Category Archives: Communication

It’s OK to Have Doubts and Questions About the Christian Faith

It’s OK to Have Doubts and Questions About the Christian Faith

It’s OK to Have Doubts and Questions About the Christian Faith

This past weekend I had the opportunity to have a conversation with a couple of teenagers about issues of faith. To be completely honest, I had some pretty mixed emotions about our conversation. You see these teens had some pretty tough questions, and at points during the conversation they seemed to be questioning some of the most basic and important principles of the Christian faith.

Surprise

One emotion I experienced was that of surprise. These two teens had grown up in church and had been raised in a Christian home. Were they bringing into question everything that they have been taught all of their lives? Were they questioning the validity of the bible? How did they get to this point?

Then I almost talked myself out of the feelings of surprise as I reminded myself of the environment and culture that these teens and other teens are growing up in. The voices of the world are becoming louder and louder. They are surrounded on all sides and bombarded with attacks against Christian faith through culture in general, media, school systems, and even peer groups. How could they NOT have questions?

In the Bible, even the people in Berea were commended for questioning the teachings of Paul and Silas to make sure they were true. Their questioning did not surprise nor offend Paul.

“And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.” Acts 17:11-12 (NLT)

Fear and concern

Another emotion that arose was one of fear and concern. Questions began to flood my mind. If they are Christians and they have these questions, what must kids that weren’t raised in a Christian environment believe? If they were raised in church and in a Christian home, do all kids raised in a Christian environment have similar doubts and questions? Will my own kids have doubts and questions about their faith too? Am I equipped as a parent to raise kids who won’t have doubts? Is our future doomed if this is the common belief system of the current generation?

Then, as He always does, God started to ease my fears and concerns. Continue reading

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

This past weekend my son and daughter were arguing. Surprise. Surprise. Why do kids argue over the stupidest things? My daughter had actually won a prize at church, a giant Pixy Stix. They started arguing over if she would share or not. When she went to put her coat on before we walked out to the car she needed someone to hold her Pixy Stix. She wouldn’t hand it to her brother but to me instead. Apparently he got mad because he was “trying to help her”. I’m sure he had other ulterior motives too. So he spouted off in a hateful tone, “I was just trying to help you! You’re a piece of crap!”

After I picked my jaw up off the floor at the nastiness that just spewed out of his mouth, I quickly informed him that we DO NOT talk like that to people. I also advised him that he would definitely not be getting any of that Pixy Stix now.

When we got to the car I made him do the 4-step apology (or as we call it now, “apologize the right way”). We had some further, lengthy “discussion” about his attitude and the ease with which he flung his verbal assault. After some conversation, the tension ceased. Something else lighthearted created peace between the two siblings again; for the life of me I can’t remember what it was now.

Then, I had that motherly 6th sense as I was driving. My daughter, the forgiving soul that she is, gave her brother some of her Pixy Stix candy.

So hollering behind me…

Me: “Are you eating some of that Pixy Stix?!”

My son: “Yes, she gave me some.”

Me: “I told you NO Pixy Stix.”

My son: “But I apologized and she forgave me.”

Me: “Apologies don’t delete consequences. Just because you said you were sorry doesn’t mean that your punishment disappears. Just because she forgave you doesn’t make the hurt you caused her disappear.”

Then I remembered an exercise that I do with my classes to demonstrate a point. Continue reading

Explaining the Fear of the Lord

Explaining the Fear of the Lord...

Explaining the Fear of the Lord

The kids and I had a discussion recently about the fear of the Lord and what that truly means. It can be a little more difficult to explain to children. Even adults sometimes misunderstand the phrase “fear of the Lord”. So, I thought I’d spend some time on that today and share an analogy that came to mind to describe this “fear”.

This month we have been reading through a YouVersion bible reading plan called The Wisdom of Proverbs. It’s a good introduction to the book by reading a chapter of proverbs each day of the month accompanied by a short explanation each day. Reading a proverb a day is one of my daily routines that I’d like to instill in my own children. I learned as a youth that this practice is one of the best ways to grow in wisdom.

Wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord

As a result of reading the bible, we’ve learned that the beginning of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding comes from the fear of the Lord.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 (NIV)

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)

“Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!” Psalm 111:10 (NLT)

“And this is what he says to all humanity: The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.” Job 28:28 (NLT)

Therefore, if we want to be truly wise and grow in wisdom, we must learn this principle of having the fear of the Lord.

What is this “fear”?

The fear of the Lord has been defined as a specific sense of respect, awe, and submission to God. The Hebrew word for this fear is Continue reading

Scriptures About Speaking To Others And Knowing What To Say

Here are some scriptures about speaking that will help you with what to say to others.  Use these scriptures as a prayer for help on figuring out the right thing to say or as a positive affirmation that you will say the right things at the right time.

Scriptures About Speaking To Others And Knowing What To Say

Sometimes not knowing what to say to others can be very intimidating. Often we find ourselves in situations where we might have to have a difficult conversation or confrontation. Occasionally, we might even have to defend ourselves from time to time. Some situations are less serious, and we just need some wisdom or guidance on saying the right thing or clearly communicating a message. Fortunately, I have found some scriptures about speaking that I like to turn into a prayer request depending on my need at the time.

Personally, I’ve spent a significant amount of time in prayer using these scriptures about speaking to ask for God’s help to say the right thing at the right time. They also help me to ask for help to clearly explain something. Actually, I pray many of these verses before I write a blog post as well because I truly want my posts to be God-led, clearly explained and contain information that will help anyone who reads them. I also use these scriptures before a difficult conversation or confrontation when I know I’ll need to tread lightly and when the right words are so important. I even use them to help me discern when to keep my mouth shut! Lastly, I always want the words that come out of my mouth to only mirror what God would say.

I’d like to share some of my go-to scriptures for speaking that I use when I’m in these types of situations. Some I have found on my own with research on the topic. Others have been shared with me by close friends when I’ve reached out for prayer. My hope and prayer is that you might find a few go-to verses for yourself that help you know what to say when you are at a loss for words or need a little help. 

Scriptures about speaking the right words and having the right timing: Continue reading

You Rob People When You Refuse To Accept Help

You Rob People When You Refuse To Accept Help. See how...

You Rob People When You Refuse To Accept Help

We talked previously about refusing to accept help and how that reveals pride. There are some other disadvantages when we don’t accept help though. In addition to showing pride, refusing to accept help might actually be robbing people of lessons, blessings, and love when we decline their help.

Don’t you try to rob me of my blessing!

I still remember a lady on the news many years ago during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She was displaced and staying in Oklahoma. The news was interviewing some of the hurricane victims, and her interview has always stuck out to me. They were telling her story of giving money to a local church. Apparently the church tried to refuse her money. That’s when I giggled at her unyielding response. She said she told them, “Don’t you try to rob me of my blessing!”

What a perspective. She knew the laws of reaping and sowing. She knew that her small gift of monetary help, even in her time of need, would yield a blessing in return. In her eyes, anyone refusing to accept help from her was actually hurting her not helping her.

Robbing others AND ourselves of lessons and blessings

Someone’s offer for help may be them trying to love their neighbor. This is what Eric was doing when he offered to help the man at Lowes (story in previous post). When we refuse to accept help offered to us, we might be denying others the opportunity to obey God’s call to help. God commands us to help those around us.

“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13 (NLT)

“Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 (HCSB)

“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”” Luke 10:27 (NIV)

By someone offering to help, they are learning to love as God loves…by giving…by being unselfish. We shouldn’t rob somebody of Continue reading

Ask for Help. Accept Help.

Ask for Help. Accept Help.

Ask for Help. Accept Help.

I was just thinking the other day about how so many of us are hesitant to ask for help. Sometimes, we are also reluctant to accept help when offered. I got to thinking…I don’t think God wants us to be this way. Really, this is just being prideful, especially if it’s a pattern or natural tendency.

The man at Lowe’s said “no”

Earlier this summer, Eric and I had gone to Lowes to look at some plants. As we were walking through the parking lot, we noticed an elderly gentleman that was loading a huge stack of concrete paving stones into the back of a van. He looked like he was struggling a bit.

This was right around the time of when God was really impressing on me to “love your neighbor”. So, I was getting ready to tell Eric that he should offer to help the guy, but he beat me to it. [insert proud wife smiley face 🙂] However, the man refused Eric’s help. Twice. Eric offered a second time saying, “Are you sure?” Nope. “I’ve got it,” was his response. It was evident he was not going to ask for help nor accept help.

It made me kind of sad too, because I thought to myself, “We are just trying to obey God and love our neighbor. Why won’t he let us?” I told Eric, “Well, maybe he knows he’ll have to unload it at home by himself anyway. So he’s thinking he might as well do it now too.” Eric said, “Even more reason to accept help now.” I praised Eric for offering to help anyway.

Refusal to ask for help or accept help reveals pride

Later, I realized that to ask for help or to accept help can be a hit on our pride. It’s like we think we’re not enough somehow if we have to rely on others. What a lie. But we believe it. That’s why we so often say Continue reading

Ask God About Your Gifts And Purpose

Ask God About Your Gifts And Purpose...He is your artist and author.

Ask God About Your Gifts And Purpose

This past week we talked about how you have to look for and discover your gifts. It’s kind of like you’re a detective on a case trying to solve a mystery. One of the steps of the search process is to ask God about your gifts and purpose. After all, He’s the one who created you! If anybody would know what your gifts are and how you are supposed to use them it would be God.

I guess you could liken it to inquiring about a painting. Who would you ask if you had questions about the details of a painting? The artist, of course. What about a book that has left you with some questions? Who would you ask if you wanted to know more than what was on the surface? You would ask the author! The creators of the works have all of the knowledge and the inside scoop. They knew what they had in mind when they created their work.

God: Artist and Author

Similarly, God is your creator. God is your artist. You are His Masterpiece.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

God is the also the author who has already written your story. Because of that, He already knows how it ends!

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)  

Therefore, when you have questions about yourself and how you were made, Continue reading

Incremental Obedience … God Leads in Steps NOT Leaps

Incremental Obedience … God Leads in Steps NOT Leaps

Incremental Obedience…God Leads in Steps NOT Leaps

The phrase “leap of faith” is commonly used in Christian circles.  I’ve probably even used the term myself.  But did you know that this phrase is actually unscriptural.  God leads in steps NOT leaps.  We’re not frogs.  We’re humans.  Humans walk, not jump.  We need to learn how to practice incremental obedience via steps that God gives us. 

I’ve recently been reading through the devotional plan “How to Neighbor” by Pastor Craig Groeschel from Life.Church on the YouVersion Bible app.  It’s an excellent 10 day plan!  I highly recommend it.  In part of the plan Pastor Craig is talking about Esther and her pivotal role in helping God’s people.  He mentioned that Esther had to take steps of incremental obedience…

“As a teen, Esther pushed back darkness and risked everything for her neighbors because Mordecai, her adoptive father, reminded her why she was alive “for such a time as this.” Think about this. Esther, and every other person who’s ever done anything valuable for God, basically just took incremental steps of obedience.

The frequently quoted scripture, “Perhaps you were made…for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) can apply to our lives too.  We will have “for such a time as this” moments throughout our lives.  Those moments will require steps, not leaps, of incremental obedience leading up to them.

Esther’s steps of incremental obedience

Continue reading