Spiritual Foundations

How to Win at Life…Even When Life’s Beating You Up
How do you win in life if every time you start to pull yourself up, life knocks you back down? Do you act like most people or do you make it a priority to take care of yourself?
Business Failure and Dry Bones
Two years ago this month, I was sitting in a Panera Bread pouring my heart out to my pastor. Back then, my wife and I were business owners...and the business was failing. I wanted someone to commiserate and pray with me.

In Ezekiel 37, God takes Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones and miraculously raises a vast army from those bones. In the winter of 2014, he did the same thing for our business and my faith.
Things We Wish We Had Said
Synopsis: This book is a collection of personal letters written between Tony Campolo and his adult son, Bart. At time it's funny; at times it leaves the reader quite sobered. Above all, it's always honest as it portrays the challenges of growing up and parenting.
Listening to God in Times of Choice
From the author: All Christians yearn to live at the center of God's will. But how to discern his will is an art that eludes many of us. And the advice we get often conflicts.

Some tell us to look for a divine "blueprint" - the one perfect plan for our lives that we need to find. Others have rejected the blueprint school of guidance in favor of the "wisdom school".

The difficulty with both approaches is that they minimize the presence and voice of God in times of choice.

Trusting God’s Desire for Relationship
We are only beginning to understand the brain and how we think.

Author and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman says that we essentially have two brains. A fast one and a slow one. Or, put another way, a lazy one and an active one. In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, he explains the research that proves his theory.

Over our lifetimes, according to Dr. Kahneman, we develop short cuts in our brain to help us cope and make decisions more quickly and - many times, but not always - more accurately. Our brain combines our life experiences, our knowledge and our preferences into a decision framework to ease and speed up our decision making.
How Can I Trust God When I Can’t Understand?
I woke up this morning to the pitter patter of a gentle rain on the rooftop. Now, it's been almost 2 months since we've had measurable rain in my area, so I just laid there for 15 or 20 minutes listening to the sweet sound. I was enjoying the sound and thanking God for the much-needed blessing when he started me thinking.

If we can't know or understand why God acts, how are we supposed to react when he does? How are we supposed to trust a God we can't understand or comprehend?
Feel Better About Yourself and Your Life – Guaranteed
How can we make sure we’re living joyful, meaningful lives amid all the hurt and turmoil in the world? How can we feel better about ourselves and where our life is headed even if we have a dead-end job or cancer has struck our family or depression seems to rule our life?
br>One of the core principles of Christian belief is we are to serve others both inside and outside of the church; especially orphans, widows and the poor. If we purposefully take action and embed this belief into our life, it will become part of our family’s DNA. It will pull our focus off ourselves and place it where Jesus says it should be – on God and on others.

There are (at least) 13 benefits of serving others according to scripture.
Someone Gave You the Best Gift Ever – Have You Thanked Them?
Do the names Marvin and Wesley Cousins or Larry Bryant mean anything to you? Unless you're from Pratt, Kansas and of a certain age, the names probably don't ring any bells. But to me and my brother, Mike, they're three of the most wonderful names we've ever known.

They gave us the most precious gift anyone has ever given us and it's time to thank them for it.
The Best 16 Websites for Daily Devotions [Updated for 2017]
Struggling with daily devotions? You're definitely not alone! Here are the best 16 sites offering daily devotions either on the site, by e-mail, through an app or all three.
12 Ways to Show Gratefulness to God
If we know it’s good for us and that it pleases God, why is living a grateful life so difficult? If you listen to popular wisdom, there are several reasons. For example:

  1. We’re too busy.
  2. We’re overwhelmed by all the bad news and negative things happening around us.
  3. It will come off as weak to our friends, co-workers, etc.
Obedience is a 4 Letter Word
We all know there are many benefits to being disciplined and obedient in the right context. In God's economy, though, obedience doesn't take discipline; it just takes the proper focus.
Righteousness Defined
I’ve talked about being righteous and righteousness in several articles and it struck me that it’s a word that means different things to different people both inside and outside the church.

In its simplest form, being righteous is being right before God. And righteousness is acting in ways that are Godly.
The 3 Ps of Godly Conflict Resolution
How we respond in conflict situations is a huge part of how people will remember us. Do we stay calm and respond graciously or do we fly off the handle? Or does it depend on the situation?

Handling conflict in a Godly way means we keep God's end goal of redeeming the world in mind while we struggle to respond in a Spirit-led way to the situation at hand. There is no easy answer because conflict is tough on everyone involved, but these 3 Ps give us the maximum opportunity to be God's light in a dark situation.
12 Benefits of a Righteous Life
In a world that seems to be devolving by the day, I found this list to be quite encouraging. And it’s all found in one chapter of Proverbs…Chapter 11.

  1. The righteous are delivered from death (v4). On the day of judgment, the righteous need not fear.
  2. Righteousness makes your path straight (v5). The Lord guides your steps.
Reconciling Christianity and Politics
As I think about the future of our country, my faith and the era of civil unrest we're going through right now, I wonder what it is we're actually hoping for as Christians and Americans. Where is our focus? What is it we really desire out of life? How do I reconcile my christianity and politics?

I think we've lost our bearings as a country and as a people. It seems our goals in life can be reduced to two basic things:
What Does God Want?
When I was 10, my mom and dad got divorced. There were many reasons, of course - some I was painfully aware of and others I'm sure I knew nothing about. When Dad moved out, it wasn't a surprise because my mom had told my brothers and me what was going to happen, but it still changed my life in ways I couldn't have imagined at the time.

Maybe you have treasured memories of your dad as you grew up. Memories of him playing with you, spending time with you or protecting and caring for you in other ways. I don't have many memories like that. Just a couple of them, actually. The memories I have of my dad are more sobering; more disappointing.
Do I Choose Wise Words?
Have you ever called customer service in a huff because something was messed up about your bill, just to have the person you talk to be so pleasant and helpful you went away from the conversation in a good mood or wishing you had been nicer to them? I have...many times.