4 Ways to Pour from An Empty Vessel

4 Ways to Pour from An Empty Vessel

Everywhere I look these days, I see people promoting this thing called self care.  And I don't disagree that taking care of our bodies - which comprise the temple of the Holy Spirit, after all! - is a bad thing.

But we're also commanded to be selfless, to put others first, and to be giving.  So, while I think that self care (or temple maintenance, as I prefer to view it) can be a good thing if not overdone, there are going to be times when we have nothing left of ourselves to give, and yet giving of ourselves is exactly what we need to do. 

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3 Ways We Can Find Comfort in the Hallway

3 Ways We Can Find Comfort in the Hallway

I don't know too many people who love to wait or who eagerly welcome difficulties in life.  And I've shared before about my dislike of hallways.  But as my faith has matured, I've also come to realize that we can have hope and encouragement even during seasons of waiting.

If you're facing difficult circumstances or are waiting for something, there are 3 ways to find comfort in the hallway.

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The Hallway Hymn List

The Hallway Hymn List

Our church congregation sings a mix of both hymns and worship songs, and I've been greatly blessed by both.  Because the two seem so different to my musician's ear, however, I've always kept the two separate in my mind.  And since I shared my Hallway Playlist in my last post, today I get to share about my most beloved hymns!

There are SO MANY excellent hymns of the faith that it was difficult to select just a few to share here!  Several of these I've grown to love after playing them on the piano.  It's funny how that happens.

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The Hallway Playlist

The Hallway Playlist

Do you love listening to music?  Even though I'm a musician by training, I actually don't listen to a lot of music.  It's not that I don't love it, and it's not that I don't have enough access to CDs or Youtube.  I think it's just that in the business of this season of raising spark plugs, I just don't usually think about turning it on.

However, there have been a few songs that have really ministered to me, especially during seasons of struggles (or hallways, as I like to refer to them).  Today, I'm sharing a few of my favorites and why these specific ones have impacted me. 

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Should You Do A 90-Day Bible Reading Plan? Things to Consider Before You Begin!

Should You Do A 90-Day Bible Reading Plan?  Things to Consider Before You Begin!

Although I've read through my Bible numerous ways, until recently, I'd never ventured to a 90-day Bible reading plan.  It usually takes me 1-2 years (sometimes even 3, if I'm in a busy season of life) to read through the entirety of God's Word, so the idea of consuming it in a mere 3 months was a bit daunting.

After some consideration, I finally committed to the challenge this past February.  It was extremely difficult to keep up with the daily reading portions, but by the end of April, I had successfully finished my very first 90-Day Bible Reading Plan.  

I learned so much from this exercise that I felt I should share some of my takeaways in the hopes that my experience will help you decide whether or not you would benefit from reading your Bible in 90 days, too.

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10 Ways to Pray When You Don't Know What to Pray For

10 Ways to Pray When You Don't Know What to Pray For

Last week, a friend shared with me about a very difficult situation she was facing, so I asked, "how would you like me to pray?" 

"I'm not exactly sure," she responded.  "It's hard to know what would be best."

After my friend left, I thought about her situation and others like it.  Sometimes, it's not clear how we should be praying.  We know we need to pray, but what do we do when we don't know what we should pray for?

It's in those times that I have to go back to God's Word to learn what to do.  The Bible offers at least 10 ways to pray when we don't know what to pray for.

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3 Things to Consider When You Feel Like A Lousy Christian

3 Things to Consider When You Feel Like A Lousy Christian

I was truly looking forward to Easter.  Jon and I planned to send out newsletters to our various email lists.  We planned to attend our church's sunrise service.  We envisioned a detailed Passover lunch just like we've done the past several years.  I thought it would be fun to take beautiful family photos.

But life happened.  Jon, Wing Man, and I were still battling headcolds we'd contracted the week before.  The warmer weather brought with it my annual headaches that I suffer from every Spring.  There were no newsletters, photos, egg hunts, or special church services. 

In fact, I felt like a pretty lousy Christian for not being able to better celebrate the Risen Savior.

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3 Ways to Remember to Pray for Someone

3 Ways to Remember to Pray for Someone

If you're like me, you welcome the opportunity to pray for people.  But perhaps, also like me, you need a few built-in reminders to keep others' prayer requests at the front of your mind.

Whenever someone asks me to pray, I try to lift him or her up in prayer before I let them know that I'll be praying.  That way, I know I've prayed for them at least once.  But my heart really is to pray for them multiple times.  And I've found three fairly easy ways to remember to pray for them over and over.

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To the Wife Watching Her Husband Slowly Abandoning the Faith

To the Wife Watching Her Husband Slowly Abandoning the Faith

Most Christian wives enter into marriage with excitement, eagerly looking forward to the promise of a beautiful life of faith and devotion to God, strengthened by a strong, believing husband. 

Maybe you were one of them.

Many of us have gotten to enjoy the growing faith and iron-sharpening-iron we envisioned, but for others, sadly, that's not always how the story ends.

While true believers will grow in their faith and deepen their walk with Christ, some wives are facing a completely different, scary reality. 

And maybe you're one of them.

Maybe, instead of seeing your husband's faith blossom, you're watching him slowly abandon the faith.

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How to Read Revelation with Enjoyment

How to Read Revelation with Enjoyment

Revelation has long been one of my favorite books in the Bible.  But it wasn't until very recently that I learned just how rare that makes me - many people find Revelation too gruesome, too weird, and too difficult to enjoy.

While I definitely understand these aversions to the last book of the Bible, there are at least three things we can keep in mind in order to read Revelation with enjoyment as well.

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Why I Gave Up Social Media: One Year Later

Why I Gave Up Social Media:  One Year Later

Last February, I made the difficult decision to give up social media for personal use.  I had many reasons for doing so, and even though I felt it was a good step to take, I was nervous.  Would I feel completely alienated from everyone?  Would I miss important updates from friends with whom I was only connected on Facebook?  Would eliminating my personal accounts give me the peace of mind I hoped it would?

It's been a year since I gave it up, and I'm pleased to report that the world didn't end without me.  :)  In all seriousness, though, I learned several valuable lessons from my social media hiatus.

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Are Christians Looking at the "Rocks in A Jar" Analogy All Wrong?

Are Christians Looking at the "Rocks in A Jar" Analogy All Wrong?

The first time I heard the "rocks in a jar" analogy, I was intrigued.  The idea of prioritizing my goals and obligations made complete sense.  It was certainly true that unless I put my "big rocks" in my life's jar first, I would never be able to fit in the pebbles, sand, and water as well.  And so, for a long time, I was quite content with the standard "rocks in a jar" analogy.

As I've grown older and my spiritual walk has deepened, however, I've begun to wonder if we as believers are looking at our rocks in the wrong light. 

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Should Christians Approach Goal-Setting With A Different Motivation?

Should Christians Approach Goal-Setting With A Different Motivation?

Toward the end of 2016, I was almost dreading the start of another year.  It wasn't that the closing year had been bad; in fact, it had been a really good one.  But I was worried about goal-setting, or, more accurately, goal-failing.

It happened every year:  I would heroically set goals in January - new habits I wanted to develop, besetting sins I hoped to conquer - only to have reality set in around the end of February when I hadn't made any progress.  Ultimately, with feelings of frustration and failure, I'd throw up my hands and give up on accomplishing any of my goals for that particular year.

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4 Things to be Thankful For this Christmas

4 Things to be Thankful For this Christmas

I love the Christmas season.  The colors, the smells, the excitement - it's all wonderful to me.  And as a believer who understands the true importance of Christmas - Christ's incarnation - this time of year is definitely my favorite.  I'm reminded of all that we have to be thankful for, of all that Christ has done for us.

Sometimes, though, the holidays can be difficult.  The pain of a lost loved one can be exacerbated during the holidays.  The frustrations of financial difficulties are only augmented in the face of Christmas.  And illness or depression don't suddenly disappear or get better simply because everyone else is festive. 

No matter what your current season in life - visible blessings or constant struggle - there are at least four things we can all be grateful for this Christmas.

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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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