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Books of the Bible Study Questions: Ecclesiastes

Imagine having the world at your fingertips. God gave it all to young King Solomon when He gave him a wise and discerning heart. Like the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable, Solomon squandered God’s generous gift in wild living. Here in his Book of Ecclesiastes, he reports on his discoveries about a life of self-indulgence lived apart from God. 

A Message for Teens Struggling with Bullying or Depression

This post is an excerpt from my newest Bible study, Shine: Sparkling with God’s Love.

In my life, I’ve struggled with real hope-crushing sadness. Not just the kind of sadness that comes from something hard that’s happened, but the kind that shifts my whole outlook on life.

To the Church on Her Birthday

Last week I turned forty with much pomp and circumstance. My family treated me like royalty, sending me off on an adventure with my oldest daughter. My friends made detailed plans for restaurants and meet-ups. There was food and sunshine and praise and laughter involved. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

Sharing God’s Love with New People in New Places

Our family is on the road again, transitioning from our time at the seminary to my husband’s call and a life in western New York. Transitions with three small children are messy. There are abnormal bedtimes and meals, toys packed into boxes and onto a truck despite the protests of a four year old, and lots of emotions. The simple reality is that saying good-bye is sad and saying hello can be scary. About a week ago now, after being shipped off to grandma’s house so my husband and I could finish packing, load a truck, and clean our apartment, my daughter said to a family friend whom she hadn’t seen in sometime, “My heart missed you. I’m so lucky I get to love people in lots of spots. Some people only love people in one spot.”

What We Can Learn about Perseverance from Nehemiah

We all have one thing hanging over our lives that has been there far too long. It could be a habit to break, an addiction to conquer, a goal to accomplish, a long-standing project to complete, a relationship to restore or end, or a debt to retire. That one thing keeps showing up and outstaying its welcome. It sits smack dab in the middle of the room like the proverbial pink elephant. Everyone tiptoes around it—never acknowledging or discussing it.

Books of the Bible Study Questions: Ezra

The Book of Ezra is not well known; we tend to just mumble our way over it when we say the books of the Bible (1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther . . .) and maybe never even venture to see what's inside this Old Testament book.

Using Philippians to Find Joy—Every Day

This post is adapted from my newest women’s Bible study, Joy: A Study of Philippians.

If you’ve mailed me a letter, I probably still have it. I treasure handwritten words because the writer has something special to say. Maybe the letter is filled with news and updates. Or perhaps it contains humbling words of thanks. Often, it includes encouraging words and tender reminders. Sometimes it contains carefully crafted remarks that challenge or hold me accountable. One of my favorite parts of personal letters is the valediction, the complimentary close, such as “Blessings, my friend,” “With a grateful heart,” or “Yours in Christ.”

Small Catechism Devotion about the Apostles’ Creed

A wellspring of hope, comfort, and encouragement, Luther’s Small Catechism has served as a devotional for centuries. Devotions on the Small Catechism builds on the catechism’s historical use and enhances its Gospel-centered message, helping Christians bridge the gap between the catechism and real life. This post is an excerpt from the book; at the end of the post, you can order the book to get seventy more devotions like this one.

6 Toxic Friendships and How Teens Can Deal with Them as Christians

This post is an excerpt from my newest Bible study, Shine: Sparkling with God’s Love.

 Toxic friendships can cause so much darkness in your world. They can make you feel angry, frustrated, vengeful. How can you, as a young Christian woman, deal with these friendships in a way that reflects God’s love? Here is an (incomplete) list of some toxic friendships and how you can rely on God to help you share His love with friends who need it.

Persevering through Life’s Challenges: Women’s Bible Study

This post is adapted from Perseverance: Praying through Life’s Challenges, a new women’s Bible study by Donna Pyle focusing on the Book of Nehemiah.

My perseverance journey started several months ago as I stepped on the scale after yet another failed “healthy lifestyle” attempt. The egregious number blaring up at me seemed to confirm the lie I had already believed for years: This is just who I am.