God's Will for Us

Ascending the Heights of Grandeur

Only in Papa can we ascend the heights of grandeur, while at the same time plumbing the depths of commonness. That sums up my journey in Christ. The expectations of greatness have far exceeded my wildest dreams or imaginations and the simplicity has astounded me -- a simpleton (not meaning that in a self-deprecating way).

At times I've literally pinched myself to see if I was only imagining where I was being allowed to sojourn. And at other times I've slapped myself to make sure I wasn't asleep at the wheel of life. I know you can track with me. You can, can't you? Or am I the craziest of the King of Kings, Kingdom Kids?

The royal helpmate he gave me to share the journey with... the offspring (natural and spirit born) that have so far exceeded any dream I could have held for their life in Christ...the people he's allowed me to walk with and know... the lifelong friends who have loved me through the 'best and worst' of times (you know who you are)... the exotic and also awful places on this planet I have followed him to... the absolutely insane investment he continues to make in my life... on and on it goes!

Our Incredible Temples (The Challenge of Taking Care of Our Bodies)

Scripture tells us we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).

With that said, therefore, taking care of our Temple, known as our physical bodies, seems to be one of the greatest challenges. I know it has been for me.

In my book, "Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder," I chronicle my struggles through all kinds of dysfunction, disordered eating and harmful mindsets. Eventually I descended into anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, often displaying extreme food restriction and over-exercise behaviors. I saw food and exercise through unhealthy, punishing and dangerous filters and extremes. I either ate nothing or everything; I either did no exercise whatsoever or I punished myself with six grueling hours of it every day. There was no moderation, no healthy approach, just torment, fear, guilt, desperation and hopelessness.

True Friendship or Playing at Friendship?

Proverbs 18:24 NRSV
Some friends play at friendship
but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin.


I think that, on the whole, we don't really know how to be friends these days. In fact, our idea of friendship is often quite skewed because we either liken it to some kind of party (albeit an informal gathering down at the local pub over a brew) or we see it as something that makes us feel better. I think, all in all, we are more likely the first—someone who plays at friendship—than the latter—someone who sticks closer than a brother.

Understand that, when Proverbs was written, families lived together in one compound. Thus, there was a bond—heightened by financial intertwining—that existed between brothers. Sons (and daughters) didn't grow up to maturity and move away, but rather grew up to become part of the family's industry (whatever that was). Brothers were interconnected to such an extent that it was difficult to exist apart. So not only were they related physically (by blood), but there was a geographic and financial relationship that never ended.

Parable of a Sponsor

A member of the program of recovery, who previously had been attending meetings regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, her sponsor decided to visit her. It was a chilly evening and the sponsor found the sponsee at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for her sponsor's visit, the sponsee welcomed her, led her to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. Her sponsor made herself comfortable but said nothing.

In the grave silence, she contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the sponsor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then she sat back in her chair, still silent. The sponsee watched all this in quiet fascination.

Marriage is About Honoring God

Marriage is very special to the Lord. He didn't just create two genders and throw them together, hoping that they might be able to work out some kind of relationship. He actually create marriage when he created men and women. In other words, what's important isn't so much the relationship as the marriage itself.

Proverbs 18:22 NRSV
He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
and obtains favor from the Lord.

In our society, we have lowered marriage to simply relationship. It's so much more than that. Marriage is an earthly picture of the Church's relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 5, Paul calls this kind of joining, two becoming one flesh, "a great mystery" (v. 32). And it is just that. When two—a husband and wife—join together, they become something wonderful. And that "something" is also a picture of how God wants to be joined with us.

Do You Want to Be Enriched?

Proverbs 11:25-26
A generous person will be enriched,
and one who gives water will get water.
The people curse those who hold back grain,
but a blessing is on the head of those who sell it.

A generous person will be enriched . . .

We are living in a times of great need. Government leaders from all over the world are scrambling, doing what they think they should to stop imminent economic collapse. Unemployment is soaring. Housing prices are plummeting.

A generous person will be enriched . . .

It's Time for Joel's Perspective: Promises Fulfilled

Our cities (and our personal lives) may seem like those in Canaan, surrounded by walls that reach up to heaven -- walled in by unbelief. But -- let's not forget -- the walls of Jericho fell. The walls of unbelief are beginning to crumble. What is long overdue is the shout of the people of God.

I grew up near the mouth of the river Elbe in North Germany where I used to see huge flat-bottom river barges set fast in the mud banks. No tug or marine engine could shift them. But the tide quietly rippled in, hardly perceptible, creeping higher and higher up the sides of those immovable hulks. Soon those hundreds of tons were floating. From the quay I could move them with the slightest kick.

Our Perceptions Govern Our Lives

"It is all about how you look at things." Ever hear that expression? We're often advised to think positively, to believe in ourselves and to have faith in God. All of these things speak to our perspective on any life issue. All of these pieces of advice can feel like they're easier to say than be lived, right?

When I was a little girl, living on the farm, come late summer and early autumn, our farmstead was besieged with grasshoppers. I tell you, it was a tiny snapshot of what any locust plague must have looked like. It was hard to walk anywhere without there being a grasshopper right there, almost crunched by my foot.

Falling for the "Bad Guy"

"Everyone falls for the bad guy."

Yep, that about sums it up. A lot of you ladies know exactly what I'm talking about.

We see him, the rebel, complete with dreamy bedroom eyes, tousled hair and a certain taboo nonconformity, brooding in a dark corner somewhere; we're smitten.

There's something alluring, dangerous and promising about the bad guy, isn't there? Its intoxicating argument of an exciting, romantic and perfect life, however that's defined, leads us into taking the bad guy up on his offer. We make some choices- and, let's face it, they're not exactly great choices for us, are they?

Seeking Christ Crucified

"Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus which was crucified." Matthew 28:5


THIS was the address of an angel to Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, that had come to see the sepulcher before break of day They were last at the Cross, and first at the tomb. Favors are given sovereignly by the Lord, but honor is conferred according to a rule; and the rule is this: "Them that honor me, I will honor." These women were informed of his resurrection before the apostles; the apostles received the intelligence from them, but they received it from an angel.

At first these pious visitants were afraid. And what wonder when we consider that they were females; that all their sensibilities were alive; that they were in another's garden; that they were alone; that the earth was reeling under them; that the guards were fleeing, and perhaps shrieking; that it was early in the morning, and the remaining darkness rendered more visible and awful the divine messenger sitting at the door of the tomb -- his countenance as lightning, and his raiment white as snow!

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