Highlands Blog

Here you will find posts by the Highlands staff and friends of the ministry. This includes posts on Christian living from people we think will be helpful to you. We will also introduce you to new resources and special offers.

Skinflint Stewardship

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Controlling Grip Maybe you’ve seen something like this: someone holds out a twenty dollar bill, but when the other person starts to pull it away, the first person holds on to it with a death grip. They only let go after an imposing glare or a final meaningful remark. The point of such an act is about control. Even when the money finally leaves their hand, the hovering presence of the giver still follows the money around, breathing down the neck of the receiver. This cash comes with strings attached. Scripture tells us plainly that the borrower is the slave. . .
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Are You on Good Terms with Abortion? Why Words Matter

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Friends, we have lost control of the conversation about abortion. It’s our own fault. For forty four years we have not only acquiesced to a wicked and unjust court opinion in Roe v. Wade, but we also adopted the opposition’s definition of terms ensuring our failure. We stand by while millions of our neighbors are murdered and we carefully purge our language of offensive verbiage. We converse in terms of viability, legality, choice instead of humanity, justice, and sin. We beg sinners to love life while refusing to call them to repentance for pursuing death. We peddle faux compassion in. . .
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Are You Living the Gospel Before Your Children?

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Your Life Speaks Your children will do what you do, not what you say. Other familiar ways of saying the same thing are, actions speak louder than words, and more is caught than taught. Generally speaking, I agree with these statements. Not to diminish the significance of verbally teaching our children the faith, the benefit of these statements is that they remind us that our actions teach our children what we really believe. This is a difficult reminder for me. I regularly see my children sinning only to realize they learned that particular behavior from me. The sin of their. . .
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Be Steadfast {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Steadfast Faith In a world where people display the constancy of butterflies and changefulness of chameleons, be a sequoia. Sequoias are not only the largest trees in the world, but possibly one of the oldest living things on earth. They are broad, sturdy, tall, aged, and if they can be said to do anything, they stand. They stand there, year after year, growing in height and breadth. I think we may safely call them steadfast. We should be steadfast too. The prophet assures us: The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.—Isaiah 26:3. . .
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Filed under Faith, Women

Be a Protector for Your Home & Family

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Moving to the Country In June of this past year, my family purchased and renovated a home near our church. Our home is in the country, and my kids are getting to experience a childhood that is similar to mine and Brittany’s. We have wanted to make this move for a couple of years and the Lord has been exceedingly gracious to give us this place to call home. If you have ever moved to a new home, you know that the first few days are spent adjusting to this new environment and I felt ready and excited to get. . .
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Filed under Family, Parenting

Reflections on a Faithful Life

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The Legacy As I write this, it is the eighth anniversary of my father’s death. I’ve gotten lots of comments from friends and family about the impact of his life on them. He wasn’t a well-known guy and didn’t have an extraordinary amount of earthly success. He came from a very poor upbringing, even by Depression standards. He left a successful and promising corporate retail career to care for his aged aunt and grandmother in Mississippi. He enjoyed relative anonymity in the country, while my mother became the successful merchant, choir director, and business woman. I think he preferred it. . .
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Filed under Character, Faith

Don’t Be “That Guy” at Church

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Sure this is a blog post and not a “Dude Perfect” YouTube video, but in the spirit of that goofy group of friends who poke fun at “that guy” stereotypes everywhere from the basketball court to the movie theater, here’s a list of caricatures of characters that can be found wandering into churches and inflicting their clueless ideas and suggestions on unsuspecting saints. As you read this field guide to these rare (or not-so-rare) birds, you should start by laughing at the over-the-top descriptions, but then you should make sure that these stereotypes don’t describe you deep down. The Lineup. . .
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Filed under Church, Community

Staying Put: Sticking it Out When the Going Gets Tough

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The average American moves every five years. That’s a number that has stayed fairly stable for awhile. It includes everyone from the elderly who are not as prone to moving to the 18–24 year olds who are moving every year for college or first jobs or exploring. My experience in witnessing families around me is that this is fairly accurate. Whole families, all the pets and kids and stuff, out of here and on to there. New job, new church, new friends. Wipe your feet and move on down the road. The moves are financial, personal, going to something, going. . .
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What do I say to someone who is dying?

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Over the years, people have come to me about how best to approach someone with the gospel who is dying, be it a friend or neighbor or family member. This is usually a situation where the ailing person has kept their distance in the relationship and/or has been antagonistic when it comes to “talking about religion.” Sometimes it all comes down to the Christian being shy or feeling inadequate to present or argue about their faith in Christ which they desire to share. Time is now running out and so they ask me, “What can I do?” The Heidelberg Maneuver. . .
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How to Achieve Long-Term Change

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Will I Ever Be Able to Change? Long-term change is what the Christian life is all about (Ephesians 4:22–24). Someday we will experience the most glorious change from corruptible to incorruptible and we look forward to that glorious day when we will be like Christ. Until that time, the Bible makes it clear that we must strive: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing. . .
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Filed under Personal Growth, Women

Lessons in Love: It’s Hard

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I am writing this on the day before Valentine’s Day. As do many of you, the holiday makes us think of those we love, have loved, or wish we could love (I’m trying to cover as many of the bases as possible here). However, I was thinking along different lines the other day. I was thinking about how we learn about and express our love for others. Learning to Love There are some people for whom loving others comes very easy. We all know people like this. They have open and overflowing hearts that express love freely and joyfully to. . .
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Filed under Relationships

5 Ways to Judge if Good Activities Have Become Sinful

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Any amount of sin is too much. Any slander, drunkenness, covetousness, or lust is over the line for God’s people. But on a whole host of issues that aren’t sinful in themselves, it isn’t spelled out in Scripture how much is enough and how much turns an innocent pleasure into an occasion for repentance. The Bible doesn’t tell you how much money you should spend on yourself before giving the rest away, but it does warn against greed. The Bible doesn’t tell you how much time it’s acceptable to spend on Netflix, Facebook, or Twitter, but it does condemn sloth. . .
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Simplified Catechism for Toddlers

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When my first two children were two and three years old and just learning to speak, I unintentionally began asking them repeat things in stories, or from the Bible to help them stay engaged with the reading and to help remember what we were reading. I would ask them a question and have them repeat what I said in 3-4 beats/syllables. They seemed to like this and I noticed they were catching on, because they would say and mention these things in their evening prayers. To help them further, I decided to write down some of the things we had. . .
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Use Your Talents {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Big Problems In the course of a day, how many times do you make contact with the suffering of another living being? Really, if you counted them, how many would there be? It is 6:00 a.m. your radio alarm clicks on and reports that another suicide bomber took out twenty-three more people somewhere in the Middle East (one). Good morning. After mining the nighttime crusties from your eyes and brushing your teeth, you take a scroll through your social feeds. Your college friend just got back from India, a medical mission to the slums, and she brought back scads of. . .
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For the Love of Food

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Human beings share a common love: food. I’m not referring to our common need of food, but of our common love for food. We relate certain foods to events, traditions, and people. When I think of Destin, Florida, I think of fish tacos. When I think of Crowder, Mississippi, I think of chicken and dressing. When I recall a trip to Zimbabwe, I think of grilled wart hog, a trip to Peru with cow heart and french fries, New York City with homemade mozzarella sticks, and Yemen with grilled lamb and flat bread. When I think of Tate County, (the. . .
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Filed under Community, Sacraments

The Merits of Saying Nothing

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A ten year old boy with a new pocketknife takes it out of his pocket many times throughout the day for no specific reason. He isn’t necessarily planning mischief, but after admiring it and waving it about for the fifteenth time, something ends up getting cut. You are that ten year old boy. Your tongue is that pocketknife. You don’t plan to say something hurtful or thoughtless or dumb, but as the words come tumbling out, some of them get away from you. The worst part is that in many cases there was no reason for you to open your. . .
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Is Your House a Hiding Place or a Home Base?

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What should the activity inside our homes look like when those homes are situated in communities where the foster system is over loaded with kids, many who have been abandoned and abused by their very own parents? What should drive our daily schedule when a few steps from our door our helpless pre-born neighbors are being taken to the slaughter in “safe and legal” clinics? What should we be doing with our down time when the powers-that-be decide it is beneficial to the community to steal our neighbor’s property in the name of economic development or threaten his business with. . .
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Filed under Education, Family

The Impossibility of Lonely Christmases

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Lonely Carols There is no better way to respond to Christ’s birth than with singing and over the centuries the Church has amassed a wealth of carols and hymns that is the envy of the world. This has led to all sorts of crooners and warblers without a religious bone in their body recording Christmas albums, interspersing sentimental seasonal fluff alongside forthright carols of Christian joy, topped off with an original or two to try to make their collection distinct. Sometimes this results in a beautiful voice singing beautiful truth, in a plundering-the-Egyptians, blind-squirrel-finding-a-nut sort of way. Other times, we’re. . .
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Filed under Relationships
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When Your Christmas Traditions Falter

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Difficult Christmases I don’t mean to come off like a Debbie Downer, but the Christmas season has been somewhat difficult for me for the last couple of years. Not in an overwhelming sense, it has been more like a wet fog and slush in contrast to fresh snow under a blue sky. I’ve struggled to discern the root of my difficulty because it has been even more of a struggle in recent years than it was right after my wife Kim passed away. I began to comprehend the problem after reading an article by a well-known national journalist and a. . .
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Filed under Personal Growth
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It’s NOT About YourSelfie {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Selfie-ish DayDreams That fantasy you have in your head—it’s not real. You know what I’m talking about, the Instagram filtered version of your future where everything your life now lacks will finally be in your grasp. You’ll be an adult and free of your parents demands on you, or you’ll be done with classrooms and test taking and on to your dream job, or Ryan Reynolds will have finally realized what a doofus he was for not finding you and marrying you sooner. Yep, it sounds nice. The problem is, it’s the daydream equivalent of a selfie. The foreground consists. . .
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Filed under Faith, Women
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