverish every desire, every beauty, every person, every wonder, and every joy. Our hearts want to consume these things for our own self-glory and self-indulgence.

No, our hearts will not save us. We need to be saved from our hearts.

~ Very helpful, practical info: What to do when your flight is cancelled. We had a cancelled flight last month when fog blanketed Phoenix. I knew our flight was cancelled as soon as we landed in dense fog and I checked my email. I immediately called our airline to get in line for re-booking instead of standing in that long, awful line. Aside from having to wait  a few hours for our luggage to be delivered, all was well.

Well, that gets me a little bit caught up on posting things that have been bookmark-worthy. As I mentioned, we’re in the middle of moving, and I’m just flat out tired and overwhelmed.

May you be less tired and sore than I this Monday evening!

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moving

Yeah, I’m moving again. It’s become obvious that as much as I prefer routine and predictability, God has other plans. Paul and I have decided that for financial reasons, it makes sense to move to Tallahassee. That will make me a Floridian again, after having been a legal resident of Florida for most of my adult life. Perhaps a blog title change is in order? I suppose it probably doesn’t matter as little as I blog these days!

We’re living in the chaos of boxes, piles of stuff, and just plain fatigue. We have until the end of the month to move all of our belongings, and I feel utterly overwhelmed. I’m currently very disenchanted with stuff.  Stuff.  Too much stuff. We’ll store a lot of it for the next year, but, still, it’s just too much.

So today is a day for packing, hauling, and cleaning. We’re very grateful that our new landlady is letting us move in early, so we can do it over a couple of weeks instead of a couple of days. We have much for which to be thankful, and we’ll remind each other of that as we’re tempted to grumble in the stress of moving.

Now, where’d I put that ibuprofen?

Exhausted,

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“God is the perfect father who fathers His children perfectly.”

51zK+xrChRL._SY300_From Mary Kassian’s Knowing God by Name:

God is not merely “like” a father as He is like a rock or light. God is Father — and He alone defines what true fatherhood is all about. God is the perfect father who fathers His children perfectly. He is the father of our dreams:

  • He lavishes us with love (1John 3:1)
  • He is always near (Josh. 1:5)
  • He protects us (Ps. 5:11-12)
  • He provides for us (Phil 4:19)
  • He gives us good gifts (Matt. 7:8-11)
  • He guides us (Rom. 8:14)
  • He corrects us (2 Tim. 3:16)
  • He comforts us (2 Thess. 2:16-17)
  • He encourages us (Rom. 15:4-5)
  • He gives us a spectacular inheritance (Eph. 1:18, 1 Pet. 1:4)

“Father” is the name that sets Christianity apart from all the other religions of the world. Other religions have their gods, Allahs, creators, or metaphysical forces, but Jesus — the Son of God — came so that we could meet His Father, be adopted into His family, and relate to the almighty God of the universe in an intimate, personal concrete way as sons and daughters. If you don’t know God as father, then you don’t really know Him at all.

well, hey there

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’d meant to blog more regularly in 2015, but having failed at that already, the pressure is off. :) I’m just trucking along, living life, with a trip to California thrown in a couple of weeks ago. I plan to share a few pictures and thoughts about that at some point.

Meantime, I’m hanging out with Paul, watching the final season of Justified, reading fiction, trying to finish knitting a shawl that has been a big challenge, and have recently kicked a brief addiction to Trivia Crack.

Oh, and we’re planning to move within the next month or so.

Catch ya later,
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“Strong faith doesn’t mean you walk effortlessly through life…”

51YpgbuXJYL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_From Caught Off Guard: Encounters with the Unexpected God by William P. Smith:

Faith is not a feeling of being spiritually strong or superior, either in our relationship with Christ or in our activities. Such feelings can have very little to do with faith. Rather, faith is the confidence that God will receive you even when you’re not put together very well. Strong faith doesn’t mean you walk effortlessly through life. It means you run quickly to Christ when you’re in need.