Life This Week

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My friends Lawrence and Martha Temfwe, who live in Ndola, Zambia, strengthen my faith and encourage me to continue to grow and surrender my life to God. They don’t do it through words, but through their lives, their example. I don’t mean their courageous acts (visiting people suffering with HIV/AIDS, carrying for orphans, building the local church), although those are important too. I am encouraged most by their faith in the small moments – when they pray together in the car before going anywhere, their devotional time at breakfast, the conversation with their boys at dinner, and their deep care about my relationship with and growth in Christ. Any time I falter, I can think of them and get back on track. What a gift it is to look around and find someone who is standing firm in faith, growing in their relationship with God, and filled with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Even Paul said to a church in Thessalonica, “[k]nowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive.” (1 Thess 3:8) This week,

I’m thanking God for Lawrence and Martha Temfwe. They have been such a gift to me and they model faith, courage, and love. Their faith is so alive that they keep me more alive.

I’m praying for those who are faltering. I know that there are those around me whose faith is faltering today. I’m praying that God will open my eyes to those people and that I could be their Lawrence and Martha – that I could encourage them and strengthen them through my faith.

Who encourages you in your faith?

Who can you encourage today?

Life This Week

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For some reason, last night I was thinking about how God could have created us all to be adults right away, and skipped over the whole growing up thing.  I must have been feeling philosophical because then I thought about why he created us to be small and then grow big; to start with no words and then to acquire one syllable at a time; to be carried and then to carry others.  Why require things to be added, like water, food, sun, experience, and wisdom, over time, instead of putting it all in there at once?  Of course, I have no idea why other than that there is clearly something to this process of growing from small to big.  This is true of my faith.  It has grown over a period of years, from imperceptible to bigger.  And, it is a team effort – God does his part and I do mine.  Here’s what I’m doing this week to water my faith:

I’m reading Scripture This is like the sun.  Without it every day, my faith will shrivel and die.  There are days when it does not resonate, does not feel alive, and feels like a task to read.  There are days when it cuts like a knife, leaps off the page, and draws me in for hours.  But whatever I’m feeling, I read it.  Not reading it would be like being in the house all day with my daughter and ignoring her when she spoke to me.  I read Tyndale’s The One-Year Bible (which includes passages from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Gospels each day) (download it here) and a five to seven verse section in another book.  Right now, I’m reading the book of Ephesians.

I’m writing prayers I do this because when God answers a prayer, my faith grows.  (What about when a prayer isn’t answered?  Honestly, I cry.  I praise him.  I keep praying.)

I’m reading about other people’s faith I read blogs in which other people talk about their faith.  This week’s blog reading: The Actual Pastor, A Holy Experience, and Ragamuffin Ramblings.

I’m taking some love risks.  I don’t know what this will look like but when I have the opportunity this week, I’m going to share with someone that they are beloved by God.

I’m reviewing my day.  When I get into bed at the end of each day, I am going to run through the day and thank God for every blessing, difficulty, and opportunity to love he brought my way.

What does your week look like?

What Scripture are you reading? Blogs? Books?

Three Questions I’m Asking Today

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I could go to work today, sit in my office or cubicle and catch up on my emails and phone calls. I could head to my scheduled meetings, provide my input and walk back to my computer screen. A big part of me wants to do this because it is rainy and dreary. Bad things seem to be happening all around – explosions and earthquakes and flooding. I feel at risk, exposed. Better to close down and hold on. But, as tempting as that approach is, I’m going to reach out and up, toward light and away from darkness, asking myself these three questions:

1. Who needs encouragement today? I know four people in the midst of struggle who I could call or email to build them up and shine a light.

2. What is my faith in today? Basements flood, buildings crumble, stuff gets ruined. I wonder if this low-level anxiety and fear I feel upon hearing about tragedy stems from me unknowingly or unintentionally placing my faith in the man-made, instead of Christ.

3. What am I believing God for today? There are some deep wounds and patterns of thinking that, if I’m honest, though I want to, I don’t believe God can heal or redeem. I need to speak these wounds and patterns of thinking with my mouth and seek increased faith.

When tragedy is all around and storms roll in one after another, are there any questions that you need to ask?

Scripture to consider:

Ephesians 4:29-32

Isaiah 46:1-10

2 Corinthians 3:17-18