Monday, September 27, 2010

70 x 7

Forgiveness. This can be such a hard thing for us humans, which is ironic, since we are all in desperate need of it on a daily basis. Sometimes I'm not sure which is more difficult--requesting it or granting it?

There are some people in my life that, honestly, I grow tired of forgiving. Particularly if it is for the same thing over and over and over again. I find that my forgiveness very often wants to be given with conditions. Things like, "Yes, I'll forgive you . . . as long as you've learned your lesson" and "Do you promise never to do this again?"

The only one who could ever even have the right to such conditions is God, and He chooses to ignore them. Instead He continually loves us unconditionally.

So why do I think that it's sometimes okay for me to withhold forgiveness from those who have wronged me? I am no better than nor any less sinful than anyone else on this earth. I have no right to harbor bitterness and resentment. But I do it anyway because, again, it's my sinful nature. However, the more I harbor these things, the more my heart is hardened.

When Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?", Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven" (Matthew 18: 21-22). (Note: There are no ifs, ands, buts, or unlesses in that last sentence.) I'm pretty sure that the number Jesus gave here is not a magical number, as if on the 491st offense, no forgiveness is required. I think He's just saying, "Look. Your brother/sister/friend/neighbor/acquaintance/enemy/whomever is going to sin against you. A LOT! But it's not your job to offer consequences. I want you to forgive over and over and over again. Just like I do. To you! Over and over and over . . . "

God forgives me, and I am to pay it forward. That's all.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Although I really like Max Lucado's writing, it's been a while since I've read one of his books. But when I read the back cover of his newest release, Outlive Your Life, I was intrigued.

We are given a choice . . . an opportunity to make a big difference during a difficult time. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope?

Yes! This was something I wanted to read. And I was doubly interested when I read that 100% of Lucado's royalties from this book and its accompanying products will benefit children and families through World Vision and other ministries of faith-based compassion. I really, really love that.

Max Lucado's familiar, conversational style of writing is both comfortable and effective in reaching his audience. He seems to be talking with us rather than at us. His humility is something I admire, and I think it probably makes his readers more willing and wanting to hear what he has to say, too. But just because Lucado's books are easy to read doesn't mean that they aren't extremely challenging. This one especially is.

As I read Outlive Your Life, I started feeling uncomfortable. But in a good way. I knew that he was challenging how I spend my time, energy, and finances . . . basically, my life! It's all too easy to get comfortable in this world--particularly in American society. And it's all too easy to ignore the problems of everyone around us. But there are so many ways that we can help and serve and love on people, whether they live in our neighborhood or on the other side of the world. We just have to make the decision to do it.

I love the Discussion and Action Guide in the back of the book, because there are lots of thought-provoking questions but also suggestions for how to practically live out our faith and God's love for people. ALL people.

This is an important book. Read it.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reality Check

I have just begun reading Max Lucado's newest book, Outlive Your Life. I know that stories and statistics bombard us daily, but these really caught my attention:

These are devastating times: 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, 1 billion are hungry, millions are trafficked in slavery, and pandemic diseases are gouging entire nations. Each year nearly 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. And in the five minutes it took you to read these pages, almost ninety children died of preventable diseases. More than half of all Africans do not have access to modern health facilities. As a result, 10 million of them die each year from diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria, and measles. Many of those deaths could be prevented by one shot.

Yet in the midst of the wreckage, here we stand, the modern-day version of the Jerusalem church. You, me, and our one-of-a-kind lifetimes and once-in-history opportunity . . .

A mere 2 percent of the world's grain harvest would be enough, if shared, to erase the problems of hunger and malnutrition around the world. There is enough food on the planet to offer every person twenty-five hundred calories of sustenance a day. We have enough food to feed the hungry.

And we have enough bedrooms to house the orphans . . . 

The problem is not in the supply; the problem is in the distribution.

Sports Medicine: Should Your Young Athlete Take Prescription Painkillers?

September 2010 Cover

Here is my article in Parents & Kids magazine. Click on the link and go to pages 22-23.


September 2010 Cover

Here is my column for the September issue of Parents & Kids magazine.

Making Marriage a Priority When You Have School-Aged Children

Last week I got to be a guest blogger on "Clay Woman," a blog by Ashlee. Want some tips for making your marriage a priority when you have school-aged children? Check it out.