3 Character Traits My Mother Modeled 

My mother was widowed at the age of 43. She lost her husband to a cancer battle that lasted less than a year. In roughly 18 months, she went from being a pastor’s wife with four children living in Northeast Alabama to being a single mother whose oldest daughter was going off to college, who still had three children at home between the ages of 11 and 16, and relocating to Southeast Georgia to start a new job. I don’t remember ever hearing my mother complain or show bitterness toward God. In fact, she modeled many character traits that illustrated faith and reflected resilience.

Dedication

  • She doggedly determined to finish the job that she and her husband started in developing their children into followers of God.

Commitment

  • I don’t recall her ever missing work. What I do recall is her bringing home work in order to get things done, to be a committed and reliable employee.

Discipline

  • Regularly I heard my mother praying or observed her reading her Bible through her slightly opened bedroom door. She not only led us in family devotions, she was disciplined to prioritize her own spiritual disciplines.

I call my mother blessed. I thank her for modeling faithfulness and giving her children a rich spiritual heritage for which her husband would praise her (Proverbs 31:28).

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The Awe Boundary

In chapter 2 of Awe, Paul David Tripp talks about war. He isn’t talking about political or international war. He’s talking about spiritual war, and a very personal war at that. 

…a war wages over who or what will rule and control the awe capacity that God has established within the heart of every human being.

This war started soon after man’s creation. This war started when man was tempted to step over the awe boundary to pursue becoming like God. 

This dangerous fantasy now lurks in the heart of every sinner. We want godlike recognition, godlike control, godlike power, and godlike centrality. This was the initial moment when awe of self overrode awe of God and set the agenda for every person’s thoughts, desires, choices, and behaviors. For billions of people ever since, awe of self has literally driven every selfish, antisocial, and immoral thing we do.

Can you see it? It’s all around us. We are in awe of ourselves. Everyone of us face this war. 

TRUTH: this is a war we will lose, now or later. For everyone’s sake, it’s best to surrender-to step back across the awe boundary every time we find ourselves on the wrong side. It’s a constant battle that cannot be ignored.

TRUTH: the war really has already been won. It’s why Jesus came. He’s worthy of our awe. Maintaining focus on awe of Him keeps you on the right side of the boundary.

Leadership and Self-Deception (book review)

…no matter what we’re doing on the outside, people respond primarily to how we’re feeling about them on the inside.

For me, this quote sums up the content of this book. The self-proclamation of the book’s purpose is to educate the reader about their self-deception that is central to their relationship problems. In the fictional approach to the subject, all relationships in a person’s life are brought into the light. The focus is mostly on the work environment, but family relational dynamics are also put under the lights.

You could say that the principles discussed help you analyze your ability to live by the Golden Rule. You could also say, from a biblical view, this book challenges your struggles with pride and tests your production of the fruits of the spirit. Two key principles, among others, that are analyzed are the impulse to blame others for our problems and the tendency to deal with things that are going wrong rather than helping things go right.

Should you read this book? Do you want better family dynamics? Does your team need better communication? Do you want to grow? If you answered yes to any of these questions, get to reading. By the way, it’s an easy read. Fast readers could knock it out in one evening. With intention, you could get it read in a week or two.

Happy Reading!

Unselfish Grieving

Matthew 14 records the death of John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin and forerunner.

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Verses 13-14)

  • In his grief, Jesus sought solitude. Normal.
  • Regardless of his loss, people still were seeking Jesus’ touch. Reality.
  • In his grief, Jesus saw the needy crowd with compassion and not with frustration. Supernatural.
  • Despite his grief, Jesus chose to heal, to give, to continue, to refocus. Unselfish.

Sometimes the best healer is healing, giving, noticing, and choosing to take your eyes off yourself. 

Unselfish sacrifice. Unselfish grieving.