November 21, 2017

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]

Practicing Habits of Grace

Start talking about spiritual disciplines -- habits like reading God's Word, praying regularly, attending church, evangelizing the lost -- and I guarantee someone will roll their eyes and respond that the word discipline is just too legalistic, not grace-oriented enough or allowing for Christian liberty. Others will sigh at the amount of effort required to maintain those disciplines. I think some people don't really understand the point of spiritual disciplines. It's not just a list of things we HAVE to do, in order to be considered spiritual. It's not what defines a good Christian. Spiritual disciplines have a higher purpose than simply acting as a spiritual to-do list. tweet [...Read More]

Choosing Gratitude: Chapter 2

Welcome to Week 3 of the Choosing Gratitude study! If you're not sure what this is all about, we're studying through Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. See the Introduction for more details.  Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude There is so much good truth packed into this chapter! Of course, it starts off with the three things named in the title -- guilt, grace, and gratitude. These three things are at the very heart of the gospel: We are born with inescapable guilt, as a result of our innate sin nature. But over that guilt, God pours undeserved grace and provides a way of redemption from sin's curse. As a result, we should respond with unbridled gratitude to God for all [...Read More]

Treasure in Jars of Clay

God doesn’t need us to be billionaires or mega-athletes or bestsellers or super-women. He can use us, even when we’re broken and crumbling apart. {click here to tweet!} So don’t knock the bumps and bruises. Don’t complain about the cracks. Because God made you out of clay – the very clay He spoke into being – for a reason. To prove that His grace is sufficient, that power belongs to Him, and that His strength is perfect.  Head over to Finding Purpose in the Pain to read more... like my ongoing battle with Social Security to resume disability benefits, my struggle to look right on paper, and how our imperfections showcase God's glory. [...Read More]

Come Thou Fount (paraphrased)

Sometimes I like to write out hymns in my own words. Because, though I sing them every week at church (and sometimes in between), I don't always think about what I'm singing. I know the words, but I might not truly understand the message. So I write them in my own words. I personalize their depths of truth. I offer them as heartfelt prayers to my heavenly Father. Recently I did this with Come, Thou Fount, a well-known hymn penned by Robert Robinson in 1758. I discovered two lesser-known verses to the hymn, and included those in my paraphrase, simply because of the depths of praise in their words. So as you read through this, can I suggest that you offer it as your own prayer of praise? [...Read More]

Book Review: The Truth About Grace

"Grace is grace precisely because it comes to people who are utterly ineligible for any favor from God."   The concept of grace is an oft-discussed thing in our world today. What is it, exactly? How does it affect our lives? What does it have to do with us personally? In The Truth About Grace, John MacArthur defines and expounds upon the grace of God and what it means for believers. It is a shorter book, just 5 chapters and 122 pages, yet it offers a rather extensive study of the word grace. MacArthur both defines and describes what biblical grace is. He quotes or refers to a lot of Scripture {especially Paul's epistles} as he seeks to explain the concept of grace in everyday [...Read More]