April 30, 2017

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]


Inspiration, Creativity, and Using Your Talents

I watched a webinar with Michael Hyatt a while back about writing and getting published, and something he said stuck with me: "Inspiration doesn't show up until you do. Be consistent." Tolkien said it another way: "It's the job that's never started that takes the longest to finish." And here's how my boss, Becky Robinson, says it: "The magic happens when you show up." Another way to think of it is: creativity breeds creativity. The more you write (or design, or implement, or whatever your hobby is), the easier it will become. In other words, as difficult as it is for creative-types to acknowledge, art requires discipline. You have to show up consistently to make progress toward your [...Read More]


Lessons from the Wildflowers

One of my favorite Christian allegories is Hinds' Feet on High Places, the story of Much-Afraid and her journey across the mountains and into the High Places. It's a story I enjoy reading every few years, as it encourages me with the reminder that I am not alone in this journey through life: my Shepherd is always with me, always interceding on my behalf, and He has a purpose in every dark thing He calls me to walk through. I recently started reading it again and came across this short section, in which Much-Afraid and the Shepherd are discussing the unexpected beauties hidden deep with the forest -- beauties which most people never even saw. Here's part of their conversation (emphasis [...Read More]


The Secret of Endurance

Once upon a time, there was a young boy named Joseph who was his father's favorite. He came from a large family -- eleven brothers (ten older, one younger) and one sister -- but he was the beloved one. He had all the richest comforts his father could provide, the best robes and the easiest work. He had been chosen above all the other sons to be his father's successor. He innocently (or perhaps naively) shared this knowledge with his siblings -- which, of course, made them jealous. After all, he was only a teenager. He hadn't done anything yet to prove his worth. But eventually they got so jealous, they sold him to some foreigners who happened to pass through the area. Suddenly he went [...Read More]


Is Spiritual Growth Worth the Work?

Do you ever get tired of striving to grow spiritually one baby step at a time - and sometimes going big steps backwards instead of forwards? Do you wonder if it's truly "worth it" to practice self-control, to be consistent, to love the unlovely? Do you ever think... you're going to heaven anyway, so what's the big deal about becoming a better Christian right now? The day-to-day struggles can be wearying. And when you consider how many commands there are in Scripture about how we are to live -- qualities to develop, temptations to avoid, or good things to pursue -- how can we ever hope to do it all? To achieve spiritual maturity? For example, we have this list in 2 Peter 1 of qualities [...Read More]


Steward What You Have

I just finished reading another book about stewardship. Some chapters were really great, and ended up with plenty of highlighted passages. Other chapters... well, I couldn't really relate to them. Because I don't have the resources they were talking about stewarding. I may have the same amount of time as the next person, but I certainly don't have the same amount of physical health or energy. I don't have the same amount of money. I don't have any children. I don't have a sphere of influence at work. I don't have... well, you get the idea. There's a lot I don't have, and I started getting discouraged. How can I steward what I don't have? But then the obvious hit me: God doesn't [...Read More]


How to Master Daily Bible Reading (TTB13)

How is your daily Bible reading going? Have you been struggling to keep up? It can be a daunting thing to read certain chapters every single day, especially if you're not used to that sort of discipline. But it's worth the struggle, I promise you. Here are a few suggestions for staying faithful: 1. Determine what time of day is best for you to read. Some people swear by early morning devotions. They read before they even get out bed, or at least before breakfast. Personally, my brain can't focus until I've had some caffeine sustenance, so I read later in the day -- usually while I eat lunch {it also reminds me to actually eat, since I often forget about lunch when I'm home!}. Or maybe [...Read More]


Spiritual Discipline

Life is never calm or comfortable for very long. Hard things come. Chaos runs through our carefully made plans. And... life happens. And when life happens, when you get so overwhelmed with busyness, it gets harder to keep up with reading God's Word every day. It gets harder to be at church whenever the doors are open, when you just need time to sit back and breathe. It gets harder to maintain a consistent and meaningful prayer life when you feel confused or discouraged. Because those things take work. They call for us to flex our puny spiritual muscles -- and usually leave us in pain, when we do. Whether it's reading or studying the Bible, praying for yourself or others, meeting with [...Read More]


Learning from the Prophets

Right now, I'm in awe over the magnitude of our salvation: where it comes from, how it helps us now, what it gives us in eternity. You see, I'm working on memorizing 1 Peter 1 with the group over at Do Not Depart. And, true to form, as I memorize and internalize God's Word - it changes me. This week we're working on verses 10-11. I actually want to include verse 12 in this post, though. You'll see why in a minute:   "Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully... It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those [...Read More]


What’s keeping you busy?

Imagine you leave your three kids home one day while you go out to run errands. Before you leave, you give them each a detailed list of things to do while you're gone. They don't know how long you'll be gone - and are encouraged to get their work done first, before they enjoy some playtime. Now fast-forward several hours. You've been busy running around town, meeting people and taking care of business. You finally finish your list for the day, head home, and unlock the door. You walk in to find one child sitting at the kitchen table, diligently working on the next day's homework. Her duties included sweeping the kitchen floor, emptying the dishwasher, and taking the trash out. And guess [...Read More]