You probably don't need me to tell you this, but it's two days until Thanksgiving. Many around me have spent the month of November striving to be more thankful. Perhaps you've seen the posts on social media, listing a new tidbit of thankfulness each day this month. That seems to be in the spirit of the original intent of the holiday. After all, what is Thanksgiving if it isn't designed to turn our hearts toward . . . prayer. Oh, not what you were expecting?
For the last several years, I've wanted to get better about using God's Word in my life. It's more than just wanting to know Bible verses. It goes deeper than being able to apply Scripture to life's trials and temptations. I deeply want to take Scripture and use it -- to fight life's battles, to stand firm in chaos, to deflect and defeat the enemy's schemes, to encourage and embolden friends and family members. I want to see it's real, practical, powerful effects and confidently know that Heaven went to work for my benefit. I crave the ability to expertly handle Scripture the way Yoda wields a light saber or Thor throws his hammer. With all of this in my heart, I looked forward to reading Lisa Bevere's book Girls with Swords.
On June 4th, 1926, the United States Congress issued a concurrent resolution. Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples. World War I was over, beginning with an armistice in 1918 on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. And then we went to war again.
What does it mean to be Christian? If you got down to what it really means, cleared the slate and focused on your most essential doctrines, what are the important tenants of your faith? And who has the authority to decide such things for the church? These days, most of us don't think about those kinds of questions much. We might ponder aspects of it or debate the finer points, but by and large, the master principles were settled hundreds of years ago — precipitated by Martin Luther 500 years ago today.
"Many years ago, five missionaries ventured out to share the Good News of Jesus with a vicious tribe of people. Their plane was to fly into a remote area where tribesmen had not heard of the love of Jesus and to build relationships with the tribesmen. Yet when their plane landed on the remote river setting, things went terribly wrong." Perhaps this story is familiar to you. The words, penned by Tricia Goyer in her book Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom, speak of Operation Auca in 1956. Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian wanted to tell the Huaorani people of Ecuador about Jesus. Yet they were slaughtered by tribesmen before the missionaries got the first words of love out. How can something like this be part of God's best plan?
I did something very brave. In the week prior to writing this, an opportunity arose with two of my kids that I decided to take advantage of. I asked them, "As your mother, what have I done right? What are you glad I did as you were growing up?" Parenting is one of the issues Kathy and I tackle in The Warrior's Bride, and it's one of the topics young moms ask me about today. As I look over my twenty-plus years of parenting, these are my best tips for each stage of your child's life.
E.M. Bounds wrote in his book The Necessity of Prayer that "trust grows nowhere so readily and richly as in the prayer chamber." Interesting. I'd guess that most of us understand on some level that we need to increase our trust in God. After all, faith and trust are inseparable. You cannot have faith in something you do not trust, and as trust grows, so does faith. So, we must ask this question: Is trust tied to prayer? Is increasing faith in God truly as simple as focusing more on prayer? And if so, what does that look like? A prayer closet? More time on our knees? A prayer formula of some sort?
Exciting news! Extinguishing Embers, the third book in the Embers series, is NOW AVAILABLE on Kindle! If you've missed any of the books in this series, you'll want to start from the beginning. Keep reading to get the links to each book.
It was one of those seasons in life when God gets quiet. I wanted reassurance that I was on the right path. When that didn't come, I sought more information, guidance on the next steps might be and what the future could look like. I craved clarity. Exactness. God's audible word. I heard . . . nothing. Sigh. Most of us understand that God is still working for us and around us even if He's not talking to us at the moment. But in that moment, His silence can be tough to endure. What do we do to make it through with our faith intact or stronger than it was before? We remember. We look back to what God was doing behind the scenes when He got quiet before.
Words are powerful. Yeah, yeah. Who rolled their eyes a that opening statement or decided to check out of this post? Go ahead, it's okay to be honest. I prefer it. Hit the delete key if you want, but this issue is bigger than many of us -- okay, you can insert my name there -- want to admit. We (I) have a tough time getting some things through our (my) thick skull. In my book Igniting Embers, the heroine is worried about the incoming hurricane. She repeats phrases from Scripture to remind herself Who she belongs to: The Lord is my Shepherd, my Rock and my Fortress. Other than a quick pick-me-up or feel good moment, does this practice of positive self-talk really do any good? How do the words you choose affect your behavior?