Thursday, July 7, 2016

GOOD READS

Here are some good reads from the past few months.
Prepare to be challenged.
You have been warned.

God Doesn't Owe Me the American Dream
I've forced my American dream into my consciousness, cut it apart, and analyzed it with Scripture.  God does not owe American Christians anything.  He does not owe me a savings account or health insurance.  He does not guarantee that my children will have the opportunity to go to college and become prosperous citizens.  He does not promise religious freedom, or pleasant vacations, or safety on American streets.

Bryant Birth Mamas: a love story
I don't mention this to draw attention to us, only to tell you that you CAN experience suffering and pain and the worst outcomes imagined, and still have JOY beyond what you could ever imagine. That is what Jesus provides. And I am so happy to tell you that you can have that.

Ten Reasons to Memorize Big Chunks of the Bible
The things we invest most in become most precious to us. If you spend minimal time in the Bible don’t expect it to be precious to you. But if you spend hundreds of cumulative hours storing large portions of God’s word in your heart so that the word of Christ dwells in you richly, it will become a precious part of your essential life.

Why the Message of "Me Before You" is So Dangerous
Made in the image of God, disabled lives are no less important or valuable than anyone else’s, and we should afford them real dignity—not a false “Dignitas” that shames them into death, but a real, lasting honor and respect.

Comfort might be the patriarch of the “church approved” sins family. When the church becomes comfortable, Christianity starts to die. Christians must be extremely intentional with their thoughts and actions to avoid comfort. If not, you become resistant to change. You start making secondary issues primary. You begin to see the mission as catering to insiders rather than reaching outsiders.

So if Hillary and Bernie and Donald want to bear the weight of the world for the next four to eight years out of man-centered, philanthropic motives, I find my seventy-something zeal for Jesus heating up. They only get to be president of a tiny territory called the U.S.A. I get to be an ambassador of the Sovereign of the universe. They only get to change the way some people live for a few decades. I get to change the way some people live forever — with a lot of good spill-over for this world in the process.

I know your eyes need a break from all those words...

I Never Felt Called to Adopt
Until that moment, I didn’t think much about the profound loss that an orphan feels. After that moment, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I saw it on Bing’s face in the cafeteria. I saw it in the fatherless boy who called my husband ‘daddy’ and jumped in his arms. I saw it in the six year old girl who squeezed into our family photo, and in the two year old boy who pulled me toward a swing and asked me to push him too.
It’s a stage of life where you are overloaded. Constantly. You are overloaded with questions. Your children never stop asking them. You are overloaded with touch. Someone is constantly wanting to be held, holding on to you, hanging on you, touching you. You are overloaded with to-do’s. There is so much to do. It never ends. You are overloaded with worry. You are overloaded with THINGS. Your kids have way too many toys. You are overloaded with activities. You are overloaded with THOUGHTS (thoughts about how to not be so overloaded, perhaps?).

All those years – my entire teenage experience – I never realized I was entrenched in a spiritual battle. I fought emotionally, physically, and mentally. I set boundaries and goals, made charts and checklists. I confessed and repented – and did it all again the next week. After years of this, I couldn’t believe God would forgive me for the same sin committed into oblivion; how could He? Here I was, taking advantage of grace like it was a gas station commodity. I doubted my value. I doubted God’s love. 
I find myself stumbling over answers because the question is all wrong. It infers that the reason for having children is to fulfill something in us, and people should only have the minimum number it takes to be personally satisfied.
When people say to me, “Don’t you have enough kids already?” the assumption is that I am somehow unfulfilled by the number of children in my home now. I need more children in order to be happy, and isn’t that selfish and irresponsible of me?
Why on earth would I want more?
The simple answer is, I don’t want more kids.

Several years ago, I realized that for all my advantages in life—all the opportunities denied to my grandparents that I eventually enjoyed with their encouragement—I could not match their simple happiness. I realized I would never find the happiness they enjoyed until I voluntarily chose the restraints of family and community. So I did the best I could: we moved to my wife’s hometown.
Not only do I, and perhaps even you, sometimes tout our busyness around like a trophy, we also use it as a scapegoat. It's not me, we say, it's my busyness that is preventing me from really engaging my neighbors, pursuing my dreams, plugging into my church or really giving myself over to worthwhile things I'm passionate about - things we would most certainly do if life just weren't so crazy busy all the time.
To watch parents act as if they are helpless in the presence of disobedient children is pitiful. God requires that children obey because it is possible for parents to require obedience.

2 comments:

  1. yay, these are the best.
    love catching your blog in my reader but don't visit the website often enough to say, you're rocking it Jana. Love your updates on family life and faith. Thanks for sharing :)

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    Replies
    1. That's so sweet of you to comment, Elisa! I'm so glad you enjoy reading them. :-) Hope you and yours are doing well....good to hear from you!

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