Blessed are the Flexible for They Shall Not Be Broken

Does God really have the freedom to stretch you?

We love the idea of following God’s lead. We marvel at the changes a sovereign God brings. What isn’t so thrilling is when God—without warning—stretches us far beyond our capacity.

Blessed are the Flexible for They Shall Not Be Broken

(Photo by Photodune)

One morning not long ago I simply rolled over in bed, and I felt a sharp POP in my back—followed by an excruciating current up my spine. I had thrown my back out just by rolling over in bed! I eased out of bed and literally had to crawl across the room.

A couple of days later at my physician’s office, he entered the room with my x-rays under his arm. “Your back is fine,” he said. “You’re real problem is something else.”

Hint: It’s the same problem in my spiritual life. (And yours.)

Click to continue reading »

Update on My Holy Land Tour: Good News and Really Good News

Unless I’m wrong, you love connecting the Bible and its lands to life. In fact, that’s likely one of the reasons you read my blog. And honestly, that’s why I write it—so that we can make that connection together.

Sunrise over Jerusalem

(Photo: Sunrise over Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Reading about the Holy Land is one thing, but taking a journey to Israel is something else entirely. Entirely! Admittedly, it’s a wonderful privilege.

I spent many hours preparing for a tour this fall—a tour that follows the life and lessons of Christ in the very places our Savior walked. But I have postponed the tour . . .

If you wanted to go to Israel with me with me this fall, but couldn’t, I have good news. The tour has been rescheduled for one year later—October 2016. It gets better. In fact, I have some really good news.

The tour is much cheaper.

Click to continue reading »

Giving Your Child Back to God

Hannah's decision at Shiloh shows us how to prepare.

Giving your child back to God can be a tough decision for parents. Eighteen or more years of sacrifice, commitment, and training suddenly bring you to a point of no return.

Giving Your Child Back to God

(Photo by Monkey Business Images via Vivozoom)

Whether it is for college, for the military, or in the natural course of growing up, giving your child back to God is a point every parent has to face.

Hannah’s story shows us how to prepare for it, and then, how to do it.

Click to continue reading »

How to Breathe When God Steps on Your Air Hose

Habakkuk Helps Us Turn Our Panic to Peace

We aren’t surprised when we see people sidestep God. What shocks us, however, is when God seems to ignore people. The God of the Bible isn’t a far-off deity. So why does He seem so uninvolved?

How to Breathe When God Steps on Your Air Hose

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

God’s response to people’s non-response to Him seems conspicuous by its absence. For those of us who believe in God, it’s tough to breathe when it seems like God is stepping on our air hose.

A prophet with a funny name helps us turn our panic into peace—and to take a deep breath.

Click to continue reading »

I’m excited about my interview on Insight for Living’s Special Needs Ministry with Colleen Swindoll Thompson. Colleen’s significant ministry encourages special needs families in their spiritual lives. In this interview, Colleen and I discuss the value of waiting on God.

Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2015—Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Appearance: Waiting on God and Special Needs
Outlet: Special Needs Ministry with Colleen Swindoll Thompson
Location: Insight for Living Ministries
Format: Vlog

In this interview we discuss topics found in my book, Waiting on God: What to Do When God Does Nothing.

Avoid High Places if You’re Looking for God

We need one thing more than anything in our spiritual climb.

We start strong. Determination and strength come easily. Finally, we reach the summit in our Christian lives—only to find life in high places often lets us down.

Avoid High Places if You’re Looking for God

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

We followed the rules. We stayed in line. We walked the straight and narrow. So what happened?

The path we followed led to a false summit.

It happens when we forget this one thing.

Click to continue reading »

You Have a Spiritual Freedom You May Not Realize

Juneteenth offers an essential reminder to our spiritual lives

Freedom from anything begins by knowing you are free. Juneteenth is short for June 19th—a state holiday in Texas. It commemorates the day in 1865 that good news arrived: all slaves were free.

You Have a Spiritual Freedom You May Not Realize

(Photo by Photodune)

But the news wasn’t new at all. The slaves had been set free long before, but that freedom had been a secret for two and a half years.

  • When Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, effective on New Years Day, 1863, the act freed all slaves.
  • But many southern masters kept the information a secret from their slaves.

Juneteenth teaches us something important about freedom: it’s useless unless you know it’s true and you live like it.

As a Christian, you have a spiritual freedom you may not even realize.

Click to continue reading »

Traditions, Truth, and Praying with Your Eyes Open

The Western Wall challenges us to ask why we do what we do.

Many find it hard to identify with the Jews who rock before Jerusalem’s Western Wall. I know I did at first. It seemed, well . . . odd. Then I thought about my traditions. Are they any less bizarre?

The Western Wall challenges us to ask why we do what we do.

(Photo: Men praying at the Western Wall. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Oddness just comes in different flavors. They’re called “traditions.” For example:

  • Jews pray with their heads covered; we take our hats off.
  • Their prayers are public and loud; ours are private and quiet.
  • They rock back and forth and pray from a book; we bow our heads, close our eyes, and utter unrehearsed words.

It’s easy in the familiarity of our own traditions to shake our fingers at the oddities of others. Jews pray while rocking, Muslims kneel with their bottoms in the air, and Christians bow our heads and close our eyes.

But blend any tradition—bowing, standing, prostrating, rocking, kneeling, or jumping—with no personal relationship with the true God, and it’s totally pointless.

Maybe we Christians should open our eyes during prayer for a change.

Click to continue reading »

Good News about the Bad News You Hear

Nahum’s words offer encouragement and an invitation.

It seems the news isn’t news unless it’s bad news. You know, apart from a context of truth, the daily news feels like a wet blanket on our flame. But remember, the news chases ratings and clicks—not the whole truth.

Good News about the Bad News We Hear

(Photo by Photodune)

As I read the news each day, I have to remember it isn’t reporting the progress of God’s kingdom. In fact, headlines tend to hide the other half of the truth and focus only on the negative.

The prophet Nahum pulls back the curtain and shows us what God is doing in a world where it seems like the wheels have fallen off.

In the midst of the bad news you’ll hear today, there’s also some good news you need to hear.

Click to continue reading »