The Tony Award for Best Musical was awarded on June 9 to Hadestown, a show I was fortunate enough to see in its pre-Broadway debut at the New York Theater Workshop. Hadestown is a retelling of a Greek myth about Orpheus and Eurydice, set during the Great Depression.
There are several versions of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, but the basic story is about an extremely talented musician (Orpheus) who falls in love with a beautiful girl (Eurydice) and then quickly loses her to an untimely death. Orpheus decides to visit the Underworld—the home of Hades and his wife, Persephone—to ask Hades to release Eurydice back to life on earth. Orpheus sings for Hades, and his emotional song moves Hades to grant his request—with one condition. Orpheus must travel back to the world above without ever looking behind him to see if Eurydice is following. Only when Eurydice reaches the light will she be returned to her living body—and only if Orpheus never once looks back.
While watching the musical Hadestown, it’s easy to forget that the story it’s based on is a tragedy. Yet the narrator, Hermes, tells the audience right from the start that “this is a story about a man who tries.” Orpheus tries to save Eurydice from death. He does not succeed.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of another story about a man who descended into Hell to save someone he loved. His name is Jesus. Like Orpheus, he descended into the realms of death. “He was delivered over to death for our sins” (Romans 4:25a). Also like Orpheus, he came back to the land of the living. He “was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25b). “God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24).
The difference, of course, is that Jesus did not look back. Everyone who chooses to follow him is raised with him to a new and eternal life. “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:11). “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14).
This is the good news of the Bible. This is the Christian message—that Jesus died to lead us from death into life. He asks us to believe in him. He asks us to follow him. The question is, will we look back? Will we allow the pleasures of life, our insecurities, or our independence to pull us back into the darkness of a life without Jesus?
Will you be someone who only tried? Or will you follow the one who has conquered death and trust your life to him?
This new life in Jesus is one of the things even Christians disagree about. Some Christians believe in a permanent salvation, starting when one accepts Jesus as their savior. Others believe that new life begins when one accepts Jesus, but that salvation can be lost if one “looks back” and forsakes their faith. Still others believe that salvation is a life-long process (even extending after life into purgatory), involving faith, obedience, and participating in the sacraments of the church.
If you have ever wondered about these differences in Christian beliefs, you may be interested in a new book I’ve written on Christian worldviews. By clicking on the link below, you will receive a free download containing a short excerpt of the book and you will be added to a mailing list to be notified when the book is published. (I also included a few statistics about the crazy things some people believe, just for laughs.)
Click here to join the mailing list and receive your free download!
Last weekend, I saw the latest X-Men movie – Dark Phoenix. Like all the movies in the X-Men franchise, this movie grapples with questions about what makes us human and what gives us value. The X-Men are mutants – humans with mutated genes that give them different powers. Some mutants have the ability to read and control minds; others fly, turn into beasts, change their appearance, move things with their minds, or shoot laser beams from their eyes. This is all comic-book science-fiction, and there’s no end to the powers the writers have come up with.
In Dark Phoenix, the main character is a young woman with exceptionally strong powers. As a girl, not yet able to control her power, Jean caused an accident that killed her mother. Professor Charles Xavier (who puts the X in X-Men) offered Jean a home at his school for mutants, but Jean was afraid that he was just another doctor wanting to “fix” her. In a very touching scene, Charles reassures Jean that he doesn’t want to fix her because she isn’t broken. Yes, she’s different. But she can embrace her differences, learn to control her power, and do wonderful things – if that’s what she chooses.
Sometimes, we all want to be reassured that we are valued just the way we are. We see the mess in our lives and try to fix everything different or uncomfortable or unattractive about ourselves so people will like us. I know I’ve been guilty lately of not wanting to post any pictures of myself until I find a way to look younger. And so much of our social conversation these days is about accepting people who are different than us. There would be a lot less hatred and violence in our world if we could just let people be who they want to be instead of trying to “fix” everyone who looks, thinks, or acts differently.
Here is where the Christian message can get tricky.
Jesus loves people. All people. He doesn’t care what color their skin is, where they are from, who they voted for, or what kind of clothes they like to wear.
Jesus loves and accepts all the people. But he doesn’t want them to stay the way they are. Because deep down on the inside, every one of us is broken. Every one of us needs forgiveness for living a life that doesn’t always bring honor and glory to God who created us. Every one of us needs to put God first in our lives, so we can learn to be the people he created us to be.
Yes, you are broken. So am I. But Jesus is making me new. My job as a Christian is to love people the way Jesus loves them - without exception. It's not my job to fix them. I can only invite them to meet Jesus who is the only one who can heal the brokenness inside.
“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24, NIV).
We’re a few weeks away from the latest Marvel movie--Spider-Man: Far From Home, which opens in theaters on July 2. This will be the sixth Spider-Man movie, but only the second one created by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In anticipation of the movie, I’m doing a throw-back to an earlier post I wrote about the 2017 movie--Spider-Man: Homecoming….
Spider-Man swung into theaters last weekend to rave reviews and big box-office numbers. I have a thing for superhero movies (if they aren’t too dark or just plain weird), so I went with my family to see it. It was a fun movie, with lots of humor and just enough danger to make me gasp a few times.
This movie joins Peter Parker after he’s already been introduced to the Marvel Universe of movies as Spider-Man. He’s a smart, somewhat awkward, high school student with super strength and the ability to hang onto walls, ceilings, and other surfaces like—you guessed it—a spider. His origin story (how he got this way) is skipped over except for one short discussion with his buddy about getting bitten by a spider. You have to watch the older Spider-Man movies, or read the comics, to get the whole story about secret experiments, radioactive spiders, and genetic mutations.
Although we don’t see Peter become Spider-Man, we do see him continue to grapple with the big question: what do I do with this power now? The villains in the story come across a different kind of power—high-tech alien weaponry and power sources—and they use it for themselves, making money to take care of families or just for the rush of blowing things up. Peter wants to use his power for others—to help people who are in danger or just being taken advantage of.
All over the world, I’m sure people were leaving theaters debating what kind of superpower they would like to have and what they would do with it. Most of the answers were probably pretty self-centered. Some might want to have super strength so they could get back at the bullies who tormented them in school. Others might want to read minds so they could embarrass people or blackmail them. My husband might like the power of teleportation so he could go on a business trip without 4-hour delay at the airport. Sometimes I wish I had super speed, so I could whish through my housework and computer work and still have time to relax at the end of the day knowing everything is done.
As Christians, we often forget that we have been given something much greater than any of the superhero superpowers. We’ve been given life eternal, a relationship with a loving God, peace in troubled times, and hope for the future. We can focus on ourselves, as many Christians do, asking for God to bless us, to take care of our families, to protect our rights and privileges. Or we can focus our gifts on others, the way Jesus did, and bring light into a dark world.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” - Matthew 5:14-16
So “hero up” and think of ways you can use your gifts to help others this week.
The past few months, I’ve taken more time to indulge one of the favorite activities—reading for pleasure. I love a good story, and I’ve found many books over the years that I read again and again. But sometimes, the mind craves something fresh, so lately I’ve been reading books by authors who are new to me.
I have always had a soft spot for stories based on fairy tales, and I’ve found several lately that have some relation to Beauty and the Beast. There is something deeply moving in the Beauty and the Beast tale that I love to see played out in new stories—the bravery of a young woman taken from her home, the pain of a man wounded by his own vanity, and the power of redeeming love.
I’ve enjoyed reading these books, but I’ve been frustrated at times, too. All the authors succeeded in creating fascinating new worlds and sympathetic main characters, but some of them missed one of the most important elements of good story-telling. The main character of the story should have a purpose. They should have a goal—something they want to achieve to change the difficult circumstances of their story and find a happy ending.
In some stories, the main character just reacts to her circumstances. Something bad happens—she reacts. Something threatens her—she reacts. Her new situation is beyond her control—she feels sorry for herself and waits for something else to change. She may act bravely or selflessly at times when she’s forced to act, but she has no end goal in sight other than to someday be happy or be free. Because she fails to form a goal and actively work toward changing her circumstances, the story lacks power.
Does that sound like anyone you know in real life? Could I be describing your own life?
So many people go through life without having a real purpose—an end goal. Even Christians can fall into that trap. We want to be happy. We want to be safe, to have enough money, to have fun, to take care of our families. We work to make ourselves as comfortable as possible in our current circumstances, and we make some plans for the future. But we don’t think much about the end of the story. Do we know what the “happily-ever-after” of our story should look like or what we can do to achieve it?
If getting to heaven is our end goal, we can do whatever our religious convictions tell us is needed to get there. If we’ve said the “sinner’s prayer,” been baptized into the church, followed the rules, and generally lived a good life, we can sit back and concentrate on our current happiness. But what if there’s more to the story than that? What if we’ve been called to be part of a bigger story that has a bigger end-goal than just our individual comfort and eternal security?
The Bible tells us that God has a purpose, and we have been given a part to play in accomplishing that purpose:
“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please’” (Isaiah 46:10).
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).
And he gives his guarantee that the end of the story will be good:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
So, what is your purpose? If you aren’t sure, this would be a good time to ask. Pray about it. Read your Bible. Learn all you can about God’s bigger story and the part you can play. Then find one thing God is asking you to do and do it. If you want a life of purpose, that's the best way to begin!
When I started writing this blog post, I was sitting by myself on the last day of a Christian writers conference in Colorado. The previous three days had been filled with workshops on writing and marketing, one-on-one appointments with publishers and agents, worship sessions, and chatting with new acquaintances. Like most conferences I’ve attended, there were ups and downs as my writing was sometimes praised and sometimes criticized. I was tired that day, and I was depressed.
One of the challenges I had been given during the week was to rewrite the bio on my website—the “about the author” piece that allows readers to get to know the real person behind the site. I have two websites, one to promote my new book (not yet in print) and one to promote my previous writings. I’ve kept the two websites separate on purpose. Nowhere on my new website (this website) is there a link to my other site. I never talk about my other books or writing credits, and my bio consists of a short paragraph which says very little beyond my limited qualifications to write the new book.
I had even asked several people for advice on whether I should publish my new book under a pseudonym (a fake name) or just my initials (J. L. Ruth) so people wouldn’t know I was the author of three books which were self-published, had few sales, and received only a handful of reviews (including a one-star review for my novel which begins, “This is the most poorly written novel I have ever read”). I was wondering if I should start fresh and reinvent myself, ignoring the twenty years I had already put into trying to be a professional writer.
As I tried to rewrite my bio, starting and discarding seven or eight drafts, I began to feel very small and insecure. What could I say about myself? I could list the things I used to be: a trial and appellate attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office (which I left 26 years ago); a staff attorney for the Department of Veterans Affairs (which I left 23 years ago); an adjunct college professor teaching criminal justice classes (which I left 17 years ago). I could include a long list of part-time, short-term volunteer positions I held during the years I was primarily a stay-at-home mom. But “mostly stay-at-home mom” didn’t sound very impressive, and now that my children are both adults, I can’t even claim that title.
It occurred to me, though, that the story of my life is what it is, no matter how hard I try to dress it up or hide it away. More importantly, I am not the author of my life’s story. God is.
In Psalm 139:16, David proclaims, “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” What David realized about his own life is true of mine as well. God is the author of my life’s story. I’ve made my own choices along the way, some good and some not so good, and I have to live with the consequences of those decisions. But God has had his hand in it the whole time. Because I am his, my story is not about failure, but about purpose, even if I don’t always see it that way.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
My story isn’t over yet. Whether it continues on its current path or takes a turn for the better or the worse, I need to trust God to work out the story according to his plan. One of the things I learned at the conference is to “take the next best step.” Maybe I’ll start by finally rewriting my bio.
Avengers: Endgame steamrolled into theaters last weekend, shattering box office records. One news announcer called it “a cultural community event” – which is a fancy way to say a WHOLE LOT of people were united in their desire to experience this final chapter of the Infinity Stones saga. In the theater I was in opening night, we didn’t just watch the movie. We laughed, gasped, cheered, and cried together. It really was a community event.
However, not everyone was happy with the movie. Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook were full of people voicing their disappointment, or even outrage, at certain aspects of the movie. Some didn’t like the science (as if time travel really has any science behind it). Some didn’t like the character development. Some people even complained about the amount of effort Marvel put into keeping the story secret until the movie opened. Even the actors in the movie didn’t know the whole story line until they went to the movie premiere. Each actor was only given enough of the script to do their scenes. The rest remained a mystery.
I have to admit I went to the movie with certain expectations about the story, but about a half-hour into the three-hour movie, I turned to my daughter and said, “I didn’t see that coming.” For the remainder of the movie, I threw out my expectations and watched eagerly to see how it would all turn out. Personally, I thought it wasn’t a great movie, but it was a really good one.
Expectations can be tricky. If you believe something is going to turn out a certain way and it doesn’t, you will probably be bummed. On the other hand, going through life with no surprises would be pretty dull. Not knowing what’s coming can be exciting, but it can also be anxiety-inducing, which is why most of us try to keep surprises in our lives to a minimum. Unfortunately, that can also mean never taking risks, never going outside our comfort zones, and never trying anything new. It’s safer that way—but also boring. And it limits our opportunities to be used by God for his purposes in this world.
Just think of all the characters in the Bible who were pulled outside their comfort zones and asked to live their lives opposed to all their expectations. Abraham. Joseph. Moses. Gideon. Esther. Ruth. David. Mary. And every one of Jesus’ disciples. They didn’t get what they expected from life—and we should be thankful for that!
Sometimes we don’t get what we expect from life (or from movies). But how we respond to life’s surprises can show us the most important thing about our lives. As Christians, we are called to live a life of faith—trusting God no matter what comes our way. I’ve learned from personal experience that I can’t trust God to give me everything I want. And I can’t trust him to give me everything I expect or hope for. But I can trust him to give me everything I need to do what he has called me to do.
Sometimes, I may have to throw out my expectations about what I think God is doing in my life and in my world. I have to sit back and watch the story unfold. But I’m one of the characters in God’s master story—just like all those Bible characters I mentioned above. You are one, too. So when we see a chance to jump into the action, we need to do it. Even if we can’t be sure what to expect from it. We have to trust that the Author of the story will do what he has promised and work it all out for good in the end.
In a few days, Marvel’s newest and probably most anticipated movie will be released in theaters. Avengers: Endgame is the second part of the epic story which started in Avengers: Infinity Wars last year. Actually, the story started over ten years ago with the first Marvel movie, Iron Man (2008), and continued with movies introducing other heroes like Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Spiderman, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, all of whom appeared in Infinity Wars.
A lot of people were shocked and quite unhappy about the ending of Infinity Wars. Even with a huge cast of heroes fighting together, the bad guy won in the end. And he won big. After traveling from planet to planet to gather six powerful Infinity Stones, Thanos simply snapped his fingers and destroyed half of all living beings throughout the universe. They simply dissolved into dust and blew away—including more than half of the Marvel heroes trying to stop him.
After the movie came out last year, people were screaming on social media about how awful the ending was. How could the bad guy win? How could so many lives be lost? How could Marvel just write off half its heroes in a single act? Those people forgot—or didn’t know—that Infinity Wars was not the end of the story. We get to see the end this weekend when Endgame finally arrives and the remaining heroes have another chance to stop Thanos and possibly bring back the billions of people who were lost.
In life, as well, we sometimes forget that we have not yet reached the end of the story.
One of the most common reasons people give for not believing in the God of the Bible is the fact that evil seems to be winning in our world. If God is good and loving and all-powerful, why doesn’t he put an end to evil and suffering? Why did he let it start in the first place? People who struggle with these questions may conclude that there is no God, that God doesn’t care, or that God isn’t sovereign and able to do whatever he desires. They are judging God by what they see in the middle of the story instead of waiting for the end.
People who believe in the God of the Bible have also asked these questions about the presence of evil and suffering in the world. Some shift the blame from God to humanity. God created humans with free will and the ability to make meaningful choices, including the choice to reject God’s plan for our lives. The pain and suffering we see in our fallen world are a result of our free choices, not God’s.
Other Christians believe the fall of mankind was always part of God’s plan, just as conflict and opposition are an intentional part of any story. Sin changed the way God relates to mankind, but he has a plan to resolve the conflict and bring good out of the ashes of all the evil the world has known.
How can we know that God and goodness win in the end? The Bible makes that clear in prophetic statements made throughout the Old and New Testaments. Just read the last chapter of Revelation to see a preview of the end God has in store for us.
The Bible doesn’t answer all our questions about what’s to come, but it does show us a God who kept his promises without fail in the past. It shows us a God who cared enough to take on flesh, become human, and die on a cross for our sins. And it shows us an empty grave with its promise of new life for all who believe.
The end has not yet come, but the previews are pretty exciting. Don’t give up on God. Don’t let doubt, disappointment, and evil win in your life. Hang in there, and wait for the end! It will be worth it.
I enjoy reading devotionals—short writings designed to help us focus on God and his Word for a few minutes each day. Devotional writers have a special ability to see God’s handiwork in the everyday world or to hear him speaking through ordinary experiences, and they share those experiences with us. It’s as if they’re wearing special glasses that help them see what the rest of us miss. Or maybe they’re just paying attention and looking for God in ways the rest of us aren’t.
Yet, I believe this ability to see God in everyday things is not a gift given only to a few. Anyone can develop the habit of looking and listening for evidence of God throughout their day. It’s just a matter of being focused, like a person scanning a shoreline for seashells or a child on Easter morning searching their yard for painted eggs.
Meaningful surprises don’t have to come just from rainbows, sunsets, and the adorable things our children and grandchildren say. They can also be found in laundry, bad traffic, and funny conversations with our spouses. Some of my favorite “Easter Eggs” are ones I’ve found in books and movies.
“Easter Egg” even has a unique meaning when applied to movies, TV shows, video games, and comic books. It’s a feature in a game, book, or film which isn’t necessary to the story—a little something extra some of the audience will appreciate while others completely miss it. It can be an inside joke, a disguised reference to another movie or game, or a hidden message. Some examples include the yellow, blue, and red ball hidden in many Pixar films and the cameo appearances of Stan Lee in Marvel movies.
Ready Player One, a movie I mention on my Sign Up page, is full of Easter Eggs. It contains references to older films like Back To The Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, The Shining, Buckaroo Bonzai, and The Iron Giant, along with numerous video and arcade games popular before the turn of the century. The movie even references the first Easter Egg ever hidden in a video game--Adventure, released by Atari in 1980.
As Parzival states in Ready Player One: “There’s a secret in Adventure, and you don’t find it by winning. You find it by wandering around in a dark room until you get to an invisible dot…. You see, Warren Robinett was proud of Adventure. He wanted people to know who was behind it. That’s why he created the first digital Easter Egg. And to find it, you don’t even have to win. You just had to blindly play, searching around in rooms for an invisible dot. You took the dot back to the main screen and that’s when you found the first Easter Egg ever put in a video game—the creator’s name.”
The creator’s name.
The Bible tells us that we have a creator and he can be known, in part, through his creation. Evidence of his power and presence is everywhere. All we have to do is look for it. In a flower. In a song. In a story. God’s Easter Eggs are hidden everywhere.
He’s thinking of you today. Are you thinking of Him?
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
For the past few weeks, I’ve been re-watching past seasons of Marvel’s Agents of Shield on Netflix. Season 6 starts on May 10, and I want to be ready for the new story line. A sci-fi series worthy of the name Marvel, Agents of Shield is not a family-friendly show, and I wouldn’t recommend it for kids under 13. But for older kids and adults, the show has done a good job of exploring issues like the definition of good and evil, the nature of humanity, and what makes each of us the kind of person we are.
In season 4, the Shield team ended up inside a computer-generated virtual reality. Most of the agents had no idea the world they were living in wasn’t real. They made decisions, formed relationships, and did their work as their real selves—with one big difference. The virtual world had been programmed to erase from the past one major regret of each of the team members. Because each had taken a different path in the past, their present in the virtual world looked very different from their present in the real world.
Phil Coulson, instead of being the Director of Shield, was a high school history teacher. Melinda May and Leopold Fitz, instead of working for Shield (the good guys), worked for Hydra (the bad guys). Grant Ward, instead of being a Hydra spy inside Shield, was a resistance fighter working against Hydra.
The show illustrates how our past choices form each of us into the person we are today. It also reminds us that, no matter how much we regret some past decisions, we can’t erase them and see what our lives would have been like if we had gone another way. There are no computer programs that can show us with any certainty what would have happened if we had made a different choice in the past. We can guess. We can agonize over it. We can try to undo what we did. But we can’t ever go back and start again.
As Aslan said to Lucy in Prince Caspian, Book 4 of The Chronicles of Narnia, “To know what would have happened, child? No. Nobody is ever told that. But anybody can find out what will happen.”
The mistakes we’ve made in past mark us enough without carrying them around with us, always wishing things had been different—wishing we had been different. The great message of the Bible is that Jesus came to wash clean our past mistakes so that our Father in Heaven doesn’t see them anymore. So why do we keep looking back at them? Why do waste our time wishing for a better past instead of working to make a better present and a brighter future? (See, Ephesians 2:1-10.)
God is not waiting for you to undo past mistakes. Jesus has already paid the price for them. What he is waiting for is to see what you will do today, as the person you are today. It’s this moment that matters, and how you decide to live it.
The past lives in you. But you don’t have to live in the past.
“If you could have one superpower, what would you pick?”
Chances are you’ve been asked that question at least once in your life. So, what would you pick? Flight. Super strength. Invisibility. Speed. They’re all good choices. In Shazaam!, the new DC Comics movie that opened this weekend, a fourteen-year-old boy is suddenly transformed into an adult superhero with several of these powers. Along with his new powers come some new dilemmas, including how to figure out which powers he has.
“Can you fly?”
“I don’t know. How do I find out?”
And so begins a series of hilarious tests where Shazaam tries to find out if he is fireproof, super-speedy, super-strong, able to leap a tall building in one bound, and able to fly. Unless he tries—really tries—to do what seems impossible, he’ll never find out if he can.
Did you know that you have been given a superpower, too? The Bible says you have. If you are a Christian, you have been given a gift by the Holy Spirit to do something in his strength that you could never do on your own.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them…. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 8-10)
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8)
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides….” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
But how do you know which gift you have been given? And how do you know how to use it?
There are books on spiritual gifts and written tests and inventories to try and identify your gift or gifts. But the only way to really know if you can do something is to try. “But I’m not good at teaching,” you say, or “I’m uncomfortable with leading.” But we’re not talking about what you can do. We’re talking about what the Holy Spirit can do through you. It’s a supernatural gift. A superpower.
It won’t always be easy. The results won’t always be perfect. But if you believe the Spirit can work through you and you’re willing to try, you’ll find you can do more than you ever imagined.
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Stories are a metaphor for life. That's a deep way of saying we can learn life lessons from stories we read or watch on stage or on big or small screens. When viewed through a Christian worldview, even secular films and books can tell us something about our Christian walk. Here you will find a collection of blog posts with lessons I have learned from stories. I hope you enjoy them!