Several years ago, I accompanied my niece Shae and two of her girlfriends to a Girls of Grace conference. The event, sponsored by Christian recording artists Point of Grace, was geared to the needs of teen girls.
Several years ago, God sent me a special friend—even before I asked for one. When we first became acquainted, Roz and I were attending the same church in Virginia.
Several years ago I was introduced to the poignant Irish hymn "Be Thou My Vision" for the first time. It quickly became a favorite, especially the stanza that reads: "Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise / Thou mine inheritance, now and always / Thou and Thou only, first in my heart / High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art."
Whenever I hear this verse-and I sing it often-I imagine the glorious, eternal riches of our inheritance in Christ. It is true that on Earth and in heaven, God has by His grace provided for us "one blessing after another" (John 1:16, NIV). Yet without eyes to see Christ as our inheritance and our chief aim, we don't recognize His blessings for what they are.
The key to receiving God’s blessing is to see ourselves and our inheritance from heaven’s perspective. Several years ago I was introduced to the poignant Irish hymn “Be Thou My Vision” for the first time. It quickly became a favorite, especially the stanza that reads: “Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise / …
The pressures of leadership can reveal hidden character weaknesses. I believe the greatest challenge facing anyone in Christian ministry today is the temptation to compromise. Too often, gifted leaders who begin humbly fall when the pressures of their leadership roles reveal character weaknesses that have never been addressed. Though their failures always grieve us, we …
We should not be surprised when we see tremendous blessing and great evil appearing side by side. As believers today, I think we often look at the spiritual condition of our country and the rest of the world and we're given to think that God's kingdom is not advancing as it should be.
The other day, I heard someone say that the apparent worsening of the world's condition is not the result of our lack of spiritual authority and influence. Rather, the rise in hostility toward Christianity is a response to the power of God making inroads into the devil's domain.
Reading 2 Corinthians 1 in a contemporary version really opened my understanding on this subject. Paul wrote: "We don't want you to be in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn't think we were going to make it.
Thirty years ago, God sent someone my way who would redirect my life. One morning in 1977, my friend Stephanie went to work as usual and promptly met her next assignment: me. She did not know how God was working in my life and how strategic our meeting would be.
At the time, admittedly, I was pursuing my own way and not the way of the Lord, but I was desperate to know Him. I had been at a crossroads in my life and career. Living and working in Los Angeles had been good for me professionally, but in nearly every other way I was faltering.
It was time to leave California. I knew it. I just didn't know how I could pull it off. After praying and asking God to help me change my life, I was hired by a theater production company for a national tour. Knowing I'd be on the road for, possibly, more than a year, I gave up my apartment and put everything in storage that I couldn't fit into my luggage.
Probably our greatest hindrance in doing the will of God is the fact that it involves sacrifice.
The Christian life seems to be a strange experience in this way, and many people (even believers) today either choose to gloss over the uncomfortable component of sacrifice or ignore it altogether.
Even during the joyous celebration of Christmas, as believers, we should not overlook the fact that the baby in the manger was destined for the cross. The truth remains that our salvation, God's free gift to us, was not without cost.
In 1987, I had the privilege of interviewing author and former missionary Elisabeth Elliot. She is a fabulous writer, whose courageous example I really admire. At the time, she had just released a new book—an autobiography of missionary Amy Carmichael titled A Chance to Die.
Elisabeth had been greatly influenced by Amy's life, and I was drawn to her story. Actually, I considered both Elisabeth and Amy to be powerful models of sacrificial obedience and devotion to God, and I looked up to them.
Soon after I read the biography, I discovered Amy's books and poetry. I was completely captivated from the beginning. Her words were poignantly beautiful, her communication style seemed so pure.
I was fortunate to have grown up in a small, southern, very protective community. Certainly there were opportunities to challenge parental authority, but you just didn't do that sort of thing back then, especially not with everyone in the city watching your every move.
But after high school graduation, I went away to college in Boston. Not only was it the coldest place I'd ever been during the winter, I had difficulty adjusting to the climate in other ways, too. Socially, politically and spiritually, Boston was a shocking new experience.
I met young people from all over the world, most of whom had not grown up with a background anywhere near as conservative as my own. I was far from home and immersed in an environment that offered more temptations than I'd ever known existed.
When Queen S. Mims began Re-Entry Ministry, she struggled with feelings of inadequacy. But she said yes to God anyway.
Although she had been saved only a short while, in December 1978, Queen S. Mims began to sense that the Lord was stirring her to seek Him for a specific purpose. God had a special calling with her name on it—a vision that slowly began materializing as she fasted, prayed and studied the Word.
"I wanted to get close enough to hear His voice clearly," she said. "In the process, I developed a 'yes' in my spirit. I began to get excited about the call I yet had to understand."