Whether you are reveling in the joys of this season, or (like me) struggle with the limited sunlight and pressures accompanying Christmas, it is my sincere hope that this focus on a joyful heart will uplift you this month. We have the hope of eternal life through Christ Jesus, and that knowledge should sustain us through whatever griefs or delights we endure in this life.
I've seen many signs in front of church buildings that read, "Come as you are," and often wondered what message they hoped to convey. I know that regardless of "how" I show up to services, God knows whether my heart is focused on Him or caught up in self. I may come impeccably dressed while my heart is in shambles. I wear threadbare clothes while possessing a heart receptive to God's discipline. Our attire, whether stainless or shabby, might be able to create a certain impression on people, but it will not conceal from God the state of our hearts or our minds.
The deceitful and cruel nature of humanity molds many of us into skeptics. We have no desire to be duped into evil schemes. Investing, for example, often feels like an exercise riddled with doubts. Experts tell you to hang on to your Mutual Funds for 20 years and they will yield a decent increase. All… Continue reading Dangerous Doubts
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.” ~ C.S. Lewis One challenge of choosing stay-at-home parenthood is the dealing with perceptions. In my younger years, I was a girl of great ambitions. I graduated second in my high school class and graduated college with honors, even after switching my major… Continue reading When You Don’t Receive the Recognition You Deserve
Peter, having just been told in what manner he would die, wondered aloud what would happen to John. We like to know what is going to happen to other people. We wonder why they get the good stuff and we don't (or vice versa). We like to compare. Comparison is not necessarily a bad thing. It has the potential to spur us toward better behavior, healthier choices, and/or much needed discipline. On the other hand, it may very well lead us to ingratitude, envy, jealousy, and depression.
Salty droplets shimmered in the moonlight on the surface of the cool wood flooring. Not so far above them, a young woman rested her cheek on her forearm, tears still streaming from her eyes. Every few seconds a soft moan of pain escaped her lips as she remembered how she had been snubbed by her… Continue reading Has Anyone Let You Down Lately?
Praise the Lord with me, my friends—a new life has begun! Late last night, our middle daughter came to us and said she wanted to be baptized. Her heart has pondered this decision for quite some time. She has done lots of bible reading on her own and asked us to explain sin, baptism, and… Continue reading A New Life Has Begun!
“Why do I have to go to church?” “I can do “church” on my own.” “I don’t get anything out of it.” I’ve heard all of them. I used to say the last one in my weaker seasons. I once had a friend tell me, "I can worship God anywhere. I can do church in… Continue reading What’s the Point of Going to Church if I Can Worship God Anywhere?
We could reflect on Jesus all day, every day, for the rest of our lives, and never exhaustively comprehend His majesty. He gave up heaven and became a humble man---not a powerful man, not a comfortable man, not a humanly-exalted man---because of His great love for both the Father and for us. “Do nothing from… Continue reading It’s Time to Empty Myself
Our U.S Holidays such as Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Veteran's Day, always cause me to reflect on the price of freedom. Many men and women have put their lives and livelihoods on the line to give themselves and their descendants what we have this day---an imperfect, but cherished, freedom. I am grateful to be a United States Citizen, but I am even more grateful to be a citizen of Jesus' kingdom. In His kingdom, we have perfect freedom. The above quote from Ronald Reagan is, of course, referring to the U.S., but it also reflects the pursuit of a Christian---we are "Free people, worthy of freedom and determined not only to remain so but to help others gain their freedom as well."