“Where are the lame? I must make my home in their shadow. Where are the lowly- the ones despised? Where is pain at this moment? Because I have tired of trying to get God to come to me, instead I will enter into the place where He already is... when you avoid pain, above all else, you are avoiding God.” ~ Matthew Lyle Mooney, A Story Unfinished.
Two weeks ago I stole this book from my friend Keri’s desk (with her permission). Little did I know, it was my heart that was about to be stolen.
When I walked in the door, a wide smile filled little Elle's face and she ran into my arms. For the next several minutes, Elle circled around the crowded room. Each time she made her way purposely back to me, placed both hands on my knees, and said, "There you are!" It was as if Elle wanted me to know that in the midst of a crowd, she delighted that I was in the room.
1 Chronicles 16:11 (ESV) says, "Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!"
It makes me wonder: Do I see Jesus like Elle sees me?
When you enjoy your life you bring joy to the One who gave it to you.
And that, my friend, is why the enemy of your soul hates what makes you truly joyful. Because he is out to destroy anything and everything that brings God joy.
I'm kind of a nerd. I love school supplies. I can get lost in the never-ending aisles of sharpies, pretty notebooks, crayons, and pencils. I've always been this way. When I was a kid, a new notebook said so much more than me than just, "it's time to go back to school." A new, blank notebook was full of potential. The possibilities were endless. There were plenty of other challenges to deal with on the first day of school. But when I could face them with a new notebook and some new supplies, it made it just a little bit easier.
There are many children here in Northwest Arkansas who don't have that option.
Can you imagine your life without freedom? Nowhere to turn for justice. Government being the source of oppression rather than protection. For those of us fortunate enough to live in the United States of America, it is easy to take for granted the unparalleled liberty we've experienced for over 200 years. Unless you are a serious student of world history or have traveled extensively, you actually may not recognize how unique, rare, and precious the blessings of liberty really are.
On my nephew’s first birthday, his mom pulled out a shiny can. It was a time capsule to be filled with letters and mementos.
Last year, my nephew turned 18. His mom pulled out the now-dented can with its faded label. For the next hour there was lots of laughter, but also tears as Jason read through letters from loved ones no longer here on earth.
"The National Weather Service has issued a severe storm warning for this area." These are words that can cause many of us to panic! We worry about being without electricity, food, and heat. Yet, even though we may have been through similar situations in the past, most of us do little, if anything, to prepare for such occurrences. We simply hope it doesn't happen again.
The fact is that emergencies happen! Some say that "life" happens! Storms come, jobs are lost, people get sick, unexpected events happen to all of us. Do you have a plan for how you are going to handle the next "storm" or are you simply crossing your fingers and hoping it doesn't happen?
We often picture God’s will for our lives like a thin, definitive line. A tightrope we must walk carefully and with the utmost caution. One wrong step and we’ll surely fall. And when we do, we’ll mess up our future forever.
But when we come to know Jesus, our life is not a tightrope but a wide, open space of grace. We have so much room to breathe, to grow, to learn. God knows we are human. He knows we will take detours, face obstacles, and make mistakes. If he were committed only to using those of us who never stray then no human would ever be part of his plan.
A seventeenth-century craftsman worked alone with primitive tools, but his focus everyday was to put the best he had into his work. This man made violins. He created his own personal standard of excellence and signed his name on each instrument that passed the test.
Many of you spent the month of May praying for a Foster Child or a sibling group in the Arkansas foster care system. This month we had a chance to talk with someone else who is investing in the lives of these same children. Ken Ferguson is the founder and president of New Beginning Children's Homes, a long term residential care facility for foster children in Northwest Arkansas. Ken explains that while the organization is structured like an orphanage, the environment is family and faith oriented.