Category Archives: Daily Light

Preparing for Easter

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One of the facets of mama-hood that I really enjoy is celebrating holidays in a way that points my family to Jesus. My mo did a fabulous job of making traditions for our family that are fun and meaningful, and I love to do the same for my boys. I value traditions because they knit a family together more strongly, and provide continuity from year-to-year. I especially want our traditions to glorify God. So I’ve been anticipating Easter and prayerfully considering what we can do as a family to center this time around Christ, focussing on his great suffering and jubilant resurrection.

We are for sure going to do Lenten Lights (free download here). I love doing this. Each week, during the reading, we blow out a candle and I am always struck by the visual symbolism of the darkness of Good Friday, and the bright rejoicing of Easter morning, when we light all the candles again. I’m hoping to make Easter morning a special, rejoicing time for our family. Alongside the Lenten Lights readings on Sundays, during our weeknight family devotions, we’re going to be talking about 25 reasons why God raised Jesus from the dead, which is a list that we discussed and wrote down with Bret’s family one Easter.

With Luke, I’m planning this year to use Noel Piper’s idea from Treasuring God in our Traditions, and make an Easter Mountain. We haven’t done this before, but I think he’s old enough to understand and enjoy it this year. The basic idea is to have a physical representation of the events of the Passion and Easter to help Luke understand what Jesus accomplished for us. My family did something similar to this growing up, except with West African red mud, and it was always fun, and messy.

Personally, I’m excited this year to read Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, by Nancy Guthrie. Which is “a collection of 25 short readings drawn from the works of classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teachers that will lead readers into thoughtful contemplation of the cross.” I’ve also, since Christmas, been reading The Person of Christ by Donald MacLeod, and the Lord is continually using it to make me marvel at Christ, who He is, and His great work on my behalf. I’m hopeful that these two books will stir my heart to worship and truly observe Good Friday and celebrate Easter.

I’d love to hear what you will be doing to focus your family’s hearts on Christ this Easter season!

Principles and Methods

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about unity among God’s people, especially among women, and I’ve been reminded of a very helpful chapter from The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson. A godly older lady walked through this book with me and my sweet sister-in-law when we were engaged, and I am constantly thankful for her sacrificial investment in my life. The wisdom the Lord showed me through her and through this book continues to impact my marriage, my mothering, and my participation in the body of Christ.

Anyway, this particular chapter of the book focuses on relationships between women in the body of Christ. Mrs. Wilson shows us that most of the disagreements and disunity between Christian women come from differences in method, “a procedure or way of doing things” rather than differences in principle, “a basic truth, general law, or doctrine used as a basis of reasoning or guide to actions.” I reread the chapter recently, and I’d like to share some sections that stood out to me.

“We ought to rejoice in a common commitment to biblical principles and in the variety of methods God’s people enjoy.”

“The biggest danger arises when people begin to think their own methods of applying biblical principles are more spiritual. If we fall into this trap, then methods become an issue of first importance to us. The result is a feeling of superiority over others who differ. This obviously leads to self-righteousness, envy, jealousy, defensiveness, and quarrels.”

“In a godly Christian home, the methods should be the result of the husband’s teaching and convictions with the wife’s support and help. This is all the more reason why women should not rudely give input concerning another Christian woman’s application of God’s principles. She may be cheerfully submitting to her husband’s decisions, only to find her sisters stumbling her into disobedience and discouragement.”

“We should have compassion on one another. This means cutting slack, bearing with weaknesses in one another, overlooking sin, forgiving one another, and as Peter says, we should ‘love as brothers’ and be ‘tenderhearted’.”

“Each woman needs to thank God for her gifts and talents and use them to His glory without comparing herself to anyone else.”

“God wants me to be myself in obedience to Him, not to someone else. Then I am free to enjoy the gifts He has given me, and to learn and grow from the godly examples around me.”

In reading these I am convicted that much divisive conversation would be avoided if I talked about the Gospel! And why would I want to talk about anything else? If I make my speech “always gracious, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6), my interactions will be full of the Spirit, full of topics that matter for eternity, and not centered around methods. I think sometimes it’s easier to talk about methods, because they often don’t address matters of our hearts, but our Lord is concerned with our hearts, first and foremost. So I’m praying that my Father will put words of grace on my lips, that He will set His Spirit upon me, and transform my sinful, lazy conversations into ones that bring unity in Christ with all of my sisters.

All quotes from The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson, pages 57-67. I’m not sure that I agree with everything Mrs. Wilson teaches, but I can recommend this book.

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“I know there is poor and hideous suffering, and I’ve seen the hungry and the guns that go to war. I have lived pain, and my life can tell:
I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks
for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and
all the good things that a good God gives.
Why would the world need more anger, more outrage?
How does it save the world to reject unabashed joy when it is joy that saves us?
Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering. The converse does.
The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.

~ Ann Voskamp, 1,000 Gifts

Valentine-in-the-Sky

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In this the love of God was made manifest among us,
that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another,
God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:9-12

My New Favorite Book

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… which I haven’t actually read yet. The Lord lead me to a blog about a year and a half ago, and I’ve been encouraged, taught, and convicted by it almost daily ever since. The blog is A Holy Experience, and the author, Ann Voskamp, has just released her book! The title is One Thousand Gifts; it chronicles Ann’s journey (and fight) for joy and how constant, consistent  thankfulness to God changed her heart. I began my Thankfulness posts after reading of Ann’s intentionality to count the ways the Father blesses her.

I had it on preorder, something that I’ve never done before, and it came in the mail this weekend. I’ve just kind of nibbled on the beginning of the book, but I’m gladly anticipating some time to sit down and really read it. I’m hesitant to recommend a book I haven’t actually read yet, but the Lord has used Ann Voskamp’s writing for good in my heart so often. She loves Jesus, writes poignantly, and speaks the truth with gentleness. So I feel pretty confident that this book is going to live up to my expectations, and I have some great expectations! Here’s a trailer to whet your appetite.

I’m going to be reading along with this book club. And I’m excited to hear Ann’s own elaboration on what she’s written, as well as learning how the book impacts other women.

If you decide to read it, I’d really love to hear your thoughts and reactions!

Book Review~ The Holiness of God

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Holiness of God, by R.C. Sproul.

I was encouraged, convicted, and given a renewed thoughtfulness for the transcendent perfection of the One True God.  I would call this book Sproul’s systematic exploration of God’s holiness. There didn’t seem to be much continuity from one chapter to another, except that the whole book is centered around the holiness of God. For me, with the way my time is allotted right now, this was good, because I could read a chapter, put down the book, and start a new chapter days later without feeling lost.

I especially appreciated Sproul’s explanation of God’s justice, human wrestling with this holy God, and God’s unsurpassed beauty.

There are a few issues I question, especially the last chapter about innately holy spaces and times. If you’ve read the book, and have any input, I’d really love to hear it.

I’ve heard that for many, this is a transformative book, but for me, it wasn’t. This is simply because God has been gracious to teach me many of these doctrines already. It was a very profitable read, and I’m so thankful that this book has placed God’s holiness at the forefront of my mind.

Thankful

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~I realize I haven’t posted one of these in a long time, but its something that I want to make a habit, so here’s a continuation of the Thankful posts I was doing last year.

28. Homemade decaf frappuccino

29. God’s beauty displayed in creation, especially the flowers He’s given me this week

30. The first strawberries from our strawberry plant

31. Good, fruitful time with my sisters and brother-in-law

32. My sleepy boy

33. Feeling tiny baby kicks and punches

34. Enjoying the warm weather

35. Good books and time to read them

36. God’s strength made perfect in my weakness

37. Truth-speaking