Hope for the Weary at Advent (guest post by Teri Zalk)

This little manger scene has graced each Davis Christmas for over 30 years.

The following post is written by Teri Zalk. Thank you, Teri!

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For the month of December, I’ve been participating in a special Advent devotional study.  During what is normally a very busy season, this has been a wonderful time to really slow down.

It has been a time to focus on what Advent means and how extraordinary the Christmas story is.

In week two of the study, I came across a verse that I had seen many times:

Isaiah 9:6 … “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace…” 

It just really hit me; it gave me pause.

Some of the first words to describe the baby Jesus, the Savior that was to come, are exactly what we as survivors of abuse need to hear and know.

We want to let God’s Word sink deep into our soul and heart.

Wonderful Counselor

We desperately need someone that will come alongside us, walk beside us and hear our pleas, hear our cries, hear our begging for clarity and discernment.

Someone who will believe us, weep with us, listen to us, and comfort us.

A counselor with all wisdom and knowledge, one who will lead us out of despair and darkness.

This, Isaiah tells us, is our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Mighty God

God and God alone is all powerful! He is mighty to save us.

We have been overpowered, abused, shamed, tortured, crushed and wounded, but God is a mighty God, powerful enough to break those chains and set us free.

He can and does rescue us. He will bring justice in His time.

Eternal Father

Many of us have had fathers that neglected and abandoned us. Some had horrific abuse in their childhood.

The damage runs deep, even to the core.

BUT God is our eternal Father. He is truly good, He is gentle and kind, full of compassion.

He promises never to leave us or abandon us.

He will never verbally, sexually, emotionally, physically, or spiritually assault us.

He promises that to the depth of the damage that an earthly father has done, He can heal and restore, beyond the damage.

The most profound healing can come from Him as we run into His arms and rest in Him and His love.

For those of us who are in Jesus Christ, we are His sons and daughters, and we are precious to Him. He is proud of us and He delights in us. We can dance, sing, and rejoice because of our Father’s great love for us.

Prince of Peace

My dear sisters, a heavy sigh might come when you think about peace. Oh, how many nights have we fallen asleep with tear-stained faces! How many nights crying out to God for peace, just a moment of calmness.

We have lived in utter turmoil, distress, confusion, and chaos. But God sent to us the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reason that we can have peace. He brings rest. He brings the firm foundation on which we can build our lives.

Isn’t that a beautiful reminder as we go through this Christmas season?

Hundreds of years before Jesus was born the prophet Isaiah spoke the words to give us understanding of the baby that was to come.

“And they shall call His name Immanuel, which means … God with us” (Matthew 1:23)

May you truly know the depth of God’s love for you this Advent season!

Here’s Why “Gratitude Motivation” Isn’t Biblical—and What’s Better

I’m grateful

It’s the season of Advent. “The Coming.”

I’m preparing for “the coming” of all four of our children, with their spouses, together for Christmas for the first time in 6 years. Maybe “the coming” of a new little niece, our second granddaughter, might be at least part of the reason they’re eager to gather.

While I prepare, I’m enjoying wonderful songs about that First Coming, the birth of our Savior. Continue reading “Here’s Why “Gratitude Motivation” Isn’t Biblical—and What’s Better”

Your Pastor Isn’t Moses: a Response to John Bevere’s “Under Cover”

A while back when I posted on Facebook a question about authority teachers, one person told me that John Bevere’s book Under Cover had taught “church authority” in such a way that that it had nearly destroyed her and her family.

So I bought the book and started reading it.

I saw that the presentation of authority in the book was indeed dangerous and  . . . I might even say craftily presented. Continue reading “Your Pastor Isn’t Moses: a Response to John Bevere’s “Under Cover””

Small to Great (guest post by Rochelle Sadie)

I’m delighted to post this week from my friend Rochelle Sadie’s blog My Dear Sister. In spite of her blog’s name, please know that this post is not only for women but for men as well, anyone who has been harmed by a spiritually abusive system and made to feel “small.”


I could feel the cold hard wood floors on my feet as I stumbled in the dark, looking for my glasses. “Okay, feed the dogs, getting my coffee…” Continue reading “Small to Great (guest post by Rochelle Sadie)”

Reflections on my 63rd Birthday: The Box of Things I Don’t Know What to Do With

I’ve found that it takes me about four years to be ready to blog about something hard in my life. So here we are.

Four years ago my birthday blog post was called “A Warrior’s Tale.” Of the few pieces of creative writing I’ve done, it might be my favorite (even if all its Facebook “Likes” have been removed).

Maybe that’s because I know what was behind it. That piece of work was born through retching sobs.

My birthday post has been an annual tradition since my blog started in 2009, and in 2016 I was ahead of the game, having already written one for it in July.

Then came August 2016. Continue reading “Reflections on my 63rd Birthday: The Box of Things I Don’t Know What to Do With”

What The Truman Show can illustrate about church

I don’t want to be tone deaf to the problems of covid-19 and the troubled economy. But when I think about addressing either one, I believe the Lord is telling me that others are already doing this, and my job is to continue on in the work I was undertaking before. So here we are, friends. I’m continuing on.

This blog post is one I wrote in 2019. It seems the right time to publish it now.

In the classic movie The Truman Show, Truman’s life is a 24-hour TV series, without his knowledge, for the entire world to see.

The show’s director, on the other hand, lives a very private life. Continue reading “What The Truman Show can illustrate about church”

Rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord!

Sing to the Lord!
Sing with loud voices to the Lord
for he is exalted on high.
With great power and mighty strength
He has brought His Son
His only begotten Jesus Messiah

from the jaw of the grave
and from the mouth of the tomb.

O death, where is your sting?
O grave, where is your victory?
Rejoice in the strength of the Lord!
Glory in his mighty power!

For his body hung limp,
limp and broken on the cross,
and Joseph took him,
the man of Arimathea carried him.
He laid him in his own tomb
And rolled a stone over the door.

Then Pilate put a seal;
the Roman stationed a watch.

The enemy boasted,
“He will not arise.
Destruction is accomplished.”
But with your hand you shattered the enemy
and with the breath of your nostrils
you blew away the stone
and scattered the Romans in the night.

The women came weeping,
Mary and Salome with loud mourning and grief.
But the angel laughed,
the cherub exulted in triumph.
“Come and see!” he cried. “He is not here!
He is risen!
Come and see!”

Who is like you, O Lord?
What god of the nations compares with you?
For you have brought our Lord Christ
from the depth of hell
to the glory of heaven.
And the King of glory shall reign
Forever and ever.

Happy Resurrection Day!

 

The arrest of Jesus reminds us that we need to understand the Pharisees

Dear friend, the world can seem scary and crazy. We’re on lockdown, loved ones are sick, and some are dying. But Good Friday is almost upon us, and then Resurrection Day. There is still reason to rejoice. Jesus is risen and has broken the power of sin and death in the hearts and lives of all who call upon Him in faith.

In each gospel this week, I’ve been reading the account of the betrayal leading up to the crucifixion.

My focus was Jesus. But I couldn’t help but continue to see the Pharisees and other religious leaders, standing out in bold opposition to Him.

They’ve been misrepresented, you know, those Pharisees. Almost every time they’re portrayed or described, we think about them as obviously pompous, obviously arrogant, obviously hypocritical. But their hypocrisy wasn’t obvious to the Jewish people at all.

You think, perhaps, that this is because they were naïve, and you wouldn’t have been so naïve? Well, maybe not. But perhaps there are some among us today Continue reading “The arrest of Jesus reminds us that we need to understand the Pharisees”

That time I tried to be transparent in a small group . . .

About 15 years ago I joined a certain group because everyone else was doing it and it seemed like the thing to do in order to be a better Christian, which of course I wanted very much.

The group followed a format that I found out later was typical, but it was all new to me at that time: We listened together to the respected speaker for the first hour, and then split up into small groups for the second hour.

This is where we would be transparent. Continue reading “That time I tried to be transparent in a small group . . .”

“The Return of the Daughters” meets Rachael Denhollander

In 2008, the movement calling itself “Biblical patriarchy” was in its heyday.

In 2008, the beautiful Botkin sisters, paragons of the visionary daughterhood espoused by “Biblical patriarchy,” were 20 and 22 years old. Three years earlier, at 17 and 19, they had published their book So Much More: The Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on the Kingdom of God which went on to influence many impressionable teen girls that their highest calling was to fulfill their father’s every whim. Continue reading ““The Return of the Daughters” meets Rachael Denhollander”