• people walking
    Engage

    Forbearance: A Greater Grace

    When our kids were little and we traveled “over the river and through the woods” to visit extended family, a sense of dread would begin to well up in me the closer we got to their doorstep. Our family, like many, was messy. Old wounds, new offenses and unrealistic expectations often sabotaged our fantasies for a fun and festive time. Until we remembered to pray. Not just to pray a general prayer, but we had to remember to pray for a very specific thing: forbearance. Forbearance is a posture of grace. It recognizes that we all have limitations and failings and thus are apt to disappoint, frustrate and anger others.…

  • Engage

    Look Who’s Talking!

    I remember the first time my step-mother, standing beside my father, introduced me to her friend, by saying, “This is our daughter.” She didn’t say, “This is his daughter.” By choosing that one specific pronoun ”our” she was telling me that I now belonged, that I was part of the relationship between her and my dad, that she had claimed me as her own, that we were family.   Jesus begins the prayer he taught the multitudes (as recorded in Matthew 6) and his disciples (Luke 11) by telling them to start their conversations with God by saying “Our” Father. This little word, “our,” holds big implications for the entire prayer.…

  • Heartprints

    Taking Thoughts Captive and How to Teach it

    Thoughts are a part of life. They happen. We can’t control when or what thought might pop into our minds. There seem to be as many thoughts that come from outside us as those that begin within. It is no different for our children. From the earliest age of forming thoughts, outside forces impose images in our minds that provoke an emotional response. Imagination is a wonderful gift for without it we could not begin to relate to the God we cannot see or touch.  Sadly, in a fallen broken world our imagination can be an instrument used to overwhelm us. I compare my thoughts to a massive school of…

  • Engage

    What Do We Do When God Is Silent?

    Today I'm happy to host guest blogger Laura Murray. Laura is a pastor of Spiritual Formation in the Dallas area and loves to help people grow in faith. She is the author of a new book titled Pray as You Are: Finding Your Voice in Prayer. You can sign up for more from Laura at www.prayasyouare.com.  You look for him to intervene in your daughter’s life and he does not move. You stand at the crossroads of a medical decision and he remains quiet. You long for him to answer the question, “why?” and you are met with disheartening silence. God’s silence can be painful, especially when we long for an…

  • Gospel Infographic
    Heartprints

    Back to School Prayer Acrostic

    A couple weeks ago, my son bounded down the stairs before I left for work, proclaiming, “I am so excited!” “Why is that?” I asked. “I get to start Kindergarten,” he proudly proclaimed. Then he marched over to our fridge calendar and showed me how many days until the start of the school year. My older daughter, on the other hand, isn’t so sure she wants summer to be over. She’s nervous about a new class and fears it won’t be as fun as last year. Whatever your situation—starting school, packing a child’s lunch, or slowly sipping pumpkin lattes—chances are you’ve got a lot on your mind. Yet, no matter…

  • Heartprints

    3 Ways to Seek Peace When You’re Anxious

    This blog post comes from the frontline of anxiety. I stopped today numerous times to focus on breathing because of a tight chest of emotions.  Letting the peace of God rule in our hearts sometimes takes more work than reciting a verse we memorized. Do you ever feel so anxious you want to scream or hide? Here are 3 ways to seek peace when you are anxious: 1. Name. Put a name to your anxiety. Anxiety is a red flag that something needs changed or taken care of. What is it? We can’t change or take care of a feeling. 2. Pray. After you pray, pray some more. When anxiety clenches…

  • Engage

    I Spy

    Remember the childhood game of “I Spy”? Someone chooses an object in the room and tells just the color: “I spy something red.” Then everyone else tries to guess the item by its color only.   The remarkable thing is that as soon as the color red is mentioned, all the red things in the room start grabbing your eye. You may have been in the room many times over multiple years and never noticed a single red object, but now dozens are so obvious. The point is, now you are looking for red where before you weren’t.     We see what we look for   This same principle…

  • Heartprints

    The Spiritual Battle

    My heart is stirred by the spiritual battle raging around us all the time.  Oh, that God would open the eyes of His children to see what He sees. I would that our ears might hear the clashing of swords and the clink of the armor that fills the spiritual realm. Praying believers are warriors who shield one another from the fiery darts of the enemy whose desire is to oppress God’s children. Prayer warriors wage war against the enemy who grips tightly the unbelieving souls of those in spiritual darkness. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 makes it clear that there is a spiritual battle. “For though we live as human beings,…

  • Engage

    2018: The Year of Open Doors

    As we approach the mid-point of the year, most New Year’s resolutions are a faint and distant memory. High hopes for 2018 smacked into overloaded schedules and the realities of our daily To Do’s. Many of us are slogging into summer, yet we still muster hope for new opportunities and renewed purpose. What if the remainder of this year could become a doorway to new opportunities for each one of us? What if 2018 could still become “The Year of Open Doors” for you? The idea of a year possessing special meaning is nothing new. In Chinese culture, each year is themed on one of twelve zodiac animals, and many…