Saturday, February 25, 2017

The One Year Book of Hope


Because I choose to believe God's Word and because I have experienced it in my own life, I thoroughly believe that the grace God provides is all you need—it is enough—for whatever you face. It will be delivered to you in the form and quantity and timing your circumstances require. It is enough to enable you to endure rejection and betrayal without becoming bitter. It is enough to generate joy in the midst of great sorrow. It is enough to help you endure the loneliness of your bed and the reminders of loss everywhere you turn. It is enough to enable you to continue believing that God is good and he loves you.

The grace God provides to you is enough for whatever suffering he allows into your life, not just enough to survive but enough to equip you to emerge from your suffering with faith intact and hope for the future. What God said to Paul he also says to you: "My gracious favor is all you need" today and for everything you will face in the days to come (2 Corinthians 12:9).

From The One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie

Here is a link if you are interested in the book:
The One Year Book of Hope

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Five Tips For Daily Happiness

Five Tips For Daily Happiness

1) Start the day with 20 minutes of silence, Scripture and prayer.

2) Exercise for 20 minutes a day.

3) Write down three things you are grateful for.

4) Send a note, email or text encouraging one person. A single sentence is fine.

5) Describe in writing one new positive experience you have had over the past 24 hours.

Summarized by Brian Buffini, tweaked by me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why Won't You Apologize?

It’s in our most enduring and significant relationships that people become too mad to apologize. One or both parties may be convinced that the relationship can’t move forward if the other doesn’t consider his or her behavior and apologize for it. Yet there may be little agreement on who started it, what the offense is, what’s required to mend it, and who needs to apologize first. 

We automatically look for the one to blame, the person who “started it,” but relationships don’t work that way. Relationships operate in a circular, not linear, fashion, the behavior of each person provoking and reinforcing the behavior of the other. The real question is not who started it, or who is to blame, but rather what each  person can do to change his or her steps in the dance. 

~From Why Won't You Apologize by Harriet Lerner

I can't give them all here but read the book for some achievable solutions to common problems.

Get it here:
Why Won't You Apologize by Harriet Lerner

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Alison's Choice

Alison's Choice is one of the best prolife films I have ever seen. It is both profound and funny even though those two can be hard to combine.

It shows the emotions of someone moving toward abortion, the back and forth arguments in her head and shows how Jesus is there the whole time trying to save her and her child.

Here is the trailer: Alison's Choice

Here is where you can get a copy:
Alison's Choice

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sober Mercies by Heather Kopp


I have read this book multiple times. Why? Because it deals with the reality of addiction and compulsion in the Christian life. I am not an alcoholic but there are plenty of things in my life that I love too much that don't deserve that place in my life.

Heather Kopp opens up her life and lets us see what led her down a bad path and how she got back up.

The path in our life may or may not be as dramatic but I think most of us need some help and house cleaning.

Here are a few passages from the book:

"My heart went out to her. And I wondered for the umpteenth time if we Christians don't make the most miserable addicts. Since we tend to think of addiction strictly as a moral failing, most of us try to pull ourselves up by our spiritual bootstraps. We pray harder, repent more fervently, and fight temptation until we're blue in the face.

When our best efforts prove futile, we feel ever more guilty and ashamed. And confused. Don't we love God enough to quit? Doesn't God love us enough to deliver us?

Meanwhile, to even admit that we have become addicted feels like a betrayal of Christ's work on the cross.

Too often, in order to shield those we love, and to protect God's reputation (and ours), we try to hide our problem. Ironically, our desire to maintain a good witness can turn us into sneaks, liars, and hypocrites. Which then turns us into prisoners of our own egos."

--------

"We learned that our addictions--crushing and humbling though they may be--remind us of our ravenous appetite for spiritual sustenance. They remind us that we are desperate for nothing so much as we are desperate for God. They remind us that when we think we want a drink or a drug or an emotional fix, when the wind blows through our empty spaces, what we really crave is grace."

--------

"So much about how recovery works feels counterintuitive. How do you explain to people it has little to do with willpower or being strong, but almost everything to do with knowing that you are weak and powerless? That only when you give up fighting to control your addiction do you give God room to fight for you? That when you surrender control, you regain your freedom to choose?"

~From Sober Mercies by Heather Kopp

Friday, February 10, 2017

Humility - How and Why

Humility is not an easy virtue to cultivate, for it requires that we deliberately make ourselves vulnerable to others. Humility demands that we routinely seek out criticism and risk appearing weak or incompetent by admitting flaws and mistakes.

Humility is a virtue that disappears the moment we are confident that we have achieved it. It requires constant reflection, self-assessment, transparency, and accountability, all of which can be extremely painful to do even once, let alone repeatedly. But if we want to know ourselves and build our strengths while minimizing our weaknesses, then that is precisely what we must do. If we can manage to stay the course, we will find that not only will we become better at what we do but, more important, we will get deeper insight into who we truly are. Humility that's lays the foundation for every follow-on virtue.

~From The Leader's Code by Donovan Campbell

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Kahtoola NANOspikes

Remember how hard it was to walk on the slippery ice we had last week? Two of my boys had several falls. Thankfully, there were no lasting injuries. These Kahtoola NANOspikes are simple to put on and work like studded snow tires for your feet. I have a pair and use them when I go for a walk when it is icy. They work great.

More details here:
Kahtoola NANOspikes


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Pastors and Politics

Today I heard a pastor proudly proclaim that only about five people in his church know his political views. That seemed sad to me.

The message I get from that is that the gospel has nothing to say about politics and that God probably doesn't care either.

I don't think he is alone. He is probably representative of most pastors and churches. But why? It could be from the mistaken view that a pastor should not talk about politics. It could also be that numbers and money are a deciding factor; don't upset people so that they quit coming or giving.

I think God has an opinion about politics and a reason why. If the church doesn't view the political realm as a place where discipleship can happen then we do a great disservice to the ignorant masses who sit in the pews. If they never hear about these things from the pulpit then the world and media will gladly fill the vacuum.

What do you think?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Red Sea Road

I really like the music of Ellie Holcomb. Her lyrics are so full of meaning and encouragement. When I read the following, I ordered her latest CD, Red Sea Road, on the day it came out:

"The past two years for our community have been heavy, full of suffering and loss. Red Sea Road is a record full of songs about how I’ve seen God show up in the middle of all the pain. I know now more than I did two years ago that He is faithful, no matter what we are facing. I’ve seen Him draw near to our broken hearts and make a way to keep going when there seemed to be no way. There’s an Ann Voskamp blog post where she describes it like this:

'…we believe that an unseen Hope makes a Red Sea Road when there seems to be no way.'

This record is celebrating the unseen Hope we have in Jesus, and the way I’ve seen Him make Red Sea Roads through some of the most difficult & heartbreaking years of my life."

You can listen to samples here:
Red Sea Road

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