This is a guest post from Monica Boughdady – a medical student from London, England who has guest posted on my blog before.  You can follow Monica on her blog, Let Me Be a Womanand also on twitter, @MonicaBoughdady.  And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.

desert

When you’ve tasted the sweetness of the living water, there’s nothing more unbearable than the dryness of the desert.

I work harder, pleading for His presence, trying to push myself to find some sort of emotional connection to the words I have read over and over in my Bible. Somehow, I still leave feeling empty and unfulfilled.  I feel like saying with Isaiah the prophet, “My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens” (Isaiah 38:14).

I guess it’s because somewhere along the way, I’ve slipped into thinking that when I can’t feel God, He has abandoned me.  In other words, I equate God’s silence with God’s absence.

But is that really the case?

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“If a person is wrong about being right with God, then ultimately it really doesn’t matter what he is right about.”

highways

About ten years ago, a friend of mine and I set out on a road trip to visit another friend who lived about three hours away.  The route to get there was fairly simple; it was one highway the entire way.  Neither of us owned a GPS at the time, but we didn’t need one.  We had something just as good… MAPQUEST!

The directions were clear and straightforward: take Route 50 for 140 miles, then once you hit a city called Westover, MD, the destination will be on your right after ½ mile.

Simple.  Straightforward.  A piece of cake.  What could go wrong?

Well… to make a long story short…SOMETHING WENT WRONG!

Unbeknownst to us at the time, we somehow managed to exit off of Route 50 and onto Route 301 mistakenly.  Route 301 goes north and we need to be going south.  So instead of being in Westover, Maryland, we found ourselves in Glasgow, Delaware!

(I say “we” but really it was HIM; my friend was the one driving, not me.  I was actually asleep in the passenger seat at the time and had I been awake, surely we wouldn’t have gotten lost :) )

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“There are two ways, one of life and one of death;
but a great difference between the two ways.”  Didache 1:1

ETHICS VS OBEDIENCE.  One is how we look at right vs wrong; the other is how God does.  One is relative and ever changing; the other is fixed.  One focuses solely on actions and behavior; the other focuses on a mindset.  One talks about sin as a line you can’t cross; the other looks at sin as a slope you shouldn’t mess with.

Most importantly, one leads to life; the other leads to death.

Which one are you using as you walk through life???

Check out Part 1 in our newest series at The Well called GOD’S ETHICS: REALIGNING YOUR MORAL COMPASS to help you see the difference and answer this extremely important question for yourself.

GELogo

This is a guest post by Shereen Marcus – who works as an attorney for the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and also volunteers in the children’s program at St. Timothy & St. Athanasius Church.  Find her on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/shereen.marcus.  And if you’re interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.

A typical Saturday morning in our house includes my two young boys (incapable of sleeping past 7 am) fighting over who gets to do something first, who plays with what toy, who gets the blue plate at breakfast, or something like that… I admittedly started tuning them out.  Meanwhile, in my room, I’m washing my face and making frown-y faces in the mirror remembering what I looked like in the “good ole days” (in actuality, I was unhappy with the way I looked back then too).  My husband is similarly groaning at the fact that it’s so early … on a Saturday.

I volunteer in the children’s program at my church where we have been discussing contentment this month, so the topic has been at the forefront of my mind.  Specifically, what’s robbing us of our contentment?

Maybe the answer is totally obvious to you.  Maybe the better question is:  in a society where we are constantly told to accumulate more stuff, cling to our youth by any means necessary, and shun all carbs for the sake of our waistline, is contentment really an attainable goal?

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Inheritance comes from promise.  Possession comes from obedience.

money_Inheritance

Have you ever heard a sermon about God’s promises and felt a little discouraged?  Have you ever read a book or an article about God’s faithfulness and felt just a little bit cheated?  Have you ever heard someone else tell the story of how God fulfilled a promise to them and had a little gnawing voice inside you say “why not me too?

We all have.  It’s not easy to appreciate the beauty and splendor of God’s faithfulness when you feel like God promised you something (healing, success, victory over a certain temptation, etc.) and He hasn’t yet provided it.

Where is God’s promise of “joy that no one can take from you” when I’m lonely and depressed?

Where is God’s promise of “authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy” when I’ve fallen into the same sin…AGAIN?!

Where is God’s promise of “peace which surpasses all understanding” when I am more confused today than I’ve ever been?

The answer lies in the understanding of a key spiritual principle – one of the most important and least remembered principles in the spiritual life.  And it is this:

GOD GIVES SEEDS, NOT TREES. 

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Too often, it seems like there’s a disconnect between God’s promise and our possession.  In other words, we hear/read many great things that God promises to His children (peace, joy, power, victory, etc.) but we seldom find any of those things in our possession.  Why is that?

Check out yesterday’s message from The WellLAYING HOLD OF GOD’S PROMISE – and you’ll see why.  The problem isn’t that God doesn’t fulfill His promises; the problem is that we aren’t looking for the right thing.  We’re looking for trees, but God is giving out seeds.

Watch the video below and you’ll understand what I mean.

This is a guest post from Katie Karras – a communications and training consultant in Washington, DC and a proud member of St. Timothy and St. Athanasius Church in Arlington, VA. You can follow her on twitter,@KatieKarras. And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.

no thank you

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

That’s the promise God gave me at the start of 2014.  And to be honest, I spent most of this year confused by it.

We’ve heard quite a bit about the encouraging promises of God on this blog, but when I looked at my promise on January 1, I was a little disappointed. Others were given promises of hope, of victory, and of slicing through bronze while I was given a promise that was seemingly “not applicable” to me. I had no idea what to expect in 2014.

Well here we are, ¾ of the way through the year, and I’m still not brokenhearted, nor have I been crushed in spirit. As I contemplated whether or not God maybe misspoke that New Year’s Day, I got an email from a friend I’ve always looked up to, gently asking where I had been and why I hadn’t reached out during a particularly hard time.

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