December 9, 2016

You Only Live Once

You only live once. It's become a trite catchphrase over the past few years, annoying to some and overused by others, but that doesn't make it any less true. You only live once. You don't get a do-over after you die. You don't reincarnate as another person or being of some other kind. You live once, and then you die, and that's it for life on this earth. You only live once. You only have one short lifetime to make a difference, to say kind words to those who are hurting, to love the unlovely, to share the gospel, to be an example, to help the less fortunate, to make a direct impact with your words and actions. You only live once. After you die, though your soul will [...Read More]


Literary Adventures in September/October – #Read2016

After reading like crazy in July and August (probably making up for all the weeks I didn't read while we moved), my literary adventures slowed down a bit over the past few months! Part of that was just the normal fluctuation of life; part of it was because I was digging through some deeper material . . . specifically the two-volume set on a Mormon's journey to Christianity, which was fascinating and educational but also full of meat and rather long. Along with those two books, I read three others that fit within my #Read2016 categories, and two just-for-fun books in a fictional series. Here's what I explored from September-October (includes affiliate links): Gospel Meditations [...Read More]


Thoughts on Giving Thanks

There’s something special about this time of year, when so many people start meditating on everything they have to be thankful for. As Christians, we have an even greater reason to be people characterized by the habitual giving of thanks — not just for abundant physical blessings, but so many spiritual blessings too! The blogosphere is teeming right now with various thoughts about practicing gratitude -- from historical perspectives, to its uniqueness among Christians, and even some of its challenges. I hope you'll take the time over the next few days to work through some of these links! Why We Should Be Thankful for the Gift of Gratitude -- Why is it so critical for Christians to [...Read More]


Literary Adventures in Summer 2016 – #Read2016

Apparently moving cross-country kind of throws you off your groove in every area of life for quite a few months. Even reading. Even for die-hard bookworms. I suppose I should have expected it. But I filled up my Kindle before we left and rather naively thought I would gets loads of reading done on the way. Unfortunately, between the long bumpy days in the truck and the exhausted night of trying to sleep in cheap motel rooms, that didn't happen. In fact, I only read 2 books in the whole month of May... I'm not sure that's ever happened before! Even once we got to Wyoming and finally found a place to rent, life got full fast with unpacking and settling, full-time ministry, exploring the [...Read More]


A Plea for Christian Americans

Christian Americans, the world is watching us. Our countrymen --  our neighbors -- are watching to see how we will respond to the unprecedented election of such a controversial figure and the fear and hatred that is running rampant throughout our nation right now. Whether you voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or someone else -- now is the time to prove our Christian values to those around us. Now is the time when we must show our obedience to God's command to love our neighbors and do good to all. Now is the time for us to reach out with respect and humility, with kindness and grace, toward all men and women -- no matter what our political beliefs or backgrounds. I am a [...Read More]


What Truly Matters about This Year’s Election

My heart is heavy as I consider tomorrow's election. Whatever the result, our nation will suffer. We are being torn apart year by year as we fight our way to subduing the opposing parties. I can't think of a single friend who is truly happy about how things have progressed in this election. Even those who stand firmly behind a particular candidate have expressed frustration at some of that candidate's actions and attitudes... never mind the interchange between staunch supporters of the two main candidates and the problems inherent in the parties themselves. Those who dislike the winning candidate will point fingers at whoever voted for him/her, and blame those who chose not to vote for [...Read More]


What If God Chooses Not to Heal?

We've been talking about seeking physical healing lately, and have covered the basic means God has provided for us to seek it. But what if we do all those things, and yet God chooses not to heal us? We may be persistent and passionate in our prayers. We may remain strong in belief, sound in doctrine, and steadfast in faith. We may seek God’s help first and medicinal help second. We may even patiently wait with a confident expectation that God will heal. Yet all this does not guarantee healing. All this does not determine whether God will remove our afflictions. When He does choose to heal, the healing is merely temporary — death has spread to all of us, because we are all sinners. Yet [...Read More]


6 Things to Do While You’re Waiting for Healing

Imagine you're dealing with a serious physical illness or injury that's life-changing in some way. You recognize God's sovereignty, yet naturally, you want to be healed of it. So you pray faithfully for healing. You remain steadfast in faith. You prioritize your spiritual well-being, but also use the gift of medicine that God has provided. And yet, you're still waiting for God to answer. He hasn't said no to your pleas for healing -- but He hasn't said yes either. So now what? Do you get overwhelmed with the seeming delay? Shrug your shoulders and "grin and bear it"? Retreat into some hiding place, whether books or movies or shopping therapy? Make demands of God to heal [...Read More]


What About Medical Means of Healing? (Part 5)

In addition to the spiritual principles given in His Word (see parts one, two, three, four), God has also provided medical aids we can use to seek healing. Doctors and medicines can often help us determine the physical cause of our suffering, remedy various problems, and help alleviate some of the symptoms. Even when we cannot discern the spiritual purpose for our illness, these medical means can often help us find a physical cause for whatever we are suffering -- and thus provide a way of relief from that suffering. And as long as we seek our Creator’s help first, we can certainly take advantage of other legitimate aids that He has provided through His marvelous creation! Let's take [...Read More]


Does the “Prayer of Faith” Bring Healing? (Part 4)

We’ve been looking at the Scriptural principles for seeking physical healing. If you missed the first three posts, start here: Should we pray for healing?, How to Pray for Healing, Is Faith Required for Healing?.  Consistent personal prayer and continued faith in God are the main criterion established in Scripture for seeking physical healing. We must also consider James 5:13–16, one of the few Scriptural passages which directly mentions the issue of seeking healing: "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise [...Read More]