The Inestimable Value of Solitude with God

Saint George's Monastery in the Judean Wilderness reminds us to get away with God.

In our lives busy with people, it’s tough to appreciate the value of solitude with God. But one look at Saint George’s Monastery in the Wilderness of Judea gives us reason to pause and ponder the necessity of solitude with God.

Saint George's Monastery—The Value of Solitude with God

(Photo: Saint George’s Monastery. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

As I scanned the monastery’s blue domes and white arches that dot the colorless canvas of the wilderness, I marveled at the time and ingenuity it would have taken to build and rebuild these structures.  

I found myself wondering, Why would ANYONE want to live way out there? A friend of mine wondered if the monks in the monastery thought the same thing about us.

Sometimes in our hurry, it does us good to contemplate the value of solitude.

Click to continue reading »

How to Keep a Dogged Devotion to Bible Reading

What can you do when the Bible seems boring?

Let’s admit it. Sometimes reading the Bible can seem, well—can I say it?—boring. Especially if you’re reading through a program and you get to Leviticus. How can a book that has changed the lives of billions ever seem boring?

Keep a dogged devotion to Bible reading.

(Photo: By William Hoiles from Basking Ridge, NJ. CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Some reasons Bible reading seems boring could be:

  1. The benefits of Bible reading don’t feel immediate.
  2. The Bible was written a long time ago.
  3. It takes work to understand parts of God’s Word.
  4. My busy life leaves little time for Bible reading.

Whatever the reason Bible reading is tough, the problem is still the same: How can we keep a dogged devotion for the most un-boring book in the world?

Click to continue reading »

Good News from God for Chronic Ball-Droppers

Jesus' parable says what to do when you're juggling too much.

Ever tried to juggle? I gave it a shot with three tennis balls one time. I might as well have thrown the balls three different directions. It was hilarious! In the end, I could only “juggle” one ball. 

Better Self-Talk for Chronic Ball-Droppers

(Photo: by Christian “VisualBeo” Horvat. Own work. GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons)

 Most people can learn to juggle three balls, I’m told. But adding a fourth ball divides the amateurs from the pros.

But what about adding a fifth ball? We do it all the time. (Or we try to.) Juggling provides one of the best metaphors for our crazy-busy lives. We drop balls.

Dropping balls has nothing to do with skill. It’s all about character.

Click to continue reading »

How to Fill the Empty Hollow at the Center of Your Life

Review and renew your purpose for living in 3 steps.

A lot of people have lives like an old tree. From all appearances, they look full of life and vigor, but on the inside they have an empty hollow. Life can weather your faith.

How to Fill the Empty Hollow at the Center of Your Life

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

I remember reading about the incredible yew tree at Crowhurst, England, which is more than 4000 years old! That means when Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago, the Crowhurst yew had already stood for two thousand years—dating to the time of Abraham! From its lush exterior you’d never guess the tree had a center lifeless and hollow.

For many, like this tree, the longer they live, the bigger the hole gets on the inside.

Only God can make the changes needed to fill that emptiness.

Click to continue reading »

Start Looking at What You Want to See

How to stay aware of the positives you long for in your life.

We’ve all experienced it, haven’t we? We buy a car and suddenly, we see our car’s model everywhere on the road. We notice what we have on our mind. This is true in all of life.

Start Looking at What You Want to See

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

On a recent trip to Israel, one man on our bus mentioned he saw beehives everywhere. Really? Beehives? I had never noticed. He was a beekeeper. We see what we’re thinking about.

  • As a woodworker, I notice furniture everywhere I go—whether it’s made well or not.
  • My daughter always notices a person’s shoes first.
  • A girl-crazy guy walks in a room and in five seconds has the most beautiful girl pegged.

What you focus on will be what you see. It’s how God made us—regardless of how we use that ability. What do you see in these key areas of your life?

  • Your job
  • Your spouse
  • Your children
  • Your parents
  • Your church
  • Your life in general

Be honest. When you think about each of these areas, are your initial thoughts positive or negative?

What do you see?

Click to continue reading »

Get the Perspective You Need with 3 Truths

How to watch for the journey as well as the destination.

The Texas Driver’s Handbook has a tip that can help you today. A diagram shows when you sit in a parked car, you have a 180-degree field of vision. Great perspective. But then you start moving.

Get the Perspective You Need with 3 Truths

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Once you get going, your perspective immediately changes:

  • When your car accelerates to 20 M.P.H. that field of vision reduces to 66%.
  • At 40 M.P.H. your visual field shrinks to 20%.
  • At 60 M.P.H. your field of vision remains barely wider than the headlights.

Simply said, the faster you go the less perspective you have. The same holds true for your day today. If you never sit still, you never see the big picture—only the immediate right in front of you.

Here are 3 truths to give you the perspective you need for your journey.

Click to continue reading »

2 Questions to Help You Live Intentionally for God

There's no need to keep going with the flow.

It’s always easier to react to life rather than to shape it. To go with the flow rather than to dig a new trench. Obviously, we want to respond well to what life throws at us. It’s assumed we should do that.

2 Questions to Help You Live Intentionally for God

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

But I believe God gives us help to choose the direction of our lives. To live intentionally for Him. I don’t mean we choose what happens to us, but rather, that God has given us the freedom to make significant choices in spite of our circumstances.

Jesus’ example shows us what choices to make to live intentionally for God.

Two questions can help us do that.

Click to continue reading »

5 Ways to Remember God in Your Busy Life

Set up some triggers to jump-start your heart.

Not long ago, I forgot the birthday of a good friend. After I looked back at my calendar, I saw the problem. I neglected to set up a reminder for the important day. We overlook significant things in our lives often because of our busyness—not because of our apathy. It’s no different in our relationship with God.

5 Ways to Remember God in Your Busy Life

(Photo by Photodune)

Whether we use string on a finger, a Post-it Note on the mirror, or an auto-reminder on our smartphones, we all need prompts for what we’d otherwise forget.

Unaware as it happens, we can allow our busy lives to crowd out our devotion to God. We enjoy our families, our homes, our food, our salvation—all of God’s blessings to us. But before we know it, we replace a devotion to the Lord with a devotion to His blessings. And in a sad, twisted irony, those blessings become our focus instead of the God who gave them.

You’re going to stay busy. I get it.

In this post, I’ll give you 5 ways you can remember God in your busy life.

Click to continue reading »

2 Essential Choices Help Destroy the Painful Void in Your Life

Everything else only deepens the chasm.

I love how some homeowners chose to deal with their drought-dried lawns. They paced their yards with green spray paint, and they had lawns to dye for. No more watering. No mowing. Just fake, green grass all summer.

2 Essential Choices Help Destroy the Painful Void in Your Life

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Actually, such innovation applies beyond the front yard straight into the human heart.

On the surface, most of us look vibrant, successful, content, and happy. And except for the occasional “scene”—when the truth bursts from behind our thin veneers—most of us manage to keep it together long enough to preserve the image.

In social circles where hurting is unacceptable (insert your church’s name here), we quickly learn how to paint on the smile and shake all the hands—while inside we feel as dead and needy as parched grass.

While we may have ideal hopes about tomorrow, and how in that ever-elusive “someday” things will get better, the truth is, life doesn’t fix itself.

Instead, God must fix life. Two essential choices can help.

Click to continue reading »

An Ephesus Question: What Comes First in Our Relationship with God?

One thing more than anything is essential in your life today.

All Christians long to live pleasing to Jesus Christ. That’s why if Jesus told us He had a criticism for us, many of us would pull out our checklist and grab a pencil.

An Ephesus Question: What Comes First in Our Relationship with God?

(Photo: Ephesus theater and the Arcadian Way. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

We’d make our way down the list and ask the Lord:

  • “Should I go on a mission trip?”
  • “Do you want me to pray more?”
  • “Maybe memorize the book of Romans?”
  • “You just name it, Lord, and I’ll do it!”

I have discovered that the weak points in our relationship with God never start with failing in the big things. For example, we would never consider waffling in our morality or our theology. It always comes when we ignore a more basic element.

The church in Ephesus did it. But we don’t have to.

Click to continue reading »