If you ask Christians why they go to church, the answers will vary. We recently went through (some of us are still going through) a time when regular church attendance was not possible. It left many asking the question, “Why do we go to church?”
Our reasons for praising God are innumerable, yet I often fail to find words that accurately express my praise. Thankfully, the Lord Himself provides words of praise in the Book of Psalms. Although the psalms are wrought with all types of emotions, some of the best (and most popular) words of praise are found in their pages. The Psalms give us words of praise for what is good, how God is good, and how He works for us and loves us.
Many of us—especially those of us up here in Minnesota—feel the drain the cold, long, and dark winter months have on our bodies and minds. We lack the vitamin D and the warmth the sun provides. Our bodies are sluggish. Our faces are chilled.
My preschooler has been among the many feeling the lack of the warmth and light of the sun. He has made it a habit of asking me the same question daily: “Mom, spring will come again, right?”
It’s the time of year that I love and loathe. I love the new and the fresh and the possible. But I’m not great at making plans or evaluating what happened over the last twelve months. I’m not great at setting goals or working out how to achieve those goals. Yet planning and evaluating are natural things to do at the end of a year, and although I’m looking forward to 2021, I feel pressure to plan the work I will do. I am much better at flying by the seat of my pants than establishing a plan for my work.
Advent is upon us! In this season, we look back on all Christ did when He came veiled in flesh. We also look forward to when He will come again in His resurrected body with nail-pierced hands. In this year of social-distancing and social unrest, we remember that regardless of circumstance we are connected because of Christ and the life He freely gave for us.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Nineties-era country music is a treasure chest of hidden gems. I was born in 1985 in the Midwest and spent a large amount of time on my grandparents’ dairy farm. When I hear people talking about standing for something, a song begins playing in my mind— “You’ve Got to Stand for Something,” sung by Aaron Tippin, written by Buddy Brock, and released in 1990. The song is a classic, and I can assure you the music video will take you right back to the nineties in a hurry.
Our hope is not in our circumstances.
It’s something I need to be reminded of regularly. Especially during times that are not routine or are unexpected, or when it becomes apparent that so little is in our control.
As I write this, I am listening to the decisions made by my home state of Minnesota about school this fall. After this spring and the experience of distance learning , my children and I are ready for school to be back in session.
I am far from an expert on prayer.
I’m not the person to go to for tips on how to be consistent in prayer.
I can remind you of the assurance we have in prayer because of Christ.
The prayer we now call the “Lord’s Prayer” did not originate from a monk or a mother. It was given to us by Jesus, our Lord. He tells us to pray to our Father with simple words. Jesus ensures us that the Father knows what we need before we ask (Matthew 6:5–8).
When planning time for daily devotions, ideally, what does that look like to you? If my ideal devotional time was fulfilled, I would find myself at my favorite lakeside coffee shop each morning. The smell of coffee and caramel rolls would mingle in my nose. My four kids would be playing outside and my ears would faintly pick up on their encouraging words to one another and soft giggles. My mind would be free from clutter and ready to learn. I would always have my favorite leggings and soft plaid shirt clean. The coffee would be a perfect drinking temperature. Not too hot to drink and far from cold.