Is praise really a sacrifice?

“By Him, therefore [Jesus, the one who suffered outside the camp], let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, even the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name. . . . For with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

One time in church we were singing the song Blessed Be Your Name, which tends to make me cry. A young friend later said, “That’s really hard to say. It’s hard to say ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ when everything is dark and hard.” Continue reading “Is praise really a sacrifice?”

Acknowledging my inability

It was three years ago this month that I participated in the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers’ Conference. I listened to speakers talk about how to write nonfiction, the merits of self-publishing, and how to be a dynamite storyteller. I chatted with experts at the dinner table.

During such an empowering week, it’s always hard to get away for quiet time. But in a corner of the beautiful lodge, I discovered a little desk tucked away. Continue reading “Acknowledging my inability”

Life lessons from Bill Nye

Yes, the Science Guy. That one. The zany one who makes half hour programs that teach a modicum of science. [I used to have a photo of him here, but removed it for fear of recriminations from Disney, about which I’ve been hearing so much lately.]

One day, while Bill was teaching us that wetlands are wet, he held up two sponges, one dry, one damp.  He told us that a wet sponge will soak up more water than a dry one. Even if you don’t actually do the experiment, you can picture a dry sponge and a damp one both being plunged into a big bowl of water and removed. Continue reading “Life lessons from Bill Nye”

The joy of Joy Ridderhof

Update February 2015: Joy Ridderhof’s biography became the second in the Potter’s Wheel series of Christian biographies for children. You can see the book here and read a sample chapter here. I’ve written here and here and here and here and I guess especially here about how important I believe it is to give children good examples of Christians who “do exploits” for the Kingdom of God.

***

A woman named Joy garnered fame
So different was she from her name.
Vindictive and rude,
Bitter venom she spewed–
But oh Joy! She was never to blame.

(This comes from being in bed with the flu. Sorry.) Continue reading “The joy of Joy Ridderhof”

On reading through the Bible in 2011

I’m a New Covenant Christian.

I say this without shame, with full understanding of the implications.

I believe that the New Covenant is not simply a new administration of the same covenant as the Old, but rather is a truly and radically NEW Covenant, based on the blood of Jesus Christ, completely fulfilling the Old. As we’re told in Jeremiah, Hebrews, Galatians, Colossians, and other places, the Old Covenant, by design, was not good enough. The New Covenant is better. Better. Better. In every way. Continue reading “On reading through the Bible in 2011”

Leviticus: My Wilderness Book

Through the years, every time I read Leviticus, I felt as if I were wandering in the wilderness. It seemed vast, dry, and dead. And may I add, pointless?

I was reading through the Bible, over and over and over, and I knew that in order to really read through the Bible, I shouldn’t skip Leviticus, even though I really wanted to, every time. All the sacrifices . . . and so much detail . . . ugh. Why did I have to read all that? I struggled to keep my mind from wandering, usually without much success. Continue reading “Leviticus: My Wilderness Book”

Seeing beyond the screen

One reason I quit wearing contact lenses was that I was always losing them.

But in one of those days when my absent-mindedness was still propelling me toward the inevitable decision, I stood at the window. One eye had a contact lens. The other was legally blind.

I looked out with first one eye closed, and then the other. The near-sighted eye could clearly see the screen, the dust, the cobwebs. Continue reading “Seeing beyond the screen”