Taking up our cross to follow Jesus is often a painful experience—but we desperately need it. The invitation to die—to take up our cross and lose our lives for Jesus—is truly an invitation to newness of life, to union with Christ, and to ultimate freedom from sin.Read More
When I consider the last decade of my life, I see a series of deaths: Death of my pride through living in the shadow of my husband's giftedness. Death of my fear of conflict through divorces in my family and among friends. Death of my fear of confrontation through difficult friendships. Death of my desires through multiple miscarriages. Death of my fear of failure through situations where I could not win. Death of my hope in myself through seeing my exposed sin in high-definition focus.
Each season of dying has felt just like that—dying. The choking out of something I have loved, desired, and clung to for hope, peace, and safety. The choking out of things in me, writhing, gasping for breath and praying, "Does it have to be this way? Can't I follow You and also keep this with me? Does it really need to die?"
In God's kingdom, pruning is caring. Jesus is the true vine, His Father the vinedresser. Every branch in Jesus that bears fruit, the Father prunes that it may bear more fruit (John 15:1–2).
God's answer to my question is yes. Yes, it does need to die. It must be pruned. Without pruning, my life will become something even I don't want—an overgrown, thorny bush with no fruit to offer.Read More
We are too often overly impressed with the "big" ministries of "famous" Christians and give too little weight to the "average, small and unseen" ministry of faithful saints. So in the wake of Toni's death, I beg you to consider the humble faithfulness of one of your sisters in the faith. She did not set out the change the world, but rather to serve God with joy all the days of her life. If you have been impacted at all by what I've written, then you should know she is partly responsible. Toni Peeler saw in me a small spark of passion for God's Word, and she took the time to fan it into a flame.Read More
If I'm being gut-level honest, I just want to be awesome on my own and have some bit of glory for myself. I don't really like to live in the reality that apart from Christ I can do nothing. And because my Father loves me, He has set up circumstances in my life to sanctify this sinful tendency out of me.Read More