Month: December 2016

Are You Meditating on the Scriptures?

Psalm 119 if full of verses that show people delighting in God’s words. I remember reading this as a teenager and the idea seemed somewhat foreign to me. Somewhere in my thinking, I had come to the conclusion that we can be joyful because of God, but I was missing out on delighting in God and in His word. I believed that one day I would be with God, but until then I should just do what He says to do and meander through life. That kind of theology was setting me up for a dispassionate, distant relationship with God, His Word, and the church. Now I am convinced that whatever god I thought I believed in then, it definitely wasn’t the God of the Bible. God not only initiates a relationship with us, He sustains that relationship for eternity. We are not disconnected from the God of our salvation on this earth, waiting for Heaven to “be with Him.” Instead, we are intimately and passionately in a relationship with Him now and forever. Unfortunately, …

You Can’t Do It All, But You Can Do Something

We all want to make a difference in this world and we hope that 2017 will be the year that takes us one step closer. Instead of attempting (and yet again failing) to change the world, what if we focused on changing the world of one individual? Andy Stanley put it best when he challenged the church to, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” This year really can be the year that you make a difference! I want to challenge you to complete one of the following tasks to practice doing for one what you wish you could do for everyone. Give time to one person in need.  It’s not possible for you to sit and talk with every elderly person in the nursing home. You can’t attend every child’s baseball game in your small group. You don’t have the margin to pray with everyone before they begin chemo. But this year it would be possible for you to give your time to one person going through a hard time. …

Do You Despise Waiting? Learn to be Content.

I spend a lot of time waiting. I wait for the coffee to stop dripping every morning. I wait for the washing machine to finish so I can move the clothes to the dryer. I wait for my kids in the pick-up line after school. I wait a lot. Since I spend so much time waiting, you’d think I’d be quite good at it. But the truth is, I’m not. I’m terrible at waiting. The worst part is I can’t just be still while I’m waiting. I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about the process of waiting as our family is currently in a “season” of waiting. Since February, we’ve been waiting to become approved as foster parents. I’m waiting for the state of Georgia to ask me to take temporary custody of someone else’s child. It’s a strange feeling as I’m essentially waiting for the worst day of someone’s life to happen. And as I wait, I am overcome by the desire to “do something.” Surely there’s someone I can call or email …

God and the Planet of Misfit People

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you… God chose things despised by the world,[a] things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. – 1 Corinthians 1:26, 28 Nobody wanted J.T. (not his real initials) on their team. I wasn’t chosen first when we picked teams to play softball during recess, but J.T. was always chosen last—if chosen at all. He might have been as good a ballplayer as Jimmy Byrd, but he never got the chance to prove it because he just didn’t fit in. He wore ragged, holey bib overalls to school every day. Nobody else ever wore bib overalls, not in our school. I don’t remember J.T. ever wearing a jacket, even in the middle of winter. He always brought his lunch in a paper bag. I guess he didn’t have the 25 cents needed to buy the school lunch and half-pint of milk. J.T. was a loner, probably not …

This Week For Sunday

Have you ever lost something? I hate losing stuff.  Unfortunately, it happens to me a lot.  I misplace stuff so frequently, my husband gave me a tracker for my house keys.  From my phone, I can “ping” my keys to track them down or even have my keys make noise when they are outside of a certain distance of my phone. Over a year ago, I lost those keys.  So much for that plan.  We’ve since changed our locks so I’m not worried about anyone breaking in, but I still have this uneasiness about where my keys are. The other day I lost my wallet and for several days had this constant uneasiness.  I retraced my steps, calling and visiting all the stores I had shopped at the last time I had my wallet.  I searched my house and the car and my office to no avail.  I was in the process of texting my husband, informing him we would need to cancel my credit cards when I saw a glimpse of my wallet between the seat …

Living Under the New Covenant of Christmas

I love Christmas! Food, family, and food! I may have those out of order, but I love this season. Growing up, we would attend our church’s Christmas Eve service. I remember the church being packed with families, singing Christmas hymns and lighting candles. My family would read the story of Christ’ birth from Matthew and Luke. My brother, sister and I would have a slumber party on Christmas Eve, staying up all night laughing and making every attempt to “catch Santa.” And even though Santa was cool, I knew it was about Jesus. But I didn’t fully understand just how important His birth really is. God gave Moses the 10 Commandments to make the Israelites aware of their sin. The Law did nothing to bring about atonement for sin, so God required daily sacrifices.  But Moses and the prophets knew that God would establish a new covenant, and it would not be written on tablets, but on the very hearts and minds of God’s people! “But this is the new covenant I will make with the …

What Are You Expecting From Your Savior?

When you have expectations, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  – Ryan Reynolds This quote was meant to be glib and humorous, but it really does ring true doesn’t it?  When I expect something from others, they usually disappoint me in some way.  I expect my kids to always adore me, follow my every word, behave the exact way I want them to when I want them to.  Any parent can attest to how that ends up. The easy thing would be to lower my expectations, and then I wouldn’t be disappointed.  Maybe if I expected my kids to do those things some of the time, I wouldn’t be disappointed but I would be doing a disservice to my children.  By expecting them to live up to a higher standard I am pushing them to be better and to expect more from themselves as well. When Jesus came to this world, His chosen people (the Jews) had very different expectations of Him. They expected Him to come as a glorious king ≠ He was born in a …

This Week For Sunday

I love Christmas time. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. (See what I did there?) Christmas music makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. Silent Night is a classic Christmas song, but I imagine it wasn’t so quiet that night in the spiritual realm. Evil and sin had been flexing their muscles for a long time. Finally, after much waiting, the Son of God came to earth. The Army of Heaven sent their best to the front lines, knowing that victory would soon be theirs.  I bet all of Heaven let out a battle cry like never before.  I imagine Satan and his demons were terrified knowing defeat was close.  They immediately set out to kill Christ by striking fear in King Herod, which only helped fulfill prophecy (see Matthew 2:15) and further confirmed the Messiah had come. The Light stepped down into darkness and darkness did not understand it and could not contain it. Jesus may have come to earth on that silent, first Christmas night, but Heaven flipped the world upside …

Are You United in Thought and Purpose?

One of the clearest ways that the church looks separate from the world is through unity. In 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul says, “I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” It is worth noting that Paul does not base this statement on his authority as an apostle. Instead, he appeals to them “by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In this short verse, Paul instructs the Corinthians to:  agree in all matters concerning the doctrines of the gospel maintain a tender love for one another not form groups as a consequence of disagreement Anyone could look around at the global church and see that we have messed this up. Evaluating my own life based on this verse, I asked myself: Am I leaving people out? Do I intentionally avoid specific or certain kinds of people? Who have I not maintained a tender …

This Week For Sunday

I like kids. Ok, I like kids for awhile. My best friend is fostering siblings who are 19 months old and 3 years old.  The oldest tries to hide a smile when I praise him for his good behavior. I enjoy creating games that make him laugh mischievously. The little girl is a hot mess, with wild hair and an independent spirit. I want to scoop her up and nuzzle her neck. They are an adorable pair and I love spending time with them. Until… Until she has a snot bubble that threatens to explode with each exhale. Or he needs a diaper change. Or his hair is soaked with sweat and her hands are covered in who even knows what dirt-food combination. Then I’m done. I cringe at the thought of sticky fingers touching my face. I seriously can’t comprehend how parents do it.  Children are allowed to come to me when they are smiling and clean. Jesus said “Let the children come to me [stinky fingers and all]. Don’t stop them! For the …