It's been a year---a difficult, aggravating, mind-boggling year. As we enter the holidays, we are weary and wary. More of us will be facing empty chairs either because of loss or simply because we are isolated. I am praying for each of us to be surrounded with the steadiness and consistency of God's love as we enter the winter months. Let's take this final month of the year to fix our minds and hearts on Jesus. I can think of no better way to close this year and approach the next than to meditate on Jesus.
As we've navigated this pandemic (along with the corresponding quarantine, economic nosedive, and educational scramble), there have been boatloads of information and misinformation served with steaming sides of anger, self-righteousness, and superiority.
Before you speak, hit send, type a message, share a post, or assume the worst about anybody, listen to the words of James: Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger..."
In the history of the world, there has never been a teacher quite like Jesus. Even though He wasn’t handsome or charismatic, He spoke “as one having authority,” and His authority was supported by miracles and even the voice of God the Father. People throughout the centuries have attempted to deny His existence only to… Continue reading “Listen to Him” Scripture Writing Plan March 2020
"If I am to love the Lord my God with all my mind, there will not be room in it for carnality, for pride, for anxiety, for the love of myself. How can the mind be filled with the love of the Lord and have space left over for things like that?" ~ Elisabeth Elliot… Continue reading Set Your Mind: Scripture Writing Plan for January 2020
During this festive season, one of the buzzwords you'll see on ornaments, t-shirts, and farmhouse chic boards is "joy." We are surrounded and bombarded with this concept of "joy," particularly as we gear up to celebrate Christmas, but do we as Christians understand joy? Do we grasp what it means to "rejoice always"? When the… Continue reading Joy Inexpressible: December 2019 Scripture Writing Plan
I’ve seen phrases like “thankful” or “grateful” or “blessed” on t-shirts, jewelry, hashtags and more. It’s great that people are proclaiming these attitudes, but it takes more than a catch-phrase to have a truly thankful heart. Can I give thanks when my heart is broken? Can I be thankful when my finances are shot to… Continue reading Choosing Thankfulness
"I" problems are nothing new.
There's a lot of discussion regarding the "I" problems among Christians today, particularly in a culture still learning to navigate social media. So much emphasis is placed numbers---number of likes, number followers, number of shares, dollars earned, etc. The "self" focus has become even more pervasive. It's slipping into Christian music and books. It's becoming deeply ingrained in church culture, particularly in America.
It's time to shift our focus.
Because of the ceaseless conflict with Satan (and our own fleshly nature), it is our responsibility to stay grounded on the foundation which Christ has laid for us. Are we looking to Him to be the source of our strength or are we relying on our own power? Are we determining daily to stand firm against Satan's schemes, or do we cave to convenience?
Within each one of us is a longing to be seen. It is this very longing that makes social media such a powerful medium. Every post offers a glimpse into our daily life. We can share our favorite foods, our cute pets, our cutting complaints, our magical moments. Better still, we get to control how much we reveal, making our lives look "practically perfect in every way"! Yet does anybody---on social media or in our day-to-day---really see us as we are? Do they see our grueling work (or, at times, embarrassing laziness)? Do they see the tears? The frustrations? The joys? The longings?
When our valleys last longer than expected, the people we expect to be with us grow fewer and farther between. Take, for instance, the long road of grief. When we lose someone, there is an instant outpouring of support. The refrigerator fills with meals. Phones vibrate with texts. The ads in the mailbox get outnumbered by sympathy cards. The scent of lilies and roses permeates every nook and cranny of our home. Our front door becomes a revolving door as people come and go in order to sit with us, and possibly cry with us. Within a few weeks (or even days), the flow of support slows to a trickle. Life moves on, but the grief does not. And that, my friends, is one of many such valleys. Take heart, God will get you through your valley.