What would happen if we took time to listen?
I’ve been learning a few things lately. Things like how people have experienced me differently than I intended.
It’s eye opening. And not necessarily pleasant.
I think I’m being efficient in directing teenagers to pick up the house, but they hear a drill sergeant at boot camp.
So I’ve begun asking my family how they are experiencing me. Why? Because my desire is intimate connection with my hubby and each one of my kids.
The key to honest feedback is a safe environment to share.
So, I can’t get defensive. I can’t blame. I can’t deflect.
I need to listen with my heart. With love. Read More…
Which side of the cross do we live from? Needing a Savior or walking with the Savior?
Jesus dying on the cross is everything to a believer. But it is only the starting point. It is the beginning of our walk with Him.
Because there’s the tomb. The empty one that we don’t talk much about except at Easter.
Everything in our Christian walk should come from the tomb. From the place of victory and power and new life.
But are we really living from that place? Or are we just enduring this life?
I see such a contrast between what believers say they agree with and how they live their lives. Read More…
Are we God’s most amazing creation?
We are. The Bible tells us this over and over. But do we see ourselves as amazing?
I think we often minimize our greatness because we don’t want to become arrogant, or come across as prideful.
We don’t want to get puffed up by self.
But when we recognize that we are amazing because of who made us, how can that be pride of self? Read More…
How does Jesus look at us and not cringe at times?
I believe it’s because He sees us in two different dimensions. He sees us as we are now (though without frustration toward our sin because He has already dealt with it), and He sees who we will become.
As Graham Cooke states it, God does not look at us and see Present-Past. He sees us as Present-Future. Why? Because He has dealt with our past and He’s not interested in who we were, but in who we are becoming.
How exciting for us! How amazing that we don’t have to dwell on our failures, but look with anticipation to what He is doing in us.
We tend to be a people who dwell on past mistakes. I’ve heard leaders say, “Think about the worst thing you’ve ever done. God is bigger than that.”
But if God isn’t thinking about the worst thing we’ve ever done, why are we dredging it up? Wouldn’t it be so much more fruitful to dwell on the possibilities God has for us and for the lives of the people we love? Read More…
We are to be light to a dark world, right? (Matt. 5:14-16)
So how do we do that practically?
How do we “go into all the world preaching the gospel” when we have a hard enough time getting our kids to go to church? (Mark 16:15)
How do we portray love when we often lack that vital ingredient? I don’t mean that we don’t love other people. I’m wondering how well we love the people who don’t share our values?
The other day God nudged me to go read at a coffee shop I rarely visit just to relax. It’s small, so the coffee grinder nearly reverberates inside your head.
Another couple came in and we got to chatting. They shared that they are both liberal, with one an atheist and the other leaning toward Buddhism.
Controversial topics came up in an off-hand way. If I had lacked love, a chasm of religious and philosophical differences would have opened up between us. Read More…
Does God discipline His kids like we do our own?
Have you noticed that God can’t control His kids? Not even Adam and Eve, in their perfect sinless state.
That’s actually not a true statement. It’s not that God can’t control His kids, it’s that He doesn’t choose to control them. It would only take a little lightning therapy to get them in line, most likely. But God doesn’t opt to use His power to dictate outward behavior.
I don’t know that He’s even focused on our outward behavior.
What does register on His meter is much more internal and central to determining behavior…the heart.
God is overwhelmingly focused on our hearts. Because, what is in our hearts—–good or bad—–is going to show up in our behavior.
In general, people tend to focus on other’s behavior and try to motivate them to improve or change it. Whether through guilt and manipulation or by encouragement.
God looks less at what we are doing and more at the roadblocks in our hearts that prevent us from sustaining positive changes in our actions. Read More…
I’ve recently been listening to some podcasts by a pastor named Robert Henderson. He suggests a pretty cool prayer: God, I want to see like you see, think like you think, and feel like you feel.
So I started praying it. And holy moly, my thinking began to change. And I started to see people differently. With more compassion and less judgment. It’s been amazing!
There is something so freeing in loving people where they are and for who they are. Not picking apart life style choices or parenting choices or anything else we don’t agree with. Love doesn’t focus on what “is not” in their lives; it calls them into who God designed them to be.
We all want to be loved and we want people to see potential in us, not failure. Read More…
Do we use our gifts to restore or to tear down?
I’m beginning to realize that people don’t mess up on purpose.
So why do I find myself becoming irritable if I have to repeat myself to TDH or one of the kids? They didn’t not hear or misunderstand on purpose. (Except for our two oldest boys who have made a game out of seeing how many times they can get me to repeat myself before I catch on.)
But I have noticed that my irritation level goes up or down in direct proportion to how connected I am to God. (Notice I didn’t say how much time I’ve spent reading the Bible or in a quiet time—–I’m talking about living in connection with Him. In tune with Him. Knowing He’s an elbow-length away.) Read More…
The other day I was listening to Christian radio and the disc jockey said that the greatest thing we can do is to surrender our lives to Christ.
Comments encouraging people to do the right “Christian” thing make me twist inside. My heels start digging in as I feel the push of the law. So I mentally stepped back and examined what he said.
Do I agree that the greatest thing we can do is surrender our lives to Jesus Christ?
No, I don’t.
I believe the greatest thing we can do is step into relationship with Jesus. Does that require surrender? Yes. But is surrender the ultimate goal? I don’t think so. Read More…
Does God feel disappointed when we sin?
Before we dig into that, we need to uncover our biases.
How do we approach God’s view of us. Do we put ourselves in His shoes? (I think we often do this unconsciously. After all, that is our only point of reference.) Do we approach the question from a scriptural basis? Or do we look at through the Father’s heart?
Naturally, we can’t actually separate scripture from the Father’s heart, but I think many of us attempt to do just that. With risky consequences. Unless we are sitting with Holy Spirit and asking Him questions and waiting for revelation, we will read scripture through our personal (and often tainted) lens. We need His insight so we don’t lean on our own faulty thinking (Prov. 3:5). Read More…