Back to the Basics

Written by: Angela Mercer

It seems to me that parenting has taught me more then almost anything else in my life. One thing I have learned is that I place a high priority on excellence (a job WELL DONE) and sometimes unfortunately—perfection, which, we all know is impossible.

When I was growing up I knew very quickly what made my parents proud or at least what I thought made them proud. I knew what I was good at and what people would praise me for. I knew what made my parents happy and I made sure I did lots of those things.

I recognize this same behaviour in my kids. They will clean up the kitchen or empty the dishwasher after they are home from school. Sometimes when I come home they will go the extra mile and tidy up the whole main living area and light a candle (they know I am a sucker for a beautifully scented candle). They love to see the look on my face when I realize I no longer have to spend time cleaning (and every mama said AMEN!) My kids light up with pride as they see how pleased I am with what they have done. If you are a parent, you know that while you appreciate that clean living room and the added touch of a lit candle, it doesn’t increase your love for that child. You already love them more then they’ll ever know.

Unfortunately, we can take that same approach with our relationship with God. It can be tempting to think that God will love us more and that we will make Him happy with all the awesome things we do. We can work so hard to please Him that we forget He doesn’t require that of us at all. It doesn’t seem to matter how long we’ve been a Christian either, we can still fall back into this trap without even thinking.

I once heard someone say: “There is nothing you can do to make God love you more and there’s nothing you can do to make God love you less. He just loves you”.

While I know that to be true (head knowledge) it is sometimes hard to remember in day to day life and actually live like I believe it (heart knowledge).

My favourite verse in scripture says: The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

When God looks at you, He rejoices. In other words He is GLAD AND FULL OF JOY. I like to picture God laughing.  It’s kind of like watching my son and daughter doing something they love. It is hard to not watch them with pride and a big smile on my face. I love watching them do what they were created to do and it gives me great joy!

God loves watching you, His child, and He is so full of joy He can’t contain Himself. And there was nothing you did to get that kind of reaction from Him. It is purely and simply because you are His and He loves you.

So, what do we do now?

We just simply receive that love and REST in it.

“What Would My Schedule Look Like If God Were In Charge Of It?”

Written by: Conny Varga

“Your schedule is causing you to become someone. Is it causing you to become a workaholic dad, a chronically exhausted mom, a distracted employee . . . ?

Or is it causing you to become a devoted follower of Christ, a responsible financial steward, a formidable prayer warrior, a faithful friend?

Your schedule is causing you to become someone. The question is, what do you think of who you’ve become?” (Bill Hybels)

What does my schedule say about me? If I were to project 5, 10, 15 years into the future, do I like what I will become? Do people around me know that I am a devoted follower of Christ simply by observing what I fill my days with, or do they see my life cluttered with non-essentials that will not matter once I pass from this life into eternity?

If you, like me, have lived any amount of time at a pedal-to-the-metal pace, you know that it may be time to re-evaluate. Time to look at our schedule, hour by hour, and minute by minute, prioritizing and cutting out, prayerfully moving and shifting things. That can be an extremely difficult thing to do. I believe the only way we can effectively accomplish this, is to realign ourselves with Scripture. I’m not sure when this happened, but over time, in our culture, we have bought into the lie that life is about success, prosperity, a certain job and lifestyle, scholarships for our kids, clothes, food, running from activity to activity, and the pressure of fitting into other people’s molds. And before we know it, we lie flat on our faces, panting, sweating, and exhausted.

However, the Bible clearly lays out our need for simple, whole-hearted, single-minded focus on what’s truly important. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks at length about our human tendency to strive, worry, and labour for things that are corruptible and prone to decay. He also states, quite bluntly, that people who don’t believe in God (pagans) live their lives in this manner, and that we, as believers, should be radically different. Then He gives us the solution in Matthew 6:33-34: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

What does that practically look like? We need to write down everything we do throughout a day, how much time we spend on each task, and then take our mess to Jesus and ask Him to help us untangle our lives. We need to determine what is truly important and essential, and what energizes us rather than depletes our energy. Is there any time throughout my day when I spend some meaningful time with my Heavenly Father? Do I take the time to listen to Him and give Him space to work in me? Maybe my life is so busy that I don’t have the time or energy to devote more than scraps to Him. If that’s the case, it is time to cut ruthlessly! We will never become the people we want to be if we spend our time on things that produce the opposite fruit. Here is a question to ask:

“What would my schedule look like if God were in charge of it?”

Would He tell me to look for a less toxic job, to downsize, to say “No”, to pull my children out of a couple of extracurricular activities? Would He tell me to spend more time with my spouse and kids, to slow down and commune with Him? To take a deep breath and then embrace the things He places before me, not the things I think I should be involved in?

The twelfth month of the year is upon us – may we use this opportunity to finish the year well, to spend much time in prayer and contemplation, to change things around, to cut out whatever it is that would hinder us from becoming more like Jesus, and then go forward into the new year as faithful stewards of each day God gives us.

Counterbalance

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Have you ever come up against personalities in life that were just too much to bear? At every corner those personalities tried to thwart you, attack you, malign you, oppose you. Have those personalities ever knocked you over and just when you got your footing, they drove you back down? Again, and again, and again! Their mandate being to make your life miserable and stressful.

Have you ever wanted to fight back? Throw them “under the bus” per say. Expose them for all the wrong they have done you and for all the wrong they stand for. Have you ever wanted to “do unto others as they have done to you” rather than “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 3:31)? Just once, giving them a taste of their own medicine or watching them fall like a house of cards.

I have. And I am sure you have too, to some degree. We wouldn’t be human if we haven’t.

This has been my challenge, though I am not given to revenge, a few times while living on planet earth and encountering difficult personalities. The rub between doing what I know Christ would have me do and doing what my flesh longs to do is daunting, often times exhausting. I sometimes just want to see them flounder, fail, crumble or disappear. I have found myself wanting to be a part of their demise. Not terribly flattering as a follower of Christ, but the raw truth!

Recently, when dealing with a particularly divisive personality, a dear friend of mine, strong in her faith, rich in her experience and knowledgeable in the Word, spoke to me incredible words of wisdom on how to handle this individual. After we shared, she simply stated, and I quote,

“Be sure to counteract every evil move with the opposite godly spirit.”

To create a counterbalance in the spiritual realm, thus, allowing God to reign in the individual’s life, in the situation and in my spiritual growth. To counter arrogance with humility; to counter anger with love; to counter greed with generousity; to counter hostility with gentleness. In essence, cultivating all the Fruit of the Spirit in my life and commanding them to flourish and grow; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control (Galatians 5:22-23).

I put her words into immediate action and it revolutionized how I viewed this person and all that surrounded them. It gave me a deep peace and a rekindled trust in my Saviour. It grew in me a love for this individual as I began to see them through the eyes of Christ. It changed my whole perspective, my attitude and my behaviour towards this personality. It gave me lightness in my step and a refreshed outlook on how to proceed.

And guess what?

The balance shifted! By countering every evil move with the opposite godly spirit, it not only transformed me to be more like Christ, it began a change in this individual’s personality and in our ability to work together in harmony! My prayer is that this change will continue and I will have the honour of bringing this person to full regeneration through salvation.

To God be the glory!

Life on Purpose: Good company

Written by: Emily Pelley

There are hard to find words to express how thankful I am for the people in my life. The people who walk with me through every joy and pain and celebration. And being there for them too has been a great honour. It reminds me how important it is to open your heart to good people who you can do life with.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

The reverse of this is also true- choose wisely who gets access to your heart. It may seem obvious, but consider: this does not only refer to people you cannot trust. But are the people in your life pointing you back to Jesus? Are the closest people to you also close to God? Do they take time to know Him? Do they live their lives for His purposes, or their own? Of course, we can love everyone and have all sorts of people in our life. But consider who you take council from; who you turn to for support and advice.

I love this picture of my daughter and her friend. It impresses on me the value of having someone a little more experienced, a little more ahead, to hold your hands and lead you along.

It has become so clear to me how much of an impact the people in my life have had on my wellbeing. There are people who build me up, people whom I can confide in, people who bring joy into every room, people who stay to comfort you when you are hurting…these are the people who add so much to my life. I encourage you today to invest in people. Invest time and energy in relationships. There is a such a benefit and a necessity to keeping good company.

Out of the Oven

Written by: Christianne Williams

I love to bake. Unfortunately, I also like to eat what I bake which poses a problem when I get on a baking spree.  The other day I had a craving for brownies, not the black bean type I had made when I was trying to be healthier, but the real deal, smothered with chocolate almond frosting.  Since I am a grown up and can make poor decisions like this, I got out my bowl and all the ingredients and began the process.  Within an hour, I had a pan of awesome, chocolaty gooiness and I was a happy camper.  My kids were also happy.

As I was on this quest for a treat it hit me: we are like brownies.  Or cake.  Or banana bread.  I’ll explain this.  When we come to Christ and ask Him to forgive our sins and live in our hearts, we are like the batter.  We have ingredients added, we have grace in the bowl, we have the Saviour’s love lavished upon us.  But, in the beginning, like the brownies I made, we are not done.  We are starting.  The baking process doesn’t end after everything’s in the bowl.  There’s more that has to take place, although they’re brownies from the beginning, they’re not at their finished product until they come out of the oven.

Christian life…a lot like that.  The day you are saved, you have not arrived.  Aren’t there times when you feel like you did ‘before’?  Maybe your patience was not at the level you’d expect from someone who’s saved.  Maybe your response to someone wasn’t as compassionate as you would have liked.  Maybe you feel down and discouraged instead of having faith.  Whatever it is, it makes you feel like you’ve failed, like you have to revisit the cross because you’ve blown it.  When I bake, I also make a mess, just ask my husband.  I’ve also managed to make a mess of some situations along the way since I became a Christian.  Usually times when I tried to do things on my own without inquiring of God first.

I’m absolutely not saying that we can live any old way, fly off the handle and be as reckless as before.  After all, self control is a fruit of the Spirit and we are supposed to bear those fruit.  I’m saying we’re not perfect yet.  We have not been taken from the oven yet.  God is not done with us.  The key is that you have a heart that desires to let God lead, we won’t always have the correct response, we won’t always handle things in the best way, but the goal of everyday is to become more like Christ.  We have to want to be changed by Him, to allow Him to replace our heart with His.  We can’t give up or feel like there’s no way we can ever be good enough.  The truth is, we can never be good enough, and God doesn’t expect us to be.  What He expects is a heart that looks to Him, to be led and changed by Him.  We should be growing in our relationship with Him.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.”

Some translations say ‘becoming new’.  Which shows that it’s a process, one that we won’t fully complete until our feet hit the streets of gold.  It’s our job to keep pushing forward, not get stuck on our failure, but get up and keep going.

Philippians 1:6 says, “….being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”

Keep Christ in Christmas

Written by: Conny Varga

“Keep Christ in Christmas!” These lawn signs will start to pop up everywhere as we are about to enter the Advent Season. And I can only say “Amen” to that!

But what does that actually mean? The answer might be obvious. Of course, it means that we are free to celebrate Jesus as the true Reason for the Season, His virgin birth, the angels, shepherds, wise men, the star. But that statement goes much deeper than that – or at least it should. It also means that we reflect on why Jesus came to earth in the first place. Again, the answer to this might seem obvious – to die for our sins so that we can be saved. And yes, that was the main reason, for sure. But He also came to show us how to live in a way that reflects the heart of our heavenly Father. He challenged stuffy man-made rules and laws, lived radically different from what society expected of Him, and mostly hung out with the scum of society, the outcasts. He loved, healed, cared for, and forgave. And He made it very clear that all who believe in Him as their Saviour are expected to live the same way. All of that is contained in that one statement on people’s front lawn.

Just imagine for a moment what it would have been like if Jesus celebrated His own birthday the way we do. “We have to get candles, lots of candles, Andrew”, He might have said. “We have to light up every area of this house. And Peter, go cut down that cedar in the back yard and put it over here in the corner. Then go down to the silversmith and get as many gold and silver decorations as you can and hang them on the branches – I want it to glitter! John, here is the money bag, go and buy presents for everyone, and make sure you get the gift receipts, in case people don’t like what they get. James, whose house are we going to tonight? Do we have a hostess gift, and does everyone have their ugly Christmas tunic on? Judas, how is your stonecutting of that bearded fat man coming along? Make sure you paint his tunic red and white when you’re done, and place a few mules in front of his chariot. That will look great on our roof top – almost as if he could fly!”

“Oh yeah, we will have to make some room for a little nativity scene. Let’s see… how about we put it over here under this window. Bartholomew, who taught you to do woodcarving? You made me look really chubby, and my mom – she looks like she has a halo on her head!”

Seems ridiculous, right? Thank God Jesus left a different example for us. Don’t get me wrong. Jesus loved spending time with people, He celebrated with them, and He did not refuse gifts. But much more than that, He extended love and grace to all who were desperate.

I read a quote recently that lays it out beautifully for us:

“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.” (Steve Maraboli)

That sounds much different than “get presents, go to parties, eat till you drop”, doesn’t it? It requires us to pause for a moment, lay aside our own ideas of what Christmas is all about, and intentionally seek out the mission Christ placed before us. It requires us to go out and actively look for opportunities and people who need to see “Christ in Christmas” through us. The list is not complicated – the orphaned, the widow, the foreigner, the poor, the lonely, the downcast. I am certain we can all come up with at least one name of a person whom we can serve and love this Christmas season. Why not invite foreign students to spend Christmas with you? Or how about taking a plate of cookies to that elderly woman down the street and having tea with her? Do you need to extend forgiveness and grace to anyone? Maybe you can buy a gift through a world relief organization and supply an orphan or a poor family with food and clothing. Whatever God is placing before you, don’t let the busyness of the season hinder you from showing the love of Jesus to your world. Let’s keep Christ in Christmas the way He has always intended it.

Who is the Cause of Your Storm?

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

To be honest anytime I read the book of Jonah, I don’t think too highly of him. I have actually wondered why the book of Jonah is even in the Bible.  In my eyes, Jonah was no hero. He was whiny .  He grumbled and complained.  A lot.  He didn’t want to go where God was sending him so he ran away. And then in the end when the people of Ninevah repented, Jonah became angry, saying he would rather die and told God to “Kill me now” because God forgave them and didn’t destroy them like Jonah had predicted.

However there are things that can be learned from this short book in the Bible. You see, as Christians, we love to blame the devil when things go wrong in our life. We say things like we are under attack from the enemy.  Sometimes that is true. The enemy does come to kill and destroy.  But in a recent sermon I heard at our “Spanglish” church, the youth pastor, Bryan made a very good point and one I hadn’t thought too much about before…and that is, often times we create our own storms.  (Italics in this post are Bryan’s) Perhaps it is brought on our disobedience or not doing what we know to be the right thing to do.  Sometimes we put ourselves in a certain situation by our bad decisions. We can make a real mess of things on our own.   If we don’t study for an exam, chances are we will fail. Here in Honduras if we drink water that is not purified we will indeed get sick. Perhaps we lose our temper and say thing we shouldn’t, and relationships are damaged. Maybe we don’t follow through with what we promise causing disappointment and lack of trust.  Or we fail to show up for work a few days, causing extra work for those we work with and the very good possibility of being fired.  So you see, our storms just don’t impact us, they can also impact those around us. For instance with Jonah, he ran from God and got on boat going in the other direction.  The Lord allowed an awful storm to come up. The men on the boat with Jonah were scared out of their minds, not knowing what they should do. They thought they were going to die and all because of this guy Jonah who was in their boat running from God. He was the cause of their storm. Pastor Bryan said in his sermon, “Sometimes Jonah is still in our boat.  It’s time to throw Jonah out of your boat.”

And speaking of messes, I remember many years ago when our children were very young. We were living in Essex Ontario and we had a large fenced in back yard with a couple small sheds.  To our horror, it came to our attention that our boys were using one of the little sheds as an outhouse to poop in. They knew I didn’t want them running in and out of the house every few minutes.  They were also old enough to know that pooping in the shed was a very bad idea and that if caught they would be in BIG trouble.  It was a young boy that I was babysitting that told me “Mrs. Carolyn, someone’s been pooping in your shed!”   Being the firecracker that I am, I let Dale handle the situation. He did. He calmly took them to the shed and provided them with the supplies needed to clean their mess. They didn’t like that at all. It was a nasty job, but that was the consequence for the mess they created. God provided a big fish to get Jonah out of the storm. The storm brought on by his disobedience.  Certainly it would not have been enjoyable. Three days in the belly of a fish. It would have been uncomfortable. Dark. Cold.  Smelly. God won’t allow us to be comfortable with our bad decisions. He loves us that much!

Hebrews 12:11

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening, it’s painful! But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Everyone Else’s Highlight Reel

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Facebook reminds me a lot of the church.

Facebook has proven to be a wonderful tool to connect me with new and old friends, share encouragement and opportunity, and figuratively speaking, live life together. While Facebook is great at providing a connection with others, the screen that separates us does limit our awareness and perception into each others lives.

The church is a place where we connect as well. It is a place we share and learn ideas, a place we grow, a place where we gather and celebrate. The church is a place where you can find real transformed lives as well as new and old friendships. There are times though, that I feel the same disconnection in the church as I do on Facebook.

Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I often see perfectly well-behaved children, magazine-worthy homes, picture-perfect family vacations, and thriving marriages. It is rare to scroll through and see mountains of dirty laundry, misbehaving children, family vacations gone wrong or an argument between spouses.

It is unfortunate that this same portrayal of perfection often leaks into the church. After all these years, I see people who still try their best to live their lives like they have it all together, only allowing people to see the parts of their lives that illuminate the idea of perfection. It’s both unhealthy and unrealistic.

From the outside looking in, both on Facebook and in the church people appear to be in essence; perfect. And, if you are totally honest, you probably find yourself feeling a little insecure in light of all that…perfection. Right?

Me too.

“This is one of the main reasons we struggle with insecurity: we’re comparing our behind-the-scenes with everybody else’s highlight reel.” — Steven Furtick, Crash the Chatterbox

It is up to us—we have to guard our heart. (Proverbs 4:23) Too often we ‘take the bait’ and believe in these illusions of perfection and then fall prey to the shadow of insecurity. Comparison has become a sport— a game to be played with obvious winners and losers. The truth is, no one is perfect so participating in this sport will always leave you feeling defeated and unworthy.

I think a step in the right direction is to first acknowledge that we are all sinners and all fall short (Romans 3:23). Reminding ourselves of this will substantially change our attitude when scrolling past those perfect illusions and instead, propel our hearts toward an attitude of love for others and gratitude for our own blessings.

Choose What Is Better

Written by: Conny Varga

Imagine this scene: You are in first-century Judea, watching an interesting scene through the window of a small home. You see a woman busy at work, rushing from stove to table, arranging and re-arranging the floor cushions for the hundredth time to get them just right, decorating the table with flowers, positioning the gourmet lamb, flatbread, olives and wine in an appealing pattern. Earlier, she had spent the entire morning sweeping the house, scrubbing the furniture, bringing in palm branches to hang on the walls, and shaking out rugs. She looks exhausted, stressed.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room there is a guest, sitting on a large cushion on the floor, deep in conversation with another woman. This woman looks very much like the first one, most likely her sister. The two of them seem completely unaware of the activities around them; that is, until they are jolted from their world by a question: “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

You have probably already guessed it – it’s the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10), the two sisters of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. Martha is the busy one, distracted with the work she had taken on, while Mary only cared about “lazily” sitting with Jesus and listening to his teachings. Jesus’ answer to Martha’s frustrated question is quite intriguing. He didn’t chastise her but instead just helped bring her focus back to what’s important. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42). See, in her effort to do everything perfectly and getting everything just right, Martha had forgotten about her guest – and not just any guest! The Lord of the universe was sitting in her house, and she was too busy to spend time with Him!

I don’t know about you, but I cannot help but think of the upcoming Advent and Christmas season. Are we not all too similar to Martha, filling our days with frenzied activities, rushing to and fro, exhausted and stressed? Do we not all too easily forget that Christmas is not about the lights and the glitter, the shopping and the turkey, the parties and the gifts? We think that we just need to do this one more thing, buy this one other gift, serve that one additional appetizer, and then we’ll be ready to celebrate Jesus. And before we know it, Christmas will be over, and we will have missed spending time with Him. Jesus’ answer rings true for us as well. “You are worried and upset about many things, but less is more. Keep things simple, so that you can choose what is better. It’s about Me, remember?  Why don’t you rest awhile and spend some time with Me?”

I pray that we would all take this reminder to heart this year. May we take the time to reflect on and choose what is better. May we remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. And may we be happy and content with simple, few things – or indeed only one: Jesus.

Reflective Practice

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Right now, the buzz phrase in my field of study and work is “Reflective Practice.”  The goal is to become what is known as a “Reflective Practitioner of Early Childhood Education.”  One who takes the time to cycle through the process of “Inquiry, Observation, Data Collection and Reflection” with reflection being the pinnacle step in moving forward for the betterment of the children in our care.

We are encouraged to first examine ourselves, in any given situation or interaction with children or fellow practitioners, before we respond.  Our task is to set aside time intentionally to be alone, or with a co-worker, to engage in this reflective practice in a systematic manner.

In fact, one of our early childhood gurus, William Ayers, describes it this way.  “Reflection is thinking rigorously, critically and systematically about practices and problems of importance to further growth.  Reflection is a disciplined way of assessing situations, imagining a future different from today and preparing to act.”  This perspective is one that can inspire and excite one to become a positive and impacting force in the lives of others and keep the individual fresh and ready for new adventures.

Further, being a “Reflective Practitioner” is a valuable asset to our work with others and strengthens our image of them as competent, capable and full of potential.  It also allows us to work through complex issues and come out on the other side with greater knowledge, wisdom and understanding.   At its most basic element, it allows us to reorganize our thinking, to look at all sides of a situation and avoid the impulse to respond out of emotion or in the same way we have always done.

This is POWERFUL!

In “reflecting” on the above, I see many parallels echoed in several scriptures in God’s Word.  In particular, we find in James 1:19-27 a challenge to be, what I dub, “Reflective Practitioners of our Faith.”  He says this,

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:  You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  So, get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. 

But don’t just listen to God’s word.  You must do what it says.  Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.  For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.  You see yourself, walk away and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

And, if you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.  Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

I absolutely love the book of James and find his words to be much needed and direct.  In this passage, though somewhat painful to hear, I see the cycle of “Inquiry, Observation, Data Collection and Reflection” at work, admonishing us to implore the Fruit of the Spirit, found in Galatians 5:22-23, to flourish in our lives.

When we inquire of God’s Word, delving into his blessed scriptures, we can make observations of what He says to us and document our interpretations of those words in our prayer journals.  Then upon reflection of what we have observed we can then apply His truths to our lives, thus, changing us for His glory and causing us to impact others for the better.  The book of James is a great place to start and sets the stage for the direction our lives should take.

I encourage you this week to join me in being a “Reflective Practitioner of our Faith.”  Let’s be intentional in taking the time necessary to spend with our Lord, in prayer and in His Word, and working to reflect on the truths we find there.  We then must take those truths and apply them to our lives so that we can influences others for Christ.