Purpose vs. Provision

"For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God." -Colossians 3:3 In life, there is a great temptation to go for the next big thing: The next big business, the next big degree, the next big job opportunity. But in the kingdom, things are different. God works quite differently than we do; His ways are higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55:9) Sometimes the thing that looks the best may not be the best for us - the best that God has in mind. Sometimes we can get stuck seeking provision first, instead of seeking our Provider. Sometimes we can get stuck seeking out approval or affirmation from people, instead of going to God first and experiencing His love. Other times

The True Nature of God

"We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them." -1 John 4:16 Many times we are taught to believe, consciously or subconsciously, either through culture, the media, or false religious teachings, that God is certain things He is not. I used to believe that God was angry and menacing, ready to strike me down if I sinned! But I have since realized that God is not that way at all... Until we have had an encounter with the true God, who knows us completely and loves us so much, we will not know who He really is. According to the Bible, God is: Good (Ps 73:1, Ps 116:5, Mark 10:18, Ps 135:3) Just

The Gift in Adversity

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2&3 I often reminisce on my family history. So much of what we encounter in our daily lives roots back to our childhood experiences. (See Paul Hegstrom's book Broken Children, Grown-Up Pain.) But when I think of what happened then, I no longer see it as something I just want to forget. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't fun, and I still deal with the consequences of some of what happened then. But instead of feeling the dread I used to feel, I am filled with gratitude that God allowed me to be in such a place so that I would need to depend o

Garbage In, Garbage Out!

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." -Romans 12:2 Have you ever noticed how certain forms of media, whether it's the news, music, or movies, can make us feel depressed, sad or yucky after we've been under their influence? In contrast, have you noticed how certain things make you feel better, feel inspired or help you gain a different outlook on life? How we spend our time and what we listen to affects our lives, whether we realize it or not. It may not be apparent immediately, but we may notice ourselves saying more negative things after watching a news broadc

Remaining Faithful In Spite of Unfaithfulness

"When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, 'Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.' So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son." -Hosea 1:2-3 Sometimes, people disappoint us. Sometimes, things don't work out as we want them to. Sometimes, in the midst of our circumstances we are faced with a choice: Giving people a dose of what they may deserve, or remaining faithful and full of hope despite other people's choices. This is invariably difficult. Nonetheless, it is something our Savior taught us to do through His example.

The Gift in Singleness

"But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another." -1 Corinthians 7:7 Paul talks in 1 Corinthians about the question of whether it is better to be married or single. He expresses the idea that it's okay to be married, but to not seek out a relationship if you're single. (1 Corinthians 7:27) I believe as a culture we've done a great disservice to people who are single. Our churches are filled with families, and singles can often view church as a way to meet that someone special. We may feel pressured to be in a relationship in order to fit in. We may fear being alone. But, the time when we're single is in fact our greatest

Turn, Turn, Turn

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." -James 4:14 When I turned 10 years old, my parents took me to a really nice restaurant for my birthday. It was called the Sundial, located in the heart of Atlanta atop the Westin Peachtree hotel on the 73rd floor. I was so excited to go - mostly because of what I had heard about it - the floor moved! When we got there and sat down, it didn't appear that we were moving at all. But in between talking and eating we realized that the next time we looked, we were seeing a different view of the buildings. It was so cool! Within a 1-hour time span we had se

Following Directions

"Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly." -1 Chronicles 15:12, 13 Have you ever had to follow directions? We have to follow directions all of the time in order to have success in something. We follow directions to get to a particular destination, to make a cake, or to build something that requires assembly. So why would the assembly of our lives be any different? Jesus said, "anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand." -Matthew 7:26 It's true that for any area of life, we need to follow directions from someone w

Build and Fight

"The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. All the builders had a sword belted to their side." -Nehemiah 4:17&18 Sometimes life requires that we do two things at the same time. Nehemiah was burdened for the city of Jerusalem, and he wanted to rebuild the walls and gates. However, Israel's enemies didn't want them to rebuild, and so they began attacking them at the same time they were building. "But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. They all made plans to come and fight against Je

Increased Capacity

"And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins." Mark 2:22 If you've ever been running, you'll know that the body takes an extraordinary amount of energy and oxygen to keep going. If you've ever started a new running routine, it can be overwhelming realizing how out of shape we can be! Running just 300 yards can leave us gasping for air, and frustrated with ourselves. But, just like our hearts, our lungs increase in their capacity as they are worked to improve blood flow and respiration. As we continue to pursue our goals what first seemed overwhelming becom

Fill My Cup

"You prepare a table before Me in the presence of My enemies. You anoint My head with oil; My cup overflows." -Psalm 23:5 The word "cup" is mentioned many times in the Bible, mainly as a reference to drinking and eating, but it is also spiritually significant. A cup implied what filled your heart, or what was about to fill your heart, by drinking. Jesus inquired of His disciples, "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" (Mark 10:38) When I was young, my mom used to tuck me in every night before I went to bed. After we read a bedtime story, she would ask me "how is your cup?" I would either say, "Good!", "Half-full", or "Kind of empty." She would

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