In this moment, Paul chose to follow God’s call and become His instrument. He chose to become a disciple of Jesus, to go and tell the world about Him, making arguably the biggest impact for Christ ever made.
In this moment, Paul also chose a hard life. A life of persecution and prison. His former friends wanted him dead. His power and prestige in the Jewish faith and community instantly vanished. A question occurred to me:
In this huge moment, what if Paul had chosen differently?
I’m a terrible typist, and a lot of the time autocorrect aids and abets my stupidity.
Most recently, it disagreed with me about my friend’s daughter’s name. My dear friend was blessed with a beautiful daughter she named Taryn, and as you would expect, absolute flurries of texting ensued. But it seemed that no matter how I typed “Taryn,” auto correct morphed it into “Terrible.”
As in, “What a beautiful pic of Terrible! What a doll!”
Or, “How did Terrible sleep last night?”
One thing you DON’T want to call your BFF’s beloved adopted infant is Terrible. (Good thing my sweet friend is so understanding!) Because of this, I began to notice other funny goofs autocorrect and I were making together:
I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.
Think it through
It took me an embarrassingly long time to read every word of the Bible. I started in elementary school with Genesis 1:1, gung-ho and ready to go, only to lose it in Numbers. In middle school, I started again and was out by Judges; in High School, by II Chronicles. In college I started a “Read the Bible in One Year” plan and fell hopelessly behind by the end of March.
And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
Think it through
Ash Wednesday is two days away, so it’s time to think about what I want to give up until Easter Sunday. My sweet momma gives up all sweets (like, even the jam on her toast, Friends). I’ve never been quite that brave!
If you haven’t heard of this practice, it’s basically a modified fast for Lent. Many people stop eating a particular kind of food, perhaps on particular days. Others add an activity, like participating in a Bible study (thus surrendering time).
Lots of people don’t give up anything at all, and if that’s you, I’m in no way calling you out. But I am encouraging you to join me for a Lenton Bible Study Series on Giving It Up… surrendering our hearts to God through the surrendering of something tangible.
We all have favorite Christmas songs we love to hear all season… and on the flip side, we all reach out to change the radio station when we hear our least favorite carols (perhaps for the fifth or sixth time).
The Little Drummer Boy hasn’t been one of my favorites. Maybe that’s because it’s not strictly Biblical, or because it’s the story of a child I could no longer identify with… until recently.
During this Christmas season, The Little Drummer Boy has elicited a strangely emotional response in me—even bringing me to tears.
Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you,
but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
Last night, I called up the stairs, “Hey, Spencer…”
He replied, “Yes, Ma’am!”
My kids don’t usually call me “Ma’am.” But Spence could tell by the tone of my voice that I was going to ask him to do something, and he was agreeing in advance. (Mom Moment: Awww, he’s such a great kid… but don’t worry, he’s not always like that.)
In Building Your House, I share quite a bit about how The Uptons view chores, allowances, and rewards. (In a nutshell: we assign chores and give small allowances, but they aren’t directly connected to each other.) I’ve been very intentional about teaching my kids different ways they can help around the house, using Chore Passports (if you missed that post and the free printable, be sure to check it out). I’ve also thought about how much I require them to give me that help. (Again, in a nutshell: sometimes.)
But writing Building Your House made me think about the “why.” Why do we teach them to do chores? Because it’s somehow “good for them” to take out the trash?
Well, doing something because popular culture says it’s “good for us” isn’t good enough for me anymore.
The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
Think it through
In church, we’re often reminded about the words God spoke at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew and Mark both share their accounts of that holy moment with us.
But I’ve rarely, if ever, heard sermons on John’s account of another moment when God spoke aloud to the people in Jesus’ presence. How I would love to have been there, to have heard Jesus call out, “Father, glorify your name!” and to have heard the voice from heaven say, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Amen, Amen! my heart cries. Glorify your name!
But would I have heard the voice of an angel, or just thunder?