Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good booksTweet
Posted 12/9/13 at 1:44 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books |
John 11:35 is one of the most confusing verses in the Bible to me. For most of us who were raised in the church and in Christian homes, it was probably the first verse we could quote, since it is notoriously the shortest verse in the Bible. But for me, it is a very difficult verse to explain.
I’ve heard preachers speak of Jesus’ great compassion and his deep love for Lazarus that he would weep for him. But my question is this: WHY would he weep for Lazarus? Did Jesus not know He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead? Was Jesus weeping for His loss, even though He knew Lazarus’ resurrection was imminent?
Or was He actually weeping for all those friends of Lazarus that just wasn’t getting it? Was he actually weeping for Mary, whom he loved deeply, when He saw her great suffering and loss? But if so, why? If He knew He was about to resurrect Lazarus, why did He not say to her, “Stop crying! I’m here and all is well! Start rejoicing!”? FULL POST
Posted 12/6/13 at 6:03 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
My smartphone went missing at an airport about this time last year and I somehow sank into those purported "steps of grieving", and yes, I realize that phones are inanimate objects. I do apologize for my dependence. In case you aren’t familiar with the stages for grieving the loss of an inanimate object, they go something like this:
1. Denial—It isn't lost; it is misplaced. I must have left it at my son's house. I could have dropped it in their driveway or left it on the countertop or the bookshelf. Maybe my little grandson put it somewhere. It might be in the rental car. It will show up.
2. Anger—the person in line after me at airport security could have swiped it from my tub of belongings. Most likely, when I Iaid my cell on the counter to pay for my latte, I left it there and someone snatched it. The airport lost and found department didn't really check to see if it had been returned, as they said they had done. Whoever found it should have demonstrated higher moral principles by making sure that I got it back. Nobody cares that it's probably being resold on the Internet right now, except me (and my otherwise patient husband). FULL POST
Posted 12/5/13 at 12:38 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
What do you picture when you read the phrase, "family devotions"?
Well-mannered children sitting around the dinner table listening to Father read the Scriptures?
Mama, Daddy, and kiddos huddled together on their knees by the bed?
Bored faces, even yawns?
Frustrated parents trying desperately to get little ones to sit still?
Maybe you've been that child or are that parent right now—confused, bewildered, clueless, perhaps even a little guilty. Take heart, before you slink off into the shadows, let's consider what the Bible has to say about family devotions.
Or does it? Hmm . . .
You won't find the phrase “family devotions” in the Scriptures, but you can find plenty of instruction on how to bring your family together for worship.
A great place to start is with Christ Himself. If Jesus came to your house and led family devotions, what do you think they might look like? FULL POST
Posted 12/3/13 at 12:36 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
As I sit to write this little essay, I find myself being very hesitant to make myself this vulnerable. But the Lord has been nudging me for a couple of weeks now and I have put it off for one reason or another and finally admit I will have no peace until it is said. So if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to share my opinion—on the ‘Christmas Season issue’.
To me, Christmas is the MOST glorious season and holiday of the whole year! Yes, Easter is blessed and holy also, but none is as glorious as the birthday of our Savior and Lord. Yes, I know that many people have exploited the Holy Day by encouraging us to change it into a Santa holiday, but…it’s our own choice to make it what WE want it to be. I personally have never seen how Santa fits into it at all, so that little myth has no place in our family’s celebrations. In fact, when our oldest son was a small child a lady pointed to a Santa figurine and said, “Look, Nathan! Who’s that?” My small son looked at the funny plump fellow in his furry red suit a bit, then looked at me and said, ‘Mommy, do I know that man?’ I have to admit that she and I were both a bit shocked at his ignorance, but it made me realize how unimportant the whole Santa concept is. We’ve always enjoyed Christmas immensely, and Santa has no part of our celebration. FULL POST
Posted 11/27/13 at 2:03 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books |
Thanksgiving. A time of giving thanks.
We gather together as a family, a family of cultures forming America. We give thanks for our country, its founding, and the diversity of its peoples, a rainbow promising many pots of gold.
We gather together in order to gather up all of our peoples to celebrate this remarkable land – its fields and forests, streams and lakes, seas and bays, cities and towns, large and small. Our peoples are many, and of many colors, of many races, of many generations, of many beliefs.
In a way, our Thanksgiving holiday echoes our Independence Day. But the Fourth of July remembers a pulling away to protect and defend who we thought we might be, an identity we groped to formulate, two hundred years ago. But since that time of our founding fathers, our nation has matured and we have come to know ourselves better. We know how rich and prosperous and talented we are. We appreciate, honor, our differences. We have learned humility in mourning our mistakes, our fallen heroes, our false prides. FULL POST
Posted 11/25/13 at 1:41 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
Several years ago I heard about NaNoWriMo and I thought it was the most ridiculous and outlandish thing I’d ever heard of. The idea was to write an entire 50,000 word novel in one month, namely November. It sounded impossible to me and why would anyone want to even attempt it? I added it to my long list of things I’d never want to do and promptly forgot about it.
This year, just out of curiosity, I went to their website. I discovered that it is an international event. Started in 1999 by a bunch of 21 year olds as a crazy fun thing to do, it has blossomed fourteen years later into something that writers and would-be-writers look forward to with about 300,000 signing up. The website keeps track of each participant’s words, regional word counts and total word counts for the month of November.
Interesting, I thought, but not for me. While I outwardly went about my business, my inner writer began compiling outlines, scenes, character sketches and frantically scribbled notes in the middle of the night, all about a novel that I hadn’t planned on writing anytime soon. This novel is the sequel to one that hasn’t even been published. It took shape in my mind unlike any other book I’ve written. I never make a detailed outline, but this time I knew exactly what I wanted in each chapter. FULL POST
Posted 11/20/13 at 1:16 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
What top three things do you want women to remember as we approach the holiday season?
*Say no to guilt!
Stop the guilt trips on yourself. You can’t do everything, but you can do something. And that something is going to be pretty amazing, if you don’t guilt-trip yourself out of it!
I have a favorite quote that’s been taped to my desk for years, by Edward Everett Hale: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
Do what you can; don’t sweat what you can’t. The world needs you at your best, not the you who has to be all things to all people and ends up discouraged in the process.
*Keep a long-term perspective.
Honestly, do the dust-bunnies under your couch really matter? Or does it matter more that you warm up some apple cider, put your feet up, invite family and friends to gather around the tree, turn on the tree lights, turn off the room lights and you swap stories that will create memories? The benefit is, with only the tree lights, nobody will see the dust-bunnies anyway! FULL POST
Posted 11/19/13 at 1:57 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
Why are Christian women the most stressed people on the planet?
Choosing priorities wisely is a woman’s top priority. The rub comes when we have so many areas to choose from—including trying to find balance in the Top 10 areas of life.
But it’s fascinating that, when we at Today’s Christian Woman magazine asked thousands of women to rate their stress, Christian women came out as more highly stressed than their mainstream counterparts. Why is that?
Because, on top of all the other areas that they’re trying to balance, Christian women take on additional heavy spiritual expectations. “I have to be at church twice on Sundays, on Wednesdays and Thursdays for mid week service and Bible study. And, oh, I’ve been asked to be…and I really can’t turn it down. They need the help in Sunday school and choir and…” All of these additional responsibilities put even more of a strain and a drain on their already full lives. So the subject of God, who is supposed to be the calm in the storm, becomes an even bigger stressor, which can lead to discouragement and a vicious cycle that says, I’m not good enough. I’ll never be good enough. I can never do enough. FULL POST
Posted 11/18/13 at 1:50 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rolled my eyes at the term working moms. I mean, really, what mom doesn’t work? We all work 24/7. At home, full-time or part-time at work, and everywhere else. Our job titles are constantly changing. That’s why I love the book by Darlene Brock called Help Wanted: Moms Raising Daughters. Darlene Brock was raising her daughters at the same time she was cofounding Forefront Records, which helped to launch recording artists such as Toby Mac and Amy Grant. She knows what a squeezed mom’s schedule feels like. And here’s just a few of the titles that she says moms carry:
Coach, Creative Counselor, Time Manager, Media Director, Academic Advocate, Professor of Gender Studies, Relationship Counselor, Sex Ed Teacher, Financial Consultant, Bodyguard, Communications Specialist, In-Home Demonstrator, Military Strategist FULL POST
Posted 11/15/13 at 2:18 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
#9: Spiritual Life
The most significant relationship you will have—because it extends beyond this earth to eternity—is the decision you make to either accept God and walk with him throughout life or to live life on your own. Not making a decision either way is actually making a decision. You’re either with God or you’re against him. If you’ve made that step to accept Jesus as the personal guide and guard of your life, you’ve stepped into an amazing adventure. I call it “whatever faith.” It means trusting in God whatever comes your way. Life isn’t always easy, but God is always there.
If you want to grow in your faith, and you’re willing for God to stretch you, then do what Bill Hybels of Willow Creek suggests: “Pray dangerously.” Take a risk that takes you out of your comfort zone. Have you ever heard the person who quipped, “Well, I decided to pray for patience…and God gave me something to be patient about”? It’s true. I prayed for patience when I was a twenty-something, and God “miraculously” brought 3 very needy individuals to my door to befriend whom others would consider difficult and unlovable. When you pray a risky prayer, such as “God, I want to make a difference in the inner city,” God is listening, and unbelievable events will occur as a result. FULL POST