From where I stood, the water barely reached my ankles before retreating. This ocean, larger than any city, more powerful than any crowd, fell apart after stretching so far across the sand. Because the ocean has limits. And so do we.
Our muscles grow stronger when we repeatedly push against a weight or force. Similarly, as followers of Jesus, we can grow spiritually stronger when we encounter resistance.
We might define success by using external qualities like the amount of money someone accumulates or the amount of fame they achieve. However, in the Bible, we find a successful life is defined by our character – our disposition towards qualities like love and generosity.
As Christmas Day draws closer, I find myself already anticipating its end. I’m already planning when to take the tree down. The stockings, once hung with care, will soon be shoved in a box until next year. But in the calm of the trees and flowers, all eagerly awaiting the full warmth of the sun, I realize my sense of expectancy has been misplaced.
We may have several roles we play in society: as a spouse, a parent, or a co-worker, to name a few. At the same time, there are cultural standards for what it means to be “good” at the various roles we find ourselves in.
Jon Acuff says, “A good tradition is like a speed bump. It slows you down and reminds you of years gone by.”
The tradition of hanging Christmas lights was literally slowing me down, keeping me from the other activities I would rather be doing. But this speed bump in my day also reminded me that Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). Where there is confusion, He offers clarity. Where there is death, He offers life. As I hung each bulb, Jesus’ words were being hung on me.
When I was a child, my mother would collect coins wherever she could find them – between couch cushions or on the sidewalk. We didn’t have a lot of money, but she would always keep an eye out for “spare” change. When she had collected enough, she would take me and my sisters to the store to buy us a candy bar or some other small treat.
Despite our romanticism about the early church, they had their fair share of problems – favoritism, theological arguments, and divisions (to name a few). Yet…
Following Jesus on the path towards spiritual health sometimes leads us up mountaintops. Here, God’s presence is a tangible experience and activity like prayer, scripture reading, and worship are fulfilling.
One-third of our lives are spent at work. When you consider errands, chores, hobbies, or raising children, the percentage of our lives we spend working can be significantly higher than 30 percent.