Change happens only in the presence of compassion. No matter how self-involved or demanding a person is, compassion can make a difference — in fact, no lasting change will occur without it. If you’re trying to help, you will need to be “for” that person — for their welfare, for their success, and for their growth and transformation. We all need the grace of knowing someone is on our team.

John Townsend
The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way (Zondervan, 2015), Kindle Location, 392.

Who You Should Compare Yourself To

A lesson at Tabgha frees you to follow Jesus as yourself.

Someone else’s stuff always seems better. Even their struggles seem better. Have you noticed? The temptation to compare yourself with somebody is hard to sidestep in the Christian life.

Who You Should Compare Yourself To

(Photo: Tabgha statue of Jesus and Peter. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

When Peter first met Jesus, the fisherman followed the Master out of a motive for glory and a prime seat in the kingdom of God. Peter wanted to be the “greatest” in comparison to others.

But after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, a single conversation along the shores of the Sea of Galilee at Tabgha changed Peter’s whole frame of reference.

That conversation can also help you not compare yourself with the lives of others.

It can free you to follow Jesus as an individual.

Click to continue reading »

How to Insert Your Quiet Time into Your Crazy Life

One discipline more than any other will make all the difference.

Sometimes I’m amazed at the chasm that stands between my morning quiet time and the rest of the day. You know what I mean? At times, there seems such a huge breach between Scripture and the real world.

How to Insert Your Quiet Time into Your Crazy Life

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Drinking deeply of the Word of God in the early morning hours, I express in prayer my love for the Lord, His Word, and His church. It’s all good.

But then I leave the house.

Click to continue reading »

What to Do When God is Not Fair

Discovering the hidden blessing of not getting what we've earned.

Unfair. That’s how it feels. Remember that Christmas when your sister opened the gift you wanted? Or when your brother got a T-bird and you got stuck with the family Nova? Not fair.

What to Do When God is Not Fair

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Fast forward to today and ask yourself how it hits you when:

  • A coworker gets a raise but you do more work—or perhaps, his work?
  • A neighbor decorates her home from an unrestricted budget and you’re gluing the peeling wallpaper back on the wall?
  • Your job reduces your salary because of the economy, but another business gives raises and bonuses?

There’s a reason Scripture has to command us not to covet. It’s in our nature. It’s systemic. If we can’t have more than others, at least we want it equal. But less than others? Uh, no.

Because that’s not fair.

Click to continue reading »

Lo-Debar: Why God Invades Our Comfortable Lives

What happens when comfort dulls our sensitivity to God.

Everything was going so well. A good job. Promising future. Nice place to live. Peace among peers. Then God got involved, and it all changed. Ever had that happen? Me too. So did Israel of old.

Lo-Debar: Why God Invades Our Comfortable Lives

(Photo: Umm ed-Dabar, possible Lo-Debar. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The Hebrews sought opulent furniture, the finest food, first-class entertainment, the best wine and perfumes. But they did not seek the Lord.

Sometimes God invades our comfortable lives. Here’s why.

Click to continue reading »

Entitlement Cure

The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way (Zondervan, 2015)

Reading The Entitlement Cure was like sitting in a counseling office with a wise mentor who offered the odd combination of rebukes that encourage. So much of what Dr. Townsend writes connects to our everyday lives and struggles, since he identifies those problem-proned, entitled people we know (including the one in the mirror), as well as identifying the solutions deeply rooted in Scripture.

Whether the issue is a person who fears conflict, or refuses to admit “I was wrong,” or simply is lazy—The Entitlement Cure helps us take the next hard step toward true success, joy, and growth instead of continuing to chase easy choices that dump consequences that are anything but easy.

The book is worth every penny. And then some. I’ll read it again.

Why Your Path Forward Leads Backward

Seeing God's unusual leading in your life as normal.

Sometimes our path to next level includes what seem like setbacks. But they aren’t. God simply uses these tensions to propel us forward. Like an arrow pulled back against the bow.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

Occasionally God sidelines us to remind us our participation is a privilege and we can glorify Him just as much by our waiting on Him as by our serving Him in some other way that feels more fulfilling to us.

God takes delight in using us, but He doesn’t need us. He got along just fine in eternity past as Father, Son, and Spirit. His plan worked well long before we stepped on the scene, and it won’t skip a beat after we’re gone.

Our limitations only frustrate us when we forget that in weakness we glorify God.

Here’s what I mean.

Click to continue reading »

God Will Give You a Do Over

Why the end will only be the beginning.

Many people use the New Year to motivate life change they otherwise would never do. For most, however, the change doesn’t stick. It takes more than the flip of a calendar to flip a life.

God Will Give You a Do Over

(Photo credit: whologwhy via Foter.com / CC BY)

The end of one year immediately marks the beginning of another. The change occurs in one literal second. A similar transition will occur at the end of time.

The Bible begins with God placing the tree of life alongside the tree of the forbidden fruit (Revelation 22:1-5). Thus, the created earth became the stage upon which mankind could fulfill their purpose to rule under God for His glory.

But we blew it, of course. The good news? You get a do over.

Click to continue reading »

Stuck on Fantasy Island? Here’s How to Escape

What to do when you feel marooned in life.

When expectations about what life “ought to be” go unmet for extended periods of time, our hearts will want to drift into fantasy. It can happen for several reasons.

Stuck on Fantasy Island

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

Longstanding bouts with tough circumstances occur, such as:

  • a debilitating illness
  • family issues
  • sexual frustration
  • money problems
  • marital struggles
  • general discontent

We’ll see some other person’s life and imagine that if we had what they have, then we wouldn’t feel the way we do. If we only lived there, not here, then we would be a different person. If my father would only . . . if my spouse would finally . . . if God would simply . . . then all would be well.

This thinking is bunk. Here’s why.

Click to continue reading »