6.27.2014

Coffee with Maggie



Maggie talks about the hope found in Romans even when we are overcome by our sin. If it’s a rainy, cool day Maggie drinks a large cup of strong coffee with cream and a little bit of sugar, but if it’s a hot, sunny day she loves Starbucks iced coffee with 2 pumps of classic sweetener and plenty of cream.  

Hope for the Very Angry Mom: Hearing & Believing Romans 8 

As I care for my children, the temptation to anger is always close by my side. When my two year old son is having a tantrum, it’s there tempting me to scream back at him with a scowl on my face. When he is repeatedly disobedient, it’s telling me to say hurtful things. When my son is persistent and stubborn about what he wants, it’s begging me to give him his way and let my heart fill with bitterness. And oh how I give into these temptations more times than not! I feed my flesh time after time, choosing not love but unkindness, believing the lie that my anger will quicken my son’s road to obedience, and then, soon after, I am filled with guilt. I am overcome by condemnation and my conscience accuses me of being “that mom” whose kids will remember her as always angry and always yelling.

This is what my days have consisted of the past few months – battling a toddler while caring for his baby sister. I have experienced some of my worst days as a mom, days I feel like I am a two-year-old fighting my own two-year-old. I have repeatedly given into ugly, childish anger and then been completely enveloped in shame and condemnation for the way I have treated my son. I have felt completely stuck in my sin, not having the desire or the energy to fight against it.

One thing I am sure of, however, is that I have never been more desperate for Jesus. I am desperate for his help, desperate for his forgiveness, desperate for his power to strengthen me, change me and preserve me to the end, and I am more grateful for his perfect life, sacrifice and resurrection than ever before.

This desperation for Jesus and desire to go to battle against my sins of anger and condemnation drove me to listen to a message series by John Piper called How to Kill Sin. In his sermons, Piper explains that Christians fight sin by hearing and believing the word of God. When we “set our minds of things of the spirit (Romans 8:5)” – meaning the word of God – we in turn “by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body (8:13)” – our sin. The primary weapon for battling our own flesh is to hear the word of God and believe it with our all of our hearts.

After listening to the series I searched to find what Piper likes to call “fighter verses,” bible truths that speak specifically to my sins of anger and condemnation. I have been writing them out, posting them on my walls, making them backgrounds on my phone and singing them to my kids, so that they will be close at hand to cling to, to HEAR and to BELIEVE! I kept it simple and stuck with these three verses:

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

Love is patient and kind. I Corinthians 13:4

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. II Corinthians 12:9


It is so helpful to have these on notecards posted throughout my house. Before naptime/bedtime routines (some of my most challenging times of day) I try to read them, and when I am in the midst of fighting with my son and feel that prick of conviction after something I said, I lift these verses up in my prayers asking God for help.

But then a few weeks ago, I had one of my most angry days ever and the “fighter verses” just seemed trivial. My expectations of my son’s obedience were in no way being met, and my dreams of catching a “break” slowly shattered to pieces while we fought for two hours about the afternoon nap that never happened. I could feel how ugly the anger on my face looked. I completely gave into my flesh. I blew up at my son countless times. Bitterness was creeping into my heart, and I felt completely numb to the word of God. I had no desire to run to my “fighter verses,” and was feeling totally conquered by my sin.

By evening, during that peaceful hour between dinner and bedtime, scenes from the day flashed in my mind and so began my conscience’s list of accusations:

What kind of mom are you? How can you say such hurtful things? How can you shame a little boy? How will he ever forgive you for the way you have treated him?

I willingly dove into that black pool of condemnation, swimming around in all of its shame and self-pity. Then, when my sweet mama’s boy asked for his dad to tuck him in bed that night for one of the very first times, I sank to the bottom of that black pool. My heart was broken.

As I rocked my baby girl to sleep that night, I cried over the way I had treated my son, I cried because he asked for his dad to put him to bed and not me, I cried because I felt so sick from the anger I had given in to all day, and I cried thinking about the mom I was and the mom I wished I could be. After I rolled around in my condemnation and tried to beat myself up into “getting it together” for the next day, I knew what I really needed was truth – truth to hear and to believe! The Spirit was prompting me to stop listening to myself but my “fighter verses” just weren’t coming to my mind and I didn’t have any desire to open the word and read it.

So there in the dark room, I found a reciting of Romans 8 on YouTube, held my phone to my ear and just listened.

I was hearing – hearing the wonderful news that there is no condemnation, even for a very angry mom, who is in Christ Jesus, because it was already used up on him! I was hearing – that though my body is dead because of sin, I am alive because the very Spirit who raised Christ Jesus from the dead is in me! I was hearing – that I am not a debtor to my flesh, I don’t live according to its wishes of angry outbursts and condemning accusations, because I have been adopted and made an heir of God with Christ! I was hearing – that the suffering and struggle of my day is absolutely nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed to me one day. I was hearing – that the Spirit is interceding for me, that he knows I am a very weak, tired mom, prone to anger, a mom who doesn’t know how to pray like I should, yet, he takes my simple cries for help and turns them into perfect prayers just for me. I was hearing – that God foreknew me, and he picked me before time to be conformed into the image of his Son, that he justified me and that yes, even I, the most angry mom on the planet, will be glorified! I was hearing – that the same God who didn’t spare his very own Son, but gave him up for me, will graciously give me all that I need to persevere to the end. I was hearing – that no one, not even my own conscience, can bring any charge against me, one of God’s elect. I was hearing – that nothing in all of creation, not even my huge ugly sin of anger I repeatedly give in to, can ever separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus!

As I listened, my tears of shame and guilt turned into tears of relief, and joy, and gratefulness, as my soul was filled with assurance and hope. When the reciting finished, I prayed over and over that the Spirit would empower me not to just hear but to believe all that I had just heard.

 


I sneaked into my son’s room that night and stole a kiss from him as he soundly slept, my heart feeling lighter and warmer, and my love for me sweet little boy overflowing, completely resting in the fact that the truth found in Romans 8 would be the only way I could wake up the next morning and find strength to keep mothering my children.

I can’t say that since I have been making a more purposeful effort to hear and believe the word my sins of anger and condemnation have become less. In fact, in the middle of typing this I have already yelled at my son a handle of times! However, my Savior is becoming all the more beautiful to me as I let the truth of the word warm my soul. He is the one who already battle the flesh and won the war against sin! I will fall again and again because I still live in a fallen world but I I know that I can “take heart” for he has overcome the world. I will see that in full one day and I will be glorified! This is my hope and it drives me to stay in the “good fight of faith,” by hearing and believing the word, writing and rewriting it, hanging it on my walls, singing, memorizing and praying it, and teaching it to my children so they can remind me of its truth when my eyes are too tired to read and my mind to think. His word will not return void.

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

A little about Maggie:
Maggie Davis is a stay-at-home mom to Josiah (2) and Evelyn (9 months) and despite her battles with anger, really loves everything about being a mom. She is married to Matt who graciously reminds her of the gospel each day, and knows popcorn, m&ms and a movie is just what his wife needs after the kids are in bed. They love playing with their kids, hanging out with their parents, brothers and sisters, and drinking lots of coffee.

6.26.2014

5 Points, God's Glorious Sovereignty in Salvation: Particular Redemption


Debbie Ruhl is currently leading a discussion of John Piper’s book, Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace, on Monday evenings through the month of June. We thought it might be helpful for her to blog about the material, helping all of us understand more clearly what is known as Reformed Doctrine or Calvinism. 

Historically, the third “point” of the Doctrines of Grace is known as “Particular Redemption.” It is the teaching that Jesus died for individual people in particular. This is the one point that takes the most time and energy to explain, and of the “Five Points of Calvinism” it is also the one point that is most misunderstood and most hotly debated in evangelical circles. So, instead of discussing it in detail here on the Sweet Mercies blog, I want to give several book recommendations that do a much better job than I ever could. Some good discussions can be found in:

1. Chosen By God, R.C. Sproul

2. The Doctrines of Grace, James Montgomery Boice and Phillip Graham Ryken

I do want to leave you all with one mind-blowing thought. Revelation 13:8 tells us that our names are written in the “Book of the Lamb who was slain,” and not only that, but that our names were written in this book before the foundation of the world. What?!?! Jesus loved me even before the world was formed?!? YES!!! This means that Jesus called you to mind when He said “Father, forgive them,” and that He had your name on His heart when He breathed His last.

Jesus’ love for you is a personal, name-knowing love that extends to the furthest reaches of time. HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!


Soli Deo gloria!


A little about Debbie:


Debbie is a secretary/receptionist at Redeemer Church. She and her husband, Isaiah, live with their two dogs just a stone's throw away from the church, but somehow they still end up at least 5 minutes late on Sunday mornings. Debbie loves to sing, read, tutor math, encourage people, and listen to her husband tell stories. One day, she and Isaiah want to live on the family farm in North Carolina with a big garden, lots of kids, and the laundry hanging out on the line.

6.20.2014

Coffee with Sarah


Sarah chats about living under God's grace, rather than the law.  For Sarah, coffee is a must every morning.  She takes it with a little cream and a little sugar, nothing too fancy.

Recently God has been teaching me about grace and, that is a theme I see as I read through Romans 8. Starting in verse 12, Paul states that we are heirs with Christ -us, the broken, sinful, majorly flawed, mess-ups of humans. All those who trust in Christ are heirs with Him. My favorite verse is verse 15, "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'"

What a picture of grace! He not only saves us, made us His heirs, but we no longer have to try to live by the law.

I find that when I focus on my fears and the law then I miss God's grace. I miss how in spite of my sin and failures He still calls me his own. I go back to the very thing He saved me from. Instead of trying my best to be righteous through the law I can now just call out to Him, because I am his daughter.

In the very beginning of Chapter 8, it says we aren't condemned when we are in Christ and that we have been set free from the law of sin and death. Yet somehow I keep thinking if I live a certain way or do a certain things He will love me or bless me more. Most of the time I may not even realize that is what I am thinking. I find myself saying things like, "Wow, God, I can't believe you blessed me like that when I don't even know the last time I picked up my bible." God blesses me because I am His daughter and He loves me not because I deserve it. Let's face it, we never deserve any good thing from the Lord.

I don't want to live my life focused on the steps I have to take to please God or how I think life is supposed to look. When I do that, I am placing myself back into the law. Instead, I want to live in grace. I want his grace that saved me and adopted me to inform my decisions. I want my love and desire to spend time with Him to flow from that grace. So today, this week, this month I will meditate on his grace. I will let it penetrate into my life and let love and gratefulness flow from it.

A little about Sarah: 
I love going running with my husband, traveling, spending time with friends, baseball, the summertime and playing ridiculous games with my family. 

6.19.2014

5 points, God's Glorious Sovereignty in Salvation: Irresistible Grace




Debbie Ruhl is currently leading a discussion of John Piper’s book, Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace, on Monday evenings through the month of June. We thought it might be helpful for her to blog about the material, helping all of us understand more clearly what is known as Reformed Doctrine or Calvinism. 

2. IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

In the previous post, we took a good, hard look at our natural selves: that before we were saved we were certainly "dead in our trespasses and sins…children of wrath like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1-3). Needless to say, dead people are DEAD: they cannot turn toward God, renew their own hearts, or breathe life into their spirits. This really is the bad news of the gospel, isn’t it? But the rest of Ephesians 2 tells us the GOOD NEWS:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4)
Even when we weren’t looking for Him, God came and found us: he called us out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)! It’s the call of our loving shepherd, Jesus, who took it on himself to find us in our wandering:

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
Look at the last part of that verse: “and they follow me.” This is not the possibility of salvation : this is the assurance of salvation!

God has changed our hearts so we want to follow Him. This is what is meant by irresistible grace. It’s that call from the Lord that is so loving, so powerful, so beautiful, SO IRRESISTIBLE that we have to say YES, I love you too!!!!!! This is exactly the call that Song of Solomon speaks of:
“My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away…’” (Song of Solomon 2:10).
How can you say “no” to the one person who loves you perfectly and fully?!?! Another way to look at is in the birthing language that Jesus uses:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Can a baby will NOT to be born? Of course not! A baby cannot decide when he will be born any more than he willed himself into being. Nor can a baby resist his mother’s birthing pains. This is another way to look at irresistible grace: God’s will to save sinners—to give them a new birth—cannot be thwarted (Job 42:2).
But what about people who say “NO” to God—and there are many who do: they resist God’s call to salvation, don’t they? This is where we must admit that Scripture does not give us all the answers. Somehow, Scripture seems to point to a special, heavenly call that results in salvation apart from the general call to salvation that is given to everyone:

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out…No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day…” (John 6:37, 44).

Ladies, let this knowledge fill your heart with worship!!!! You have been given to Jesus by God the Father Almighty through grace that is inexpressible, undeniable, and IRRESISTIBLE!!! Even before you knew Him or loved Him, Jesus called you out of darkness: you are His lovely bride and He delights in you!!

Soli Deo gloria!



A little about Debbie:
Debbie is a secretary/receptionist at Redeemer Church. She and her husband, Isaiah, live with their two dogs just a stone's throw away from the church, but somehow they still end up at least 5 minutes late on Sunday mornings. Debbie loves to sing, read, tutor math, encourage people, and listen to her husband tell stories. One day, she and Isaiah want to live on the family farm in North Carolina with a big garden, lots of kids, and the laundry hanging out on the line.

6.16.2014

6.13.2014

Coffee with Jessica


Jessica discusses clinging to truth of Romans 8 in moments of doubt and unbelief. Since breaking her caffeine addiction, she now takes her occasional cup of decaf with a bit of coconut sugar and a heathy dose of heavy whipping cream.

I've been in quite the funk lately... Which isn't new for me. Battling chronic pain for half my life has come with a generous side of 'depression'... Now, just mix in three adorably disobedient children (ages 5,3 &1), and a husband that can't read my mind to save his life... and there you have it... Me... In a desperate state of mind, body and spirit.

Some days I just wish I could hit the 'reset button'. I want to know that my dear Evangeline appreciates the double French braids I painstakingly perfected, as she wiggled and complained. I want to know that my precious Elliot meant to kiss me instead of spitting in my face while yelling "YOU NO CHARGE!" ... or that my sweet Adeline meant to say... "Thank you, mom, for letting me scarf down what measly morsels you had left on your plate instead of yelling "EAT! EAT! MORE!"

When I'm emotional and doubting my husband's love for me... I just want to hit RESET.

"Hey baby," he would say, while perhaps giving me a foot rub, "I love you and I'm committed to loving and caring for you, no matter how many mugs you throw across the room or emotional meltdowns you have. I am for you... and I'm praying for you. You are beautiful. Those jeans do not make your butt look big... and, by the way, you have a bit of cream cheese frosting dangling from your bottom lip... Let me get that for you." (warm embrace)...

For me... Romans 8 has been just that... my spiritual RESET BUTTON. What a glorious chapter of Holy Scripture, packed full of exactly what we need to be hearing above all the other noises and hallow words this world has to offer.

When I find myself surrounded by the dark clouds of pain and depression... 'for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.' (vs 18). 

When I'm tempted to be overwhelmed by the sin that so easily entangles... ' There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.' (vs 1).

When I'm feeling weak in body and Spirit, and there are no words to contain the sobs... 'Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness... the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.' (vs 26).

Doubting God's love and faithfulness seems almost silly when held to the backdrop of verses 29 and 30... These words...' He foreknew me... He predestined me to be conformed in the image of his son. He called me... and those he called, he also justified... and those he justified... he's also glorified!' ... these sweet words have been a lifeline to me. A life preserver thrown out to me as the storms of life are threatening to pull me under... and the one on the other end of this lifeline... the anchor of my soul. The ONE who spoke and there was light. The ONE who calmed the storms. 'The ONE who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all (vs. 32)... how will he not also with him graciously give us all we need?'

Reading Romans 8, and knowing that it's about us... those of us who have believed and are hidden in Christ Jesus... should bring hope, assurance, boldness. When our eyes are cast down at ourselves or our circumstances... the words of this chapter are meant to revive us, to remind us of who we are... and who is for us, interceding on our behalf. It's a reset button when unbelief and doubt creeps in.

'What then shall we say? He is for us. He is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. We are more than conquerers through him who loved us... and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.' (paraphrased)

When we HEAR Romans 8... it brings truth and hope... the storms of life seem to grow smaller. When we BELIEVE Romans 8... we grab hold of this truth, tethering ourselves to the Anchor... and when we start LIVING Romans 8... we proclaim that truth with boldness and we follow in the footsteps of Christ... no are no longer overcome by the waves... but begin walking above them.

A little about Jessica: 
Jessica Rockey has been married to her dear husband, David, for nearly 8 years. They have 3 sweet and energetic children Evangeline, Elliot and Mary Adeline. Jessica is a former ballerina and dance instructor... and has just taken on the role of Choreographer for a local Passion Play. She loves being a full time mom at home, and spends most of her time aimlessly wandering around the house, trying to remember what she forgot... and saying things like "Stop picking your brother's nose!" and "You have to put on pants if you want to go to the store."

6.12.2014

5 Points, God's Glorious Sovereignty in Salvation: Total Depravity

Debbie Ruhl is currently leading a discussion of John Piper’s book, Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace, on Monday evenings through the month of June. We thought it might be helpful for her to blog about the material, helping all of us understand more clearly what is known as Reformed Doctrine or Calvinism. 

1. TOTAL DEPRAVITY

Last week we started off our study of John Piper’s Five Points. These five points do not exhaust biblical theology or Reformed teaching, they simply summarize God’s glorious sovereignty in salvation. Let me say that again because (as one woman in my study commented) it is so helpful in understanding why people make such a big deal about these doctrines: the Five Points of Calvinism are about GOD’S GLORIOUS SOVEREIGNTY IN SALVATION.

We spent a good deal of time talking about seeking to know the mind of Christ (albeit "through a glass dimly"), and how it's okay if one is not quite convinced of a certain “point” at end of the study. Great men (and women) of the Lord have had different understandings throughout history, but we are all the Body of Christ! The real “point” of the study is to read the Word and let God's teachings steep in our hearts.

We tackled the “first point” of Calvinism: total depravity. First of all, let’s clear up what total depravity is not: it does not mean that man does as much evil as he can. It simply means that without God’s grace in salvation, we are more sinful than we could ever realize. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Total depravity is the natural state of man before regeneration. Piper summed up this teaching by commenting on its four aspects.

First, in our unregenerate state we were in total rebellion against God. Let’s face it: before we knew the Lord, we were not on the fence about whose side we were on! We were on our own side….not God’s side. As Paul writes in Romans 3:10-12: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Second, everything man does (without Christ) is totally sin. This is a hard one to swallow. We do not like to think that everything that mankind does on his own is sin: after all, people all around the world do “good things” every day, right?!?!! What does the Bible say about this? I Corinthians 10:31 states that “whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” Do most people around the world do “good” things because they want to glorify God? Hmmm….probably not. (I can honestly say that I often do “good” things for the approval of man, not for the glory of God). Romans 14:23 is even clearer: “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Wow, this is getting uncomfortable: whatever I do without faith is counted as SIN by God! Ouch. Well, this does not seem like very good news!!! But, God does not leave us without hope: as Christians we have God’s daily regenerating work in us through the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:16). Hallelujah! “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

Third, man is totally unable to reform himself. Really? What about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps?!? Yeah- that’s not in the Bible. Romans 8:7-8 states that “the mind that is set on the flesh [that is, the natural condition of man] is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” We cannot submit to God without God’s intervention. Ephesians 2:1 says it a different way: we were once “dead in trespasses and sin.” Dead people cannot raise themselves up! We were totally enslaved to sin and trapped, as Romans 6 repeats over and over.

Fourth, we are totally deserving of eternal punishment. This aspect is, perhaps, the most mind-boggling, but I think it is the key to understanding why only Jesus can save us. The seriousness of sin is not really about what we do- it’s about who we do it against. We have rejected an infinite, eternal, holy, and righteous God. Consequently, the separation between us and God is infinite!!! Only God can bridge that gap because He is the only one big enough to do it!!! As Piper puts it: our sin is not about us, it’s about God. Talk about reorienting our self-absorption: even our sin is not about us!!

To close our time on Monday: we talked about how the "terrible truth" of our natural depravity should not be a heavy burden for Christians- it's actually wonderful news because our salvation does not depend on us pulling ourselves up with our boot straps. It's terrifying because we bring nothing to the table but our sin, but so comforting because we don't have to bring anything to the table! As Piper writes, “knowing the seriousness of our disease will make us all the more amazed at the Greatness of our Physician.” I hope that the truth of your total depravity causes you to fall on your knees in worship!!!

Soli Deo gloria!

Debbie



A little about Debbie:
Debbie is a secretary/receptionist at Redeemer Church. She and her husband, Isaiah, live with their two dogs just a stone's throw away from the church, but somehow they still end up at least 5 minutes late on Sunday mornings. Debbie loves to sing, read, tutor math, encourage people, and listen to her husband tell stories. One day, she and Isaiah want to live on the family farm in North Carolina with a big garden, lots of kids, and the laundry hanging out on the line.

6.06.2014

Coffee with Jennifer


Jennifer talks about placing our hope in future glory, not current circumstances.  Her drink of choice is an iced chai latte. 

I get married and three months later my husband gets laid off due to economic downturn. (groan)

Three months after that…My younger sister who is also my best friend dies while 30 weeks pregnant in a car crash. (groan)

Pre-term labor for three of my four pregnancies. (groan)

Five babies in six years time. Apnea monitors. Oxygen tanks. Breathing tubes. Reactive airway disease. Chronic lung disease. PICU. Acute Asthma. Feeding Tubes. Cleft Palate. (groan)

One of my sons is diagnosed with Hypertonic Cerebral Palsy. (groan)

Eight months later another son is diagnosed with Embryonal Metastatic Prostatic Rhabdomyosarcoma. (Really bad, rare, aggressive, pediatric stage four cancer had metastasized to both lungs.) 15 + months of chemo and radiation. (groan)

And I’m still groaning. The kids spill milk. I find a myriad of spices all over the kitchen floor and laundry piles. My kids scrape their knees. Toilet overflows. Air conditioning is broken in the car. (more groans)

My hope is Future Glory. It comes not from my current circumstances, fleeting distraction or short-term wins. It comes in knowing that in God’s full and complete work there is a Glory to come that will surpass all the suffering, all the consequences of sins, all the trials, loss, grief, heartaches, heartbreak, and death. All the groaning.

Romans 8:22-25 speaks about groaning and waiting…

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Without Christ, the trials I have experienced offer a grief narrative that offers only self pity. How sad and empty, a story by itself.

In Christ my groan-filled story is being redeemed to bring glory to God as I await resurrection, glorification, New Creation and life everlasting with God as my reward.

My story is incorporated in the great story of God redeeming all of Creation. Suffering will melt away in the light of His glory. For now, I am sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yes I still groan, however, …I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)

A Little About Jennifer:
I’ve been married over a decade to my best friend Mike. We have 5 children (1 girl, 4 boys). Our life is busy and LOUD. I love writing and finding hidden treasures at thrift stores. Our family has recently relocated from life on 99 acres in Chesapeake to the City of Norfolk to be a part of the Redeemer church plant.

6.04.2014

To Completion

"Spiritual growth to maturity is God's work from beginning to end, and he alone will get the credit. The same God who made the universe out of nothing and who counts the hairs on your head will have his way with you in all things. He does not ordain the beginning and end of your story only to leave the middle part - your life as a believer here on earth - up to you!"

Barbara R. Duguid, Extravagant Grace

Posted by Heather Kneisler