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A La Carte (January 24)


There are a small number of Kindle deals to consider today, though overall it’s been a slow week so far.

(Yesterday on the blog: We Don’t Sing for Fun)

The #10YearChallenge: The Unseen, Inner-Self Version

If I had written about the 10YearChallenge, I think it would have come out something like what Jen Oshman wrote here. “What is so hopeful and redemptive, though, is that our inner selves are being renewed day by day. Each gray hair and crow’s foot may point to physical decline, but they also point to spiritual renewal. And that renewal is eternal. The age that is seen on my face is a sign of what God has been doing in my heart.”

It’s A Dark Day In New York State

Anne Kennedy laments the New York State Senate voting to extend abortion rights to almost the farthest possible degree. “A few times this summer I stood with a friend on the approved scrap of weeds between the highway and the parking lot to pray. After a while it occurred to me that this was the closest I was ever going to get to witnessing anything like the crucifixion. You stand there, helpless, grieving, and there isn’t anything you can do but just go on standing. Everyone is going to do what they have already purposed to do.”

For Christian Women, Persecution Looks Like Rape

This one is difficult to read, but there’s no sense hiding from the truth. “Of the 245 million Christians attacked for their faith last year, many are women and girls who are specifically and most frequently targeted through forced marriage, rape, and other forms of sexual violence.”

They Really Did Come From Nothing

I enjoyed Heidi Tai’s reflection on growing up as a child of first-generation immigrants. “‘Why are you so ungrateful?’ Growing up, whenever I was lazy with my studies or complained about the ridiculous rules that were placed on my childhood (basically no fun, no sleepovers, no pocket money and no boyfriends until I graduated from a medicine degree), I would be reminded that I was so lucky. ‘Why do you complain so much? You will never truly understand how lucky you are to be born in Australia!’”

Behind Every Good Woman Stands a Good Man

Courtney Reissig turns around a well-worn mantra. “I’m not the only woman who has experienced this. I have friends in other fields who can attest that their ability to use their gifts as owing directly to the glad support of their husbands. And it’s not just husbands. It’s fathers and brothers and pastors and friends. I was raised in a home where every person had a voice (even me as the only girl with three younger brothers). To this day, my dad and brothers excitedly read and listen to my work, and pray for me along the way. It never even occurred to me until much later in life that I couldn’t be heard and respected as a woman, and I see that as directly owing to the men in my life.”

Cultivating Self-Control

The precious virtue of self-control doesn’t just happen. It needs to be cultivated. “Living without a defense brings perilous consequences—the weeds of our impulsive thoughts, words, or actions take over all that is beautiful and good and choke it out. In contrast to the pagan philosophers, who extolled stoic restraint through effort alone, the believer’s confidence is not gained through mere arduous exertion. Rather, self-control is animated by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The Good We Never Ask For

Randy Alcorn: “Throughout the centuries and around the world, many suffering believers affirm that God uses hard times to draw us to Him, to give us a profound happiness in Him, and to build greater Christlikeness and dependence. We pray “bring me closer to you, Lord,” and usually in answer, our loving and sovereign God keeps trials coming our way—even sometimes when we beg Him not to. There’s no nearness to God without dependence on God. And nothing makes us more dependent on Him than when the bottom drops out.”

Flashback: How Much Money Am I Supposed to Give Away?

How much am I to give? Enough that it matters. Enough that I am sacrificing some comforts and some experiences I would otherwise enjoy.

Grace may be free to us, but it is so only because God has borne all the cost Himself in Jesus.

—Iain Duguid

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    Making Good Return

    I don’t think I am overstating the matter when I say that this has the potential to be one of the most important books you will read. It’s a book that may shape years of your life and transform the way you carry out one of the key roles God assigns to you…

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    A La Carte (June 14)

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    A Whole Batch of New Books for Kids

    Every month I put together a roundup of new and notable books for grownup readers. But I also receive a lot of books for kids and like to put together the occasional roundup of these books as well. So today I bring you a whole big batch of new books for kids

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    It’s Easier to Tear Down than Build Up

    In my travels, I encountered a man whose work is demolition. When buildings are old and decrepit, or even when they just need to be removed to make way for others, his job is to destroy them and haul them away. New or old, big or small, plain or fancy—it makes no difference to him.…

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