I was so saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life caused by the tornadoes in Arkansas and other states this past weekend. Like me, you’ve probably already been praying for the families of those victims, but there is one family … Continue reading
Your daily dose of true beauty advice…
Loving our children is not always natural, nor is it always easy. But it is absolutely essential. Mothers must love their children. A mother’s constant love becomes the bedrock of security for her children. Before they leave home, there will be many times in their lives when it will seem to them that no one else loves them. Though they might wish for someone else’s love, their mother’s love will provide a North Star of security and hope in the midst of difficult days.
A favorite prayer (that I have prayed far more often than I ever imagined I would) goes like this:
Lord, help me to love my children as You do. Help me to see them as You do, to understand their needs as You do, to feel what they are feeling as You do. I cannot love my children as they need to be loved on my own. My children need Your love. I ask You to love my children through me.
I have prayed this prayer most often for the sake of my teenagers—that they might not ever experience even a hint of rejection, disdain, or indifference from their mother.
~Barbara Rainey in “A Mother’s Legacy“
Your daily dose of true beauty advice…
Contentment is attainable. We know it is attainable because in [Philippians 4:13] Paul has attained contentment. We might be tempted to think, “Well, Paul was an apostle; he was on a higher spiritual plane than I am. He may have attained contentment, but I can’t.”
But Paul did not attain contentment because he was a spiritual superstar. He says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” The same God who strengthens Paul also strengthens all who believe in Christ.
Philippians 4:13 is sometimes taken out of context and used in ways it was not intended to be used. Some take it to mean that there is nothing a Christian cannot do, because God is strengthening him or her. It almost becomes a motivational, self-help verse, in which people grit their teeth and say, “I can do this because God is strengthening me.”
But it is important to recognize that when Paul says “all things,” he doesn’t mean that God gives you the ability to do whatever you want, even good things that you desire to do. Instead Paul is referring to God’s empowering His people to acquire an important Christian virtue, namely, being content wherever God leads them. While growth in holiness does require effort and struggle on our part, ultimately we grow because of the power of God at work through his Holy Spirit within us.
The good news is that in the midst of your current struggles contentment can be yours. As you wrestle with a chronic health problem, a difficult job, or troubled relationships at home, you can have contentment as God gives you grace.
~William Barcley in “Why Am I Not Happy?“
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.”
A trip to Trader Joe’s last week produced an unusual conversation between a young man working the cash register and my friends and me. Out of the blue he asked my friends, “What’s the secret to a long marriage?”
I guess that’s one way to start a conversation!
When I offered my opinion on the answer—knowing Christ and forgiving your spouse—the cashier followed up with another surprisingly direct question, “Well, what if your husband committed adultery?”
*Gulp* Whatever happened to “Paper or plastic?”
I acknowledged how painful that trial would be, but told him that if my husband repented, I would hope I could… No…I knew that with God all things would be possible. Although my answers may have sounded far too simple for such complex questions, I do believe them to be true. Forgiveness, although difficult, holds the promise of untold freedom, while unforgiveness and bitterness will only produce ongoing misery within marriage.
In his recent message on FamilyLife Today, Pastor Voddie Baucham addressed the vital role of forgiveness within marriage and explained how the power of the Gospel makes it possible. He included sober warnings for those who would ignore the Scripture’s clear command to forgive as we have been forgiven in Christ. Here’s an excerpt…
I’m going to say this as gently as I can—if you’re a person who’s not forgiving, then, you are actually a disobedient, arrogant hypocrite who does not appreciate the body of Christ…
Why disobedience?—because you are commanded to do it. If you don’t forgive your spouse, you are in sin because you’ve been commanded to forgive. By the way, it is difficult for us to understand that unless we know what forgiveness is; right?
Forgiveness is a cancellation of debt. That’s what it means. Forgiveness means I give up my right to punish you for what you did. If I come over to your house…I knock over a lamp, and I break the lamp. You look at me and say, “No, brother, that’s okay. I forgive you;” and then, you say, “but that will be $195,” you didn’t really forgive me because you’re making me pay. Forgiveness is the cancellation of debt; okay?
Why is this important?
Remember—our experience of forgiveness is rooted in our understanding of the forgiveness that we’ve received in Christ. If I am a person that doesn’t understand forgiveness as a cancellation of debt—and forgiveness just means I say, “I forgive you,” but I still make you pay—then, my understanding of salvation is going to be the same. Then, my forgiveness from God is something that doesn’t cancel my debt. I still have to work to earn that which I’ve already been given.
It’s all rooted in the fact that I do not comprehend this concept of forgiveness because remember that first point. These things are linked inexorably. It’s a cancellation of debt. That means that if I say to my wife, “I forgive you,”—but then, we have an argument, like a couple of days later, and I bring it back up—now, I’m punishing you when I said I would give up my right to do so—which means I lied. If the debt is cancelled, it’s cancelled. Again, first of all, if we’re not forgiving, we’re not obedient.
Secondly, if we’re not forgiving, we’re arrogant. Here’s why—because, basically, here is what I say if I’m not forgiving—and let’s just keep this in marriage; okay—here’s what I say if I’m not forgiving my wife—what I say if I’m not forgiving my wife is this, “All those things that I have done to offend God—those things are absolutely forgivable because that’s how good God is. However, my standard is higher than God’s standard; so, though He can forgive you, I can’t.” That’s the height of arrogance…
You can read or listen to Voddie Baucham’s entire message [broadcast date March 7, 2012] HERE.
Photo: kamil kantarcıoğlu
“An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.”
Here in North Carolina, hints of spring are already in the air and weddings are soon to follow. Over the next several months, my husband and I have at least six weddings where either we or our gifts will be making an appearance.
I’ve always loved weddings and all of the romance and deep significance attached to them. Planning a wedding is rarely easy, yet all of the effort necessary for pulling off a successful one-day event is nothing when compared to the years of prayer and hard work required for building a successful marriage. Although many women make beautiful brides, far fewer make godly wives.
In her article “Loving Your Man,” Barbara Rainey shares wise advice for helping the former become the latter…
I often give three pieces of advice to young women before their wedding day. But because these remain just as important as we go through marriage and because they are fashioned by the Scriptures and proven by experience, I share them with you today—at whatever stage you find yourself in marriage:
Believe in your husband. This is the most valuable gift Dennis says I’ve given him. You know your husband better than anyone. To see his faults and weaknesses and yet to believe in your husband’s God-given potential as a man and his leadership of your home does more than you can imagine for his spiritual growth
Be willing to confront your husband in love. Too many wives mistakenly believe they are following the biblical pattern of submission by ignoring or denying deficits in their husband’s life. But being submissive does not mean being silent. It simply means being wise and loving in how you approach him, treating him with kindness and respect. Say to your husband, “Could I talk to you about something?” Asking permission to broach a difficult subject may make it easier to get your message across. He is far less threatened and insecure this way.
Pursue intimacy with him on every level. Most men consider physical intimacy the most important part of marriage. I’ve come to learn that it is central to my husband’s manhood. It’s the way God made him, and it is good. So rather than resenting it, learn to appreciate this aspect of your marriage as God’s design. And be willing to learn and grow, becoming God’s woman for your man. It’s not always easy, but with God, nothing is impossible.
This is basic, biblically-rooted counsel which can help any Christian wife to honor God more fully within the ministry of marriage.
What advice for new brides would you add to the list?
Photo: Benjamin Earwicker
Dr. Laura Hendrickson is a woman who has developed extraordinary faith during a life filled with incredible suffering. This week on the radio program FamilyLife Today, Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine allowed Dr. Hendrickson to share her testimony of learning to trust God while parenting a special needs child, living in an abusive marriage, and undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The wisdom she has gained as a result of her trials is truly remarkable.
In her interview, Dr. Hendrickson talked at length about how raising a son with severe autism forced her to recognize that her understanding of God simply wasn’t big enough…
Actually, before Eric was conceived, I had difficulty conceiving because I was an older mother. I prayed, “Give me a son, Lord; and all the days of his life, he will serve you,”—Hannah’s prayer. I immediately became pregnant and carried that pregnancy. I had had several miscarriages.
Naturally, I thought my son was going to be some sort of great man—some sort of missionary or pastor who would glorify God in the usual ways that we think of when we think of God glorifying Himself; but you know, the Bible tells us that God has created all of us—those with special needs and those without them to glorify Him. People with difficulties glorify Him in ways that may be difficult for us to understand, but we have to believe that that is so.
Many times we are taught that autism happens as a kind of developmental accident as though God didn’t have anything to do with that. Scripture doesn’t allow us to believe that, does it? Psalm 139 tells us that God knit us together in our mother’s womb. It also says that He planned out all of our days, right from the beginning.
Right as soon as Eric was diagnosed, I had a terrible theological problem: “What, indeed, is God up to?” That has been the journey that the Lord has had me on for—now, nearly 22 years, wondering, “How is God going to glorify Himself out of this circumstance?” As a result, my whole definition of what God’s glory is and how He is glorified really underwent a tremendous change.
You can listen to Dr. Laura Hendrickson’s 3-part interview which aired Feb. 16-18 HERE.
Dr. Hendrickson’s book Finding Your Child’s Way on the Autism Spectrum is currently available on Amazon at the reduced rate of $5.41.