(Im)Perfect: The Denying Heart

I have always been drawn to Peter–one of Jesus’s original twelve disciples. I think it’s because of his absolute imperfection and humanity. Honestly, I think it’s also because I see so much of myself in Peter. One of my favorite stories of Peter is this one: Jesus sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished, he said to Peter, “Now row out to deep water to cast your nets and you will have a great catch.” “Master,” Peter replied, “we’ve just come back from fishing all night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you insist, we’ll go out again and let down our nets because of your word.” When they pulled up their nets, they were shocked to see a huge catch of fish, and their nets were ready to burst! They waved to their business partners in the other boat for help. They ended up completely filling both boats with fish until they began to sink! Luke 5:4-7 (TPT) I love this story of Peter because I see so much of myself in it. Peter had spent the whole night fishing and catching nothing. When he came back to shore, Jesus told him to go back out to deep water and cast their nets out. Peter’s response is classic! He tells Jesus they’ve already been out there and caught nothing. I can see myself saying the same thing! It’s logic. Peter sees no reason to go back out to the deep water because logic tells him there won’t be any fish this time either. But, God.

(Im)Perfect: The Ungrateful Heart

It was tough. Did you know Moses spends the first nine chapters of Deuteronomy preaching at the Israelites over and over and over again to not turn their backs on God when they finally enter the Promised Land after wandering around in the wilderness for 4 years? Nine chapters. That tells me one of two things–either they were really stubborn or Moses didn’t have anything else to say. I’m pretty confident it isn’t that Moses was running out of things to say. No, it was definitely because the Israelites were stubborn, and, as Dr. Phil would say, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. The Israelites had some notorious past behavior.

(Im)Perfect: The Desperate Heart

I’ve always been baffled by Tamar’s story. I’m not sure how old I was when the full weight of her story resonated with me, but I’m pretty confident this one wasn’t illustrated on the flannel graph in my Sunday School class. After all, I don’t remember a prostitute character in the flannel graph box. If you don’t know Tamar’s story, the full narrative can be found in Genesis 38.

(Im)Perfect: The Deceived Heart

It’s so much easier to cast judgment instead of offering love, isn’t it? Probably the most quoted scripture relating to judging others is Matthew 7:1-3 (TPT): “Refuse to be a critic full of bias toward others, and you will not be judged. For you’ll be judged by the same standard that you’ve used to judge others. The measurement you use on them will be used on you. Why would you focus on the flaw in someone else’s life and fail to notice the glaring flaws of your own? I’m not sure how old I was when I first heard this scripture be completely taken out of context and used as the reason why it was okay to judge other people, but the gist of the argument was that Jesus never said not to judge here; he just said you will be judged by how you judge others. Because of that faulty logic, these folks used this scripture as the basis for why they had the right to judge others. Hello, “adventures in missing the point!” It’s nice to meet you!

Love Better: God

I was young, 7 or 8, and it was spring in the Midwest, which meant thunderstorms. They started out as just your normal, garden variety thunderstorms, but soon they produced into the torrential downpour, thunder rolling, bright lightning strikes lighting up the whole room, “should we go to the basement” grade thunderstorms. My bedroom was on the west side of the house, and that meant I got the worst of the storms–all the wind and rain would attack my windows, making me feel like I just might be the next Dorothy, and I didn’t have a Toto. I was convinced Jesus was coming back. And, I can tell you that my feelings weren’t feelings of joy that I was going to get to spend eternity with my savior. No, my feelings were of abject fear of hell because of the theology that had brainwashed me, even at such a young age. Instead of the sheer joy I should have been feeling at the prospect of spending eternity in heaven, these were my thoughts: Have I asked God to forgive all my sins? What if I forgot a sin? Am I past the age of accountability? I’m obviously past the age of accountability because I’m questioning if I’m past the age of accountability. I didn’t get baptized yet. I’m going to hell.

How to Survive Divorce and Still Love Jesus (The Ex Part II)

The best thing you can do when dealing with your ex is to seek God and his kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). When I’m practicing the pause, I’m typically praying that God will give me direction and the words to say. I find it’s much more difficult to be nasty to my ex after I’ve spent some time being still and listening to God in these situations.

How to Survive Divorce and Still Love Jesus: The Ex (Part I)

Let me just say this before I go on: everyone’s situation is different. The majority of my friends are divorced, and most of them remarried. All their situations are vastly different, and all of their exes are as well. It would be unrealistic to think I could give you a formula that will work for every situation, but let me do my best to offer some practical and Jesus-centered advice that has helped me. I hate to even start with this one because some of you might quit reading right here, but, honestly, this is the best way I have found to deal with my ex: Treat them like you want to be treated.

How to Survive Divorce and Still Love Jesus: Making the Best of the Holiday Season

Getting caught up in the negative by anything that divorce touches is so easy. Remembering that God’s mercy is new every single morning is a little tougher, but it’s much more meaningful. His grace and blessings are a constant for us. When we think about these times as opportunities to make new memories and have new experiences, it really allows us to soak up God’s mercy and blessings in a new way.

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