Tag Archives: James 1:5

Merciful Days: What to do about Halloween

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Halloween

Halloween.  Nothing holds greater power to make good friends bitter enemies than Halloween.

It’s a clear-cut issue.  Halloween is the funnest day of the yeartotally evildress-up funof the deviltime to be sillytime to be vigilantcandy heaventooth decayfun for the whole familythe devil’s playgroundclassic American culture… a horrible dark thinga great way to build community with your neighborhoodan opportunity to stand against darknessthe best holiday of the yearthe most evil day of the year… not clear-cut.

I was born and raised in a country where Halloween was not part of the culture.  At some point it became a cultural import but most people, especially Christian people, did not embrace it.  Now I live in West-coast America where Halloween is as culturally prized as apple pie and Fourth of July!  It was a big shock when I first moved here, to see really wonderful godly people decorating their homes and encouraging their kids to dress up.  I didn’t understand why Christians would be involved with such a dark-themed holiday.  And then, as youth pastors, we had to work out what to do for our community of teens and families who demanded a safe and positive October 31st event.  It pushed me to have to pray…

What is a Christian supposed to do?!  What does God say about Halloween??  [Continue…]

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Merciful Days: My Father

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my father square“Have you asked God about it?” My dad’s kind and gentle eyes looked right into my heart.

He could have shouted, “NO WAY!”
He could have declared, “No daughter of mine will have a pierced eyebrow!”
He could have pleaded, “Please don’t.”

I was prepared for all of those scenarios.

Instead, my Father had lovingly directed me to our Father, Yahweh. [Continue…]

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Mentored To Hear

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James1_5Her text said, “When you have 10 min call me.”

I was at a giant crossroad needing to make a giant decision.  I shared my situation with her because I needed wisdom and guidance beyond my own.  She took notes as I shared and said she wanted to pray about it.

Honestly, she didn’t have to pray.  She is wise and insightful and discerning.  She could have given me a wise answer immediately.  And now you know why I consider her a valuable mentor: she put aside her own thoughts and took time to pursue hearing God’s thoughts.  An incredible humble woman who knows God’s wisdom is higher than any of ours.

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“When I asked God for direction for you, He spoke to me about something else: “He wants you to remember what He sees in you and who He made you to be.”

She shared what God had spoken to her about me, His design of me, and His plan for my life.  She suggested a practical way for me to hear His voice for decision-making.  She gave me a passage of God’s Word to think about in this time.

She did not tell me what to decide.

It needs to be noted that she has a big dog in the fight.  My decisions affect her life.  My decisions either keep our families in proximity or move us apart.

I knew what she wanted me to decide.  And I am amazed at the way she put aside her own needs and encouraged me to hear from God and no one else.

This is the way she mentors in my life.  Mentoring me to hear for myself.  She isn’t hoping or expecting me to walk out my life as a carbon copy of her.  She isn’t even asking me to consider the pragmatics of her life as an example to be followed.  She is solely and completing pointing me to hear and follow Yahweh.

Reminds me of the Chinese Proverb: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”

Wonderful.

Confession:  I was hoping for a prophetic word that would rescue me from having to make the decision myself.

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As a nine-year-old I was faced with a terrifying decision.  Two girls from my fifth-grade class had announced birthday parties on the same day, at the same time.  These girls were enemies and everyone invited to these parties were going to, by their attendance decision, declare which side they were on.  My Mum listened to my tear-filled explanation but didn’t provide a rescue.  “Making hard decisions is part of growing up.” She said.

I all-too-clearly remember the emotional and mental struggle I went through that day.  At dinner I cried, “I just wish I could go to both!”

“That’s a great solution,” my Mum encouraged me. “You have found a way to be friends with both girls. And I’ll gladly drive you to both parties.”  (Oh Mum, thank you for being so merciful and rearranging your day to serve my silly party needs. You have always given so much to serve my needs.  I am so grateful for your sacrificial love and care.  I pray I will develop the same heart for my kids.)

This was a defining moment.  It was my first “out-of-the-box” solution.  My first time seeking for an answer that brings love and community vs. finding the “right” and the “wrong.”  Years later, I can look back and see that creative, inspired, strategic decision-making is a gift God has developed in me.

Funnily, I don’t remember the parties but I will never forget the lesson: The decision-making process is worth the struggle involved. It is a crucible for growth.  It is a sanctuary for knowing Yahweh and His heart.  It is an opportunity for the eternal to intersect with my temporal.  Where God’s Kingdom floods mine.

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I’m at a crossroad again.  And as I wrestle and struggle to find direction, I am remembering and reflecting on the wisdom of these two wonderful women of God.  And I am grateful for this opportunity to dig into the presence of God and listen for His vision and direction.  Praying for the courage, endurance and fortitude to know God more through this and not just be focused on getting a solution!

All your children will have God for their teacher –  what a mentor for your children!  (Isaiah 54:13)   Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)   So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. (Colossians 1:9)   If you need wisdom — if you want to know what God wants you to do — ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. (James 1:5)