Topic | Personal Growth

Posts Categorized: Personal Growth

Is Our God Cruel?

By in Highlands Blog on

You may be like me and eager to see God’s hand in our daily lives. Knowing that there are no accidents in His kingdom, I give real gravity to things that others may not pay much heed to. But like a well-directed movie, nothing is happening on screen except what the Director wants us to see. And so we live our lives as best we can, pursuing good things like children, job opportunities, spouses, promotions, prizes, and the like. And if we’re paying close attention, there are lots of signals. If we’re pessimistic, we read them one way, if optimistic,. . .
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God’s Ecosystem

By in Highlands Blog on

I was writing to a friend recently encouraging her in her distress by stating that the Church needs the needy like the oil that lubricates the machine. Without someone to serve the Church dries up. She would rather not be at the mercy of others’ largesse at this point in her life but that’s where God has her. It’s humbling to be the one the Good Samaritan has to rescue. But she is as vital to the work of the Church in her situation as those who are stepping in to meet her needs. My children are really interested in. . .
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A Multitude of Sins

By in Highlands Blog on

We are all guilty of treating the Christian life like an elaborate accounting problem. Credit this, debit that, in our attempt to stay in balance with God and each other. It doesn’t help that we all have undergone vastly different accounting training. What I though was ten points in my good deed column, you put down only two because you perceived that I had selfish motives. I know that I hurt your feelings last week but given how you’ve treated me recently, I think it’s a balanced account but you have me down twenty points because last week you weren’t. . .
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Who is Sanctifying Who?

By in Highlands Blog on

The Lord works out our sanctification in many different ways. One of the most unexpected ways is through the discipline and training of our children. When I was a new parent, my assumption was that my children were there for me to sanctify them. I was to train them through my words, actions, and example of how to lead a godly life and follow after Christ. This is true, but it is not the whole picture. Children are there as much for our sanctification as we are for theirs. As we train, discipline, and rebuke our children, God is also. . .
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Planting and Resting and Trusting

By in Highlands Blog on

A farmer plants his seeds at the appropriate time in the spring and then waits. That’s it. There’s little else to do. He can’t hurry up the process of sprouting and growing. He can water. A bit but not too much. He can’t even weed for awhile because that could disturb the delicate seed-to-sprout process. He simply trusts that God will transform that seed into a plant and the plant into a food-bearing vehicle. Because the world in which we live in is much more complicated than that of planting seeds, we often forget the lesson that God was instilling. . .
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Service

By in Highlands Blog on

In a small, dusty town in western Oklahoma, it grew cold as the days shortened. One November a young single mother struggling to make ends meet had a thought that the more she considered it, the more it warmed her. She worked as many hours as she could at a local convenience store, barely making it. After work, she would take care of her small child and assist an elderly relative who lived in the same town, occasionally running errands and buying groceries. But she still felt a need to help others growing stronger in her heart. A nearby nursing. . .
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True Freedom

By in Highlands Blog on

On this day that we celebrate our country’s independence from England, it’s good to reflect upon what freedom really is. There are lots of different definitions and lots of ways in which we can fall off the other side of the horse in our tireless pursuit of this thing. We tend to desire freedom from and freedom toward. We desire freedom from oppression, tyranny, taxes. We Americans have fought to free others even from these things so strongly is our natural bent away from a strong hand ruling over us. Half of Americans think that taxes are oppressive and half. . .
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Idols Among Us

By in Highlands Blog on

  I have a friend who has become obsessed with her health. And she’s not very sick. A little discomfort here and there. It is to the point that her husband is extremely frustrated with the amount of time she spends on research and the amount of money she spends on “experts” and the cornucopia of supplements. It has become her religion and by that I mean, the search for a cure is like a pilgrimage across a dusty land and this true believer will not be dissuaded by time or money or family obligations. I track with that situation. . .
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Gratitude

By in Highlands Blog on

Because it is my wont to fret and be dissatisfied with my lot—a lot—I have to, HAVE TO, regularly stop and create long lists of all that I’m thankful to God for. And when I walk the dog and it’s quiet, I’ll let my mind wander and express my gratitude for all of the incredible gifts He has given me and my soul will be recalibrated and I’ll see the world correctly once again. I’m grateful for Lindsay my wife who struggles with chronic illness and yet loves on her children fiercely, teaches them through her kind spirit to love. . .
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Raised Up

By in Highlands Blog on

  I rolled out of bed this morning still feeling heavy from last nights dinner. Smash-burgers, topped with jalapeño pimento cheese and served with a side of sliced potatoes fried in beef fat, will do that to you. I hit the shower at 5:30am and was sipping a cup of Sumatra before the day dawned and it dawned drowsily with cool temperatures, a misty rain and an overcast sky. The weather wasn’t offering any perk to my morning and neither were the contents of my French press. This is the kind of day where you feel like you never really. . .
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How Christians Should Sleep

By in Highlands Blog on

When it comes to the subject of rest, believers in Jesus Christ should be having a phenomenal experience every night—unless you have a newborn in which case you have a glorious reason to be awaken several times by little baby sounds and hunger cries. And there is also that sacrifice of slumber due to staying up with someone who is ill. Also the necessity laid upon the student whose term paper is due and let’s not forget those first-responders who put out fires and the police who guard our neighborhoods when darkness falls. There are many other scenarios as well.. . .
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Are You Angry with “Those People”?

By in Highlands Blog on

These days, as much as I have ever witnessed in my life, are typified by anger. While much of it may be directed at our President (either the past one or the present one), much of the anger I see is directed at larger groups of people. These groups, whoever they may be, may represent values that we stand in opposition to. Or they may represent a group that we perceive as hurtful to us. It could be that our anger towards them lies in the fact that they just plain irritate us. It may be the rich, the poor,. . .
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Blessed Frailty

By in Highlands Blog on

Dependent Our great and loving God created us with a built-in frailty. Our bodies reveal to us hour by hour our dependence on Him to sustain our life. Ignoring for a moment our beating heart and our inability to keep that happening, we are otherwise forced to pause to consume calories at least three times during the day and at the end of just sixteen hours of daily life, we need to rest for a full eight. Because we are not conscious during our rest, we don’t fully appreciate how frail we are. Eight hours of rest to propel us. . .
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Beware the Mantra of the Unbelieving Life

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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

By in Highlands Blog on

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.

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