Precepts & Life Preservers

Faith & The Big D

Author: Christine Duncan (page 1 of 76)

Shining Ever Brighter

Proverbs 4:18 Shine Bright...

I’ve decided to start doing a sort of weekly greeting each Monday. Would that be okay? Almost like a devotion? Not necessarily about a topic but just a weekly encouragement? Can we? The thought really keeps sticking in my craw as it were, and so I’m just going to kick off the coming season this way and see where we go, ok?

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A verse to start our week off… at first glance, a pretty sounding verse perhaps?

…or on the surface, maybe we’re not fond of one word that stands out… we’ve had some recent run-ins with some pretty “righteous” people and if that’s what faith turns you into, you want no part.  Continue reading

Broken Open

Broken Open - The Staying Connected Blog Series

{Our third installment for our summer blog series “Staying Connected!”
Talking today about what happens when we feel we aren’t as connected to the Father as we need, or are too broken down to finally receive from Him,
and a promise we don’t want to miss.}
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Broken Open - Stay Connected Summer Blog Series

Well isn’t that the question.

I’d been watching a family go through a long wounding. And as answers didn’t come, they started asking with every new low, “how much more broken are we supposed to be?”

“How long is He going to let this continue?”

Their posture, their words, their exhaustion said one thing. Broken down and drained.

It was hard, they said, to receive any uplifting words that were meant to comfort.

Instead it’d just remind them how broken they felt.

“Where is God in this?”

As we sat around the table, I nodded with complete understanding and a giant heap of empathy.

How often had I asked that very question in the middle of my own breaking down while navigating my chronic depression disorder.

31 years and counting.

And I had asked it and asked it, over and over,  and I would worry that the breaking would be the end of me.

And how do we stay so connected to Him when our brokenness threatens to isolate us in our need?

Until one night, wide awake with insomnia and anxiety and soul-crushing defeat, four words were poured into my broken night and He began to reveal that sometimes the broken is the best beginning He can work for our good.

And will we just be resigned to being broken by our circumstances piled onto us or will we decide to be broken open so that He can pour into us, unhindered?

...Or will we decide to be broken open so that He can pour into us, unhindered? Click To Tweet

Those four words that chimed over the top of all of the other words in the dark that night?

“We have this hope.”

They settled on me like a mantle of peace. Those words rang and reverberated around my weary broken spirit like the most beautiful song being sung.

We have this hope…

I surrendered to it, choosing to be broken open enough to receive.

“Thus by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be strongly encouraged. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary, where Jesus our forerunner has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever….” Hebrews 6:19

Sometimes it takes, not being broken apart, but broken open, in order to fully comprehend the magnitude of God’s unbreakable promise to each of us.

Broken open so all the truth and help and love and grace and peace can come flooding in without a shell of our own making to keep it from us.

To understand there is supplied to us, every time, an unlimited supply of His strong and trustworthy anchor of a hope.

So in the breaking open, we’re never swept away, but only ever held.

While He works to orchestrate how to reveal the glorious victory promised.

At the very end of us is where we finally have the very most of only Him.

At the very end of us is where we finally have the very most of only Him. Click To Tweet

And I heard Him nudge my heart.

“What point is the anchor of hope, beloved, if you never have a reason to need it? To need Me?

I know you’re trapped in this fallen broken world.

I would never orchestrate such pain or need.

Instead, I have made sure to provide for when it comes at you mercilessly.

I made sure Hope hung on that cross, anchored by love, broken open to receive your defeat, and for you defeated and overcame the world.

For you then.

For you now.

It may feel like you’re broken by this season of need.

But wait a little while, let Me cover you and shelter you even now, and see what I will redeem so that what’s broken open will grow, reach, and reveal something precious, something fruitful, something ready to be so much more.”

We have this Hope.

We have this Unfailing Hope.

When He cried a broken “It is finished” He meant He was enough.

Let the Hope of the World trade your devastation and weariness so you’re able to receive something that will carry you through to the other side, okay?

For all the broken, we have this hope.

Purpose In The Small

Summer Blog Series "Stay Connected"... Purpose In The Small

His name was Cyril Grant.

And when I think about today’s topic for our Stay Connected Summer Blog Series, he suddenly came to mind.

He embodied what it meant to have purpose in the small things.

And he did it all with a weekly bag of candy.

I was ten years old when I met Mr.Grant. As our church kids program streamed out of the gym every Wednesday night, the river of children would veer off to the right with one purpose. To find our beloved Mr.Grant.

To be spoken to by name, to be asked about life that week, and to have the giant bag of candy offered over to reaching and excited hands.

An older gentleman in the truest sense, he had a quirky English accent, a delight to listen to, and he was planted at the back door with the parents. Dressed impeccably, always in his tweed jacket, shoes shined, pants creased just so, and a ready smile.

He was probably one of my first living examples of purpose-driven living being about giving, kindness, and personal investment, how it didn’t have to look like flash and pomp and fireworks.

He had purpose in the small. His place and reason for being was at that church every Wednesday and Sunday.

You got to take one candy, and only one. You got to select carefully as you plunged your hand into the bag, and only after your parents approval.

But you received so much more.

I think now about how that quick minute with clamouring children was his chance to build up each kid. He spoke quietly, you stopped being loud to listen him, and if you were shy, he spoke even softer.

He knew every child’s name. Every. Child.

People, we are not a small church.

He knew what Bible verse you had to learn that week. He knew when you had been away. He asked about school like he truly wanted to know.

And we got to see what ‘Jesus with skin on’ looked like.

For many of us it might have been the first or only time.

We showed him scraped knees that got a clap of his hands for being brave (and maybe an extra chocolate covered mint).

We brought him our report cards.

We loved to bring him a new joke, drawing, project.

And I know now the massive impact a weekly bit of candy accomplished.

His purpose in that one small thing meant we were seen.

His purpose in that one small thing meant we were seen. Click To Tweet

Right up to the day he passed away, he knew my name, and my kid’s names. He would stop in the pew and ask how our week was. He would offer a candy out of a small baggie and a wink.

It felt as wonderful as any holy blessing.

So for those of us today wondering if our small matters. Wondering if our ordinary can ever be a legacy, have impact, touch lives, have significance through the Father.

It always matters. When your purpose even in the small is propelled by a big heart for Him, it matters more than you can know.

When your purpose even in the small is propelled by a big heart for Him, it matters! Click To Tweet

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:1-4

In His hands, nothing is wasted. Don’t allow doubt or confidence to keep you from staying connected to your God-given purpose.

He is a God of details, truly, and there is always purpose for you in the small.

What small thing have you been challenged to let God use for others this summer?

Drawn To Good Words

Drawn To Good Words - Stay Connected Blog Series

No one was eager to build words with me.

The beautiful Scrabble board sits on the family table where all the paths in the house converge and intersect.

It’s beautiful, an heirloom-quality special edition.

But when asked eagerly who wanted to challenge me to a session of my personal word-obsession ( I AM a scrabble fiend, people!) I kept getting “no”.

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