October 22, 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]

You Don’t Need to Learn How to ‘Love Yourself’

Last week was Valentine's Day, and I couldn't believe how many times I saw the phrase love yourself. The world of greeting cards, inspirational books, and social media posts is filled to overflowing with this idea that we must love ourselves better (or more) before we can love others. But I'm pretty sure that's not what my Bible says . . . What did Christ call the two greatest commandments? Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. Notice He didn't say to love yourself first so that you can love others or God. He said to love others as you already love yourself. Nobody needs to be told to love themselves! We spend so many [...Read More]

Beginning My Missionary Journey – The Early Years

I had the opportunity recently at a ladies' meeting to share the story of my missionary journey -- how God led me to prepare for becoming a missionary-church planter, and then used that call to direct me to a husband and place of ministry. When I mentioned it on Facebook, several of you expressed a desire to hear the story too, and I decided to share it with the hope that it might be an encouragement to all. My story begins -- as all of ours do -- with God's call to salvation when I was a young child. But fast forward about 12 years, and the story of my missionary journey begins. I could sum the beginning of that journey with the words of Abraham's servant in Genesis 24, when he was [...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]

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]