Americans have a difficult time waiting. We tend to think that everything should be at our disposal when we want it. We might not like to hear it, but we really do feel “entitled” to getting what we want right now. We believe we have somehow earned this right.
However, the Kingdom of God doesn’t operate as we would often suppose. Waiting is an important Kingdom value. Waiting builds faith and character. It requires discipline and humility. READ MORE
This is also true of the way we look at life. How we view life tends to be reinforced as we go along. If you believe that your team is the best, you will tend to see evidence that confirms your supposition. If you are an optimist, you will tend to see a positive future - no matter what the evidence. And, if you are a pessimist, you will easily see all the things that might, could and probably will go wrong.
This principle, that you can often see what you are looking for, has spiritual implications too. However, your spiritual “eyes” and perspectives are being influenced every day. READ MORE
American media has a fascination with people’s sin and mistakes. Many reporters love to feed, and we love to consume, the dirt they can find concerning prominent people. What is it that we crave in these stories? Is it that we secretly would like to be as unbridled and outlandish as those about whom the stories are presented? Do we like seeing someone throw all caution and self-discipline to the wind, wishing we could do the same? Do we like seeing the failure of others - using their failure to somehow make us feel better about ourselves? Or do we simply like to smugly judge others from an inner sense of superiority? READ MORE
Have you recently met anyone with whom you immediately seemed to “click” - someone who seems to “get” you right away, and apparently without effort? These kinds of relationships are gifts. On the other hand, have you met anyone lately that seems to rub you the wrong way - a person who seems to push your negative buttons without any idea of what they are? These relationships are a challenge, and can be a hardship. READ MORE
Do you ever find yourself feeling bad about what you have said, feeling you shared/said too much, or wishing you hadn’t spoken at all? Good communication is tricky business; it takes a lifetime to learn.
Why is it so hard to control our speech, to speak up when we need to, but not to let words fly aimlessly or hurtfully? James wrote, “Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check … no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:2,8) READ MORE
We are often tempted to think we understand way before we actually do. Possibly we have connected with a word or an image that has been shared, and we assume we know where the conversation is going. Or, maybe we have heard many such conversations before - and we feel pretty certain about its conclusion. The bottom line - we are tempted to be lazy listeners, not taking the time or investing the effort to freshly engage what is being said. We get distracted - thinking we have heard, when we haven’t, thinking we have understood when we haven’t. READ MORE
This can be a good time of year to consider the vastness of God’s creation - and life itself. You may get a chance to stare out at the ocean horizon, or gaze into the blue sky - decorated with feathery white clouds; on a clear night you might look deeper and deeper into the myriad of stars that pepper the darkness. When you consider the huge environs in which we live, it’s hard not to call out with the psalmist, “What is mankind that You are mindful of us, or human beings that you care for us?” (Psalm 8:4) More personally, you may question who you are - and how you relate to this vast universe. READ MORE
God created you on purpose. Nothing about how you have been made is a mistake. God created you with purpose; you were designed to play a role - a significant role - in the large scheme of life. We can understand this foundational truth from the creations story (Genesis 1:26ff), and from God’s interaction with people throughout history. Job recognized the importance of understanding his life in terms of God’s intentions when he said of God, “No purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2) The psalmist wrote, “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33:11) READ MORE
You need not be ashamed or fearful of your desires - they come from God. Be careful, however, not to allow your desires to become tied to false, robbing phantom fulfillments. Sometimes the enemy places false comforts in front of us that “posingly” promise fulfillment. Don’t settle for counterfeits that have nothing to do with God - that are secret or shameful - that imprison your soul, rather than bring freedom. Instead - honestly articulate your desires to God; receive His authorship of those very desires within you. Allow yourself to be caught up in the mystery of this unfolding process, and rely on God - and His timing. Hopeful waiting is a powerful expression of faith and worship. It tries and purifies the heart; “a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12) READ MORE
Do you know any awesome older people - who are real characters? - The kind of folks who seem to do as they wish, without apparent fear or embarrassment. These people seem to not even be aware of their own idiosyncrasies or weaknesses. Such people may be somewhat off-putting at first, but when you get to know them you will often find they are incredible treasures. READ MORE
Some people say that having faith in Christ doesn’t necessarily make much difference in a person’s life. They site figures on divorce or crime, and say that there is practically no discernible difference between the statistics for Christians and for Non-Christians. However, a closer look at what it means to be a Christian would indicate that honest faith actually makes a large difference in a person’s life. READ MORE
Now that you have unwrapped your presents, it’s time to wrap up the year well. Take some time to consider what actually happened this year. For what things can you be most thankful - and to whom? What have you learned about yourself, others and God? Take some time to consider your transition from 2011 to 2012. Don’t get caught in the blur, take stock of your life and your hopes for the future. READ MORE
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