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What’s a Little Chocolate?

Read it!

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

-Matthew 6:16

Think it through

I feel like I should tell you that it’s not like me to be all, “Look at me, I’m giving up chocolate for Lent” on a blog. Or anywhere… at least I hope not! Though I usually tell my family what I’m giving up, I try not to talk about it a lot.

Let’s say that I’m going to an acquaintance’s house for dinner and she serves a beautiful chocolate dessert. There are two ways to go about not eating it. One way is to say, “Oh, it looks so good and I’d love to have it but I can’t, I gave it up for Lent…” with a put-upon sigh. Another way is to smile and say, “Oh, no thanks,” possibly adding an “I’m just stuffed” (only if I am, which I probably would be).

Which one would be the hypocrite way—the way that I would have received my attention?

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How to Avoid Pinterest Panic

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done,

and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”

— Galatians 6:4

 

I may have mentioned that I really love Pinterest.

I love recreating Pinterest activities with all three of my kids (even my very patient teenage boy—and my very, very patient husband!).  There are so many great faith-related pins… and hosting fun theme birthday parties is totally in my wheelhouse. All those ideas are just waiting to be discovered, and organized!

But Pinterest is getting a bad rap.

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The Sunday Conundrum

The Sunday Conundrum: Ode to Logic, Commitment to Lord

(Today I’m letting my math nerd self shine through!)

 

Most Sunday mornings, I face the conundrum. Sometimes I start wresting with my duality of mind on Saturday night—even as early as Friday afternoon.

It’s a dichotomous pondering: To work, or not to work.

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Stop the Debate

Read it! John 18

Jesus answered, “…Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

(vs37&38)

Think it through

I imagine Pilate nearly snorting here—“Ha! What is truth?”—like it doesn’t exist… perhaps because I’ve heard that condescending tone before.

Perhaps you have, too.

When I’ve tried to discuss religion with a non-believer (in other words, when I try to share my joy in Christ with them), I’ve had people look me in the eye and tell me I’m elitist, close-minded, and conceited. How could I possibly think that Christians are right and everyone else is wrong? What is truth?

Here’s the thing: there is truth. The Earth and everything on it exists and came from somewhere. We are either here for a purpose, or we’re not. When we die, we either go somewhere, or we don’t. There is reality. There is truth.

Either one religion has it right and the rest are wrong, or we’re all wrong. Saying we could all be right isn’t a choice. You can’t have it more than one way. You can’t say everyone can believe what they want and still be right. That’s ludicrous.

I believe that God created everything, that He gave us purpose, and that if we embrace his son wholeheartedly we’ll live in heaven for eternity. Yes, that’s “just my perspective”—but I know it’s truth in every fiber of my being.

My pastor recently said that we’ll never debate anyone into a relationship with Jesus. What we can do is love people to the Lord. We can overwhelm them with a sacrificial love from a heart on fire for God.  We can show them unexplainable love that points to Jesus like a burning bush.

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Organizing Truths

For our Thought Shots today, I took some quotes from Building Your House and made them pretty enough to remember and share! Read them through to see which ones speak to you, reaffirming what you believe about faithful home organization.

Then, share your favorites. There are so many people out there swallowing the lies about what it means to “succeed” as a homebuilder—and January’s “get organized” advertising blitz is right around the corner! So, please boldly share how we can truly honor the Lord with our homes by posting, pinning, and tweeting these memes through your favorite social media outlets…

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Why DID Jesus Cry?

Read it! John 11

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

(vs33)

Think it through

At least that’s the version I’ve always read. As an old-school NIV girl, I’ve read over and over that Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” and assumed it meant he was incredibly sad, grieved. The NKJV reads similarly: “…he groaned in the spirit and was troubled.”

But I was surprised to find that two of the other versions in my side-by-side Bible (the NLT and The Message) used different words: “a deep anger welled up within him.” Both versions describe him as angry when he arrived at Lazarus’s tomb, as well.

Angry.

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Throwing Off Our Chains

Read it! John 8

“…and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

(vs32&33)

Think it through

Viewing ourselves through the lens of truth is difficult.

Jesus told the Jews that his teachings, the truth, would set them free, but they just looked at one another and shrugged. They were living in a land where they were officially free—free to live and love and work and marry and worship their God. (Sound familiar?)

But Jesus explained that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Not free, but bound by the habit of repeating our mistakes and the consequences of each choice. And we often miss this crucial perspective altogether.

Here’s some truth I frequently fail to see:

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What Not to Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…

-Isaiah 43:2

 

I took a hard look at my bad reactions to overwhelming circumstances when my friend Rachel Wojo gave me a copy of her new book, One More Step.

Rachel and I have similar ministry messages in a lot of ways. In One More Step, she takes the reader on journey through the different feelings we face in the midst of struggle and gives solid, faith-based ideas for how to handle those feelings. In my favorite chapter, Rachel talks about weeding out negative thoughts much like I talk about clearing out spiritual clutter! In another chapter, she had wonderful suggestions about steps to take and things to avoid when life becomes overwhelming.

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How to Heal a Spiritual Bruise

I’m sporting quite a bruise on my shin today.  It’s a whopper—yellow in the middle fading into a greenish brown, with a lovely pink and purple bottom edge and a sizable bump. It’s almost pretty actually.

I have no idea how I got it.

You’d think I’d remember this one… did I bark my shin on something? Fall down? Bang it with a weight when I was exercising? (Sadly, I do that a lot.) I don’t know why it’s there.

In the same way, I’ll often bump into spiritual clutter that bruises my soul… worries and anxieties that get me down, even though I don’t know why they’re there.

 

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Will You Seek Jesus?

Read it! John 1

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying and stayed the day with him.

(vs39)

Think it through

Sometimes I think the Gospel of John is hard to read.

When people first come to know Christ, Christian leaders often recommend that they start their Bible reading with the book of John. And I think, Why? John is hard.

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