Reading and Listening | No. 13

Posted in inspiration

Hilliary Cheatham – Dear Daughters

My wellness depended on me learning I couldn’t fix everything and everybody.

MLK50 Conference

Not the You You Remember – The Gospel Coalition

If you are walking with God, signs of age are signs of his faithfulness, of every day that he has kept you in the faith. Although you may be acutely aware of sins that you still battle, you are not the same person you were when you were 18 or 25. The Bible tells us that those who have turned to the Lord are being transformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). Would you really want to trade the “you you remember” for the person who is looking more like Jesus every day?

Holly Christine Hayes – Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

Thoughts On The Rise And Fall Of Pastors – Scott Sauls 

If you are a congregant, please don’t stop holding us pastors to a high standard. Don’t let us off the hook from the high calling to lead with things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. But as you do, please also leave some grace in your heart for us for those times when we will certainly need that from you. Because you see, all of us, including pastors, are incomplete works in process. We, like other Christians, are on a journey toward perfection. But we haven’t reached it yet.

Stop Photobombing Jesus – Garrett Kell

Can you be content with Jesus being glorified, even if it means no one will ever know your name? Are you happy to be among the “others” in Hebrews 11 and not among the heroes of the faith? Jesus came to save glory thieves from themselves. Indeed, he gave up his own glory and then died for all the times we steal God’s glory. He alone is worthy of praise.

Character and Influence – The Village Church

“Kill the cool girl.” – Fathom Magazine

When your mind rushes to fill in the “blanks” in God’s word with cultural stereotypes, remember that His truth is sufficient.

 


 

What have you read or listened to lately that inspired you?

[check out past posts in this series]

resurrection vision: letting every sense of your humanity send you deeper into Jesus

Posted in faith

I was teaching a group of 7th-8th graders, reflecting on Easter’s truth, and it came out of my mouth before I even really knew what it meant: “in my time as a Christian, I have had a difficult time reconciling my continual sin and my identity as righteous in Christ because of his death and resurrection.”

The Bible speaks plainly and beautifully:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (Ephesians 1:3-10)

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

 

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Confession: I apologize to God most often for my forgetfulness.

I am blown away by the goodness of God, then I idolize entertainment and miss out spending time with Him. I am overrun by His Fatherly tenderness and love for me, then I make a mistake, am consumed with anxiety, and try to earn His favor. I forget the magnitude of His Son’s death on the cross in my place, and I give affection to lesser things.

Is it crazy to confess on the internet that I dislike this about myself? I don’t like that I still struggle with sin as badly as I do. I don’t like the constant battle with idolatry, pride, and selfishness. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s right to hate sin. But I don’t believe feeling weary in guilt-driven effort to avoid, stuff, and conquer it is what God planned. I don’t think this is the reality Jesus died for me to walk in.

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My desire to be good enough grew bigger than my desire for God

Posted in faith

In grace, He leads you where you didn’t plan to go in order to produce in you what you couldn’t achieve on your own. In these moments, He works to alter the values of your heart so that you let go of your little kingdom of one and give yourself to His kingdom of glory and grace. Paul David Tripp

It’s difficult to pinpoint when it began — the uprooting of self and replanting of God’s fullness.

We are all made up of unique upbringings, personalities, and passions, with an implanted desire for Someone Greater. Personally, it’s fascinating to encounter humans of all kinds, their stories, and how God helps them work out their salvationIf you asked me today what has colored my life most often, in various hues at different times, I would say fear of man.

Ed Welch helps clarify what fear of man entails:

“Fear” in the Biblical sense is a much broader word. It includes being afraid of someone, but it extends to holding someone in awe, being controlled or mastered by people, worshipping other people, putting your trust in people, or needing people… We exalt them and their perceived power above God. We worship them as ones who have God-like exposing gazes (shame-fear) or God-like ability to “fill” us with esteem, love, admiration, acceptance, respect, and other psychological desires (rejection-fear).

In my experience, living this [false] belief of ‘people are bigger than God’ bears fruit of anxiety and pride. Growing up in church weekly and attending a Christian school, it surfaced in the pressure of prioritizing appearances and managing perceptions. I was happy when feeling like I was doing great for God, but when I wasn’t, I felt terrible. So I strived to always be ‘good.’ By my teenage years, the belief system had grown deep roots: I knew what I should do, and as long as I continued, I would be good enough. Good enough for God, good enough for other people, good enough to believe I was strong, beautiful, or capable.

 

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Gradually, my desire to be good enough grew bigger than my desire for God.

I just didn’t know it at the time.

Life became shoulds and shouldn’ts, and believing myself worthy became the foundation of my identity and my joy.

Maintaining approval, from God and others, became my measuring stick for godliness. 

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