Christmas 2016

I wrote the following as a submission for a published devotional.  My submission wasn’t chosen, but maybe it will bless someone — Christmas, 2016.

It touches every one of us.  It blares across the headlines in the news and plays out across our country and world.  It also comes to every one of us personally.  It may come as sickness.  Or betrayal.  It may come as sadness.  Loneliness.  Pain.  Death.  This. The darkness of sin’s consequences.

And it doesn’t just touch our lives through the pain and destruction wrought by others upon us.  If we are honest we must admit that this sin lives in me and you.  That we create darkness through the consequences of our sins.

“The way of the wicked is like deep darkness.”  (Prov. 4:19.)  “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to Him but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”  (Romans 1:21).  “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.”  (Romans 7:14).  “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”  (John 8:34).

Yet, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”  (Isaiah 9:2).  This is what we celebrate today.  A great light.

“In the beginning … God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Gen.1:1).  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”  (John 1:1, 4-5).  “Jesus spoke again … he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”  (John 8:12.)

We celebrate today that the light of life came as a tiny baby.  To our weary, dark land.  We celebrate because the light of life has invited us to follow Him – because He has offered to quench the darkness within our souls with His light.

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6).  And so, “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”  (1 Peter 2: 9).  “You are the light of the world…Let your light shine so that all men may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  (Matt. 5:14, 16).

And so, friends, let it be light!  In my life.  In yours.  Here on earth.  Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Good News — Advent

How beautiful on the mountain are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns.”  (Isaiah 52:7).  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the LORD appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. – Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  (Luke 2:8-11, 12-14).  Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  (Matt. 9:35-38).  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matt. 28:18-20).  “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved – And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they hear if they are not sent?  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.”(Romans 10:9, 13, 14b-15).  They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”  (Rev. 6:10).  Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy.  When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.  Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.  The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.  (Isaiah 52:8-10).  I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  – His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns – He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.  He will rule them with an iron scepter.  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. (Rev. 19:11-15).  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.  (Rev. 21:4).

My dad says that Biblical prophecy is cyclical.  Many of the prophecies of Messiah foretell both His first coming and his second coming together.  God is outside time and space and in these prophecies He is giving us what He can of what we can understand to hold fast to during difficult times.

I am no Bible scholar (although I’ve been studying the Bible most of my life).  And, I am no theologian (having never formally studies theology).  But the passages above spoke to me, together today.

Having grown up in a non-liturgical church, I never observed “advent” as such.  This year, God is softening my heart to see how, in this time we live today, advent is about waiting for His second coming and making space in my heart for Jesus today so that He can naturally flow from my words and deeds — my life — to witness to those in my life.  Now is the time of harvest, friends.  Before His salvation is fully realized.

In the verses above, who brought good tidings?  Who proclaimed the good news?  In the verse in Romans, what is the good news?  Who has been sent to make disciples?  What is the last thing that broke your heart?  Frustrated you?  Have you offered that heartache/frustration to God?   Fasten the passage from Revelation in your mind, friend.  Use the pain of sin to increase your expectation of Him at His second coming and rejoice in His salvation!

Sin and Darkness

There is no one righteous, not even one.  (Romans 3:10).  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.  (Proverbs 1:7).  For although they knew God, the neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.  Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual immorality for the degrading of their bodies with one another.  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised, Amen.  Because of this, God gave them over to their shameful lusts.  Even their women exchanged natural relations with unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.  Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.  They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.  They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents, they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.  (Romans 1:21-32).  In him was life and that life is the light of man. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  (John 1:4-5).  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light, because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.  (John 3:19-21). Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.  (John 1:12, 16).  You are the light of the world — let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  (Matt. 5:14, 16).

What have you been struggling with lately?  Have you experience futile thinking or a darkened heart of late?  Have you found any wickedness, greed, gossip, slander, envy — etc. — in yourself lately?  Have you allowed God’s light to shine upon it, that sin within?  He already sees it, friend.  Don’t hide, but step into His light where He will reconcile and heal.  And, in humility and transparency, let that Light shine through you.  What little (or big!) thing can you do today to let His light shine in your life?

Worried … Still

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.  Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked will I depart.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’ (Job 1:20).  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”  (Daniel 3:16-18).  Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him. (Job 13:15). Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  (Romans 5: 3-5).  Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  (1 Peter 1:13, emphasis added).  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.  (Hebr. 11:1-2).  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. … Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  (Hebr. 12:1-3, emphasis added).

Have I mentioned, I’m worried?  I try not to be frightened and anxious, but I lose perspective so easily.  Some things here on earth seem so big and important.  If you, like me, are worried — if you fear for the future.  That things might get hard.  If you fear for others — perhaps those in your care, I pray that the reminders above would be concrete, piercing reminders and encouragement to stand firm.  Stand firm, friends, fixing your eyes on Jesus Christ.


I had the misfortune of listening to much of the second presidential debate on Sunday.  Although Kagan keeps abreast of current affairs, I diligently avoid them.  I was sickened, distraught and angry. Then, worried.  (I literally had visions of myself and our family trying to find food, shelter and warmth in the middle of winter in a post nuclear blast landscape.  My babies!  I’m not equipped to take care of my babies in a post-apocalyptic world!).

In short, I became burdened by the state of affairs of our country.  Not only by the national spectacle that is the race for President, but also by the moral degradation that has gotten us here.  In talking with a friend, I realized what I’d been doing.  I’d been taking the burden of national affairs upon my shoulders.  So, I surrendered it back to God.  I realize how silly that sounds.  I, Becky, have no responsibility for the behavior of the presidential hopefuls.  I have no control over who wins or loses (yes, I will vote, but really, out here with our meager college electoral votes, we don’t count).  But, I was taking responsibility for it.  Ownership of it. 
Over the last few days, the Holy Spirit has been reminding me of how worry is really a symptom of pride in my life.  Arrogance that I can change something by worrying.  Too, He reminds me, worry is lack of faith.  Lack of trust in God.  
He has been reminding me to do what I can and have faith that He will take care of the rest.  And He is good.  So, friend, I offer these beautiful verses as a reminder of who has called you and the living hope that He gives despite the situation you may be facing.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  (Matt. 11:28-30).  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing,s why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the lilies grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the filed, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  (Luke 12:25, 28).  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  (2 Cor. 10:5).  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – (1 Peter 1:3-4) – Therefore, prepare your minds for action: be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  (1 Peter 1:13) For you know that is was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.  Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.  (1 Peter 1:18-21).  And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28).   


Jubilee, Noah, Caleb and I ran to the grocery store the other day.  It was sunny out, and beautiful but for some intermittent, rather gusty wind.  I don’t remember why, but Jubilee complained about the wind.

Noah declared, “I’m going to praise now.”

“Dear God, pwease stop the wind.  Amen.”

After a moment, Jubilee remarked, “hey Noah, that actually worked!”

I recently received a rather swift, unexpected and obvious answer to prayer.  The answer caught me off-guard and has been very good, but hard.  (The usual mark of God’s hand, right?)  In the wake of dealing with this answered prayer, I keep trying to fit more circumstances into the obvious.  Cram more into the providence of God than He perhaps means.

I spent my younger years overspiritualizing many circumstances.  Looking for miracles under every bush and at every turn, expecting things to magically work out.  My middler years I spent at the other extreme for a Christian, never expecting or inviting God to actually speak to me about most things — determined to do what I set out to do.

God has been using motherhood to soften my heart so that I can again hear His voice in my circumstances.  He has been showing me His glory in the mundane.  Teaching me obedience in the tedious, hard things that nobody sees or gives me credit for.

And here I am, surprised by an answered prayer, certain that it occurred, and wondering how much of “everything else” is likewise an answer to this prayer in this arena of my life.

Things probably won’t tie up in a neat bow, as I see it, on this side of heaven.  God is so big that for everything to work out in a way that I comprehend it would not actually be good.  As I continue to struggle on, I’m trying to pray (and live) with a heart in the right posture before the Lord.  I’m trying to figure out what obedience in all things looks like, and just do that.  And I’m resisting the temptation to over-spiritualize things while simultaneously resisting the temptation to deny that God might do a miracle.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see, this is what the ancients were commended for … Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of God the father.”  Hebrews 11:1; 12:1-4

Therefore, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink.  For your heavenly Father knows you need these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Thank You

Right now, I’m studying prayer in my devotion times.  My pastor said something that made a ton of sense a while back about prayer.  I’ll paraphrase it here:  “We are in a spiritual war.  The enemy’s smart.  And, being a military man myself, I’ll tell you that I know from experience that the best way to win a war, the first thing an enemy does is take down the lines of communication.  This is why the Bible tells us to constantly be in prayer.  We need to keep the lines of communication open.”

I have been really convicted this year about how I’m spending my thought time.  Not, lest you get the wrong idea, that I was thinking about things I shouldn’t, but how I was probably squandering some of my though-time.

I shared a while back that I felt like the Lord was engineering my circumstances to create quiet in my life.  I mean, with two young children, not enough sleep and literally next to no spare time, it’s pretty hard to create quiet.  But, there are always moments in a day that can be spent in stillness before the Lord.  It might not be the stillness I enjoyed before I had kids, but it’s there, even if its just listening to a good sermon (instead of a mindless book) while I’m folding the laundry or doing the dishes.

Stillness and quiet, maybe are a part of prayer.  I know that boldness and persistence are part of prayer.  (Luke 11, 18:1).  So is bringing our true feelings to the Lord, so we can submit them to His perfect will.  (Luke 22:39-46). 

I feel like, maybe 31 is a little late in life to be asking, like the disciples did, “how should we pray?”  Yet, even with the Lord’s prayer, I feel like I’m going through some sort of rote formula and I feel like I need help with the “how.” 

At some point, when I actually do get some spare time, I’m going to read EM Bounds

This post is kinda rambly, and I don’t have much of a conclusion; however, I do have a scripture to share that I read today on my subject:  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  (Romans 12:12)

So … how about you?  What’s the current question you’re tackling before the Lord right now?  Have you made any leeway with it?

Two Part Response

In my last post, one of the verses that has gotten me thinking about doing something tangible to put feet to my faith was Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore, in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Most pastors will tell you that when you see a “therefore” in scripture, you should look back to see what it’s there for. Meaning, what preceded these verses that leads us to conclude what these verses say?

Here, the “therefore” is probably referring to the entire first 11 chapters of Romans — which, in good detail, sets out God’s plan for salvation. Boiled down (very much) these chapters say:

(1) we are all sinners and deserve, because of our choices in life, to be eternally separated from God
(2) God provided a way for us to be with him in eternity — Jesus Christ’s death on the cross
(3) by faith in Jesus we are justified before God and our sins are not counted against us
(4) our faith does not make us ‘free’ to sin, but frees us to live a Spirit-filled life, fighting against the desires of the sinful nature.

And, immediately before the ‘therefore’ in chapter 12, Paul bursts out in poetic exclamation:

Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge and glory of God! How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:33-36).

Therefore, in view of God’s mercy offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1).

I love it! We are not required to just up and offer ourselves to the Lord ‘because. In this respect, God is not like the parent who says to a child, “do such and such.” And when the child says, “why?” The parent says, “because I SAID SO.”

No, instead, our God has given us a glimpse into the depths of his character, we can plumb the riches of his wisdom, knowledge, and glory without ever coming up dry. It is because of his mercy — of only a part we understand — that we WANT TO offer ourselves in worship. It’s not just because he said so, it’s because he’s shown us and our natural response is to worship.

But, what is ‘offer[ing] [our] bodies as living sacrifices’? What’s spiritual worship?

Sacrifices in the Old Testament were dead things: dead doves, oxen, lambs — harvested grain … etc. And sacrifice is giving up something. Right? So, what’s a living sacrifice? A spiritual act of worship? Does this mean I have to go up to every altar call at every church service I attend? Does this mean I have to attend every worship service I can in my spare time? I have to listen to praise and worship music in the car and really mean the words to every song?

I’m coming to understand, I think, that part of what a living sacrifice is, is our actions. Our faith lived out. In the every day.

But, how does one live out their faith? This is one of those areas where the answer will be different for every person, from day to day–but, where the answer starts is the same for every person: Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2).

First of all, we have to ground ourselves in God’s word. We have to allow our minds to be transformed by reading the Bible, meditating upon it and praying. Then, as we are transformed we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2b).

In the American Church we think of God’s will as some great, mysterious thing for our lives. We have to pray upon his will and seek it out. We chase our tails trying to figure out God’s will for this or that big decision in our lives. We put out our golden fleeces, we set tests, we look for open doors or windows … I think we get it wrong here in America a lot, this concept of what God’s will is and how it’s up to us to ‘find’ it and (implicit in the whole attitude of the search) make it happen.

Right here Romans says that the way we know God’s will is by transforming our minds. Dwelling on Him. And, I think, out of this transformation, we will offer our bodies – our actions – as living sacrifices. God’s will in not only the extraordinary events and once-in-a-lifetime choices, but also the ordinary things every day. Maybe more so the ordinary everyday things.

So, our two-part response to God’s character revealed through His salvation of humanity? ONE worship with our lives by … at least, among other things, our everyday actions and what God reveals to us. TWO, to get to know God by reading His word, dwelling on it, praying about it, letting it transform us so we know how to worship with our lives and maybe also what big things He’s planning.

So, I feel like I have a lot of head-knowledge. Not that I’ve been completely ‘transformed by the renewing of my mind’ … but, I’ve got a lot of head knowledge. My primary focus right now needs to be on response number one – worshiping with my actions.

It’ll be interesting to see what this looks like … I’ll try to remember to update on this as things happen … But, I wonder, have you glimpsed God’s will recently – through the ordinary or the extraordinary?

Resolved for 2011

Holy moly, is it already twenty-eleven?!?

Some people are big into New Year’s Resolutions, and some people scoff at them. I am not ‘big’ into New Year’s resolutions, but I do like the concept of taking time every year to reflect on how the past year went, what I think I did well, what I want to do better and then make a conscious effort to do a certain number of things better than I did the year before.

One way I’ve done this in the past is to categorize my life and evaluate, like this:

1. How did I do as a Christian this year? What was my overall attitude like? What struggles did I encounter? What did I do well? — Why do I think I had these struggles/successes?
2. How did I do as a wife this year? What struggles did I have? What did I do well? — Why do I think I had these struggles/successes?
3. How did I do as a mom this year? What struggles did I have? What did I do well? — Why do I think I had these struggles/successes?

This year I’ve had a particularly good chance to reflect because I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. And, maybe the Lord was working me up to big reflection, because as I thought about a lot of the Bible verses that had been standing out to me in the last several months, they were all along similar lines:

You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted with its deceitful desires; to be made new by the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:23-24.)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for the building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29).

Be careful then, how you live, not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is…Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-17, 19-20).

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. (Ephesians 4:7-10).

For this very reason make every effort to add to your faith, goodness and to goodness, knowledge and to knowledge, self control and to self control perseverance and to perseverance godliness and to godliness, brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:4-8).

Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2).

I have been a Christian for all of my adult life. I grew up in the Church, going to Sunday School, listening to sermons. I have made it my business to really study the Bible. I’ve participated in a lot of Bible studies.

I did well in school, top of my class. High school. College. Law school.

Not only that, but law school teaches, not the law, but how to think. How to analyze a ‘text’, what questions to ask, how to draw logical conclusions … It’s nerdy to say, but I found that the ‘thinking’ tools taught in law school, in many ways, mirrored the way I had been studying the Bible since high school. I attended a Bible study full of law students in law school and LOVED IT because we were all on the same page about analyzing the scripture.

Where I’m going with this is that, for all my education and study, I have trouble where the rubber meets the road. As in, acting on all this head-knowledge and pretty good theology I’ve got going on.

I get busy with my life. I hurry. I have a family to take care of, a mortgage to help pay, student loans, career goals. Impatience issues. A critical nature … Well. If you’d like a more exhaustive list, let me know and I can oblige.

Most years my past New Year’s resolutions have been along the lines of: “I’ve been too busy to spend time reading the Bible and praying, so I’m resolving to adhere to this Bible reading guide and praying.” Where I’m at right now, though, I think my resolutions need to be more about action and less about study and self-reflection. Not that study and self-reflection are not worthy New Year’s resolutions – I am finding that they are probably not what I need to resolve for this year.

And herein lies a dilemma. How do I ‘make the most of every opportunity,’ ‘use the gift/s the Lord has given me to administer his grace,’ ‘add to my faith, goodness … etc’, ‘offer my body as a living sacrifice’?

More practically, how do I do these things when I’m expecting my second baby soon and I just KNOW things are going to get really sleep-deprived and hairy?

That’s what I’ve been mulling over. And last week I read this book my friend Ruhiyyih sent me recently called Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. Mark asks some good questions and poses some good challenges in this book and says, in one of his opening chapters (further convincing me that my resolutions need physical action outside my own personal quiet time) that we American Christians needs to step out of our pews and DO something.

I know that when I resolve to do something this year, I can’t resolve to do anything herculean. Realistically, I’m going to have a bleary, busy year. BUT, I can resolve a few small things that will help me, hopefully, put feet to my faith. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Consciously try to take time with people.
2. Encourage at least 1 person per week – person and encouragement means t.b.d. on a weekly basis.

So … are you a New Year’s resolution person? Are you making any for 2011?