Adult Team Blog

All Wrapped Up?

Two wrapped packages are set before you. You can choose only one. The labels tell you one contains opportunities to increase your strength and have greater independence, while the other will result in weakness of some kind and a greater dependence.

The choice seems easy . . . unless your goal is to be like Christ. You see, in God’s upside-down economy,

weakness is strength (2 Cor. 12:10b);
wisdom is foolishness (1 Cor. 3:19);
humility is honored (Prov. 22:4);
death produces life (John 12:24);
surrender is victory (1 John 5:4–5);
loss is gain (2 Cor. 4:17).

We can often observe this paradox of reversal in the lives of Christ followers. My daughter had a wasting muscle disease resulting in extreme weakness. She never weighed more than 55 pounds. Yet her contagious smile, perky disposition, and bold faith made a strong impact for Jesus. God’s power was reflected in her weakness.

Jackie Leggett’s husband, Chris, was murdered in Mauritania in 2009. He was targeted because of his faith. But today his bold witness and sacrifice continue to live and bear much fruit among the people he served. His death produced life.

Accept No Glory

What is true humility? That’s a question I have struggled with most of my life. The more I sought humility, the more self-absorbed I became. That surely wasn’t humility.

I’m learning now that there’s a life lesson every day in humility if you are open to receive it. Learning to ask for and accept help is the first step. “I can do it myself” is the toddler’s phrase.

Swinging to the other extreme of self-deprecation is false humility that doesn’t honor God. He gives every good thing, and He deserves the credit.

My mother’s dementia is a humbling experience for both of us: she in accepting care for her most basic and private needs and me to give it and allow her dignity. God is teaching me to prayerfully absorb today’s lesson and give Him the glory for all of it. 

Lucretia Mobbs is learning to accept no glory.

Who? Me?

How has God called and gifted you to contribute in the body of Christ? For me, it has been as a writer and sometimes reluctant speaker. Often those who serve in a communications calling like mine struggle with the divide between self-promotion and God’s clear directives toward humility.

One of my best lessons in humility came when I was given the opportunity to write for a well-loved women’s monthly devotional publication. I had visions of the acclaim and admiration my work could receive—until my editor indicated the writers were never acknowledged by name.

I soon recognized God was giving me an opportunity to humbly serve Him “incognito.” My unrecognized devotional writing would allow me to learn a sweet lesson in decreasing for His increase and to experience the presence of His affirmation alone.

Bringing the Jump Rope

“Would you and your family like to come play with the Bhutanese children in Dallas with me Friday night?” Ms. Fran asked.

“Yes, we would,” I responded.

We girls loaded into the van that Friday evening, making our way to the Dallas apartment complex. As we unloaded, Bhutanese children met us and followed us to the safe alleyway between apartment buildings.

Ms. Fran set down a clothes basket loaded with jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, bouncy balls, and candy. And in a matter of minutes, the children were licking lollipops, jumping rope, drawing with sidewalk chalk.

I played with those beautiful children, held hands with them, was complimented by them, and received hugs from them and their mothers.

As my beloved Canadian friend Jennifer said, “Sometimes showing people Jesus is bringing a skipping rope and having fun.”

Shelli Littleton lives in Royse City, Texas, and blogs atShelliLittleton.blogspot.com.

Reaching out to the Lonely This Thanksgiving

I look forward to Thanksgiving, a time for family and really good food! We enjoy meals with my father’s side of the family, my mother’s side of the family, and my husband’s family. It’s a lot of calories but a lot of fun.

While I do not yet host a family gathering myself, my aunt and mother-in-law have taught me something very important over the years: how to show thankfulness by giving to those who may not have a family to celebrate with. At both of their homes, you never know who may be showing up for dinner. My aunt often invites friends or co-workers who do not have a family to celebrate with. My mother-in-law lives in a retirement community and often invites older neighbors who are alone.

It is not just a gift of food but also a gift of companionship. Who do you know who may be facing loneliness over the holidays? Is there someone you could minister to by inviting him or her to Thanksgiving dinner? There is no better way to show God’s love this holiday season.           

Laci Post writes articles and historical fiction from Dallas, Georgia, where she lives with her husband, Jason, and sons, Avery and Eli.

Choosing Unconditional Love

If something is unconditional, it is absolute. There are no restrictions. We can count on it. God’s love is unconditional. He is always there for us no matter how badly we mess up. Isn’t that reassuring? As Christians, we are called to show that same unconditional love to others.

When I became a parent, I gained a greater understanding of what that meant. I can be thrown up on, ignored, and lied to by 1 of my 2 sons and still love him just as much the next day. My sons’ choices may sometimes hurt deeply, but I never stop caring for them.

Over the years, I have learned to love others unconditionally as well. An old friend may fail to call for a long time, but when she does, I am just as happy to talk to her. My husband and I may have different opinions about our finances, but we work it out and remember that our relationship is far more important than any amount of money.

Remembering daily God’s unconditional love for us helps us give that same love to others. No one is perfect. We will be disappointed by those in our lives. We must choose unconditional love.

Loving Unconditionally

Loving unconditionally . . . what does that even mean?

The high divorce rate even among Christians testifies that most come to a relationship with the conditional “I love you if . . . ”

In a world where parents and children can divorce or at least attempt it, relationships become strained. Distant. People pull away from those who don’t fill in the blank properly.

Our love for God is often conditional if He doesn’t fill in the blank properly—properly to us.

Who then? Who can love that way?

I know a Father. You may know Him, too.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The awareness of God’s matchless unconditional John 3:16 love gives us cause to pause and offer thanksgiving for the One and to the One Who unconditionally says, “I love you” and—

forgives us.
leads us.
carries us.
sees us.
hears us.
heals us.
changes us.
fights for us.
died for us.

What does He unconditionally do for you? Fill in the blank.

Praying for Those We Don’t Want to Pray For

Not long ago, my son came home from school and told me that a little girl in his class called him a cuss word at lunch. We talked about how to show her kindness even when she said mean things. I also told him to tell me if it happened again and I would talk to his teacher. What really amazed him, however, was when I prayed for the little girl. We later found out that she has a parent in prison and has been going through a difficult time.

Prayer is important, even when it is for someone we don’t get along with or agree with. It asks God to intervene in the person’s life or in a situation and often changes our attitude toward the person.

Who in your life do you need to pray for today? A boss who is hard to work for? A neighbor who stirs up trouble? A co-worker who doesn’t do his or her fair share of the work? A friend who has gossiped about you? A politician whose political views you do not agree with?

Start praying today and see how God changes lives, situations, and your heart. By the way, the little girl hasn’t called my son a bad name again!

Praying for the Difficult

“I failed the parallel parking,” my daughter sobbed.

She had practiced on those poles day after day.

But what’s done is done. We rescheduled her test.

Walking out, I noticed that the parallel parking poles had been moved. No wonder she failed. I flagged the instructor down and explained the problem. She displayed no sympathy.

I began to dislike her very much. After hearing her explanation, I said, “That’s a shame.”

When hurt creeps in,

walk through prayer. I prayed for the instructor and the situation, mostly asking that I wouldn’t have to face her again when my daughter retested.
watch out for pride. I realized the instructor was right. My daughter should have been able to parallel park regardless of where the poles were positioned.
wait for peace. The day of retesting, the instructor saw me. “How are you?” she asked sympathetically with a smile, as though I were her best friend. “Much better,” I said. We talked and laughed together. I thanked God for enabling me to walk away with peace.

Shelli Littleton lives in Royse City, Texas, and blogs at ShelliLittleton.blogspot.com.

Losing Your First Love to Good Things

I’m guilty. While it may not appear that way to the world, I know it in my heart. You can go to church, pray, tithe, and even serve and still be guilty of losing your First Love, of placing Jesus second in your life.

When it happens to me, it doesn’t happen overnight or with conspicuous things like sinful relationships, drugs, or alcohol. It happens with good things.

The first time I noticed it was in college. I went to a Christian college, was dating a Christian guy, and was a good student—all good things but things that took God’s place in my life. God brought it to my attention, and I had to reprioritize. I had to make sure I was spending time with Him each day and listening to His will for my life.

The second time I noticed it was as a young mother. I was taking good care of my 2 precious boys, but I wasn’t giving God quality time in my life.

What good things in your life may be causing you to lose your First Love? Work? Travel? Family? Reevaluate your life today and make sure Jesus is still in first place. 

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