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Ever since Ike and I moved to the Chicago area 3 years ago, things have mostly been great. We love school, we’ve had a blast exploring the city and going on adventures, and then the crowning moment of it all: we had our son. In so many ways, the last 3 years have been a season of great joy.
However, the last 3 years have also been hard and weird. Mostly in the friendship department. In North Carolina I had a solid group of girl friends, but I have struggled to find the same community here. A lot the problem can be chalked up to circumstances. During the first year we lived here, I formed a small group with some Trinity students until half the group moved away. The second year, we moved to a new home which was 45 minutes away from our church. This year, we began attending a new church that is right across the street, but that was only a few months ago.
In an effort to meet new people, I attended a women’s tea at my new church last weekend. The senior pastor’s wife was the speaker, and as a part of her message she emphasized the value of community and “connecting” with friends. As she spoke, I looked around the room at the tables of women who clearly knew and loved one another. Suddenly, the full weight of the last 3 years descended upon my shoulders. I felt envious of the women around me, and I missed that closeness acutely. I bit my lip and tried to hold back the tears. I felt so alone.
This week, a devastating EF-5 tornado touched down in Moore, OK, while school was still in session, inflicting a direct hit on Plaza Towers Elementary School. At least 9 students are confirmed dead. A few are still missing. The overall death toll is 24 in the wake of this storm, and will possibly go up. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has appealed for assistance and prayer.
Six months ago, we were horrified to learn that a school shooter killed 20 students at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Since then, we've been gripped in a political battle regarding gun control. You wouldn't think that any politics could erupt over an unpreventable disaster like a tornado, but they have -- and in less than a matter of hours after the storm occurred. More Here...
Boundaries can be difficult when trying to be a caregiver. Each person is so unique that different paths need to be taken with them. The compulsive side to any gift one has is the major source of suffering in any aspect of work, and the only way out of that situation is to yet again look at the under-side of the upper-side.
People who need to be taken care of are in positions of powerlessness that most of us don't understand until we are there. So when to say yes and when to say no can be difficult. Dealing with their anxious concerns can also be wearing, but I believe that anything worthwhile will always bring a time of self-introspection and hopefully a new beginning until next time. If not, well there is always burn out. More Here...
Spiritual warfare is a part of the Christian experience. It is a fact that external and internal opposition will come from the adversary. Knowing this is not enough except the Christian knows how to respond when opposition arises. Therefore, the Christian has to learn the Art of Warfare.
The Armor of God. The Word of God gives us the necessary instructions for warfare as well as informs us with the weapons and tools that are useful. Paul gives us the primary list of weapons available to us in Ephesians 6. If we learn to adorn ourselves with the spiritual armor provided, success will be ours. The spiritual armor is necessary if one is to learn the Art of Warfare. However, possessing weapons and armor without understanding them is useless. We shall now examine the armor given to Christians for victory in spiritual warfare. More Here...
Recently a viewer of ABC Family's 700 Club asked a trying moral query for a Bring It Online segment. Ivy asked:
I've been trying to forgive my husband for cheating on me. We have gone to counseling, but I can't seem to forgive, nor can I trust. How do you let go of the anger? How do you trust again? God says to forgive, but it's so hard to do. I want to forgive, so we can get on with our lives.
Co-host Christi Watts noted: “I think forgiveness can be one of the most difficult things in the whole wide world to do, and especially when it comes to a spouse, because that’s one of the ultimate betrayals.” Longtime 700 Club host Pat Robertson looked into the camera and responded: "Here's the secret: Stop. Talking. About. The. Cheating." More Here...
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As I sit here, I'm counting down the days until I go back to Haiti. Every year for the last three years now, I've gone to Haiti to participate in short-term missions. It's been a valuable growing opportunity for me, and I've learned a lot about myself, my leadership ability and my heart to serve others.
But I've also encountered a lot of resentment and rejection of the short-term missions model. As people have applied to go on trips through my church, friends and family have asked very challenging and troubling questions about the effectiveness of short-term missions trips. They've read books like When Helping Hurts and Toxic Charity -- both of which I strongly recommend reading. They've heard about non-profits embezzling money from their own bank accounts. Some of them have even gone on mission trips themselves, only to realize that they didn't really do anything to help the people they served. It all leads to one very powerful question: should we even do short-term missions?
My answer is a resounding yes. Short-term missions can and does help the people it serves if it's done appropriately. I've seen it with my own eyes. The problem is that not all short-term missions models are the same. Some short-term missions organizations don't even have a model in place to use as a measuring stick for what they are accomplishing. So what does short-terms missions look like when it works? Here are some characteristics of short-term missions models that are working. More Here...
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24 This was after Jesus's exchange with the rich young ruler whom He told to sell all his possessions. Some have tried to suggest that this proverbial "eye of a needle" was a small door in the city gate. If a merchant or traveler arrived after the gates were closed, they would have to take all the stuff of their camel, and the camel would have to crawl through the gate door on its knees.
This picture of a camel on its knees was supposedly the way the rich man had to be in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. He had to take all of his stuff off, so to speak, and enter through the narrow gate (Matt. 7:13). But there is no evidence that any such "eye of a needle" existed, in form or reference. Jesus was contrasting the largest living thing in Jerusalem, a camel, with the smallest opening, the eye of a needle. More Here...
I've known this guy since I was in middle school and he was in high school. There is a over four-year gap between us. We've had a rocky relationship from the start. I broke up with him because I felt like he wasn't pursuing God and didn't intend to do so.
But I didn't handle it like I should have. There were times I didn't know what I wanted or what I was supposed to do to please God. So to make a long story short I've hurt him and I need to apologize.
And I plan to. My question is how to tell him that his lack of pursuing God is keeping me from dating him. Won't he just "follow" God for me just to get me back? More Here...