Not Just Another Haunted House Story

As my husband and I made progress in our homeschooling journey, like most parents, we read and read and read some more. We noticed words that kept showing up, words like “reformed” and “covenant” and “sovereignty.” Who were these people who baptized their babies? Was it possible that Christianity went back farther than Billy Graham and encompassed more than our non-denominational Bible church? We kept reading. Providentially, (oh how I’ve grown to love that word!), the Lord brought me a homeschooling friend who answered many of my questions. Although she lived across town, it turns out she attended a small PCA church in my neighborhood. And we had mutual friends who attended the same church and they invited us into their home and answered even more questions. We kept reading.  Authors like R.C. Sproul and Michael Horton and G.I. Williamson started to fill our shelves. A New House Those bookshelves started to overflow! We joked that after twelve years and five children, our little “starter home” had certainly gotten us off to a great start! Thankfully we found a larger house the next subdivision over. When we excitedly showed the pictures to our friends at church, the first thing they said was “Oh! That’s the E’s old house. They are wonderful people and they went to…” Guess where? That same neighborhood PCA church. It seemed the E’s had left their mark on more than just the stenciled nursery walls. Joshua 24:15 was permanently attached to the front doorway.  I already loved this house. This two-story red brick, with its friendly kitchen and ample laundry room was going to be just perfect...

Not Just Another Haunted House Story2022-05-07T23:00:12+00:00

Are you thinking or praying? Why the difference matters

A few years ago, a friend of mine received a tragic cancer diagnosis. As this mother of three labored through her arduous chemo schedule, I talked with her burdened and exhausted husband, who was a colleague of mine at the time. He lamented that loved ones didn’t know what to say to him about their current life circumstance. Of course, he totally understood, but I could tell the whole situation was taking a toll on him. He was working full time, had three kids in school, was taking care of his wife who was unable to pitch in as normal, on top of interacting with so many friends and family who, like all of us, just wanted his wife to be healed. “Sometimes,” he said, “people tell me that they’re thinking about my wife and our family.” He followed, “Knowing that someone is thinking about us doesn’t really help too much. We desperately need prayer.” Thinking vs. Praying I think we all agree there is a huge difference between thinking about something in our minds and bringing someone’s name before the King who sits on the throne. My friend wanted people to offer up prayer to the One who has the power to save. He knew the significance and power of that conversation. I know what we often mean when we say that we’re thinking about someone or a situation. But prayer is so much bigger and demonstratively more powerful than our human thoughts! I mean prayer isn’t a conversation that simply happens in my head. It's not a positive thinking, self-help session in my brain. Most Christians wouldn’t use the word thinking in place of praying. But, does our prayer life indicate that we really know the difference between thinking deeply about something and approaching the Lord in prayer?

Are you thinking or praying? Why the difference matters2022-05-07T23:01:02+00:00

The Secret to Contentment

My sister sent me pictures of her family’s new house. This was the first time they were home-owners, and I was ecstatic for them. As I scrolled through photos, I was astonished at the great work they did remodeling, decorating, and making the house their home. I was thankful with my sister for such a great blessing. Until I saw her sink. When I saw her sink, something happened inside of me. It was a large, farmhouse sink, and I found myself spending an excessive amount of time on the picture of the sink. I enlarged the sink; I looked at all of the sink’s details apparent in the photo; I drooled over the sink, and then I promptly texted my husband and informed him that we needed a new sink. “Why? Our sink is perfectly fine.” “Because. We need a new one.” “What kind of sink?” “A farmhouse one. I’ll send you a picture…” I literally pulled out the measuring tape and began measuring the countertops to see how complicated it was going to be to install my new sink. It wasn’t until later that evening, after googling over an hour “how to install a farmhouse sink,” that I had a convicting realization: I’m being ridiculous. But envy does this. It sneaks in deceptively, though often quickly, and entices us to want what we don’t have. Whether or not we actually need it becomes a moot point because our desire to have better – to have more – overtakes our ability to be content with what is right in front of us. It’s a beast that is difficult to overcome, but if we don’t fight against it, we hold contentment at bay and settle for a spirit of dissatisfaction...

The Secret to Contentment2022-05-07T23:01:49+00:00

Building Little Pillars in the Faith

k in the day when my pigtails were tied with ribbons, when my knees were constantly brandishing scrapes and scabs, and when (according to my children) dinosaurs frolicked with my pet saber-toothed tiger in the backyard, I discovered the most remarkable toy. Winter in South Florida ushers in an opportunity for its sweaty residents to throw open windows and suck coolish air into their lungs. Part of our family’s celebration of this temporary break from the heat was hauling out a big box fan. This box fan would be strategically placed so that the delicious fresh air would be pushed down the hall into the bedrooms. This seasonal item became a wonderful addition to my creative play. The box fan made a wonderful mountain for plastic army men to wage intense battles. Those little green soldiers could survey the land for miles from that height. With the fan running, all sorts of silly voice effects could be made by speaking or singing into the whirling blades. I learned how to speak robot while hanging out with that box fan. But best of all, that box fan helped me FLY! Like most preschoolers, a blanket fastened around my neck was enough to transform me into the bravest, most powerful hero the planet had ever seen. I could lift heavy objects. I could jump great distances. I could climb higher. I could move faster. Additionally, when I fastened that magic cape around my neck and lay on my belly in front of that box fan, all I had to do was stretch out my arms to feel the wind in my hair as I soared through the cosmos. Exhilarating! Shaping Little Children I was not unique as a little one. I’m sure you have witnessed the change that occurs when preschoolers put on superhero capes or masks. You’ve watched them stand up a little taller, march a little braver, and smile a little broader. Inside each person is a desire to be strong, significant, and courageous. The greatest joy I have as a teacher is being a part of shaping children into the next generation of heroes. Someday these young ones will be future leaders, policy makers, doctors, inventors, soldiers, parents, and business owners. Will they attack life with boisterous passion and heart for the Gospel?

Building Little Pillars in the Faith2022-05-07T23:02:39+00:00

God’s Promises for the Fearful {and we are all fearful}

In Seminary, my professor opened one of our counseling courses with this bold generalization: Everyone struggles with anxiety. “Everyone is anxious,” he explained, “Some of us just haven’t admitted it to ourselves yet.” I sat there vigorously taking notes, but determined to prove to him that he was wrong. Not everyone is anxious, that is far too broad of a claim. I could prove it to him, too, because I am not an anxious person. Sure, I struggle with anger, my words, jealousy, but I’m definitely not anxious. I don’t second guess myself in social settings. I don’t get a pit in my stomach with the thought of a confrontation. I don’t stay up at night worrying. I am not anxious! He then prompted us to reflect on times of fear in our life. I was flooded with memories. My first day at a new school. Camping on a mountain in the midst of an epic thunderstorm, crouching outside the tent to avoid getting struck by lightning. College applications, the possibility of rejection. The professor made the connection I had missed. Fear is anxiety. We are all anxious...

God’s Promises for the Fearful {and we are all fearful}2022-05-07T23:03:27+00:00

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of Covenant Seminary

Editor’s Note: From its inception, the women in the PCA have loved on and supported the denomination in practical ways. One way has been through the annual women’s ministry love gift. This year, the women’s ministry of the PCA is praying for and partnering with the different agencies and committees of the denomination regionally. Throughout the year, we will highlight the committees and agencies to learn more about what they do and how we can pray for them. I recently interviewed Mark Dalbey, president of Covenant Seminary. Christina: Can you tell us a little of the history of Covenant Seminary? Mark: Covenant Seminary was founded in 1956 and served as the denominational seminary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod until the RPCES joined with the PCA in 1982. From 1982 to the present we have served as the denominational seminary of the PCA. Throughout its history, the seminary has been committed to the inerrancy of the Bible, the Reformed faith as expressed in the Westminster Standards, and the Great Commission. Christina: How does Covenant Seminary engage the broader St. Louis community? Mark: Covenant Seminary has served St. Louis PCA churches as a training ground in providing many pastors, ministry staff leaders, and church planters in Missouri Presbytery. While our primary role has been to serve the PCA, our location in St. Louis has also been a training resource for other evangelical churches in the greater St. Louis area as well. This includes a growing relationship with churches of ethnic, socio-economic, and cultural diversity in our area...

Prayer and Partnerships: A Profile of Covenant Seminary2022-05-07T23:04:11+00:00

Small but Mighty: God’s Work in the Life of Gideon and In Us

Have you ever considered yourself small, weak, and insufficient? In our human eyes, we often view our smallness as negative and limiting, but if we look closely, we see that our God-given limits can be the means for us to grow in our faith and dependence upon God.In the book of Judges, Gideon referred to himself as the “least” in his family. Gideon might have felt small, but God referred to him as a "mighty warrior” and he is listed alongside other men and women of faith in Hebrews 11. God’s Work Through Gideon In Judges 6-8, consider the following scene: Fearing the Midianites, Gideon is afraid to winnow his wheat out in the open air, where the breeze catches the grain and separates it from the chaff. He is afraid of doing that and becoming too visible to enemy eyes. As a result, we find Gideon crouching down, trying to thresh his wheat in the pit of a winepress. Suddenly an angel speaks to him. I imagine this encounter probably made him jump out of his skin! Gideon referred to himself as “the least” likely, which meant that Gideon was economically and/or socially one of the poorest members in his tribe. Judges paints a picture of Gideon as shy and reserved. He also seems quite unassertive in the way he asks God to show him some unusual signals and signs. In his book Judges for You, Tim Keller expands our thinking with a different perspective. He believes Gideon’s response came from an earnest, humble heart seeking God’s direction. Keller sees Gideon teaching us how we need to press in and ask God to give us a big picture of who He is.[1]

Small but Mighty: God’s Work in the Life of Gideon and In Us2022-05-07T23:05:12+00:00
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