“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:14-19).
Mothering is wonderfully breathtaking. Stepping back and looking in, I see there is beauty, joy and indescribable love in being a parent; but, there is also heartache, anger, and confusion. Being a mother will show you just how much you need strength, because being a mother exposes just how weak you really are. The energy and strength to care for children only comes from the Holy Spirit. Your love (alone) for your children won’t be strong enough, your desire (alone) to be a good mom won’t be strong enough, your desire (alone) to raise children who love Jesus won’t be strong enough.
Listen to this beautiful sermon by Ray Cortese about God as our Defender.
Boy, do we need grace and peace in our lives! Are you like me? Do you feel rushed and overwhelmed, forgetting details because your mind is overflowing with everything on the “to do list?” It seems that everywhere I turn, people are feeling the same way–there’s too much to do and too little time to do it. Not to mention our disordered priorities; the things that need to get done, don’t–we’re too distracted with the mundane and insignificant details of daily life.
My husband and I recently experienced this as we traveled over a long weekend to visit family. We both remarked at the end of our trip, “we had left God at home”. Of course, that is not possible! One of my favorite names for God is Immanuel, God with us. So while I know the God is always with us, it played out differently on our trip. All the planned activities for the weekend took over. We found ourselves letting lesser things get in the way. What should have been a priority had been relegated to the bottom of the list! Does that happen to you? Do you intend to have a morning devotion time, but instead oversleep? Do you plan on purposeful meal time, ushered in with prayer, but instead the meal time turns into a rushed “drive-thru” dinner? Does your weekday evening schedule mean no time for prayers with your spouse or children?
During one of my many obsessive searches for more Brennan Manning material I came across this powerful remix of The Fisher King (Robin Williams & Amanda Plummer) with music from The Cure and words from Brennan Manning. What a great representation of the furious longing that God has for us. In the words of Robin Williams’ character “I think it’s time you should shut up now. I’m in love with you. I won’t be distant and I’ll come back in the morning if you’ll just let me.”
Everyone has experienced shame and guilt; they are not strangers and are often close companions. Both feelings are part of the human experience as we know it, but the human experience as we know it has not always been the way things were. There was a time when humans knew nothing of shame and guilt. In fact, the writer of Genesis points out that “the man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (2:25).
The first time I heard Steve Brown on the radio, I made my husband turn it off. My law bound heart was afraid of freedom; afraid that a teaching such as Steve’s would cause my husband to jump off the deep end and do something radical like, I don’t know, smoke a pipe or something. Funny thing is, I kept trying to listen and kept turning it off. Over time, I made it through the whole talk and was immensely grateful for the message of grace that was slowly penetrating my heart.
“And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” Phil. 3:9
I walked through my bedroom door patting myself on the back and feeling quite pleased about what a great job I had done with the kids that day.
It was true.
Justification is not merely an abstract theological concept. It is the sense of approval and belonging that every person desires. Justification is more than having our sins forgiven. It means that in God’s eyes, we are given Jesus’ perfect record. We are treated as if we had lived the perfect life that Jesus lived. We are given the love that Jesus deserved. We have the same access to the Father that Jesus has. The good news is that all of this comes, not from us doing anything, but simply by faith.
Listen and be encouraged by this Tim Keller sermon: http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/justified-faith
Kathryn Greene-McCreight’s Darkness Is My Only Companion is an astounding account of her battle with mental illness (severe depression and bi-polar disorder), with the final chapters filled with resources for those who are suffering from mental illness/depression, and suggestions for those who have friends, loved ones, clergy, and parishoners who suffer from mental illness/depression.