October 13, 2017

#Read2017 – Literary Adventures in May & June

May and June were busy months, especially with several weeks taken up with preparing for and then helping with our church's annual VBS. In fact, I was running on reserves the last few weeks, and didn't do much reading at all in the latter half of June. But I did manage to complete 7 books for the #Read2017 challenge, including two that I'd been working through for a few months prior (What's Best Next and 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You), both of which called for frequent personal response, either through applicatory "homework" or simply careful consideration and prayer. But they were both well worth the time -- as well as the loss of reading anything else during those hours! I also [...Read More]

For When You Feel Like A Failure

Do you ever feel like a failure? Or get upset because you don't live up to your own expectations of what you should be able to accomplish? Last week, we had VBS at our church. There was a girl who needed to talk about something, and my tongue tied itself up terribly. I just couldn't get started with the conversation! Now, it might have had something to do with the fact that I'd just been pulled from doing crafts with the younger kids, and she was an older kid who had just come from lesson time. Plus, she's a kid who doesn't say much. I had no idea what she'd heard during the lesson, she had no idea how to explain what she wanted, and I just stumbled around trying to get the conversation [...Read More]

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]