Grateful Giveaway 2020: $50 WITW Gift Card

By Theron St. John

This Thanksgiving season, we who have received the free gift of God in Christ Jesus have much to be thankful for. Although 2020 has had its twist and turns, its trials and tribulations, we ought to be reminded of God’s goodness and grace. We deserve death for our rebellion against the Creator of life. If we begin to feel entitled, may we be reminded the one thing we are owed is this death due to the work of our sin. Yet, God has chosen to lavish grace on us in Jesus Christ! Therefore, if we find ourselves prone to grumbling during this season, may the Lord produce in us grateful hearts by His gospel of grace!

To encourage you in that way, Entrusted By God is running its first Grateful Giveaway! We are giving a $50 gift card to the Women in the Word Gift Shop. Earlier this year, we ran a post on this great ministry and have included information below so you can learn more about Jenny Kessel and the Women in the Word Gift Shop.

Want to enter to win the $50 gift card? Follow this LINK!

About WOMEN in the WORD Gift Shop

Jenny Kessel created WOMEN in the WORD Gift Shop because she had a dream and commitment to uplift, inspire, and encourage Christian women. In her gift shop, women can shop for quality products that provide daily reminders of our Lord Jesus Christ. WOMEN in the WORD is a gift shop where you can find gifts for your sisters in Christ and to be inspired in your Christian walk. Jenny, along with her mother, has created many of the designs you will come across as you peruse the gift shop. The list of products includes apparel (in both English and Español), stationery, mugs, jewelry, and other items with unique style and original designs.

Honoring Your Father in Fatherlessland

By Andrea Guachalla

Now we know why we ought to honor our fathers even if they don’t act like it. It is not because of their wrongdoing and not because of their right doing. The reason we honor our fathers in fatherlessland is that the Lord has made them our parents, and He did so for a reason.

Although it might seem complex to take it to practice, you’ll see that it is the Lord who gives you the means, strength, and wisdom to do so. You can start by…

Praying thanks to God. Give thanks to God in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). That includes thanking Him for the father you have. It’s easy to complain when we think we deserve better, but the truth is that we don’t really deserve anything, everything is a gift from God. If our heart is filled with thankfulness there is no room for grumbling.

Whether you have found peace regarding the father you have, or you still struggle with honoring your father because he’s never there for you, or he hurts you in any way, you can still pray thanks to the Lord. You can thank Him because He is gracious and if you ask, He will enable you to honor your father, and learn through the difficulties that come with that.

Obeying. That’s part of our role as sons and daughters: to listen to our father’s instructions and obey. Important note: we obey as far as his instructions are aligned with the Word of God. Even if he is only partially present in your life or almost completely absent, you can probably recall your father instructing you simple things that were for your good: honor those efforts of instruction by obeying them.

It is true that most often you don’t get great life lessons from your father in fatherlessland, but if you look for instructions worthy of being obeyed, you will find something. It could be as simple as following your father’s examples of being punctual or clean up after your messy room. Whatever it is: obey.

Ask for his advice: This can be very challenging, but if you’re ever in touch with your father ask him for advice. Even if it’s for very simple things. That shows him that you value his opinion and you believe he has wisdom to offer.

Now, I know that when you don’t have much contact with your father, you may get a weird look from them when you ask for their advice because they are not used to being asked for their opinion to guide your steps, even in some occasions they might not be open to even try to offer advice of any sort. But just the fact that you are trying sends a very valuable message and whether they are conscious or not about it, he knows: he is being honored.

Don’t talk idle about him. Let me repeat this passage here:

“For God commanded ‘honor your father and your mother’ and ‘he who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death’ ” (Matthew 15:4)

Remember. You don’t want to be put to death. Just kidding! But let’s remember what Philippians 4:8 says: “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”

We are not to dwell on idleness and wickedness, we are not to expose the sins committed against us, we are not to expose our fathers’ faults and flaws openly to anyone. And I know sometimes it gets hard. We are human beings. We might struggle with finding nice things to say about our ever-absent fathers when we know deep down their true selves. But here you have a few things that are good about your father, I urge you to think about these things:

  1. He was made to God’s image
  2. God gave you life through him
  3. He made you a son or daughter
  4. He enables you to love God by loving him

Take care of him: This is a great way of honoring our fathers even if they never show interest in serving us, not paying evil for evil but loving regardless of their deficiencies (Romans 12:17). As our fathers get older they face different struggles and health issues, and that when (if possible and wise) you can step in and help in any capacity is possible for you. Whether your father accepts your help or not, by the grace of God you are at least trying to honor them by responding to their needs unconditionally.

The last point I want to make about how to honor your father is:

Forgive him: Yes, even if your father never apologizes for what he did or did not do. You can overlook his absence or his wrongdoing and forgive him the same way God did with you. Of course, depending on your particular circumstances and the extent of his wrongdoing, and his character, not always it’s gonna be possible to reconcile and have a normal relationship, especially if your father is unwilling to repent and change. But you can surely forgive in your heart and not hold on to resentment.

None of this is possible in our own strength, but it is possible when we focus on our gracious and loving Savior Jesus Christ. Knowing that He gave His life for us sinners, and enabled us to reconcile with God should be your greatest motivation to show love to your father, who like you, is a sinner in need of God. Let’s remember one more time what God says in 2 Corinthians 6:18:

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters.”

Other sources:

Jeremy Yong. 2018. 5 Ways Grown Children Can Love Their Parents. The Gospel Coalition. Recovered from: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/grown-children-love-parents/

Why Honor An Absent Father?

By Andrea Guachalla

In the first blog of these series, we went through some of the reasons people like you and me are citizens of fatherlessland, the struggles that come with that, and what the Bible says about the role of man as husbands and fathers. We also read some passages that prompt us to honor our parents and reached a question that probably every citizen in this land has asked himself before: Why?

The fact that dad is never there, and he doesn’t seem to want to honor his role as a father seems like the perfect excuse for us not wanting to honor them as what they are: our fathers. Because at the end of the day, they don’t really act like fathers, do they? So…Why would I act like a daughter or a son? Why would I honor the one person who hurts me instead of loving me?

Here are two reasons why you should honor your father even if you’re emotionally, physically, or spiritually fatherless:

1) God commands it.

If you love God and the bible is your final authority, this should be enough reason for you to be eager to do it.

The Bible doesn’t say honor your father and your mother, because they are nice, or because they provide for you, or because they support you in any way. God doesn’t mention any condition that your father should meet for you to honor him.

God says, honor your father and your mother AS THE LORD HAS COMMANDED YOU.

And that is enough reason for you to honor your father regardless of who he is, what he’s done, or what he hasn’t done.

2) You’re a son/daughter.

It’s not about your father fulfilling his role as a father, but about YOU loving and obeying the Lord by fulfilling YOUR role as a son or daughter and honoring your father on earth, the same way you seek to honor your father in heaven.

God’s word does not only speak about the father’s role regarding their children but also about our role as sons and daughters.

We read in Proverbs:

Hear my son your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

(Proverbs 1:8)

And we read it in the New Testament too:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and your mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land” (Ephesians 6:1)

Now, how do we do that in fatherlessland? How do we honor our fathers, have them in high esteem, listen to their instruction, and obey them? Though it might look different for each one of us according to our circumstances and our relationship with our fathers, the same principles apply to all.

Stay tuned for the next blog where we’ll explore the “How?” of honoring our fathers.

Other resources:

John Piper. 2008. How Does the Command to Honor Father and Mother Relate to God?

Desiring God. Recovered from: https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-does-the-command-to-honor-father-and-mother-relate-to-god

Citizens of Fatherlessland

By Andrea Guachalla

We who live in fatherlessland know all the scenarios where dad should be there, but for one reason or another, he’s not. We know how it feels to be the only one dancing with their older brother because dad wasn’t there for the “father and daughter dance” on our graduation day, and we know how it feels to go to school with mom instead of dad on Father’s Day.

We know all the excuses, all the attempts of making it up later, and we know for sure that whether it’s because dad is too busy with work, or because he doesn’t live with us, or because he just does not have much interest in spending time with us. We are not living in fatherlessland alone. Although not everyone is a citizen here for the same reason.

Most people here are fatherless because their parents didn’t ever get married, some others are here because of the crazy high rates of divorce that end up having the children being raised by a single mother (very rarely is the custody given to the father). Some others have their father incarcerated, and a lower percentage because their fathers died for whatever reason. According to some research done in the United States, five out of ten children are raised by a single parent, and four out of those five have very little if any interaction with their father.

If you do some research studies made on the goodness of having a father at home for the mothers and children, you would be surprised: Cognitive stimulation, healthy social development, positive impact on the mother and children’s health, and even some things that just sound odd: having a dad around apparently prevents the babies from waking up so often at night.

Of course, there are many studies done on the effects of not having a father, that usually come with emotional and spiritual challenges later in life. Not having a father while growing up might influence your academic performance, social adjustment, and behavior, and is sadly something that many people endure, remember the statistics I mentioned before? All of this brings us to one question: How did we end up here? When did fathers start taking the liberty to not be fathers? And the answer is: sin.

Seeing fatherlessness so often is certainly not in line with what the Bible says about the role of husbands and fathers: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)? and “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (2 Timothy 5:8).

Whether your father is Christian or not, the reason he doesn’t fulfill his role is the same: Sin. Instead of having fathers that honor God by loving their wives, providing for the household, instructing, and correcting their children, we are left with fathers who don’t take their role of fathers seriously.

Years ago, I used to get mad whenever I came across this verse:

“Honour your father and your mother, as the Lord has commanded you…” (Deut 5:16),

I would go to the New Testament trying to escape from it, only to find:

“For God commanded ‘honor your father and your mother’ and ‘he who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death’ ” (Matthew 15:4)

So we are called to honor our parents, called to honor our father but… Why would I do it when I live in fatherlessland? It’s so easy to justify our ignoring these verses with our circumstances. When we are fatherless to any degree sometimes the only thing we can say when we read those verses is: Why should I? And that’s the question we’ll answer in the second blog of this series.

But now, let me end by saying that though we are fatherless we have the greatest comfort:

If we believe in Christ and repent of our sins, God is our Father:

“And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

References:

Don Bosch. https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/why-we-must-honor-fathers

Frazier, Danielle M. “The Correlation between Attachment Style, Self-Esteem, and the Psychological Well-Being of Fatherless Women Ages 25–55.” PhD diss., Capella University, 2019. https://search.proquest.com/openview/107e0df2285bbd4d9f305d3a51551431/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

Lynette Kittle

https://www.ibelieve.com/relationships/10-biblical-reasons-to-honor-your-father-even-when-it-feels-impossible.html

A Love Story Worth Reading (Book Review)

Shepard, Valerie Elliot. Devotedly, The Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. B&H Books, Nashville, TN. 2019. 304 pages.

As someone who has a heart for missions, I have always respected Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. From Jim’s commitment and sacrifice to reach the unreached for Christ to Elisabeth’s resolve to go to the unreached people group who killed her husband, this couple is a witness to the mission of God in the gospel of Christ. If you are familiar at all with more recent church history, you will know who the Elliots are. The respect is warranted. Yet, what I did not realize is not only are the Elliots two people I greatly respect but people who I can resonate with. This is all because of what their daughter, Valerie Elliot Shepard, shares in her new book, Devotedly, The Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot.

Love Letters and Journal Entries

Organized into six sections covering years 1948-1953, the book contains various journal entries of both Jim and Elisabeth as well as letters written by each other to each other. Readers will travel along as they see both Jim and Elisabeth wrestle with the call of whether he call of God to missions involved a lifetime of and commitment to singleness or if God brought them together to be one on mission for Him. Over the course of these six years, themes of waiting and a commitment to God’s will are prevalent. Readers will witness through these letters and journal entries the struggle of love, the reality of fallenness, but a hope for what God has called together. In a culture that lives for instant gratification, a love story like this on patience and purity is a much-needed one. As a single myself, I am not one for love stories but this one is exceptional, with a patient call on the Lord’s timing and a commitment to purity while waiting. This untold part of the Elliot’s story is a story that not only shares what their love looked like but also shows how to steward love in a way that honors God.

Letters of Elliots and Lessons for Us

While the subtitle of the book speaks of personal letters and love story, the book is much more than that. Thanks to Valerie Elliot Shepard, not only are these letters of her parents accessible to us, but the lessons she shares from them challenge us to this same type of story. As Mrs. Shepard shares, “If I could express my one hope for compiling this book, my prayer is that these entries of theirs would call us to search faithfully for God in His Word” (Shepard 45). What makes the love story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot one of the greatest love stories is because they knew the love of God and were committed to Him first.

Read and Learn

While I could go on and recount many stories from the book, I was refreshed to not only read about these people I respect in church history but also people I can now resonate with as they considered their seasons of singleness and sought out the Lord for His will and in their relationship. This book portrays Jim and Elisabeth Elliot as real people, sinners who were in need of God’s grace just as we all are and people who had their faults. In the end, though, their resolve to love God and live for Him is the greatest display of love one could know and a lesson we can all learn to apply. If you want to know what it looks like to commit yourself to the will of God and steward a relationship well, then consider reading and learning from Devotedly, The Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot by Valerie Elliot Shepard.

I received this book from B&H/Lifeway Bloggers Program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

Getting to Know You: Steve Sering

[Getting to Know You is a monthly series, featuring an interview with the Weekly Word devotional contributors. This month’s interview is with Steve Sering.]

Tell us a bit about your family.

I grew up in a Christian home with my parents, older brother and younger sister on the south side of Indianapolis. I learned about who Jesus was and what He did for me on the cross at church. I fell out of church during my middle school years and came back during my sophomore year of high school, actually becoming a Christian then. I went through a rough bout of depression before coming to Christ and receiving forgiveness of sin and new life in Him in 2002. God set me on a new course for ministry from that point forward and I received the call to become a pastor about seven years ago. My family has been incredibly supportive every step of the way. They are awesome!

What church do you attend and in what ministry areas do you serve? What are your hopes for future ministry?

I serve as the worship leader for Circle City Canvas Church in downtown Indianapolis, an outreach to the artistic community. It is a huge blessing! We are a young church plant, getting our feet beneath us and building a strong core. We do a lot of outreach to the downtown community. And by God’s grace, in the future I plan to become a senior pastor.

Where have you and where are you receiving education and training for ministry?

I graduated from Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis with a bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Ministry in 2013 and am currently attending Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky for a Masters of Divinity degree.steve-sering

What are hobbies and things you like to do for fun?

I enjoy reading Scripture and Christian books.  Also, listening to and writing music, spending time with friends and family and watching the occasional superhero movie. That satisfies my “inner nerd.”

Do you have a favorite band or type of music?

Being a worship leader and musician, I almost have to enjoy Christian music.  Specifically, I enjoy Chris Tomlin, Jeremy Camp and Sovereign Grace Music.  If I had to pick favorite songs I would go with How Great Is Our God, Mighty to Save and Walk by Faith. Any music that is Gospel-centered and Christ-exalting I am a fan of!

Other than the Bible, what book has had a great effect on your Christian life?

C.J. Mahaney’s The Cross Centered Life has been monumental in my growth as a Christian!  It is a short book, only 80 pages, packed with powerful truth concerning what the Gospel is and how it affects your daily life. The main take away for me was to “preach the Gospel to yourself” everyday.  The Gospel of Christ and him crucified is not just meant to save us, but to continually change us to be more like Jesus. Daily “self-preaching” helps the Christian to think deeply and live passionately for the Gospel. I highly recommend it for every believer, all ages and stages in Christian growth and maturity!

What passage of Scripture has impacted you most in this season of your life?

This current season has been a painful but refining one.  Perhaps the most impactful passage has been Romans 8:9-11 where Paul writes on the power of the Holy Spirit.  “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (v. 11). Knowing that the same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead dwells inside of me and empowers me to overcome sin and obstacles in my life has been very encouraging and the perfect medicine for my wounded spirit. Also, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 has strengthened me. Amidst losing something precious to me, Jesus reminded me: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9). I took comfort in knowing that even the great Apostle Paul had a thorn, some kind of weakness that drove him back to Christ. In my experience, my weakness became God’s strength. Christ’s grace revived my hurting heart and gave me hope to press on. God’s Word is so powerful!  He also inspired me to write a new songs in order to carry me through the trials.

How can people be supporting you in prayer?

In my ministry as a worship leader-to grow as a leader and learn more and more to usher in God’s Spirit and presence into the services and more importantly, to live a life of worship, not to just make it an activity at church services.  Also, to hunger more for the Word of God and to be filled more with the Spirit through knowing and experiencing more of Christ in the Gospel.

One of Those Years

In 2013, I lost three of my grandparents to death. I officiated two of those funerals and spoke at the other. While I grieve as one who has hope because of the gospel, it has still been a rough year. I wanted to share with you this poem I wrote as a way of remembering and paying tribute to my grandpa and my grandma Dawson and my grandma St. John. We all love you and miss you!

2013, it’s been one of those years,
marked by losing loved ones and shedding tears.
Missing my grandpa and my grandmas too,
it just doesn’t seem the same without you.
I miss your handshakes, hugs, and love,
but I know you are smiling from above.
We thank God for the time we were allowed to spend
with you, enjoying laughter as family and friend.
Even as you are gone, we are not far apart,
for you and your memory resides in my heart.

Remembering Grandma


It has been seven months since my grandmother’s passing. I remember upon hearing the news and going to be with my family, hearing “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman. That song will always remind me of grandma. There have been times of remembering and times of mourning that still go on. I still miss her. She was and is the first close person I have lost to death. It is hard. Yet, for me there was a peace because she knew Christ as her Lord and Savior. She had trusted in him. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” These words are ringing true in my ear. To witness a death and to struggle in grief and healing allows one to think of their own life. The truth is that we will all die. Death and funerals remind us of that. It causes us to think what lies ahead in this life and the next.

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It is when I am visiting my grandmother’s grave, I am reminded that she, as well as the other graves that surround her, all have stories. Stories of lives that people lived. Stories of these people’s ultimate eternal destiny. As I thought of 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, I recalled that we are told to remember the Lord’s death. His death is what makes possible eternal life with God. So I asked God then and there to allow me never to forget the cemetery. I need to remember the cemetery because it reminds me of the precious moments of life. It reminds me that one day I will die and will go to either heaven or hell. Because of Christ, I can joyfully say I will see my grandmother in heaven. I want my life to be lived in the words of C.H. Dodd, “Only one life twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” May it be so with you.

Proclaiming Christ

This summer I have had the opportunity to intern at my home church, Crossroad Community Church. I have been able to see some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes on in ministry. I also have had the privilege of leading communion devotionals as well as preaching a message. It is through all this that I have been taken to 2 Corinthians 4. I have meditated upon this passage and, as a result, has had a great impact on me. It is in this letter by Paul we read, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). This is such a powerful statement! All too often, I find myself getting proud because I simply have received a compliment from somebody. From that comes the desire for me to proclaim myself. But that leads to a dead end. Where would I be without God’s grace? See, proclaiming myself is not good news to others. Proclaiming myself does not save anyone. Rather, I am to proclaim Christ and Him alone. It is because of Christ we can be forgiven and be saved! It is Christ who is to be preached. We need to show the “knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (4:6). While much more could be said, and much more have I learned, the main lesson I’ve learned is that I’ve been called to preach Christ. I’ve been called to proclaim God’s Word. I’ve been called to teach, love, and live out the gospel. I have been called to be a servant of Christ and for His sake.

For My Good and His Glory,

Theron

Remembering Christ’s Death

With this being Memorial Day, let us take time and remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We should also take this time to reflect on the greatest sacrifice ever made for us: Christ and His death on the cross. Paul tells us to proclaim this death until Christ returns (1 Corinthians 11:26). But, why? What is the significance of Christ’s death? What is the importance of his death on the cross?

1 Peter 2:21-25 gives us 5 reasons why Christ’s death is significant and, as a result, why we should remember Him.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1. Christ suffered for us. (v. 21)

Christ came to die for our sins even while we were still sinning. Romans 5:6 says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:8 adds that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” See, Christ became our substitute on the cross. 1 Peter 2:24 reflects upon Deuteronomy 21:22. According to Deuteronomy, a person who had committed a crime was hung on a tree and cursed by God. Thus, Christ became a curse for us. It is by this suffering, we are called to follow. However, this following is not to be the exact same way. We cannot save ourselves, because we have fallen short. Christ doesn’t fall short, though.

2. He lived a sinless life. (v. 22)

Christ was perfect and completely obedient to God’s Word. He lived a sinless life. Romans 3:23 tells us that we all fall short, we sin, we fail. In other words, where we fail and where Adam fails, Christ succeeds. We, then, need a perfect representative to fulfill the law. Christ has done that. We can be saved because of Christ’s work.

3. He was just in being dealt with unjustly. (v. 23)

Even with living a sinless life, he was treated unfairly. He was without sin but was treated unjustly. He was sinless, suffered, and his reaction was humility (Philippians 2:5-11). What Christ did in his death was that he entrusted himself to God and His will.

4. We have healing and reconciliation through his death. (v.24b-25)

As said, we have sinned and are in rebellion against God. It is only through Christ, his death and work, that we can have healing and reconciliation leading to a personal relationship with God and eternal life. By that, He is the Lord and Shepherd over our souls.

5. He fulfilled the promises of God. (v. 21-25)

1 Peter 2:21-25 echoes Isaiah 53 and shows Christ to be the fulfillment of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. Christ’s death fulfilled prophecy and the promises of God. It is by his wounds we are healed. It is because of Christ’s death (and his resurrection) that we can be saved. That is why His death is significant. We can have life through it.