June 27, 2017

God’s Strength Is Enough for You

A lot of people can quote the first half of 2 Corinthians 12:9, but I’m not sure how many actually understand the power and strength imparted in its fourteen words of divine promise. I didn’t, until I actually lived it for myself. I didn’t really understand until I’d been diagnosed with a life-altering illness. Until I had absolutely no more spoons. Until I was called to spend more than I had of energy, strength, and life. We probably all know the back story of this great promise. God had graciously chosen to allow the Apostle Paul to suffer some sort of chronic physical affliction, from which he desperately sought deliverance. Have you ever been there? Have you ever been to that [...Read More]


A Testimony of God’s Faithfulness

One of my earliest memories is of the day I was forever adopted into God’s family. I was three years old, and my mom and I had just left a midweek Bible study at someone’s home. While the adults met in one room, the other kids and I enjoyed some play time, snacks, and a brief Bible lesson. I don’t remember who taught us, but I’ll be forever grateful for their willingness to serve! As we left that day, I was overcome with curiosity about the process of salvation.I remember sitting in the front seat of the car (that was before airbags and mandatory back-seat riding for children), and asking my mom how it worked—how a person could “get saved.” She talked me through acknowledging my [...Read More]


How Does the Gospel Transform Productivity?

Like most of you, I live a busy life with too many things on my to-do list and not enough hours in the day to get it all done. Poor planning, unforeseen interruptions, and just life in general all combine to make productivity much harder than it should be. And one glance at the personal development section at Barnes & Noble reveals that many of us feel that way! In fact, a quick search for "productivity books" on Amazon returns over 36,000 results. I guess we have a problem with getting things done. Is the answer simply learning various methods and strategies to streamline our work and do more in less time? I don't think so. To be sure, those methods can be helpful -- almost anyone [...Read More]


How to Cure Sinful Thoughts

What is God's prescription for fighting sinful thoughts? It starts with knowing Him -- and His Word -- intimately, and ends with obeying Him fully and faithfully. It includes learning to see things (i.e., sin) how He sees them, and responding to them how He responds; rejecting what He rejects; and pursuing hard after what He loves and glories in. (Read the longer answer here.) But sometimes that's easier said than done! It's easy to quote Philippians 4:8, but hard to let it rule over sinful thoughts on a moment-by-moment basis. It's easy to say "obey God" but hard to do in the day-to-day moments when we're tempted by selfish desires. It's easy to say "avoid temptation" but hard to do when [...Read More]


God’s Prescription for Fighting Sinful Thoughts

Say the words "thought life" and one of the first verses that comes to most of our minds is Philippians 4:8. Even if you can't quote it perfectly, you likely can recall a handful of the adjectives used. (Hint: they include true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praise-worthy.) If asked, I'm sure you could explain what most of those words mean, and give examples of what they describe. For instance: the word true means the opposite of something that's false, and includes things like the promises of God's Word and "what is" rather than "what if's." The word honorable conveys the idea of being noble and good, respectable and upright; it describes things God's [...Read More]


#Read2017 – Literary Adventures in March & April

I read ten books in March and April for the #Read2017 challenge. Lest you think that's all I did that past two months, be aware that many of them were short, quick reads. Only two were nonfiction, and each of those were short and easily skimmed through in about an hour. Of the remaining eight, half were under 150 pages and the other half kept me completely captivated -- you know, the type that you don't stop reading until 2 AM? ;) Here's what I read in March & April (contains affiliate links): All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr Category: Book on the bestseller list Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ I don't usually read bestsellers, which is one reason I made a point to include that [...Read More]


Reading the Puritans: Where Should You Start?

The Puritans lived over 200 years ago, but their words still speak today. Through careful study of Scripture and much prayer, they left a legacy of writings and sermons that address the mind, confront the conscience, and engage the heart. And those who make the effort to mine their works carefully reap rich rewards! (Not sure what I'm talking about? Learn who the Puritans were and why you should read them.) But the list of Puritan authors is over 2000 names long, and their published works number even higher. So where do you start? Here are some favorite go-to recommendations for getting started: Voices from the Past -- Volume 1 and Volume 2 A collection of single-page devotional [...Read More]


Why Should You Read the Puritans?

It's been over two hundred years since the Puritans passed into eternity (as we looked at here), but they left a rich legacy of sermons and writings that speak to the whole of our being. Their works address the mind, confront the conscience, and engage the heart. Those who make the effort to mine their works carefully reap rich rewards!  Their teachings offer fresh perspective of sin, society, and holiness; frank discussions of biblical truth; and transparent exposition of Scripture. But their works are not dusty tomes best left to academia; they are vital and relevant messages for us today! Our world has changed drastically in the last few hundred years (good grief, it's [...Read More]


Who Were the Puritans, Anyway?

From the sixteenth to eighteenth century lived a group of men and women who plunged diligently into the depths of Scripture, passionately upholding it as the ultimate standard for both belief and practice, and leaving a rich legacy of writings on the practical application of biblical doctrine. They were known as the Puritans. You might recognize some of their names: John Bunyan, Stephen Charnock, Richard Baxter, Matthew Henry, Thomas Brooks, Richard Sibbes, John Flavel, John Owen, Isaac Watts, Jonathan Edwards . . . the list goes on to include over 2,000 great men of God. They were intelligent men, though not necessarily well-known outside their circle of fellow believers. Many [...Read More]


#Read2017 – Literary Adventures in January & February

It's always fun to start a new challenge, and this year's #Read2017 challenge is no exception. I learned some things last year--like the need to stay more balanced with fiction and nonfiction--and discovered just how much I enjoy biographies and certain authors (here's looking at you, Tolkien and Wodehouse), and am anticipating a good year of learning and exploring more genres. As usual, I started off the year with a bang, reading 9 books in 2 months (not counting the re-read I did of my favorite Dee Henderson series), most of which fit under specific categories for this year's challenge. One book was chosen as my local library's book club selection, two were sent as review copies, and [...Read More]