{re}fresh

Month: November, 2016

Think About Such Things

by Wendy

Philippians-4_8 by-sapphire-dream-photography_flickr-com_9600100560_293d0d7f22_CC BY ND 2.0

Philippians-4:8 by-sapphire-dream-photography_flickr-com_9600100560_293d0d7f22_CC BY ND 2.0

“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”(Phil. 4:8, NIV)

Friends across a continent for more than two decades, we relished this rare week, far from the tangle of strained relations, finances, and obligations. Our daily duels with contentment-stealing vultures gradually faded as she basked in sketches, paintings and collages. I bathed in words, watercolors and photographs. She read. I wrote. We walked, prayed, talked, and made sense of the year’s triumphs and tumults. Until Wednesday, when all creativity ground to a screeching halt.

Stretching after an unproductive morning tussling with recalcitrant words, I peeked into the prayer room door. My friend sighed and looked up from her book. “I’m caught in a cauldron of negative emotions,” she mourned, shaking her head. “Yesterday was so good…” Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Chaos out There, and God’s in it Somewhere

by Mike McKinniss

Death and taxes, man. Death and taxes.

Uncertainty plagues us all. It is fundamental to the human condition for two infuriating reasons. One: the universe is far too vast and complex to know intimately the interrelated causalities affecting your future. Call it chaos theory, the butterfly effect, whatever—it’s what God tells Job at the conclusion of his eponymous text: we’re too small to know it all.

Another major cause of uncertainty in our lives, frustrating as it is: all these 7 billion people keep making up their own minds about what they’re going to do all the time. It’s maddening. Read the rest of this entry »

Fear Not Little Flock

by Rob Dunne

by-wally-gobetz_flickr-com9274040749-ab97ca386e.jpg CC BY_ND 2.0

by-wally-gobetz_flickr-com9274040749-ab97ca386e.jpg CC BY_ND 2.0

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: ‘All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.’” Ezra 1:2

In addition to the exciting fact that I was now an adult, I remember two distinct things happening shortly after my 18th birthday: I registered to vote and registered for the selective service. At that time, Ronald Reagan was our president. When his two terms ended I watched him leave office. Don’t quote me on this, but I think I actually cried as he boarded Air Force One. I genuinely wanted him to stay for a third term. Given the eventual disclosure of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, that would have been a horrible idea.

It is clear that we have never experienced an election cycle like the present one and by the time you read this, the nation will have made its choice and lots of people will be unhappy. Neither of the two candidates appeared to be a solid option. Both incited deep emotional feelings from the electorate including fear of what the future may hold. Read the rest of this entry »

Stop Fixing Me!

by Dawn Aldrich

toolbox“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.” Psalm 143:8

I finally own a pretty, woman’s tool box. You know, the dainty one where all the essential tools are wrapped in pink? It sits atop my refrigerator where I can easily find every tool needed for those quick-fix household repairs.

But, it’s not always those loose floor boards or broken door handles that surfaces my urge to fix things. Rather, my uncontrollable urge to make things right erupts when those most precious to me are hurting. And before you think I’m a softhearted, altruistic wife, mother and grandmother, let me set the record straight. I don’t like broken things because they bring discomfort, disharmony and disorder. I like life simple, orderly and happy. Read the rest of this entry »

Trust trumps control

by kerriebutterfield

packed-suitcases-by-kc481rlis-dambrc481ns-www-flickr-comphotosjanitors14939447207-cc-by-nd-2-0

packed-suitcases-by-kc481rlis-dambrc481ns-www-flickr-comphotosjanitors14939447207-cc-by-nd-2-0

  “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

Over the past few years God has graciously offered me gifts of faith that have been wrapped in difficult packages. This has often looked like opportunities to trust Him and allow Him to be things for me I hadn’t allowed Him to be for me before, and it meant surrendering my control over my own circumstances.

A few years ago we left our church jobs, sold our house, and were moving overseas with our two teenage children because God asked us to trust Him and walk with Him into an unknown future. As we finished up our jobs we had six weeks in which we would essentially live homeless.  I began to tackle this housing problem by praying and asking for God’s help. As I prayed, God said, “Don’t make reservations and don’t tell anyone you are in need. I will supply all your needs.”

We had already taken a giant leap of faith, so this felt like a huge stretch for me. I liked security. I liked knowing what the plan was and I was okay with doing this with my husband, but it pressed my buttons to essentially choose homelessness with two kids in tow. But, we were learning to hear and respond to God in obedience, and  although I knew this was going to be challenging, we needed to obey.

I drove to my husband’s office and said, “You aren’t going to believe this, Read the rest of this entry »

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