Tag  |  gifts

God’s Good Gifts

My friend Rosie is an amazing person. Born without arms, she’s refused to believe her life need be limited. With deep confidence that God has given her everything she needs to live an abundant life and honor Him, she’s become a remarkable wife and mother, a brilliant scholar, and an extraordinary artist.

Watercolor Creations

With a group of young Ugandan children gathered around me, I held up a cluster of watercolour paintbrushes and asked, “What are these?” “Spears!” they shouted in unison.

Work Matters

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure,” said Eric Liddell to his sister Jenny in the movie Chariots of Fire. Eric was a famous Scottish Olympic champion in short distance and a missionary to China. Although his sister was urging him to return to China as soon as possible, he knew God had given him a gift. By choosing to delay his return and run in the 1924 Paris Olympics, Eric was convinced he was honoring God by pursuing his calling as a world-class runner.

no regrets

Sociologists at one university recently completed a study on regret. In it, they examined whether people felt more regret over what they had done or what they had failed to do. The researchers found that people’s regrets over their actions or inactions were roughly even when asked about the past week. Nearly the same number said, “I wish I hadn’t done that” as those who said “I wish I had done that.” But when asked to consider their life’s largest regrets, the vast majority said they were more troubled about missed opportunities. As John Greenleaf Whittier wrote, “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’ ”

the gift

Most people aren’t naturally wired to say they can die in peace. One has to experience something profound to mouth those words! But that’s precisely what Simeon said as he held baby Jesus in his arms. He said to God, “Let your servant die in peace” (Luke 2:29).

lavish generosity

During my last year of high school, I saved up my money in order to buy extravagant gifts for my family. When Christmas came, I blew the whole $1,100 on my parents, my sister, and my grandparents. I imagined that—with college looming—I might never have the chance to be as generous with my money again.

abundance

The other day I took my son to a baseball-batting cage and paid for eight sets of 25 pitches. To our pleasant surprise, when the round finished, the balls kept coming—and coming. The machine had malfunctioned, and as a result it kept delivering an abundance of pitches. This reminded me of the time a friend’s 5-year-old daughter woke up and said, “Last night I had the best dream. I was at the beach and more toys than I could ever hope for washed up on the shore for me to have!”

measuring ourselves

We have a tendency to overestimate ourselves and inflate our positive qualities. Recently, researchers asked nearly a million high school seniors to assess their leadership skills. Seventy percent rated themselves as above average, while only 2 percent rated their leadership skills below average. In another study, 94 percent of college professors rated their work above average. Psychologists call this the “illusionary superiority” effect—where we think we’re better than we really are.

risk it

What’s one thing you hope to hear God say to you in heaven? I’m guessing it’s these words: “Well done, My good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). This verse is quoted so often that it’s invaluable that we understand its meaning.

toughest critic

Have you, like me, ever had a person in your life who in many ways is a friend, but is also your toughest critic? If so, do you wonder how to respond properly to this person?

all good things

Recently, I toured Bassett Hall, the home that John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his wife Abby purchased in Williamsburg, Virginia, in the 1930s. Upon the death of the famous philanthropist, the home was bequeathed to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation—the foundation the Rockefellers had created for the purpose of restoring the many historical sites in the village.

The home was simply…

i'm a sugar bowl

Picture

Thinkin' about my grandfather. He used to crack us up by singing "I'm a Little Teapot" and say, "Here is my handle" (one hand on hip), "here is my spout" (other hand on other hip)—pretend to be frustrated, start over and sing—"Here is my handle, here is my spout" (both hands on hips)—look down at his sides in frustration after…

the oprah effect

While managing media and public relations for a handful of leading Washington, DC-based nonprofits, I found that nearly every organization I worked for craved recognition on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Their aspiration came as no surprise. Oprah Winfrey, after all, is “The queen of talk, a cultural and financial icon and her impact on business (and charities) is worth billions,” according…

work of art

Michelangelo had begun what he figured to be his crowning achievement—chiseling marble statues for the tomb of Pope Julius II—when the pope pulled him away for a menial task unworthy of the artist’s great skill. Michelangelo protested that many lesser painters could repair the plaster ceiling of the pope’s chapel, and he fled Rome in a futile attempt to avoid…

God's currency

Clothes were packed, medical cards were set aside in case of an emergency, and my two-page list of instructions lay neatly folded in an envelope. More than capable, my in-laws had kept our children on numerous occasions. But we wanted them to know our heart so that our children would be cared for in the way we care for them.…

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