Are You Persuaded?

I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
[Romans 8:38-39]


This verse is one of the most often-cited and important verses, I believe, that speaks to the assurance of security in Christ – once your spirit is made alive in Christ by the Holy Spirit (the moment you truly believe that Jesus died for your sin and rose from the dead!), there is NOTHING that can separate you from God’s love.

Am I truly persuaded that there is nothing that can separate me from Christ’s love?


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How to Involve Your Kids in Missions

**Warning**

Involving your children in missions when they are young and eager to follow Jesus uninhibitedly may result in your children living a life that is sold out for the Gospel of Jesus, to see His glory made known everywhere, no matter where it leads them.
What are some ways to encourage your children to be involved with missions, even if you live in AnyTown, AnyCountry, with no desire or immediate plans to move?

In our home in SmallTown USA, here’s what I’m learning as I go as I invite my three girls to learn more about missions:


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When I just don’t care


Have you ever been in a place where you feel apathetic to what God is doing in your life, or what He’s trying to do in your life? I’m there. now.


It started with a desperate plea. “Jesus. Whatever You do, please don’t let go of me. Just. don’t. let. go. I’m prone to walk away from You. Don’t let me do that.” <—me, last January, after a few rough months.
 
And it dwindled to “Jesus. Whatever You do, please keep not-letting-go of me. Just. don’t. let. go. I’m empty. Not growing, just barely surviving. And that doesn’t really bother me right now. Please, don’t let me do anything to dishonor You.” <—me, a couple of weeks ago, after things just kept going from bad to worse after those few rough months.
 
2013 has gone down in the books as an agonizingly difficult year for my heart.
 

For a number of reasons. It doesn’t matter terribly what they are. What matters is, what do I do when I am apathetic to whether or not I’m growing spiritually? Because right now, I don’t care.


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No Wonder She’s Not Listening!

Abby had her annual well-child checkup on Wednesday. When the doctor came in and asked if I had any questions or concerns, I piped up. Lately, I can be standing only feet away from her, and speaking to her normally – and she completely ignores me. But not in a defiant way – just…I don’t know…like she genuinely can’t hear me.

I know kids can have selective hearing sometimes, but this is different.

Hmmm. He looked at the results of the hearing test the nurse had administered only 10 minutes previous: she had passed, but “certainly not with flying colors.” In fact, she had just barely eeked by.

“I’ll take a look,” he said.

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Regrets and Redemption

This morning I was thinking about life graphs…mapping out one’s life, reviewing the highs and lows, and examining God’s faithfulness and teaching and our growth in those times.   Then, the thought of regretful moments muscled in.  What about those moments which aren’t major highs or lows, but which continue to just low-grade torture us?  If only…  I just wish I hadn’t…  Why in the world did I…    Regret can be demoralizing and defeating.  The things we regret might be big, public, and obviously life-altering, but often the ones that are especially hard to let go of are smaller and just sad.  As I thought of this, the word, “redemption” came to mind.  Christ is our Redeemer.  He doesn’t just bring forgiveness, He also brings redemption.  He has and continues to redeem every part of us and our lives.  That’s why Paul can say:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)


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Sifted Like Wheat

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31, 32)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this verse. Jesus says this to Peter (Simon), after He has washed the disciples’ feet, and they’ve shared the last supper together. After Jesus has taught them about what it is to be great (you must be a servant), and after He has just commended the disciples with, “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Before they head out to the Garden of Gethsemane, for Jesus’ night of anguish and before He goes on to His sham trials and then death on the cross, Jesus says to Peter that Satan has demanded permission to go after him.


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Reflections on Haiti

It’s the first clinic day in Haiti. What in the world am I doing here? Though I slept last night, I still feel tired after having no sleep for 36 hours before that. I’m rattling along in a sort of metal cage in the back of a truck, through hot and very dusty streets amongst a people that I don’t know (some on our medical and translation team, as well as all of those on the streets). Most of the drive is not through beautiful countryside; it’s through bumpy streets that contain rubble and trash. (Or at least this is what catches my eye on this first day, and for some reason that I’m still trying to unpack it just hurts to see it.) I don’t fully know what to expect at the clinic or how to run my reading glasses station.

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Foolish Decisions

Have you ever made a foolish decision and then just had to live with it for what seemed like too long a time? Or maybe you’ll have to live with some consequences for the rest of your life?

Today, as I continued my slow (but good) progress through Jeremiah, I found myself in chapter 29. In the first half, Jeremiah has written a letter to those in exile in Babylon and is telling them what God has to say to them, which is that they will be in exile for quite a while….for 70 years. So, they should get on with their lives: 5 ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce.


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What Would You Say?

What if Jesus came and sat down next to you on your couch and said, “Look, I know it’s going to be hard, but I need you to go through a rough trial. Your experience with me in the midst of this trial and your humble and trusting response to it are going to be very important in the life of someone you love. And, please, remember that I’ll be with you always, every step of the way, supplying the strength and comfort you need.” What would you say?


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