October 20, 2017

Let Your Soul Be Stirred to Action

I decided to add a "current events" category in my reading challenge for this year, not because it's something I particularly enjoy, but because I think it's helpful and good to be informed of what's going on in the world at large. I'm not a news junkie, political die-hard, or economics geek; but there's other issues in our world that we need to stay aware of and, as Christians, be praying for on a regular basis. Many of these issues are hard to learn about: human trafficking, race riots, poor treatment of veterans, poverty in third-world countries, girls who aren't allowed to attend school, the abuse of women in terrorist organizations, persecution of Christians, bondage of everyday [...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]

Too Busy to Pray?

How have you been lately? Wait, let me guess... busy, right? Seems like we're all running crazy, trying to cram far more in a day than can reasonably fit within 24 hours. Between family schedules, work requirements, church commitments, medical appointments, and connecting with friends, our spare time is at a minimum. When that happens, we start thinking about what we can let go. And the first things to go are usually the disciplines that require consistent time and energy, but little or no participation from others - things like exercise, healthy eating, Bible study, prayer time. But prayer is not just "one more thing" to on your to-do list -- it is the foundation of your list! [...Read More]

Myers-Briggs Does Not Define You

Confession: I love a good personality test. Not those quizzes that go viral on Facebook, but actual "professional" personality tests like Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, or Big Five. I find it strangely satisfying to find the boxes I fit into -- to see myself categorized as an introvert, for instance -- and discover I'm not alone in how I see the world. Personality tests can help us understand others better. They point out effective ways to encourage them, and highlight what energizes and what frustrates them. They show us there are as many types of strengths (or weaknesses) as there are types of introverts and extroverts. They also help us understand ourselves better. They spotlight [...Read More]

Love Tells the Truth

The word love gets thrown around a lot these days -- whether it's the most recent catchphrase ("love wins"), or the admonishment to "love the sinner and hate the sin," or simply the world's attempt to conquer hatred and injustice ("love conquers all"). But in the words of Inigo Montoya, I don't think that word means what most people think it means. True love does not blindly accept every new thing that comes along. True love does not look the other way when people are walking themselves into ruin. True love does not stay silent when there is truth to be shared. Yet that is exactly what the world wants us to do. It clamors for us to quietly succumb to the waning morality of [...Read More]

In Search of True Peace

Let's face it, we live in a stress-filled world. We excel at being chronic worriers. We fill our minds with anxious thoughts of everything that might go wrong. Our souls are less than tranquil. We have all these pressures piled on us. Getting our next paycheck, keeping the car running smoothly, preparing for bad weather, following politics, paying for healthcare, fighting illness and exhaustion... And then there's the holiday season, when we face an unwritten competition to do everything "just right."  We're supposed decorate a picture-perfect house, play the perfect hostess, find the perfect gifts for everyone, send the perfect Christmas cards, and attend everything with a perfect [...Read More]

When Good Things Become Idols

I've been thinking about idols lately. More specifically, I've been thinking about how anything can become an idol: good things, bad things, and even the in-between sort of things. There's a lot of good things that we can strive for in this life. Financial freedom, physical fitness, healthful living, pleasing homes, productive days, consistent routines, accomplished children, perfect marriages... But when those things start stealing our focus away from pleasing God, they become idols. When they begin controlling our emotions and thoughts, they become idols. When they start making us discontent or whiny, they become idols. When financial freedom becomes more important than [...Read More]