Decisions come in all shapes and sizes.
Every day we face decisions about what to eat, whether to exercise, how to use our time, etc. Over the years, these decisions become habits, and we don’t think much about them. If we’ve made good decisions from the start, we don’t usually have to worry about them. When we haven’t made good choices, however, these small decisions can blossom into bad habits that take a long-term toll on our lives and relationship with God and others.
I can’t remember ever coming across this verse until the other day. At least, it never stood out to me the way it did this time. That could be because the book of the prophet Zephaniah is one of the lesser-known zip codes in the Bible: “The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love.”1
Goodbye 2017 and hello 2018! Another year is behind us, and a brand-new year, brimming with possibilities, lies ahead. If last year was a difficult one, we may be glad to see the end of it, but there are probably many who are peering into the new year with lack of confidence, trepidation, and even worry.
Sometimes it feels like the world is getting darker and colder all the time. When the sun sets, we look for some ray of hope.
That hope is here.
In modern English, the word “love” conveys a range of emotions, but the classical Greeks were more precise. They had four words that have all been translated as “love” in English:
Storgē roughly fits our English word “affection,” especially the type of affection within families. It can also be used in a “put up with” type of way—and as most of us know, that is in fact the type of love many of us had for our siblings when growing up.
“The Man Who Planted Trees,” by Jean Giono, is the allegorical tale of Elzéard Bouffier, a humble shepherd who single-handedly transformed a barren region of southern France by planting nuts as he watched his sheep graze on a different hillside each day. It also inspired the motto that appears on the cover of each issue of Activated: “Change your life. Change your world.”
Children are natural learners. As long as their basic needs are met, their thirst for new information and experiences is boundless. If they’re happy and have interesting things to do and safe places in which to do them, that’s even better.
Living a Christian’s life in today’s complex and intricate world can seem quite difficult. So many things demand our attention on a moment-by-moment basis. Most of them aren’t bad, but they take our time and can keep us from growing in our faith.
Yet we all know people who seem to have found a way to balance the conflicts of modern life, and of course, countless Christians before us have been successful in their times as well. So what’s the secret? Just as we must eat, breathe, and exercise in order to grow physically, there are three essentials to spiritual growth.