13 Verses for A Young Man's 13th Birthday

13 Verses for A Young Man's 13th Birthday

This weekend, my family reached an incredible milestone:  my oldest spark plug became a teenager!  Looking back, I'm not exactly sure how we got here.  There were so many days during the toddler years that seemed to drag on forever, and yet somehow, the years simultaneously flew by.  It's certainly true what they say about the days being long but the years short!

I felt like I should be able to write something profound about parenting a thirteen-year-old, but since I only have about 4 days' experience to draw from, I decided instead to let God's Word do the sharing instead.

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When All You Want for Christmas Is A Potato Peeler

When All You Want for Christmas Is A Potato Peeler

Some years ago, I was talking with our pastor's wife about the lean years when they were first married and he was still in seminary.  She commented, "That Christmas, so many of our friends were talking about getting new furniture or something else big like that, but I would have given anything just to have a new potato peeler!"

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just behind us (do I hear a collective sigh of relief?), you may be feeling overwhelmed with the "lightning deals" and "special steals" that were plastered absolutely everywhere.  Maybe you were able to snag a few Christmas gifts at unbeatable prices.  Perhaps you were even able to splurge on an item or two.  

But maybe you're in a situation where all you want this Christmas is a new potato peeler.

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Guest Post: What If Doing Short-term Foster Care Causes Our Children Pain and Confusion?

Guest Post:  What If Doing Short-term Foster Care Causes Our Children Pain and Confusion?

Today, we have a special treat here on the blog!  In honor of National Adoption Month, blogger Naomi from Living Out 127 is sharing about her family's experience with foster care.  And I couldn't be more blessed to have her here. 

Adoption is something close to my heart.  Not only have I been adopted into the family of God through Christ's work on the cross, Jon and I have been praying about the possibility of becoming adoptive parents, too.   I don't know how the Lord will lead us, but if He chooses to open the door to adopt, we will be thrilled!

Adoption and foster care come with a lot of uncertainty - it definitely can be considered one of life's hallways!  Naomi raises and excellent question below:  what if fostering a child causes our other children difficulty?  It's definitely something to consider, and she does an excellent job of sharing how her family handled this delicate situation.  

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3 Ways to Develop A Hunger for Spiritual Growth

3 Ways to Develop A Hunger for Spiritual Growth

Do you crave spiritual growth?  If not, have you ever wondered why you don't or what you can do to foster a hunger for spiritual things?

I have a sneaking suspicion that if we're all honest with ourselves, none of us truly desire spiritual growth as much as we wish we did.  Sure, we want to grow in our faith, and many of us have probably had at least one "aha!" moment while studying Scripture that was thrilling.  But how many of us have an insatiable hunger for spiritual growth where we simply can't get enough of God and His Word?  

If you're like me, wishing you had a greater hunger for spiritual growth, there is hope!  Here are three ways you can develop a greater hunger for spiritual growth.

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The Christian Life Planner is Now Free for A Limited Time!

The Christian Life Planner is Now Free for A Limited Time!

Several months ago, I started noticing just how many planners are now available - daily planners, weekly planners, homeschool planners, business planners.  You can get a physical planner or a digital version.  You can even create your own with the popular bullet journal concept.  You name it, and there's probably a planner for it!  

In fact, there's really only one area I've found where planning seems to be nonexistent or even considered taboo.  I've yet to come across a planner specific to spiritual growth.  I think many Christians feel that planning for something that should be Spirit-led somehow goes against what the Bible teaches.  The more I've studied this, though, the more I believe that God's Word encourages planning in all seasons, including our walk with Christ.

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31 Attributes of God, Day 31: He Is Worthy

31 Attributes of God, Day 31:  He Is Worthy

Today's attribute of God is His worthiness, an appropriate attribute to conclude our 31 Attributes series.  My absolute favorite Scripture verse on His worthiness is found in Revelation 4:11 (NKJV, emphasis added): 

"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created."

We've looked at His longsuffering, His righteousness, His goodness, His sovereignty, and many other attributes.  And they all come together to prove that He alone truly is worthy of all power, praise, dominion, and worship.  I stand in absolute awe of the amazing, incomprehensible God we serve.

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31 Attributes of God, Day 30: He Is Wise

31 Attributes of God, Day 30:  He Is Wise

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt completely over your head and wished you had the wisdom to handle it better?  This routinely happens to me.  Although I might know how not to handle it, I never can quite figure out the best approach.  And it drives me crazy.  I long to have the understanding and mental clarity needed to determine the root issue, but most of the time, I just don't have enough wisdom.

Thankfully, I don't always need to know exactly what to do or have the perfect words to say, because while I lack that kind of wisdom, the Lord doesn't.  He fully understands each and every situation we encounter in life and knows how to perfectly handle everything.

In short, He is wise. 

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31 Attributes of God, Day 29: He Is Unchanging

31 Attributes of God, Day 29:  He Is Unchanging

We've almost completed our 31 Attributes of God series!  Today, is another astounding attribute:  He is unchangeable.  

I'm kind of an unemotional person for the most part.  I think my brother even once referred to me as stoic (though, admittedly, as I get older and experience more of life, I'm not nearly as stoic as I once was).  But even so, my mind, feelings, and emotions flip-flop often!  No one would describe me as unchangeable even if I am a little less given to wearing my feelings on my sleeve than others might be.

But God isn't like us.  He is unchangeable, unmoving.  He is steadfast and constant. 

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31 Attributes of God, Day 28: He Is Truthful

31 Attributes of God, Day 28:  He Is Truthful
Truth is harder than a lie.
- Francesca Battistelli, If We're Honest

Isn't it sad how easy it is to lie?  When I first heard the above line from the song, "If We're Honest," it hit me just how true it is.  For us, telling the truth is more difficult than simply making up a story.

That's not true with God.  He is truthful.  One hundred percent, all the time.  He stands in stark contrast to us who are tempted daily to be untruthful in a number of ways.  

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31 Attributes of God, Day 27: He Is Trustworthy

31 Attributes of God, Day 27:  He Is Trustworthy

Do you believe that God is trustworthy?  Because so many people aren't dependable, it can be difficult to really, truly believe that God is as good as He claims.  And that's exactly why we can't rely on our experiences to say whether or not God is trustworthy.

Let's see what Scripture has to say:

  • 2 Samuel 7:28 - "And now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant" (NKJV).
  • Psalm 22:4-5 - "Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them.  They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed" (NKJV, emphasis added).
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31 Attributes of God, Day 26: He Is Sovereign

31 Attributes of God, Day 26:  He Is Sovereign

What do you think about the sovereignty of God?  Until I was 16, my family and I attended a church that talked a lot about man's free will.  But then we began attending a church that focused heavily on God's sovereignty, and it did amazing things for my faith. 

It wasn't that our first church didn't believe in the sovereignty of God, but rather it simply wasn't a focal point (at least, not that I remember, but I was also fairly young when we stopped going there).  At our new church, however, the sovereignty of God permeated everything, and I began to understand more clearly how the Lord was in complete control of all things - how He was able to use even seemingly bad situations for His purposes.

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31 Attributes of God, Day 25: He Is Steadfast

31 Attributes of God, Day 25:  He Is Steadfast

What comes to mind when you hear the word steadfast?  I tend to think of something immovable, something that would remain firm even in the fiercest storm.  And since the online dictionary defines it as "resolute, dutifully firm, or unwavering," I think my concept is pretty much on the mark.

What doesn't come to mind about being steadfast is myself.  There are days when my emotions and feelings are all over the place.  One minute I'm on cloud 9; another minute and can be so frustrated that tears threaten.  And even though comparatively speaking, I may be a little more emotionally stable than some, when I compare myself with God's steadfastness, I'm about as unwavering as liquid jello!  

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31 Attributes of God, Day 24: He Is Righteous

31 Attributes of God, Day 24:  He Is Righteous
The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works (NKJV, emphasis added).

Righteousness.  I so often want to be right, but how often do I aspire to be righteous?  The desire to always be right is often rooted in selfishness and thus is anything but righteous.  But righteousness, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is to be "free from guilt or sin."  In essence, it's about the opposite of the selfish desire to always be right.

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31 Attributes of God, Day 23: He Is Pure

31 Attributes of God, Day 23:  He Is Pure

When I look around today, purity seems all but forgotten.  It certainly doesn't appear to be on anyone's achievement list.  In fact, at times it feels like people actually scoff at purity.  But purity is important to the Lord; it's one of His attributes. 

Interestingly, when I began my research into God's purity, most of what came up were posts on His holiness.  And while the two definitely overlap, I tend to think of these as separate attributes.  While holiness indicates a sacredness or a setting apart, purity means something hasn't been mixed or adulterated with anything else.  The two do go hand-in-hand, however, because by setting something apart as sacred, it keeps its purity.

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31 Attributes of God, Day 22: He Is Powerful

31 Attributes of God, Day 22:  He Is Powerful

I love seeing how all of God's attributes dovetail and work together!  Today, we're studying His power, but because we've already looked at His awesomeness, might, and omnipotence, it should come as no surprise that He is also powerful.  

There are many, many verses that testify to the power of God.  I'll list just three:

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31 Attributes of God, Day 21: He Is Personal

31 Attributes of God, Day 21:  He Is Personal

We've talked about quite a few of God's attributes that demonstrate His magnificence - His awesomeness, His infiniteness, and His omniscience, to name a few.  Each of these attributes speak to His grandeur, power, and sovereignty.  They give us a sense of His largeness, if I can call it that.

But today, I want to talk about how, despite the fact that God can hold the entire world in His hands and that He orchestrates the workings of all creation, He is also a personal, intimate God.  He cares as much about each individual as He does the whole of the universe.  

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31 Attributes of God, Day 20: He Is Perfect

31 Attributes of God, Day 20:  He Is Perfect

I don't know about you, but "perfect" would NOT be a word I'd use to describe myself.  From my shortcomings to my inconsistencies, I'm anything but perfect!

And that's why I'm so excited about today's post.  I may not be perfect, but my Heavenly Father is.  In fact, He does everything so perfectly that He can fill in and compensate for my imperfections.  There is so much comfort in knowing that He is perfect and that He is perfectly orchestrating and directing my life!

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31 Attributes of God, Day 19: He Is Peaceful

31 Attributes of God, Day 19:  He Is Peaceful

In our world today, there doesn't seem to be much peace, does there?  Whether it's countries on the verge of war with one another or family members who are at odds, much of what we experience in our lives is anything but peaceful.

How wonderful to know, then, that one of God's attributes is peace!  In fact, He delights in peace.  In the Old Testament, we see lots of instruction about peace offerings, and in the New Testament, Jesus offers His peace to the believers (see John 14:27).  In a world full of chaos and upheaval, it's incredibly comforting to know that God is peaceful!

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31 Attributes of God, Day 18: He Is Omniscient

31 Attributes of God, Day 18:  He Is Omniscient

Do you know what omniscient means?  Although I'd learned the definition as a child, I had to remind myself again (by Googling it) that God's omniscience means that He is all-knowing.  Since He is also all-powerful, it makes sense that He is all-knowing as well.  

Why does it matter whether or not God is all-knowing?  The Bible promises us in Romans 8:28 that God works all things together for the good of those who believe in Him.  In order for Him to keep this promise, He must be very aware of everything at all times.  So, it matters a lot!  Without His omniscience, He would not be God.

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31 Attributes of God, Day 17: He Is Omnipresent

31 Attributes of God, Day 17:  He Is Omnipresent

Yesterday, we talked about God's omnipotence - His unlimited power.  Today, let's look at His Omnipresence - His ability to be everywhere at once.  

You and I each live in our own, confined bodies.  We can't ever be in two places at once (unless you straddle a state line, I guess), much less be everywhere at all times!  But God can.  He doesn't have the same limitations and restrictions that we have.  He isn't confined by time, space, or location.  

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