On September 2, 1666, a small fire broke out in the shop of a London baker in the dead of night. Just days later, 13,200 homes were completely gone. What shocked everyone most was the tremendous speed at which the fire spread. How potent then when James compares our tongues to a flame, describing the deadly potential we wield in our very mouths: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness…It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God” (James 3:5-9)…Read More
“We are still toiling up the hill; we have not yet reached the crest-line of it; we cannot survey the landscape or even imagine what its condition will be when that longed-for morning comes.”1– Winston Churchill
It has been called “the beginning of a ‘little ice age.’”2 Are you one of those people who is done with Zoom,© bored by Netflix,© and empathizes with mask ignoring 20-somethings—someone who just cannot take it anymore? COVID-19 has taken a toll on us all. The refrain, “back to normal,” is con- stant, but what is normal, anyway?Read More
Sometimes we can drift through life, just going through the motions. We are passive more than active. Distracted—waiting to be entertained—instead of engaged and proactive. Jaded and not alive to the spiritual possibilities in front of us. We can feel like the functioning depressed.
I noticed this recently when I was reading Scripture. I was in the early chapters of Acts, which are some of the most exciting stories ever, but I was just. . . going through the motions. As a way to take a small stand against such passive reading, I decided to be more active with two psalms—approach them as spiritual exercise and work up a sweat over them. I wrote them out as they were intended—with Jesus appearing everywhere—with the aim of making them a part of me.Read More
Every marriage experiences problems. No matter how long you have been married — whether one year or 40 years — you will have problems. Marital problems can be extremely intense and painful, and those hurts can cut deeply and last a long time.
The pain caused by someone you care about as much as your spouse may be very difficult to deal with. Most of us have preconceived ideas about how our spouses should treat us. We expect mistreatment from other people, but not from our spouses. As human beings, we often think, feel and behave in ways that are hurtful, even toward those we love. Flawed people treat one another in flawed ways; so no matter how much we care, we’ll sometimes hurt each other.Read More
Encouragement is a “one another” ministry of the church. Every believer is to encourage others. In Hebrews 3:13, Paul tells us to “encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” The fact is, it will always be called “Today,” so encouragement is the “order of the day” every day. We are to encourage one another because we are all prone to being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.Read More
How do you feel today? Do you feel healthy? Strong and energetic? How are you doing spiritually? Are you walking in a deep relationship with God? How are you emotionally and mentally? Are you living the full life God has in store for you, or is that life being sidetracked by poor health in a specific area?
Health issues have become a common stumbling block to living the abundant life God intends. Too many of the people filling American churches every weekend are not able to experience life to the fullest because they are struggling with their physical bodies, minds and emotions, and daily relationships with God. They are low on energy, short on time, dealing with chronic health issues, and relationally strained. Can you relate?Read More
I’m grateful for the opportunity we had to talk a few days ago. As I’ve prayerfully reflected on our time, I realize that there are things that would have been helpful for me to say. I can tend to be a conflict avoider so please know that writing to you now is reflective of my deep concern for you. I’m not trying to pick a fight or to suggest that somehow I’ve got it all together and you don’t. I come as a person most certainly in process also, “tempted, tried, and sometimes failing” as a familiar hymn reminds us.Read More
Elijah was burned out, completely exhausted, and Queen Jezebel had just threatened his life. Elijah told God, “The people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:10). He was scared, stopped trusting in God and felt alone. It was time to quit.
Christians can find themselves in similar dreary places where we have no control over our circumstances.Read More
Humans have a disease that eats away at the soul and relationships. It is a cankerous cancer that leads to shame and brokenness, and as it consumes, it perforates our relationships with God and others. Of course this disease, this cancer, is sin. Is there a soothing medicine that brings healing?
As a counselor I experience the effects of this disease regularly. Just in the last few weeks, I have consulted on divorce, parent/child conflict, and church conflict. There is much pain associated with each of these stories as the sickness spreads.Read More
How do Christians deal with isolation and loneliness? The reality is that most of us probably slip into the habits and behaviors found in the general population that exacerbate rather than ameliorate the problem. In other words, Christians are just as prone to the adverse effects of social isolation and loneliness unless they have embraced and mastered biblically-effective tools and incorporated them into a healthy lifestyle. Assuming there is no physical or medical issue at the root of loneliness that impairs a person’s perception, there are several ways Christians can grow in awareness that they are “never alone.” Some activities have already been mentioned, but I want to focus specifically on how we can practice the presence and power of God.Read More