Creating the Conditions for Spiritual Growth

I cannot make spiritual growth happen on my own, so I'm trusting the recipe.

Bread dough the color of molasses yielded to the pressure of my working fist. Fold, press, turn, repeat, and soon I lost count of how many times I had kneaded the fragrant lump. With the recipe calling for three hundred repetitions, I began to wonder— Three hundred? Really? But switching to the heel of my… Continue reading Creating the Conditions for Spiritual Growth

Staying on Course: Happy New Year from Ninevah

The power of God to accomplish all that he purposes lands as a good news to those who believingly "take refuge" in him.

When the clock ticks down to midnight and the calendar hangs fresh and unsullied, we resolve to do great things. We'll drop ten pounds, eat our veggies, and work out. We'll crack open a new journal and read through the Old Testament by June. With iron in our soul, we'll begin a new year, a… Continue reading Staying on Course: Happy New Year from Ninevah

Portraits of Endurance to Jumpstart Your New Year

Let's war against doubt and discouragement with a borrowed confidence that defies our unbelief and keeps us running by faith as we trust in the carrying mercy of Christ.

Portrait #1 My friend Lori does not fit the profile for a church treasurer. With gifts that lend themselves more to giving hugs  than to writing checks, and with a ready smile that makes her a favorite with all the kids in the school cafeteria where she works every day, she has persevered in faithfulness… Continue reading Portraits of Endurance to Jumpstart Your New Year

To the Woman Who Feels Crowded by Christmas

Christ’s willingness to hunker down, wizen up, and enter the darkness opens the door to his light and his life being formed in you and me.

We are covered to the elbows in red and green paint, but the festive wrapping paper stretched out to dry on the table before us more than justifies the mess. The toddler points to his distinctively tiny handprints and smiles his satisfaction, as his older brothers start wondering aloud about cocoa with candy cane stirrers.… Continue reading To the Woman Who Feels Crowded by Christmas

Concerning the Times and the Seasons: Autumn 2019

What verbs have defined your days of autumn in 2019? There's always something happening in this busy life under the sun, even if it's only talking or thinking--a couple of seriously under-rated verbs, in my opinion. Here at the end of November, I'm looking forward to celebrating around gratitude and pumpkin pie while taking one… Continue reading Concerning the Times and the Seasons: Autumn 2019

Following the One Who Has Set Us Free

By grace, we cultivate interior order as we follow the One who has set us free.

Friends and family chuckle when they discover that my spice cupboard is alphabetized. Some are amused because it lines up with what they already know about my personality, others because the idea seems ludicrous to them. Nevertheless, for me, the minutes of hunting I save by consistently replacing the marjoram or the dill seed in… Continue reading Following the One Who Has Set Us Free

Becoming Fluent in the Language of Labeling

Seen and known, we bear the label that shields the heart—the label that reveals the heart of God.

His drawing of a strawberry was lopsided, the printing was primitive, but the proud smile on my little guy’s face was as genuine as the ring of strawberry jam that circled his mouth.  He had made the jam and then had labored over the personalized labels that made each jar an announcement of his creative… Continue reading Becoming Fluent in the Language of Labeling

Trusting God for a Secure Landing on Solid Ground

God's faithfulness in the past assures me that no matter what I bring to him in the future, he is competent and present and more than willing to catch me.

"Okay if I take the kids over to the playground?" I asked my daughter-in-law. "They'd love it!" she answered with a smile, settling into her lawn chair with a good book, and so I grabbed two small hands, and, together, we walked the short distance to the swings and slides. Almost-Five knew the ropes, but… Continue reading Trusting God for a Secure Landing on Solid Ground

When Your “Perfect” Plan Has Crashed and Burned

Lean into your calling as you lean into the God who has called you.

It all started as a strategy for outreach. We sat around a table and began to dream out loud, trusting that the fire of shared passion and the wisdom of group process would yield creative ideas for communicating the love of Christ to our community. I don’t mind confessing that I loved my dream. We… Continue reading When Your “Perfect” Plan Has Crashed and Burned

How Far Would You Go to Help a Friend?

"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32) Having gone to such lengths already, what would God NOT do to win your heart? 

I'm convinced that the mothers of boys view the world and read the Bible through a unique lens. For example, boy-mums recognize that two miracles took place on the grassy hillside where Jesus fed the five thousand. Of course, everyone is aware of the transformation of five loaves and two fish from Not-Enough to a… Continue reading How Far Would You Go to Help a Friend?