Fear is a powerful motivator. Even the reluctant student might memorize lists of data for fear of failing a class. Motorists maintain a more conservative driving speed in areas where police regularly patrol. Unfortunately, there is also the fear that paralyzes, which leads to irrational decisions and self-protective behaviors. Fear of God, however, is the supremely rational fear,… Continue reading Fear Bravely as You Are Strengthened with the Courage to Love
Today, I'm writing for The Joyful Life blog in my role as their Boy Mum contributor, but I want to stress that this post on developing leadership qualities in our children is relevant to ALL mums! As mothers, we sit in the seat of influence with our sons. How we respond to their initiative, their… Continue reading Leadership Qualities Your Son Needs for Today–and Forever!
Sunday Scripture "Don't go past the birch tree!" I called to my sons whenever they played in the front yard. The boundary gave them plenty of room to play, but kept them well away from the road. We settled disputes over taking turns with a timer--twenty minutes for one brother's turn and then a quick… Continue reading How Are You Managing the Boundaries in Your Life?
Thirty years ago, I married into a family that celebrated Thanksgiving Day with All-American fervor, featuring a day-long gathering and a loaded table. As the new bride, I was eager to prove that I had what it took to be the holiday hostess. Having done my research, I had planned all the best sides, multiple-choice… Continue reading Gratitude: Look at the Loss and then Give Thanks
The walls had been rebuilt. The people living in and around the city of Jerusalem had gathered. Along with the fresh aroma of new lumber from Ezra’s wooden platform and his strong voice ringing out over the hum of the crowd, celebration was in the air! Within the barely-renovated city walls of Jerusalem, there was… Continue reading Celebration and Lament
Spare narrative and a stoic reporting of the facts -- this is the tone of the Old Testament book of Nehemiah: "So I came to Jerusalem . . ." (Five words about a dangerous two-month, one-thousand-mile journey.) "I wept and mourned for many days." (Three months!) Based on a careful study of Scripture, Lynn Austin puts… Continue reading Stone by Stone
In a meandering, three-way conversation with far-away friends, we began to ponder the term: just exactly what does it mean to be "reformed"? Without thinking, certainly with no editorial or theological censors in place, I said, "I would, actually, rather say that I'm reforming!" After that conversation, the statement lingered in memory and wafted its way into… Continue reading Just One Thing: Reforming
I'll admit it. I can be just a teensy bit compulsive about my daily to-do list. Could this be why it does my heart good to see that God has included lists in the Bible? Chapters eleven and twelve of Nehemiah are, essentially, a series of lists: leaders (v. 3); members of the tribes of… Continue reading Just One Thing: Order
The weather here in Maine is warming. Bright green daffodil leaves, the tiny nose of a hyacinth peeking out of the ground, goldfinches mobbing the birdfeeder, and the sound of spring peepers in the early darkness are all telling me that it's time . . . Time to get out my summer clothes. After a long… Continue reading Just One Thing: Change
Since I'm on vacation this week with the family, it seems good to pause and look at a "big picture" theme that is prevalent in Nehemiah. Early in my preparation for this study, I ran into the statistic that 11% of the book of Nehemiah is prayer, and now that we've made it through chapter nine's longest prayer… Continue reading Just One Thing: Prayer