Posts

How to See Growth While Avoiding Legalism

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When I look at the wonderful ladies in my church, I am struck by how amazing they are.  Always offering a kind word to someone who needs it. Working hard to provide for college lunches. Ministering faithfully to the youth. Submitting cheerfully to their husbands, and loving them with a selfless love that's hard for me to imagine.  And when I look at the men, I see the same thing. They live moral, upright lives, and they work to minister to those around them. They love their wives and children. They speak patiently, and their speech is always graceful, seasoned with salt.  In short, these brothers and sisters don't seem to mess up as often as me.  I know that's not true. I don't expect them to be perfect, because I know that the Bible says "none is righteous, no, not one." (Romans 3:10) I'm not putting them on a pedestal of idolatry, and I know that only Jesus lived a sinless life.  Still. They're doing the commandments of the Lord way better than I a

Following Maps

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Where is the Lord leading you? If you were to ask me that question, I'd have two answers: first, "I have no earthly clue," and second, "wherever he chooses."  Discerning God's will for our lives isn't easy. A lot of the time, it can feel impossible—how am I supposed to know the mind of God, after all? No man can do that.  But when we're at a crossroads, there are some things we do know. We know that God is powerful, that we are helpless, and that God works for the benefit of his children.    "He's got the whole world in his hands," goes the popular Sunday School song.  It's true. The Earth, in all its rocky glory and splendor, is held by the hands of God. It's a big weight to hold—the circumference of the Earth is roughly 25,000 miles, and it weighs 6.6 x 10 21 tons. I find it difficult to wrap my mind around that measurement, but I know one thing: it's heavy .  But God's more than strong enough to carry the Earth. He&#

The Scars of Healing

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"Maybe it's a better thing, a better thing To be more than merely innocent But to be broken, and redeemed by love." - Andrew Peterson, Don't You Want to Thank Someone For This The Japanese art of kintsugi is a way of mending broken pottery that draws attention to the cracks in the dish, often highlighting them in gold or silver.  Kintsugi pottery is beautiful. The shining lines spider through the bowl, standing out from the porcelain or clay. Many have spoken of this art as being a metaphor—how instead of hiding the cracks, the potter draws attention to them, and the bowl is made more beautiful for it.  It's easy to think of our scars as evidence that we're weak. And we are. But the conclusion we often draw is that we're worthless—and we're not .  Mistakes do not mean that we're worthless.  And highlighting the mistakes can make God's work in us more beautiful.   It's tempting to hide your failure, whenever it inevitably occurs.  Sin is ug

What is the Value of Stories?

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Stories have been a part of my life ever since I was born.  When I was too young to read, my parents read them too me. Once they taught me how to do it myself, I began to seek out every book I could find and devour it as hungrily as a piece of candy.  I was "that kid" who brought her Kindle to class and read during breaks. I'd sit by the night-light for hours when I should have been asleep, turning pages. The stories consumed me. I'd lie awake, imagining myself in the place of the characters I'd grown to love, long into the night.  That love for stories hasn't left me. Though I've read less than usual in recent months, due to the increased responsibilities that come with growing older, I still read some. And whenever I can, I relish the opportunity.  Now that I'm older, I'm more aware of the books I read. And that awareness leads me to wonder: how do the stories I consume affect me?  I've noticed a few things about myself. One is that I look up

Should We Study Lies to Find the Truth?

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When you're thinking about discerning truth from lies, you'd think the best approach would be to study truth and lies. That the more time you spend on the lies, the better equipped you'll be to catch them.  That approach has merit. If we research something that turns out to be false, we haven't wasted our time—in fact, we now know that's not true, and will be able to remember that if it ever comes up in conversation.  But while it might be valuable to study false things to learn why they're false, it also can be dangerous. Because the more we think about things of the world, the more we'll be influenced them. You become what you behold, and if you fill your mind with things not of Christ, that isn't going to help you.  In order to find truth, Christians should study the truth. Fill your mind with good and beautiful things, not lies that the world gives.  Because it's by studying the truth that we'll be able to find out the lies.    Bank tellers

Self-Care in the Body of Christ

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From the title of this article, you might expect me to talk about the top five things I do to make myself feel better. A hot drink. Netflix. Face masks, and not the Covid kind.  That's not what I'm going to talk about.  All those things are geared towards making you feel good. That's great—I'm not one to preach a life of asceticism and denial, and I enjoy a nice relaxing afternoon just like everyone else. But self-care isn't the point today, because it revolves around your body and your feelings, and doesn't consider the bigger picture.  If you're a Christian, you don't just have one body. You actually have two—your physical body, and the body of Christ.  You might be a finger. You might be a bone. You might be a brain cell, or a neuron, but whatever you are, you're a part of Christ's body here on earth.  And you have a few distinct responsibilities as a member of Christ's body. Primarily: take care of it, just like you would your own.    &q

Fuel, Heat, and Oxygen

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I was talking with a classmate recently, and he said something that struck me. Fire needs three things in order to thrive: fuel, heat, and oxygen.  Coupled with James 3:6, which reads,  "And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness," I wonder what kinds of fuel, heat, and oxygen we have that keep our fiery tongues burning healthily.   Fuel Fuel for a campfire is firewood. Sometimes people use coal, but no matter what substance you use, they all have one thing in common: without the fuel, the fire can't exist.  For the fire of the tongue, fuel is a sinful heart. All our words stem from our heart. Matthew 15:18 reads, "what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person."  What we say shows us what we believe. Especially when we don't have very much control over what we're saying, and aren't trying to put on a front. So, if our heart is bad, our words will be bad—and if our heart is good, our words will reflect that.