Blessed Are: Poor in Spirit

Here's our first guest post on seeking the beatitudes in the Old Testament!
I know you're going to be blessed by these thoughts from Rachel Schmoyer.

Recently my church was a host to four homeless families through the Family Promise program. Thirteen churches in our area take turns housing families in the evening and overnight. The day program helps the families find jobs and places to live.

On my way to volunteering at the church one evening, I found myself thinking, “I’m so glad I know how to handle money so that I’m not homeless like these people.”

The Holy Spirit convicted me right away. Was it really because of me that we are not homeless? Continue reading

What if Martha Ordered Pizza?

Martha, Martha, Martha. Oh wait, wrong reference–one you’d have to be of a certain age to understand: the Brady Bunch age. Marcia Brady could order delivery pizza. Martha in the New Testament could not.

In my post for Pastor’s Wives this month, I share my heart about Martha, the much-maligned sibling of Mary and Lazarus. Put yourself in her shoes for a minute and ask yourself what you would have done when the Messiah walked into your living room (Luke 10:38-42). Continue reading

Sabbath Stealers and Strengtheners

Sometimes my Type-A, list-making tendencies get in the way of my Sabbath observance. My to-do list is a Sabbath-stealer.

Going for a walk on a sunny, Sunday afternoon is, for me, a Sabbath-strengthener.

My guest post for Jeanne Doyon this week reviews some key points from our Sabbathing series and helps us all sort the Sabbath-strengtheners from the Sabbath-stealers. (They may be different for each of us.) Click on over, especially if you love a completed to-do list! Then leave me a comment there or come back here to share.

I love a good to-do list, but when I studied #Sabbath, God didn’t give me a list. Guess it’s #NotAboutMe…or my #ToDoList. (click to tweet)

The Standard of Our Name

One lone knight riding off to battle? Well, that’s just sad. But a squadron of knights riding off under the banner of a tried-and-true leader? That’s inspiring!

In this guest post for Heather Bock, I dig into what it means to “walk worthy” of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). I geek out just a little on word definitions, but there’s also lots of imagery, including a measuring stick, me at sixteen years old, and some knights in shining armor. Intrigued? Click on over.

The Standard of Our Name: of knights and measuring sticks and surnames. A #NotAboutMe guest post for @heatherbethbock via @Carole_Sparks. #WalkWorthy (click to tweet)

 

My Love Story

Everyone loves a good how-we-met story. We love to hear them and we love to tell them.

I was so pleased when my virtual friend, Julie, invited me to share a story on her blog. You might remember Julie from her simple, sincere guest post on Intentional Parenting.

Anyway, my mind immediately went to this personal story, among my life-time favorites. It starts like this… Continue reading

Follow-Thru Honors the Sacrifices

Nothing can beat a week in the mountains, surrounded by people who “get” you, with your combined love for Jesus and crazy #grammarnerd brain. Yes, it was the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Around 500 writers–from newbies to seasoned, best-selling authors–spent the week worshiping, practicing, and learning from each other. Well, mostly the newbies learned from the experienced writers.  Continue reading

On Worship

A lifestyle of worship has been on my mind for awhile. It arises partly out of my study in Psalms and partly out of…well, a bunch of stuff. Anyway, I am glad to share some thoughts on worship this week with my blogging friend, Vanessa. Read the first bit here or click straight over to her blog and start from the beginning there.

As much as I am tempted to sleep in on Sunday mornings, I love worship time with my church. You see, we lived in a place without churches or church services for more than six years. Our corporate worship time involved gathering in the living room with some praise choruses pulled up on a computer screen. I think God was honored in those moments, but it was nothing like adding your voice to a few dozen (or a few hundred) other believers, singing out in praise and accompanied by talented musicians. Corporate worship and preaching fuel me for the week ahead.

But Sunday mornings are not the only time I worship.

I have learned that worship shouldn’t be a noun. It’s not a person, place, or thing; it’s an action. Sometimes it’s an active verb, like on Sunday mornings when we worship together. And sometimes it’s more like a state-of-being verb, a mindset that pervades everything else.

Dig into God’s call to worship–including some gleanings from Romans–at Vanessa’s blog. Otherwise, what do you think of as worship and when does it occur? Share your thoughts there or in the comments below.

Hidden Assumptions

Sometimes we meet people and immediately make a judgement about them. Even if you don’t consider yourself judgmental or prejudiced, it can happen…

Her hair was dyed and styled with copious amounts of hairspray. Her eye shadow was bold, what you could see behind the thick mascara, that is. She laughed loudly, dressed loudly, sang loudly. She was the opposite of most the women with whom I went to seminary.

As I sat down opposite her in a women-only Sunday School class at our new church, I decided she wasn’t very spiritual. I didn’t realize until later that I was making assumptions about her. Stereotyping, really. You see, I had never stopped to think how homogeneous my seminary was. Sure, we had international students and a few students from varied ethnic backgrounds, but they were mostly quiet and studious, like me. After forty-one months on campus there, I had unwittingly internalized a spiritual ‘type’ for women.

To find out how God used this beautiful woman to teach me a much-needed lesson, head over to Pastors’ Wives for the rest of the story.

hidden-assumptions

Women of the Bible: Jochebed

She lay awake in the dark, listening with one ear for soldiers’ footsteps outside her window. Her other ear strained for the slightest whimper of her new baby boy. He cried out only once before she could reach him, offering her heavy breast to calm him. She held her breath to listen, but her own heartbeat echoing in her ears blocked any other sounds. While he nursed, Jochebed resumed her silent prayer to Yahweh, the God of her ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. -Hebrews 11:23

Her tears anointed the child in her arms, a physical manifestation of her pleas for a savior. She begged God to redeem them from this slavery, from the bonds that tightened so stealthily around their necks. Her people hadn’t come to Egypt as slaves. They were God’s Chosen Ones—the Hebrews—and only entered Egypt to escape famine. But now they were tied to this place. Now even their newborn babies belonged not to them but to Pharaoh. She had cried with too many mothers as they mourned the loss of their sons, born healthy but thrown to the currents and crocodiles of that cruel river.

Somehow, he was the answer
to her prayers for a savior.

As she prayed, she felt the same confidence of the night before…and the night before that. She was doing the right thing. This child was special, not just “mama-loves-you” special but specially chosen by God. He was no ordinary child. Somehow, he was the answer to her prayers for a savior.

But how long could she keep this up? How long could she hide him in the house? His lungs were getting stronger. The neighbors were looking askance at her. And what of her older children? What if the overseers questioned Aaron and Miriam?

 

I love this story because Jochebed was a thoughtful, faithful rebel! Read more about her courage, confidence, and creativity in my guest post at My Life. His Story..

Moses’ mother was a rebel, full of courage, confidence and creativity. This is faith.(click to tweet)