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A La Carte (January 24)

thursday

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

  • A Freak of Nature (and Nurture)

    A Freak of Nature (and Nurture)

    We are probably so accustomed to seeing bonsai trees that we don’t think much about them. But have you ever paused to consider how strange and freakish they really are?

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    A La Carte (February 28)

    A La Carte: Can Christians buy expensive things? / You are probably WEIRDER than you think / Our limits are a gift from God / Big dreams impress. Ordinary faithfulness delivers / The biggest problem in worship education / Children’s books / and more.

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    A La Carte (February 27)

    A La Carte: God doesn’t owe me kindness / Jordan Peterson’s “We Who Wrestle with God” tour / Does your church have an evangelist? / Putting Jesus first in a world of pleasures / Send help. My husband believes in me / and more.

  • Unite in Prayer with Persecuted Believers

    This week the blog is sponsored by Help The Persecuted. “Can I have a Bible?” The guard studied Qasem. “If you paint the walls of every cell in this prison, I’ll get you a Bible.” “Where is the paint?” And so Qasem, enduring what would ultimately be a three-year sentence for running house churches throughout…

  • Tell Me

    Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

    If you have spent any time at all on YouTube, you have probably seen videos of people hearing for the first time or people seeing color for the first time—videos of people who, through the miracles of modern science, have senses restored that had either been missing altogether or that had become dull through illness…

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    A La Carte (February 26)

    A La Carte: How not to apply the Bible / 30 people in the New Testament confirmed / Taylor Swift and Christianity / But I did everything right / 10 reasons the Old Testament matters to Christians / Kindle deals / and more.