January 15, 2018

How to Reach Your Goals This Year

Have you decided what you want to accomplish this year? It doesn't have to be anything huge like earning a degree, buying a house, or reaching your goal weight . . . it could be improving a relationship, learning a new skill, sticking with a certain habit, or developing a particular character trait. In fact, sometimes those "lifestyle" goals are more beneficial in the long run. The challenging part is that our progress in these areas is often small and slow. It takes months, if not years, of daily choosing to move in the right direction. It requires the arduous work of building the right habits, staying disciplined, and keeping our eyes on the goal. Make one poor decision, and there's [...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]

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]

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