Twenty Questions with a Stranger

Twenty Questions with a Stranger

Have you ever played Twenty Questions with a stranger?

Last fall, a new friend on Instagram invited me to participate in an interview — twenty questions about life and faith and my relationship with God. It took me until Christmastime to return my answers — they weren’t quick and easy! A lot of other interviewees were in line ahead of me, but this week the interview went live.

Questions ranged from “What’s on your nightstand right now?” to “What are your top three tips for staying spiritually strong?”

Here’s my favorite question, along with my answer:

“What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you?

“When people see my life and hear my story, I hope the relentless love of God comes to the forefront in dazzling splendor. I pray they sense the still, small voice of God whispering His delight over them and graciously drawing them closer to His heart.”

If you’re curious about the rest of the interview, I’d love for you to hop over to Modern Witnesses

Pondering Perfection

Pondering Perfection

“Please don’t let me mess up. Help me not to make a mistake.”

microphone-2479265_1280I stood in front of our church congregation, filling in as a member of the worship team. I would be leading out on the next song. My stomach was in knots as I thought through all that could possibly go wrong, things that have gone wrong in the past.

I could forget the words. My voice could crack. I could miss that high note.

Listening to the song’s intro (my heart obviously not worshiping), I realized something quite convicting – I’m quick to admit I’m not perfect. I talk about transparency and the importance of being real, of extending grace in our weaknesses and laughing at our embarrassing moments.

But I don’t like people to see me make mistakes. I want to control which imperfections they observe.

It’s one thing to talk about our mistakes and embarrassments, even our sins, in the past tense. It’s another matter to mess up when people are watching.

For most of my life, I’ve aimed at perfection. It seems a worthy pursuit. Jesus Himself said, “You are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

When the Bible uses this word perfect, however, it has the connotation of completeness and maturity.

This term “can be used in a relative or absolute sense…God’s perfection is absolute; man’s is relative reaching the goal set for Him by God with each individual different according to one’s God-given ability.” – Lexical Aids to the New Testament, Key Word Study Bible

God is perfect. He’s sinless and holy. He needs and lacks nothing.

bean-1512433_1280We, His children, on the other hand, are in the process of becoming perfect and mature. We’ve been declared righteous and our sins have been washed away. Yet the Holy Spirit is about the lifelong work of forming Christ in us – and He’s not in a hurry.

True perfection, like all of Christianity, revolves around Jesus, not our own efforts to keep a good image or avoid mistakes. Jesus is our example, as well as our Source of transformation. He uses even our weaknesses to mature us and make us like Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.)

So today, instead of focusing on myself and the image I want to maintain, I choose to rejoice in the work God is doing in my heart, my life and my home.

ChristianPerfectionHow about you? How is Jesus perfecting you these days?

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God our Helper

Maaaaaaaama! Can you help me? childhood-667605_1280

Can you fix this?

Find that?

Look at this?

Open that?

Change this?

Mama, I need you!

If you’re a parent, you get it. You know what it’s like to repeatedly change your agenda because someone needs you. You know the reality of days spent helping.

It’s what we parents do. Because we love, we serve.

Sometimes, though, I feel a little sorry for myself. I look at my insurmountable To-Do List and think, I can’t get any of MY work done! I imagine more glamorous, exciting ways to spend my time.

Some days I just want to be served, instead of serving.

(Side note, my sweet hubby and kids do serve me and love on me – all the time, in fact. I just forget to notice when I’m focused on myself.)

I guess it’s human nature to think of serving as a lesser job. To be the helper is less desirable, less prestigious. Important people have servants. Less important ones are the servants.

But I think we’ve got it backwards, because the Bible often calls God our Helper and portrays Jesus as our Servant.

  • “You have been the Helper of the orphan” (Psalm 10:14).
  • “God is my Helper; The Lord is the Sustainer of my soul” (Psalm 54:4).
  • Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
  • “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My [Jesus’] name, He will teach you all things and will bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).
  • “We confidently say, ‘The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid…’” (Hebrews 13:6).

No one is higher than God Himself, yet during His last moments on earth, Jesus dressed Himself as a servant and washed His followers’ feet. The dirty, dusty feet of every single one of them. Even Judas, whom Jesus knew would betray Him with a traitor’s kiss later that night. Even Peter, who would deny even knowing the Master for whom he swore he’d die.

Jesus did that night what only servants would do.

He spent His whole life doing what servants do. He taught for days on end. He healed the sick. He touched the untouchables. He raised the dead and forgave the penitent. He poured out His life helping those around Him, not because He was inferior, but because they needed Him.

It’s what God has done since the inception of humanity.

God our HelperGod our Servant. Kinda changes things, doesn’t it? Because God is our Helper:

  • We fill a sacred role when we serve those He’s put in our lives.
  • We have an ever-present Helper with whom we can face the dailyness of life, as well as the trials that come our way.

How about you? What difference does it make to know that God is your Helper? In what ways do you need His help today? Please comment below – I’d love to hear! Let’s get to know Him better together!

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Not Safe, but Good

Not Safe, but Good

by Meredith Mills



Oh, the adventures we’ve had!

Of all the activities we do as a family, reading together is one of my favorite. We’ve sailed to faraway lands, met giants and even escaped from a cyclops. We’ve been imprisoned with missionaries, dined with royalty and ridden a flying horse. Oh, the adventures we’ve had!

The best books, my favorite books, are those which sprinkle life lessons and spiritual truths throughout the stories. We’re currently reading one such book – The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis.

I love the chapter we read today, where the Pevensie children and their beaver friends discuss an upcoming meeting with Aslan, the Lion King of the magical land of Narnia. The children have never met Aslan, so the Beavers are preparing them for their introduction. Here’s how the conversation goes:

“Is he a man?” asked Lucy.

“Aslan a man?” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not…Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan…“Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver… “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

I want to cheer when I read those words. In Aslan lies a breathtaking picture of the Lion of Judah, our King Jesus.

He is not safe, as some count safety. He takes sin seriously – Scripture records the devastating effects of His anger toward those who persist in evil. He is not to be approached without reverence. Even demons tremble before Him and will one day bow in forced surrender.

But, oh, how good He is.

cross-2488005_1280Over and over, Scripture tells of His anger restrained by His compassion, even stating that mercy triumphs over judgment. This mercy led Him to the cross, where justice was satisfied through the death of the Innocent One in place of the guilty.

He is not safe, but He is good.

Yet this comforting truth leaves me with the following question, one I’ve honestly been pondering for the past several years:

Where does the “fear of God” fit into the life of a believer?

On the one hand, we are told that “as we live in God, our love grows more perfect…Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love” (I John 4:17-18 NLT).

On the other hand, we are urged to, “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV).

So are Christians to live in fear of an unsafe God?

Should His goodness lead us to carefree living?

The most poignant illustration I’ve heard on this subject was shared by our pastor in church recently. He told of a young boy taunted by his friends when he refused to join in their naughty behavior. Finally, an older boy said, “You’re just afraid that your dad will hurt you if you do it.”

His reply ought to echo in each of our hearts. “No, I’m not afraid he will hurt me. I’m afraid of hurting him.”

Love. Fear of grieving His heart. Jealousy over our relationship with Him. Such devotion should be the current that directs a life of faith.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how believers ought to fear God this side of Calvary. Please comment below – let’s get to know Him better together!

not safe but good

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Today’s post is based on the following Scripture verses: Psalm 78, James 2:19, Philippians 2:10, Psalm 30:5, Psalm 78:38, Psalm 103:8-13, James 2:13, 1 Peter 3:18.