31 January 2011


When things get tough my tendency is to get critical. 

That might be a good thing, if I was looking at myself and not other things. Its easy to blame the circumstances, the times, the other person. Looking in the mirror is harder. Its also healthier. 

When you're aggravated at life let me encourage you to try some godly reflection. Get some time alone or with someone you trust and work through some questions like:

  • Why does this make me so mad, so fast? 
  • What is it that I want most out of this situation?
  • Why do I dwell so much on these things? (A good follow-up to this one: Is it a "God thing" or a "me thing" that keeps me coming back to this issue?) 
  • What unhealthy ways have I learned to deal with this that need to change before it can get better?
  • What passages of Scripture do I know that relate to this issue?
  • What promises does God give me about this area? 

It's true that looking in the mirror is tough. In fact, as I wrestle through certain seasons of my life Paul's frustration resonates with me: "Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me." (Romans 7.21). But infinitely more encouraging is the reality that though we struggle we are not dependent on sheer will power alone for success, "for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." (Philippians 2.13).

Sometimes looking at our reflection reveals mountains of motives, emotions and even revealing revelations about what's going on inside, under the surface.

And thanks to Don Wolgemuth for the refreshing reminder: "The first obstacle in working with young people is you" You can check out the full post at The Resurgence.

14 January 2011

Suprise Sabbath

I sometimes live as if there are only two modes of life: all out and worn out.

You probably know what I mean. There are times when we pursue everyday accomplishments with a breathless pace, tackling to-do lists and marching toward life goals with enthusiasm. We chase  our ambitions for days and weeks at a time. We attend every game and cheer on the kids, start a new Bible study, listen deeply to our spouses, and do more with our moments. And its good. There is something intrinsically good about living life right with the One who gave it to us. And for a little while we feel entirely alive.

But it doesn't last. The enthusiasm melts before an onslaught of mounting responsibilities, off days and the often confusing nuts and bolts of life. By the time we've wrestled through these obstacles we're worn out. Suddenly we find that we don't have the energy to be patient or sensitive, or that we lack the inner reservoir to give to a friend who needs a little extra.

Which made me wonder: is there another way?

God snuck up on me with an answer. He gave me a surprise Sabbath. 

It was a rare time when God had allowed me to knock off all my goals for the week and I had, much to my surprise, a day without many planned activities. I did a little bit of this and that but the real wonder was what God was doing. He was giving me a Sabbath. You know, the biblical idea to put aside one day of the week to truly rest, do those things that fill up instead of take away . . . those things that bring life with God. I found myself drinking deeply of His goodness and topped the day off with a walk around the block: just me and Him. 

And you know what? It made all the difference in the world for me. I guess that's what Jesus is talking about when He explains that, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." It was made for me. God's gift to finite creatures prone to the silliness of busyness.    

Thank you, Jesus. For giving me what I need when I need it. Thank you for giving me You. You are the real treasure, the true joy and my worthiest pursuit. 

13 January 2011

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

If perfect love casts out fear--and I believe it does, why do we find ourselves still afraid? Fear comes up in many forms. We are afraid of the unknown or being alone. Some are afraid of death. Others the future. But we all face fear. Dave Dorr gets to the heart of overcoming fear with personal faith in this refreshing post (I encourage you to read the whole thing): 

We cannot underestimate the importance of freedom in our lives. Freedom is one of the top reasons Jesus came to earth: “For freedom Christ has set us free...” (Galatians 5:1).

But what does freedom mean?

05 January 2011

Religious Idols

"An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give. Idolatry functions widely inside religious communities when doctrinal truth is elevated to the position of a false god. This occurs when people rely on the rightness of their doctrine for their standing with God rather than on God Himself and His grace. It is a subtle and deadly mistake."


                                              - From Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller, p. 131

"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5.21