Tag Archives: Jesus

The Threat of Joy In Ministry

Jesus is a kill-joy. That’s right, the “happy God” (1 Tim. 1:11 ) of our salvation, who gives life to the full, intends for you not to be happy. Not to be happy, that is, in anything less than the best things.

Jesus is shocking in the way He exposes counterfeit happiness. In fact, His whole ministry turns our understanding of joy, satisfaction, and success upside down. The inaugural words of His first sermon are startling: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3, emphasis added).

How Caring for Children Changes the World

The beginning of the book of Exodus is hard not to enjoy. With the burning bush, the Nile turning to blood, the dramatic exit through the Red Sea, what’s not to love? With so many big events, it’s easy to miss the details. Details like the fact that most of the main characters in the first two chapters are women. Each one of them acts in the interest of children, even when their own safety is threatened. Without these five women, Israel’s story of redemption doesn’t happen. Without these five women, Moses doesn’t survive the infanticide occurring in Egypt, and there is no leader to be God’s instrument of deliverance.

There is only One.

Do you feel distant from God? Do you feel at odds with Him? Do you desire to draw closer to Him? There is one mediator between you and God. It’s not your favorite author. It’s not a book or Bible study. It’s not your pastor, your counselor, your friend, or your parents. For there is only one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a ransom for all. Your pastor or friend or favorite blogger have not given themselves as a ransom for you. Only One person has done that… the man Jesus Christ.

Do you have loved ones who are far from God and hope to see them reconciled to Him? Does it seem like it’s all up to you? Like you’re the only one in their life speaking truth and pushing them to God? Remember, there is one mediator between God and men, and it’s not you. You have no power to reconcile others to God. The best you can do is point to the man Jesus Christ who gave Himself as a ransom for all.

God is Unfair.

God is unfair.

Matthew 20 forces us to deal with this hard reality. Though an equitable God who treats everyone with the same favor would be easier to handle, that’s not our God. Jesus makes this clear as He tells this parable.

Do You Despise Him?

In Genesis 25 we have a snapshot of the lives of Jacob and Esau, Isaac’s twin sons. Esau, the elder, sells his birthright to Jacob at the cost of a bowl of soup and a piece of bread. The final assessment of the situation: Esau despised his birthright.

So what does despise mean in this context? I used to assume the word was very emotive, in the same camp as disgust, hate, or loathe. But the Bible doesn’t use it that way. Here there is no argument breaking out, no punches thrown, no harsh words. After Esau sells his birthright, he goes on his way. He doesn’t seem to care either way about whether he has it or not. And that is the essence of this Biblical word, despise: to treat as insignificant, expendable, and of little value.

A Jesus-Heart for Children, Part 1

This is the last installment in a series on Biblical womanhood. I hope that whether or not you are a mom, you will take the time to read this post. All of us at all seasons of life encounter children. They might be your own, or a friends’, or nieces and nephews, or your neighbor’s…

Valentine’s Day is Not About You

How did Valentine’s day become “I-need-someone-to-make-much-of-me day”? The popular idea of love conjures up images of being served and doted on by others. So if you don’t have someone buying you flowers, sending you notes, and telling you you’re awesome on Valentine’s day, it then becomes an excuse to be angry and depressed. Christian, your view of…

Prepare Him Room

(This post inspired by the song “Prepare Him Room” by Paul Baloche. Check it out here.) Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her king; Let every heart prepare him room, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing. The birth of…

Humility and Faith

Humility is emptiness of self; having no concern for your rights and your importance.  A humble person doesn’t feel entitled to anything but wrath from God.  In the last post I talked about the link between humility and seeing God clearly.  We looked at Isaiah, Peter, and John the Baptist, three men who had a big view of…

Humility: A Clear View of God

Nothing draws the heart of God to His people more than humility. Thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and the lowly of spirit.” Isaiah 57:15 “My hand made all these things, thus all these…

An Unseen Enemy

The danger of an iceberg is not its great strength, but that its strength is hidden. Had the ice monstrosity that sunk the Titanic been above the water, it no doubt would have been seen and easily avoided. Pride—a desire to exalt oneself—is like an iceberg. It exists in the unseen realm of the heart…

Word Pictures

The most substantial and lasting change in my life is a direct result of many hours spent alone with the Bible.  Sometimes I get asked about how to become more spiritually maturity, grow closer to God, or walk in freedom from sin.  For me, the answer to all of these things is time in the Word. Yet I find so…

The Inner Circle

I vividly remember standing outside of a literal circle of people. Though these girls were just acquaintances, I had hoped to join their conversation.  As 4,000 students shuffled through the halls of my high school, I awkwardly waited for someone to notice me.  No one noticed.  And to avoid looking weird, I headed off to class. I hated feeling…

The Church is a Body, Not a Body Part

How do you respond when the sermon doesn’t apply to you? Maybe your pastor is preaching about marriage, and you’re single. Or you came across an article about suffering, but you’re in a season of rejoicing. Or maybe the recent episode of Revive Our Hearts is about parenting, but you’ve been barren for years. Do you roll…

The Best Marriage I Never Wanted

I married a humble, godly, romantic man at twenty years old. Did I mention he just happens to have a phenomenal voice and is a gifted songwriter? He writes me songs, loves Jesus like crazy, and because of his music career, we’ve traveled the world together. Every girls’ dream, right? Yet, exactly two weeks into…

Pride, Death, and A Great Redeemer

“Stop trying to do something for Me. Just let Me be your Redeemer.” This is the message I sense God is continually speaking to me lately.  Oh what a hard lesson for me to learn. There is something in me that desperately wants to do something amazing for God, to live a life that makes…

Twitter-itis: Is Social Media Making Us Sick?

Could you live without Social Media?  How many hours a day do you spend looking at news feeds and pictures?  What is the result of a life of constant entertainment, connectivity, and distraction?  What is the condition of the soul dulled with a steady input of mindless screen-watching? I began to ask these questions after…

1 Way to Do Everything

I was just looking for a recipe.  That’s all.  A small request to ask of Pinterest, really.  But a simple quest for a good enchilada recipe evolved into researching how to be better at life. Two hours and much discouragement later, I’m wondering what happened. If you’ve been on Pinterest lately, you may know what…

Four Ways to Wage War On Pride

Every one of us is susceptible to falling into pride.  But it is the Pharisee’s religious pride that is the most dangerous because it  doesn’t appear prideful on the outside, instead it has the external appearance of holiness.  As Andrew Murray said: “There is no pride so dangerous, because none so subtle and insidious, as the pride…