Our family took a
drive up the coast of California one summer. Out of all the beautiful
scenery we saw, the most amazing was the Redwood Forests, home to the biggest
trees in the world.
A redwood tree is quite a sight. The first giant we saw was a famous tree whose girth was wide enough to drive a truck through. As you can imagine, it was huge. But driving through a single tree doesn’t compare to the experience of driving into the redwood forests. Hundreds of towering trees with enormous, deep red trunks surrounded by beds of lush ferns created spectacular scenes that made us feel we had entered into a magical fairyland. We explored in and through the trees, enjoying the quietness, interrupted occasionally by the melodic click of an insect or frog. We marveled at how great and beautiful our God is. He spoke these majestic redwoods into being, along with the hawks that nest in their branches and the chipmunks that run at their feet. The beauty and wonder of the forests must pale in comparison to him.
I’m proud of my father. He’s the definition of a self-made man. His parents were hardworking but not highly educated (neither had been to college). His father worked on an assembly line; his mother in an office. Dad didn’t do so well in high school but wanted to succeed, so against his counselor’s recommendation, he went to the local community college. He worked as a clerk in a record store (for Millennials that means music store) to pay his fees. Soon he was doing the job of an accountant and graduated from the state college with a business degree. He ambitiously worked to move up the ladder. If he wasn’t being promoted fast enough in his current company, he would move to a better position in a new one. Eventually, he became a financial vice president and then started his own company. He ran that expanding company for 20 years and is now retired.
That was my dad’s end-goal all along—a comfortable retirement. He kept his eye on the ball, working hard, regularly putting money away and making wise investments. He taught us the key to having a good amount of money at retirement is starting to save when you’re young and continuing that practice over years. My dad reached his goal. He and my mom have a nice house, travel when they want and are generous to family and friends. They live the American dream.
Linda and Connie didn’t come to church but were regular attenders at women’s Bible study. They did their workbook homework, never missed a week, and were big fans of our video teacher. When we switched to a more intensive, inductive study one fall, they weren’t happy, though they continued to attend.
But then something happened. Linda and Connie started delighting in God’s Word. As they studied the passage for the week, they began to spend hours each day looking up every cross-reference in their study Bibles.
There’s controversy swirling over Disney stories again. After reading Snow White, actress Kristen Bell asks her daughters, “Don’t you think that it’s weird that the prince kisses Snow White without her permission? Because you cannot kiss someone if they’re sleeping!”
Consent is a hot topic these days. Freshmen on college campuses attend classes and discussions where counselors stress the necessity of consent but then have to define what it means. A “yes” is not a “yes” if the woman is too drunk to make rational decisions. (Of course, there’s very little discussion on the danger of getting drunk in the first place. And there’s no warning that if your decision-making capability is severely impaired by alcohol, it’s likely to be the same for the man you’re with.)
Love… joy… delight: do these come to mind when you picture the Bible? I love my husband. I delight in my children. I often rejoice in my relationships with others. But do I feel passionately about God’s word?
Psalm 119 overflows with words of passion. The psalmist’s love and joy jump off the page to inspire our hearts. “I find my delight in your commandments which I love, ” (vs. 47) says the psalmist to his God. He goes on to declare, “Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart” (vs. 111). What treasure causes such expressions of pleasure?
At the TGC Women’s Conference, 9Marks hosted a panel on Women and the Local Church. The panel sought to biblically define church and describe what a healthy church looks like. Then they answered questions from the audience about how women who are faithful members in their local church can work to build up the body of Christ.
Listen here and rejoice in the church, God’s gift to us:
Rebecca writes: “Most of all, I want each reader to catch a glimpse of God’s glory. I pray she sees his beauty as she explores who he is and what he has done. And as she reads, I hope her heart begins to sing his praises.”
Excerpt from the recently released The Good Portion-God: The Doctrine of God for Every Woman by Rebecca Stark:
One of my favorite autumn activities is picking the wild cranberries that grow on the mossy forest floor surrounding my home. Last fall they were so plentiful that I didn’t need to harvest beyond the small strip of woods right across the street from my house. When the snow finally came, I had three large mixing bowls full of cranberries waiting to be turned into jam or juice, or frozen whole to use in muffins throughout the winter. Even so, I left plenty of berries on the bushes for the birds and bears.
Where I live in northern Canada, the wild bounty God provides includes cranberries (or lingonberries), caribou, moose, bison and more. In Minnesota where I grew up, He gives wild blueberries, chokecherries, juneberries, wild rice, and venison. From His goodness, God provides all of these native foods for His creatures to eat.