Monday, April 27, 2009

One Hundred Million Hits on YouTube

Recluse Susan Boyle recently surprised the world. The 47-year-old woman spent her life taking care of her mother until she died a couple of years ago at the age of 91. Susan's mother encouraged her daughter to do something with her life. Susan lived alone with her cat in government subsidized housing in Scotland. And she sang, even when no one was listening and no one cared. A couple of weeks ago, she stormed the stage on Britain's Got Talent. People listened and cared to the point of tears.

Why? She gave them hope. She lived a drab, dull existence, unemployed and alone, a desperate survival that many people live yet try to ignore, coping with the greyness of another day. And all those years when Susan was singing alone or in her tiny church, whether she knew it or not, she was preparing for this moment. And when it came, she was ready. It showed.

This is for everyone who wakes early on dark mornings, reading through the laws of Leviticus or lists of conquests with bleary eyes, seeking the treasure within, engraving the Word on your heart, grasping the strength for the hard day ahead. When those moments "on stage" come -- and they will -- may others be amazed at the power God has built into your life through daily reading of His Word.

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in Your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate upon Your promise. Psalm 119: 147-148

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In Others' Words

The sole purpose of this post is to send you elsewhere.

1. While really pretty much anything on the Desiring God blog is worth reading, the issue of seeking out opportunities for hospitality has been on my mind recently. Definitely something on which I need improvement. I also want to direct you to this article on George Mueller, which Tona was kind enough to share. (And if you don't already, I would encourage you to read the Ottinger's blog.)

2. I came across the Purple Cellar fairly recently, I think maybe in my Google Recommendations, and this quote stood out to me. I find there to be such a difficult balance between looking forward to the future and constantly dwelling on it. It becomes far too easy to become discontent in your present circumstances when you're idealizing that which is yet to come. But, as I'm realizing in a decision I'm currently making, sometimes change is not the best option.

3. My friend Adam blogs at both Watching Gravity and Second Eclectic. While his words (both in life and in posts) are always rather insightful, I especially appreciated his posts on ordering what we love and examining what we value. Priorities pose yet another difficult balance. Loving God and loving others. So simple in text. Yet so incredibly difficult in practice. Carolyn Mahaney wrote on a similar topic, here and here, regarding priorities for those with families. (I guess maybe this one doesn't get easier with time?)

4. For those that don't attend Fellowship (and, I suppose, even those that do), I recently discovered that Bryan posts his sermons on his blog. Might have a few less references to your neighborhood than the audio version, but beneficial nonetheless.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's Not About Football

"It's not about football," my mom has told me countless times, even long after football season has ended.

But that is all she needs to say. I know exactly what she means.

I really don't have a dislike for the sport. I just didn't want to go to a Superbowl party once. And that became an easy excuse.

Satan seems to love throwing excuses our way. Any and every reason to keep us from Christ-like actions. Any and every idea he can plant into our thoughts to turn our focus to ourselves. Any and every justification he can generate within us to prevent us from loving others.

I tend to become angry when I realize I have fallen captive to yet another of these lies. When I realize that I am separating myself from potentially good friends, simply because in my seventh-grade maturity, I think that they don't like me. When I don't take the initiative and talk to someone new, because I see their hair with every strand perfectly in place and compare it to my disheveled and unbrushed mess, and think that they would prefer talking to someone else. When I don't call someone with the reasoning that, if they wanted to do something, they would call me. When I don't invite someone over, because I am embarrassed that I haven't had time to clean up or because I am trying a new recipe and am afraid it won't turn out right.

In giving in to these lies Satan embeds in us, we are preventing God from using us in those situations and in those people's lives.

Because it's not about the football. It is about the relationships.

Loving others means removing our pride. It means overcoming fear and taking risks. It means abandoning all excuses.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Watch out!

There is a kind of joke in our family about all of the falls

that I have taken while running. I split a knee open

nine miles out alone on a converted railroad path in Ohio.

I dislocated a finger on a tumble on the Tour de Wolf trail in Memphis and

had to walk two and a half miles back to my car. I fell off

the side of a mountain while running on a trail in the Smokies,

and I was very thankful for the rhododendron bush God planted

to catch my fall. (Kat is still laughing about that one).

But there are countless other times when I stumble

and regain my balance before I actually hit the pavement.

Sometimes it is the slightest uneven place in the sidewalk,

an ill-placed tree root, or just not paying attention to where I am going.

I’ve hit a lot of tree roots in life for the same reasons,

but I recognize that “Behold, God is my helper, the

Lord is the upholder of my life.” (Psalm 54.4)

Reading God’s Word helps us pay attention to the

cracks in the sidewalk and recognize Who catches us.

“…though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,

for the LORD is the stay of his hand.”

Psalm 37.24

And He gives us the strength to get back on our feet again.

Read on!

If you have “gotten behind” in your reading,

please don’t let that discourage you. Just

pick yourself up and get back in a daily routine. If you

miss a meal, that doesn’t mean that you stop eating.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's 5:20 in the morning and I cannot sleep

It is still dark outside
but inside my brain
all the things I need to do
are already lined up shouting for attention.
I try to hide under the covers
but like small children
they saw one eye flutter open for only a second
and now they won't leave me alone.
Keep your eyes on Me.
Seek Me first
and the rest will be done for you,
even those impossible pieces will come together
in a way that I cannot see
from where I stand now,
those indecipherable equations
do have an answer,
suddenly there
but there is no way to show my work
because the answer was not from me.
How can I do this?
Keep your eyes on Me.
Seek Me first.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lose 40 Pounds Before Tomorrow

Back in 1985, Oprah Winfrey was nominated for best supporting actress in the movie The Color Purple. As the story goes, Oprah relates that the night before the Oscars, she realized that she was not going to lose forty pounds before tomorrow.

If you want things to change and you want things to be different, you have to do something different. Things don’t just happen. You don’t lose forty pounds without changing something in your diet or exercise routine. The largest hurdle in change is the human will. You have to want it first, before anything at all will happen.

I know a lot of people who really want to know God more. The desire is there, but the will has not yet kicked in. If you want to know God more, what changes are you willing to make? It won’t just happen.

The basic components of desire are want and need. We can say that we want that new pair of shoes or that new car. And the more we try to justify our “want,” we push over into our need for it. Suddenly our wants become our needs. Nissan had a commercial recently that showed a sports car and said simply: “Want. Need. Same thing.”

That makes a huge difference in how we approach our daily reading of Scripture. God’s Word becomes both a desire and a delight. I want it. I need it. And it will change your life, one day at a time.

Press on!

…for Your law is my delight.

Psalm 119.77

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Most evenings when together, my mom and I enjoy "a cup of nightly tea."  Though this tradition is often continued in our lives apart, it holds much more meaning when shared.  As is the case with most things in life.
In the same way, as we co-author this blog, we hope to make it not only a page filled with our thoughts, but also a place of encouragement for you as you journey through life.  Because it really does become that much better when shared.
So we thank you for joining us.