To The Christian Creatives, Artists, and Poets, The Church Needs You

I know the struggle and the tension you are facing today. You want to create something grand, something that shows the true pain, beauty, and experiences of those around you.  But often, reality is messy. The Fall of Mankind in the Garden has mangled and marred so much that should be simply joyous and beautiful. Your stories aren’t tied neatly with bows. They don’t end like a Hallmark Christmas movie, with everyone sitting around the fire forgetting problems because they are all in the past. Art deals with the tensions of the already not yet. And the Church needs to feel that tension.  We need you to be the brave and the bold. We need you to show just how deeply sin has severed what our God created to be good and life-giving. Too often, we pass over that pain and try and pretend that all things have been redeemed.  But you remind us that this is not so. You remind us that the beautiful world God created is fallen and waiting for the King to come and restore it.  In the meantime, you do not leave us without hope. While some of us need to be startled by the brokenness to remember that all is not well, we often need hope that the God who is coming back to make all things right has left little signs of His grace all around us.  You show us the beauty of a mother’s embrace and unexpected strength in the midst of trial. In your words, we see the strength of those who stand against evil and in your brush strokes those who fight against storms and embrace the calm of the sunrise.  In art, our eyes are opened to a world bigger than our own. You help us step into the shoes of those close to us and those far away and take on their stories as Christ took on ours. In taking on other’s joys and sorrows through your art, you help us truly see and love others.  But more than that, you help us reflect the image of God in each of us. God is the Creator and He is also the Truth. In art, you exercise the creativity God demonstrated in bringing something out of nothing and showing reality in a startling and stunning way.  So keep pressing on. Because the Church needs the art of Christian creatives. …

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5 Critical Truths Christians Need To Remember When Fighting Injustice

Social justice is a buzzword that we drop to show our commitment to fighting injustice in the world. I think that most people are well-intentioned but for many, talking about fighting injustice simply another form of slacktivism that is accompanied by Facebook campaigns and trendy fair-trade purchases. Unfortunately, it often ends there.  The Bible calls us to take up the cause of the defenseless and to care deeply about the brokenness of the world. Social justice is one of the ways we join God in the work of redeeming creation and restoring it to what He intended in Eden. But while buzzwords fly and slacktivism becomes the norm, we need to make sure that we are approaching social justice from a Biblical perspective. 1. We Are Commanded to Take Up the Cause of the Defenseless by Fighting Injustice While there is controversy about the role of social justice in the church, Scripture makes it clear that caring for the defenseless is central to true faith.  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. – James 1:27, ESV If we are to live as Jesus modeled and called us to live, we need to be concerned about the needs and welfare of the least of these. Christians need to identify with the afflicted. In Matthew 25, Jesus makes it clear that we need to occupy our time with clothing the naked, giving food to the hungry, and welcome the stranger. It is not a second tier mission but something that should define Christians everywhere.  2. We Need to Invest Personally, Both Financially and Emotionally, in Fighting Injustice One of the common traits of modern first-world activism is to simply open our wallets and feel we’re doing the work God has called us to do. But opening up our wallets is not enough. I know that for myself, there’s quite a lot I would be able to give before I had to sacrifice anything from my day to day life. While I might have to cut back on wants, it would take a lot for my needs to cut short because of my giving. In short, it’s easy for me to give without being invested.  But Jesus doesn’t call me to serve from a distance, He wants me to care about individuals,…

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Beginning Again: Keeping Your Faith After Failure

I woke up this morning eager to embrace the routine I had dedicated myself to in this new year. Despite having one of the worst nights of sleep in my recent memory, I woke dramatically earlier than my body’s “still on vacation” clock wanted to at the first sound of my alarm. And I threw myself into habits and practices that felt foreign to my body but that I’ve done many times—it’s just been awhile.  So why do we do it? Why do we look for more accountability, a new reading plan, a new reminder to care for others, to use our bodies, to strive for holiness when experience tells us, it will be short lived? Why do we just hop back on the wagon, whatever our wagon is, when we’ve fallen off more times than we care to admit? As my muscles stretch through my morning workout and ache through my Bible reading, I can’t help but wonder why I try again to embrace these habits.  Why do I strive instead of resigning myself to failure?  The words of St. Benedict run through my mind and I repeat to myself, “Always, we begin again.” The words of St. Benedict run through my mind and I repeat to myself, “Always, we begin again.” And doesn’t that sum up this life perfectly?      Doesn’t the new year bring with it a reminder that again, this year and today, tomorrow and always, we will start fresh with new grace and new strength?  Hosea saw a pattern of faithfulness and unfaithfulness in his life, but he stood as a prophet of God because the unfaithful people of Israel and urged them, and us, to return, again and again, to the things God has called us to do. Because when we are unfaithful, He is still faithful.  Come, let us return to the Lord;     for he has torn us, that he may heal us;     he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us;     on the third day he will raise us up,     that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;     his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers,     as the spring rains that water the earth. – Hosea 6:1-3, ESV Just like the rain, so will God’s…

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The Power of a Name and the Holy Name of Jesus

Names have a funny way of working their way into our culture. My husband has a way of remembering the names of wealthy zillionaires and I tend to be able to rattle off the latest actors and pop stars as if they were people I was actually acquainted with.  Names have a strange power over us. We name drop to try and show our status or connection to status. Rumors of what a certain someone has been up to spread like wildfire because their name is recognizable. Events that were previously viewed with mediocre enthusiasm are suddenly flooded with attention when the media receives the name of a surprise guest. Names identify us, and names elicit reactions.  Today, is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which is always a mental stretch for me. I can get on board with celebrating something God did or even the life of one of His saints, but simply celebrating the most holy name of our Lord does not come naturally.  Biblically, the name of Jesus has immense significance and power.  The angel Gabriel told Jospeh, Christ’s earthly father, exactly what he was to name Him. It wasn’t left to chance. He didn’t take on a family name or something really trendy in Nazarene at the time, His parents were told to call Him Jesus.  And it is that name, just that mention of that beautiful name, that will one day bring the world and all around it to its knees.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:4-11, ESV His name is exalted, not because He made…

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Top 10 Must Read Blog Posts for Christian Women in 2019

Another year has come and gone by. There were many joys but also many struggles. In it all, God has still proven Himself faithful in my life.  This has been a big year for The Thin Place! So many women have been reached with encouragement to walk close to Jesus than they have in previous years.  There are several articles that have encouraged Christian living. Below are the top 10 posts from The Thin Place this last year.  I hope you find a couple of new posts to enjoy and old favorites to share with your friends. 1. My Hygge + Faith Morning Routine Mornings might be my favorite part of the day. I love the stillness of the world and I love watching it come alive as the sun rises and all of creation begins stirring. My mornings have become a blend of beauty and intentionality. But perhaps my favorite part of my mornings is that I can curl up in a robe, with my coffee and Bible in hand. . . Read more here 2. 13 Ways To Be A Proverbs 31 Women Today Mornings might be my favorite part of the day. I love the stillness of the world and I love watching it come alive as the sun rises and all of creation begins stirring. My mornings have become a blend of beauty and intentionality. But perhaps my favorite part of my mornings is that I can curl up in a robe, with my coffee and Bible in hand. . . Read more here  3. 7 Spiritual Goals You Need To Start Setting Today Does the Christian life ever overwhelm you? Because lately, I’ve been overwhelmed. I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I want to be a woman committed to prayer, studying the word, caring for the poor, and loving those around me. But then, the days get busy and the weeds of life tighten around my neck and draw my attention to Facebook and to the laundry. . . Read more here 4. How Facebook Almost Ruined My Marriage My husband is not perfect. Don’t get me wrong, he is wonderful and I love him dearly, but he is far from perfect. He lashes out sometimes when he’s sleep-deprived and stressed. He forgets to take out the trashed or change the oil in the car when I’ve asked at least 1,000 times. And for…

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