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Mother’s Day Edition

Here are some links from around the web and this blog to help you as you celebrate Moms this weekend.

A Mother’s Day Prayer – This is a Mother’s Day prayer for all ladies. You can use this to pray in your church, in your home, or just give to your wife or mother.

A Thank You Note to Moms – A mere “Thank you” doesn’t seem adequate to cover the depth of our gratitude for mothers in God’s gracious plan for humanity. This blog is for you, mom. However, the space is inadequate to describe all the ways in which we are grateful for who you are and what you do.

What Did You Do All Day? – Mom’s, do you need some encouragement? Want to read something funny? Enjoy this tribute to moms.

Hi Mom! – This is a must-see video that you will enjoy. Go Moms!

Mom, Do You Feel Appreciated? – Paul Tripp does a wonderful job writing to mothers. He writes, “I just don’t think we give you enough credit. That’s why I love a national day where we recognize the role of Mom. But Mom … you have to read this: being appreciated cannot be your goal.

How to Honor Your Unbelieving Mother –  “As we approach Mother’s Day—it’s important to consider a proper way to honor your mother.  The value of a mother is far higher than we can hardly imagine.”

Christian Men and Their Godly Moms – This is an excellent series of articles by Tim Challies. There are eight articles here that will bless you as you consider godly moms.

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9 Things You Need to Know as a Graduate

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Congratulations on meeting this new milestone in life! Graduates, as you walk across the stage and begin a new chapter in life, there are nine things you need to know as you face the future challenges and opportunities in front of you.

  1. Graduation marks a momentous accomplishment. You made it. You had a goal and somehow lived to get there. You have overcome obstacles, persevered under pressure, and finished the course. Has it been perfect? No. On this day, that does not make a difference. Graduation day stands as a landmark in life – one on which you will consider over and over again as you continue down life’s journey.
  2. God’s grace sustains you (1 Corinthians 10:13). As it has done in the past (remember, you are graduating!), as it does now, and as it will do every day of your future, God’s grace upholds you every day. No matter what pressure-filled circumstance you face – the ones that are full of joy and potential to the ones which have sorrow and dread, God provides you grace that is greater than the challenge. God is always faithful to provide the grace for you as you need it.
  3. God’s goal for you is to live for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 5:9). You have so many goals and hopes as you cross this mile marker in life – relational, vocational, personal, and others. Your family, friends, and church family wish for you to fulfill those dreams as well. However, in the midst of all those goals, God expects your primary goal to be living your life in worship and love of Him. Regardless of what you do or how it goes, your overarching aim in everything should be to live a God-honoring life.
  4. The Lord is your strength for living, and there is nothing to fear (Psalm 27:1; 28:7). God is your strength, your shield, your light. As His child, God is for you. When circumstances seem bleak, less than you expected, more challenging than you dreamed, or full of uncontrollable conditions, you can trust His character in them. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. You can rely on His strength to endure. You can be grateful that He always does what He says He will do.
  5. God’s mercy is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24). This is great news on many fronts. Yes, you will sin. You will struggle. There are moments ahead when you will be humbled by the depth of your own sinfulness. In these moments, never forget that God is covenant faithful. Because He is, His mercy never ends. On the day of your worst struggle… On the day of your greatest sin… On the day of your lowest point… great is God’s faithfulness to you and His mercy new. Rejoice in His forgiveness. On that day, lean into God for strength, courage, and the ability to move forward.
  6. Whatever your talents and abilities, intelligence and discernment, or charisma and personality, use those things God has given you to bless and benefit others in the name of Christ (Colossians 3:17; 1 Timothy 6:17-19). Recognizing God’s great grace in your life, motivated by the marvelous love of Jesus, and striving to live life according to God’s purpose, give your best effort. Be generous to others. Think about the character of Christ and consider how you can imitate Him inside your own skin and circumstances.
  7. Keep Jesus as your first love (Matthew 22:37-40; Revelation 2:1-7). Jesus wrote to the church at Ephesus and recognized all the good deeds they had done. But in the midst of doing a bunch of great things, they had forgotten the best thing – to faithfully love Jesus. It is easy to read the Bible, learn biblical principles, seek to follow God’s commands, serve many people, and otherwise live for God’s glory, while at the same time forgetting life is about Jesus. Learn Him, live for Him, love Him – worship Him daily.
  8. Jesus is always with you; you are never alone (Matthew 28:18-20). One of the most exciting realities in life is the fact that you are never alone. Jesus is with you always! In the darkest night, Jesus is with you. In the hardest hour, Jesus is with you. In the scariest moment, Jesus is with you. In the toughest conversation, Jesus is with you. In the longest day, Jesus is with you.
  9. God gives you the power of the Holy Spirit to be a witness in all that you do, to whomever you encounter (Acts 1:8). Wherever you go, whomever you engage, whatever you do, the Spirit gives you the power to be a witness of Jesus Christ. Your witness includes both what you say and what you do. No one can come to faith without hearing the gospel message – that is your witness. Many folks will not hear your voice without you first living the gospel message consistently – that is your witness too. God gives you the power for both.

Join the Conversation

What goals do you have as you seek to serve Christ along the journey?

© 2017 PASTORKEVINSBLOG.COM

The Cumulative Effect of Our Little Choices

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by Randy Alcorn

Have you ever seen a sink hole? Cars can be parked on a street day after day, and everything appears normal, then one day the asphalt caves in and cars disappear into a gigantic hole.

Everybody says, “That hole came out of nowhere.” But they’re wrong. The hole appears suddenly but the process that led to it has gone on for many years. The underground erosion was invisible, but it was there all along.

Likewise, sometimes when a man commits adultery and abandons his family, it appears to have come “out of the clear blue sky.” It hasn’t.

Sink holes remind us of two things: first, something can look good on the outside, when underneath major problems have been going on for years, and disaster’s about to happen. Second, our lives are affected by little choices, which have cumulative effects that can result in either moral strength or moral disaster.

A battering ram may hit a fortress gate a thousand times, and no one impact seems to have an effect, yet finally the gate caves in. Similarly, sinful actions don’t come out of nowhere—they’re the cumulative product of little moral compromises made over time, which ultimately result in ungodly behavior. On the other hand, it’s equally true that godly actions are the cumulative product of small, habitual, and Christ-honoring choices for righteousness.

Who Are You Becoming?

Every day we’re becoming someone—the question is, who? Author Jerry Bridges, hearing me address this, told me that Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, used to say, “You are going to be what you are now becoming.”

Scripture speaks of this process of character development: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Who you become will be the cumulative result of the daily choices you make. “The path of the righteous is like the first light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day” (Proverbs 4:18). This is why Scripture continually warns us against wrong choices: “Do not enter the path of the wicked and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on” (Proverbs 4:14–15).

You become like what you choose to behold. Behold Christ, you become Christlike. Gaze upon superficiality and immorality, and it’s equally predictable what you’ll become.

Choices for Godliness

“A long obedience in the same direction,” to borrow a Eugene Peterson phrase, is sustained by the small choices we make each day. Most of us know the difference between eating cottage cheese and donuts, or the difference between a daily workout and spend­ing life on a couch. What I eat and whether I exercise will determine the state of my body. The same is true of our spiritual lives. Whether I read Scripture and great books, or spend my best hours watching TV and looking at my phone, will make me into the person I will be several years from now. I should discipline myself today, not for discipline’s sake, but for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:78).

Psalm 1 says the one who continually meditates on God’s Word “is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither.” Trees do not choose where to place themselves, but we do. We determine what our sources of nourishment will be.

Developing Godly Habits

Following Christ isn’t magic. It requires repeated actions on our part, which develop into habits and life disciplines. Our spirituality hinges on the development of these little habits, such as Bible reading and memorization and prayer. In putting one foot in front of the other day after day, we become the kind of person who grows in Christlikeness. Once we develop Christ-honoring habits and experience their rewards, we’ll instinctively turn our minds to what makes us happy in Christ.

A decade from now, would you like to look back at your life, knowing you’ve made consistently good decisions about eating right and exercising regularly? Sure. But there’s a huge gap between wishes and reality. The bridge over the gap is self-control, a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23).

The key to self-control is discipline, which produces a long-term track record of small choices in which we yield to God’s Spirit, resulting in new habits and lifestyles. In fact, Spirit-control and self-control are interrelated in Scripture, because godly self-control is a yielding of self to the Holy Spirit.

It’s true we are creatures of habit—but it’s also true Christ can empower us to form new habits.

Your Choices Today

So how can you start to make the right small choices? Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us to “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time.” Why not redeem two hours of your day that you would have spent on television, newspa­per, video games, phone, working overtime, or hobbies? Change your habits. Spend one hour meditating on and/or memorizing Scripture. Spend the other hour reading a great book. Share what you’re learn­ing with your spouse and children, or a friend.

Listen to Scripture and audio books and praise music while you fold clothes, pull weeds, or drive. Say no to talk radio or sports radio, not because they’re bad but because you have something better to do. Fast from television, the Internet, and social media for a week. Discover how much more time you have. Redeem that time by establishing new habits of cultivating your inner life and learning to abide in Christ. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

May we call upon Christ’s strength today to make choices that will honor Him, bring us great happiness, and help us become the kind of people we want to be ten years from now!

 

About the Author:
A New York Times bestselling author, Randy has written over fifty books, including Happiness, Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and the Gold Medallion winner Safely Home. His books have been translated into over sixty languages and have sold over nine million copies.

Original Post: The Cumulative Effect of Our Little Choices 05.08.17
© 2017 PASTORKEVINSBLOG.COM

Become a Godly Refuge for Your Children

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by Jay Younts

James 3 warns about how dangerous your words can be. But you already knew that. How many time have you wished that you could grab back the hurtful words that have raced from your lips; careless, angry words that have produced distance from those you love? Fortunately, James 3:13-18 describes what makes your words so destructive and provides the Holy Spirit’s alternative.

You can either speak out of wisdom from below or wisdom from above.

How does this work?

Wisdom from below frequently masquerades as concern for righteousness. It’s focus is on being right. If you are right nothing else matters. Obeying God and avoiding evil becomes the motivation that justifies frustration, irritation and confrontation with your children or even your spouse. However, this singular focus produces brokenness and dysfunction. This is wisdom from below at work. All that matters is what is right.

Wisdom from below produces “fake” righteousness. You can identify wisdom from below by the fruit it produces. Wisdom from above produces a harvest of peace. So, if your “wisdom” does not result in peace, you are practicing “fake”, counterfeit wisdom. Verse 17 of this packed chapter describes what wisdom from above looks like. Let’s break it down, phrase by phrase.

Wisdom from above is:

Pure – this means your concern is not about your convenience, your comfort or your image. Your focus is on showing the beauty and wonder of God.

Peaceable – this means that when problems arise your approach is focused on reconciliation and peace, not retribution and frustration.

Gentle – being gentle is much more than an attitude. Scripture describes gentleness as the weapon you use to combat angry words, opposition, turmoil. Gentleness is what it means to be like Christ (Matthew 11:28-30).

Open to reason – this component of wisdom from above is huge. When there is a conflict with your children, do they know that you will be open to reason and that they will be heard with patience and grace?

Full of mercy and good fruits – this means being someone who is dominated by mercy and not just obsessed with making things right. This means that, like Christ does with you, the sins and struggles of your children will be met with mercy, even when discipline is required.

Impartial and sincere – this means that your children know that you will not favor one over the other or your wants over theirs. It means that they know you are sincere in honoring God as your first priority.

Deploying wisdom from above requires humility and the power of God’s Spirit. It is wisdom from above that produces a place of refuge and peace for your children. It is wisdom from above that truly shows the beauty of Christ. Watch out for the deceptive cunning of wisdom from below. Bring God’s peace to your children. Become that place of refuge so that you can be the godly resource your children need.

Join the Conversation

How have you found it helpful to make sure your words are wisdom from above?

Jay-Younts2About the Author:
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk about Sex and Marriage, and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay lives in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.

Original Post: Become a godly refuge for your children 05.03.17
© 2017 PASTORKEVINSBLOG.COM

The Most Important Choice of Your Day

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Blog-The-Most-Important-Choice-of-Your-Day-05.08.17Life is full of choices. That seems like an understatement. In every aspect of your day you make choices from food to clothes, from work to play, from routes to stops along the routes, from words to actions, and hundreds of more categories. These are the choices as a people we often consider. These are the things we can see, hear, and do.

There is another choice that is out of sight and often out of mind that is more important than any of these. That choice: who are you going to serve today? Ultimately, there are only two options on the table – serve and worship Christ or serve and idolize self. This choice drives all the other choices of your day.

Each Moment a New Opportunity

Jesus, while walking toward Jerusalem with his disciples, challenged them in the area of choices with a parable (Luke 19:11-27). Jesus told of a nobleman who was leaving for an undisclosed amount of time to go receive a kingdom. Before he left, he gave ten servants a mina each, which was equivalent to between three and four months salary, and asked them to invest it in business. Upon the king’s return after had received the kingdom, the king called for each of them to give an account of how they had invested their mina. Jesus only tells us about three of them. The first servant brought back 10 minas – what an incredible return! The second servant brought back 5 minas – another great job. The third servant brought back the original mina to the king. Upon questioning, the servant told how he had hidden the mina in a handkerchief instead of doing anything profitable with the mina given to him. The king sternly corrected him and took the mina away from him and gave it to another.

What was the point of Jesus’ parable?

Jesus is the one who left to receive a kingdom. He still has not returned, nor has He held all His servants to an account. Yet, just as this king in the story, Jesus expects all His followers to be responsible with the grace He provides for them daily. His grace includes a relationship with God, union with Christ, the presence and power of the Spirit, the sufficient Word of God, relationships in the body of Christ, and all the other components of the gospel. All the personal benefits of salvation are included as well. So what does Jesus expect? Jesus requires all His servants to use the grace He provides (our mina) and invest it for His purposes. He anticipates that each of us would be a faithful steward (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2).

What motivates our stewardship?

In Jesus’ parable, the relationship with and kindness of the noble king motivated the faithful servants’ response. A servant in that day was there by choice and had a significant relationship with the one for whom he served. Christ-followers also receive motivation both from their relationship with Christ and the kindness shown them by grace. The love, friendship, mercy, and grace of Jesus motivates a life of worship or service to Him. As we behold the glories of our Savior and contemplate the immenseness of His grace, we long to serve Him (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

What is the most important choice of your day?

Today, you must determine who you will serve. Will you serve Jesus or serve yourself? Will you take the grace He gives you and faithfully invest it in the opportunities God provides you today in His providence? Will you choose to allow the glories of our Savior to propel you to better and greater service? Will you be a faithful steward of the manifold grace of God in Christ?

Join the Conversation

How would you describe your mina – the grace God has given you in Christ to worship and serve?

© 2017 PASTORKEVINSBLOG.COM