Topic | Personal Growth

Posts Categorized: Personal Growth

Beware the Mantra of the Unbelieving Life

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Submission is a dirty word to contemporary ears. It has considerably more than four letters, but often gets a more negative reaction than its abbreviated counterparts. We think it means defeat, which it doesn’t unless we are submitting to a loser. Luckily we already know who the Winner in time and eternity is, so we need not suffer that embarrassment. Much to the distaste of defiant grumblers, Jesus never loses. Questioning God Still, the world wants us to feel self-conscious for simply believing God and doing what He commands. They think that instinctive submission is naive and they proceed to. . .
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Beware of False Friends

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There is an old missionary adage that goes something like, “Pay close attention to the first person who enthusiastically greets you when you get off the boat. That will be the first person who will try to kill you.” This saying resonates with us because we have all known folks who have received us warmly but then turn against us without warning or provocation. Of course this does not mean that we should view every warm enthusiastic person with the same level of suspicion or cynicism. Many people are genuinely friendly, receive us quickly and are without guile. But that. . .
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God Talks to Us

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I think of it as awesome that God talks to us. Of all the persons on the planet that you would like to meet and get to know, wouldn’t the Creator of the universe be your first choice? Because God speaks to man, we can know why we are here, what life is all about, what is after all of this because we do see leaves change and fall to the ground. If somehow God were seated next to us on a flight, what might we ask Him that He hasn’t already revealed? By that I mean that He has. . .
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Dredging Up the Sand

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Withstanding the Tide The sea is always trying to take back the beach, the daily tides are complicit in this reclamation project. It’s not work for the impatient wave, but for those with a bit of resolve, the rewards are inevitable. The beach ultimately returns from whence it came. Some of our seaside friends know that they have only a few years before the ocean reclaims both the sand and perhaps even their vacation homes. We fight against it as best we can and dredge up sand from the water and haul it back and give ourselves a few more. . .
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No One is Safe…with God

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Prosperity for the Righteous? We are told early on that old man Job had it all. He had a big happy family, a prosperous business, and was obviously a public figure in that he was “the greatest of all the people of the East.” Along with that, he never missed going to church. From what we know, he was conscientious regarding the spiritual state of his children, he had built strong friendships with others, and he was charitable toward the needy. To top it all off, the Lord Himself, said of Job, “there is none like him on the earth,. . .
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When Trauma Hits Close to Home

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Wrapped in a white cloth with only his blood-covered face visible, my older brother Rich lay unconscious in the hospital bed. Wires and tubes protruded from under the cloth, making it almost impossible to identify him. “Is this Rich?” asked the neurosurgeon, standing in the doorway behind us. “That’s him, alright,” said my Dad. Looking down at my eighteen-year-old brother, I wondered how my Dad could be so sure. The blood and gashes marring his face made him look like someone else. “OK,” said the doctor, “we’re going to take him into surgery now that you’ve identified him. We’ll show. . .
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Basement Tape #182: Still Waiting on God

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Still Waiting on God (Basement Tapes #182)

In part two of this discussion we continue talking about waiting on God. We want to be married or for that baby or job to come and we’re frustrated and a bit angry with God. We all fail to realize that God is giving us His full measure of love right now, in our present circumstances.

Basement Tape #180: Waiting on God

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Basement Tapes 180: Waiting on God

We want to be married or for that baby or job to come and we’re frustrated and a bit angry with God. We all fail to realize that God is giving us His full measure of love right now, in our present circumstances. We should be content and also eagerly waiting to see what God will do next.

Why Community Fails

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Community Pool People have funny ideas about what “community” is. Some think that it’s formed by a list of rules like the sign you first see at a pool that states clearly: No Running, No Diving, No Alcohol. Just keep the rules and you can stay. Break the rules and you just might lose your pool privileges. Others think of community as being in the pool together; this is what they have in common. They are all in the water and they are all wet. Some pools have memberships and the members have the entrance codes to the gate and. . .
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Don’t Be a Narcissist {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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A Revolutionary Act Giving thanks is a revolutionary act. Thankfulness is not intuitive for us as we sit calculating our wants and needs. On top of our own inequitable ideas of what we deserve, we find ourselves operating in a world crowded with misery and injustice and violence, where our suffering may indeed be the result of someone else’s sin. The innumerable manifestations of wrongdoing proliferate daily and are displayed publicly by absentee fathers, gossip mongers, child pornographers, smooth-tongued liars, hypocritical churchgoers, and a seemingly endless variety of miscreants. The stinging pain of all that sin presses in, trespassing in. . .
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Why Christians Hate Each Other

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Firing Shots at Fellow Christians I remember this time when this friend of mine had a disagreement that turned into a fierce argument. We both shot at each other with bursts of sarcasm attempting to win what had moved from discussion into a contest. Problem was, this sad and disturbing display was semi-public, it was at the place where we worked and all around us were people who we had been witnessing to for some time. One of them addressed us in shock, “The two of you are fighting?!” That gave both of us pause, we stopped the verbal and. . .
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Know Who Your Friends & Your Enemies Are {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Waging War Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?—James 4:1 Life together is difficult. I doubt many people will argue with that. We mount wars against each other when we should be blessed peacemakers. If we stop for a moment we can probably all think of an example of this in our own experience. The odd thing is that we keep looking for a serene existence all the while being led by our own desires to trample the perfect commands of God and grind. . .
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How to Be Bitter

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Bitter from Birth There exists a brilliant prescription for bitterness and we do not even have to wait in line at the CVS to pick it up. We are just born with it. From birth we have assumed that we are the center of the universe, that all of life and those other creatures we see around us exist to serve us. If we have very godly parents and at least one sibling, this notion becomes diffused a bit, though we suspect that the operating law is still valid but must be obeyed in light of several (annoying) amendments. We. . .
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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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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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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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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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