Lukewarm Living

Have you ever eagerly taken a drink of water, expecting it to be cool and refreshing, but instead found yourself resisting the urge to spit it out? When I’m in the middle of a long bike ride, the last thing I want is warm water. Unfortunately, when I’m miles from my car or the nearest restroom, and the hot sun has long since melted the ice in my water bottle, it’s the best I’m going to get (even if it does little to quench my thirst).

This is the uncomfortable scenario that comes to mind when I read Christ’s rebuke of the church in Laodicea:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)

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After the “Amen”

There’s a continuing debate in business circles about the importance of “doing the right thing” vs. “doing things right.” Basically, it boils down to this: The former focuses on the end goal or desired outcome in light of the bigger picture, while the latter takes into account the details and necessary steps needed to accomplish the task or reach the goal. In an ideal world, both would be equally important, and it would be about “doing the right things right.”

As I thought about this delineation between two seemingly good and “right” approaches, it occurred to me that we often prioritize one at the expense of the other in our own lives. We get so bogged down in the details that we forget the overall focus. (Think: We’re so busy with “doing” that we lose sight of the whole point—knowing Christ and becoming more like Him.) Or, we focus so much on accomplishing the task, itself, that we overlook the details. And let’s face it—sometimes, the how and why matter just as much as the end result. Continue reading

What Comes First? Feelings v. Obedience

“If you love me, you will obey me.” (John 14:15)

Over the past several years, I had cried out to the Lord asking for more of His love in me. But nothing seemed to change. Why wouldn’t he answer a prayer for something I knew He wanted me to have? A prayer to be someone I knew He wanted me to be?

It took longer than I’d like to admit, but I came to realize He already had answered my prayer. I just didn’t feel like it.

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For When Your Soul Needs a Cup of Coffee

The past couple of weeks around our house have been a little…well, if not ugly exactly, then not very pretty.  As happens too often in my life, overcommitment, upcoming plans, and unexpected challenges have all converged into the same space of time, leaving me feeling frantic, a little claustrophobic, and a bit like throwing a temper tantrum.

For the past year and a half, I’ve been trying to end my day by writing down three things I was thankful for that day.  I confess that more than once in the past week or so the very fact that the day is at an end has made the list.

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Waiting on God in the Wilderness

“When He purposes to build, He seeks for a ruin. When He plans to plant a garden, He starts in the desert.” – Patricia St. John

Do you ever feel like you’re one of the Israelites stuck wandering in the wilderness? Maybe, like the Israelites, you have a penchant for grumbling and letting other things compete with God for first place in your life. Or, perhaps, you’re just waiting on God for His timing and leading, but it seems like an eternity, and your patience is starting to dwindle. Whatever the reason, we all have times in our lives when we know God has something great for us just around the bend, but the road seems to stretch out in front of us as far as the eye can see. Continue reading

Slow Your Roll

Originally posted on Come Awake:
Guest Author: Becky Musgrove | And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which…

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)

If you’ve ever wondered about the crippling effects of guilt, just read Crime and Punishment. Empowered with feelings of elitism and superiority, Raskolnikov commits murder and truly believes he will escape not only punishment from society, but the psychological ramifications of his crime. What follows is an intense exploration of a mind tormented with guilt, fear, and doubts; self-imposed isolation from others; and the delirium that drives him to confess.

While many see the protagonist as a Christ-like figure, I’ll skip those comparisons in favor of something simpler: our need for the forgiveness and complete removal of our sins. God, in His omniscience and compassion, accounted for both. He knew that forgiveness of sins wasn’t enough because, although payment was made for their penalty, a solution for the power of sin and guilt needed to be provided. Continue reading

Why I Sometimes Didn’t Read My Bible

I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you. – Psalm 119:11

So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your foreheads as reminders. – Deuteronomy 11:18

When I reflect on my walk with Jesus, there is often a point of sadness over how much time I have wasted not reading my Bible. I’m so thankful God loves to redeem the time! But I think it’s good to consider why I didn’t read it if I want to purpose to do so in the future. Continue reading

Red Ribbons of Hope

 Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. (Joshua 2:18)

I love everything about Christmas–the sights, the sounds, the smells. I love the lights and decorations, the hustle and bustle of the airports and malls, Christmas music (but only after Thanksgiving), and my mom’s molasses cookies and homemade eggnog. I love that the season seems to bring out the best in people–everyone is just a little more patient, a little more gracious, and smiles linger just a little longer. Continue reading

Equipped to Minister

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

This is one of my favorite verses. One of those that you put up on your bathroom mirror, commit to memory, and bring to mind often. One that you pray not only fills your mind, but makes its way to your heart and changes the way you live. Because sometimes you get to thinking ridiculous things – things the enemy would love for you to think – about who you are and what it takes to be “qualified”. And in some cases, you look around at those who minister to people, and you think “maybe someday that could be me”. Continue reading