Charles Stanley on Bearing Adversity

” Adversity is not simply a tool. It is God’s most effective tool for the advancement of our spiritual lives. The circumstances and events that we see as setbacks are oftentimes the very things that launch us into periods of intense spiritual growth. Once we begin to understand this, and accept it as a spiritual fact of life, adversity becomes easier to bear” Charles Stanley

For more quotes by Charles Stanley see:

:A Quote About Spiritual Gift

Free to the Max

Grade Yourself #2

A while back I wrote a post about grading ourselves:  taking a realistic look at how we are doing spiritually (see Grade Yourself].  I was discussing this with a friend and she raised a very good question:  what standard are we using to grade ourselves?  In other words, to whom or what should we compare ourselves.

Possibly the obvious choice is Christ.  We are certainly to focus on Him, to imitate Him, to “walk as He walked.”(1 John 2:6).   However, if we compare ourselves to Jesus, we’re going to receive only one grade — “F”  for failure.  We can’t measure up, and ” for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”(Romans 3:23)

We might chose to compare ourselves to others, but that’s risky as well.  It can lead to sins like pride and self-righteousness (remember the parable of the  pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14) because we can always find people who seem more sinful (at least to us) than we are. It can also cause envy and despair because, on the other hand, there will alos be those who are further along on their spiritual path (often we don’t know their whole story either).  As they tell us at the end of every Via de Cristo, the pitfalls are thinking we are something, or thinking we are nothing.

So, it seems there is only one course left, and that is to grade ourselves against ourselves.  How am I doing compared to last year, last month, last week?  Am I progressing and growing more Christ-like?  Or am I content to stay the same?  Am I living water or a stagnant pool?

“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone, and not in his neighbor.  For each will have to bear his own load.”  Galatians 6:4-5

God will not ask you why you weren’t as good as ____________ (fill in the blank).  He’ll ask if you were the best YOU could be.  So keep growing and grade yourself carefully!

Two Steps Forward by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review

This book is the second in the Sensible Shoes (Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review ) by author Sharon Garlough Brown.  It continues the spiritual journeys of four friends who meet on a retreat — Hannah (single pastor on a long sabbatical), Charissa (perfectionist graduate student), Mara (mother of three boys in a difficult marriage) and Meg (widow and empty-nester).

As before, most people will find someone with a story that resonates with their own experiences.  These women fight common spiritual battles with anxiety, a desire to control, grief, difficulties in relationships, envy, and all the normal stresses and changes of daily life.


I had reserved this book from the local library, and it took quite a while for it to come in.  I told my reunion group sister that I was sure it would arrive at “the right time” and it did.  The plot takes place around the Christmas season and one of the themes is “making room for Jesus” in the mess and chaos of our lives.  Right before I read this book, I wrote a post on this very idea! ( see Make Room for Jesus).

If you’re in a book club or small group this would be a great read to study together.  There is a companion guide for prayer and conversation at the back.  It would be suitable to do either alone or with others.

VERDICT:  5 STARS.  It was hard to put down!  However, I would recommend reading the books in order, so start with Sensible Shoes.  

For reviews of other works of Christian Fiction see:

Jack by Marilynne Robinson– Book Review

The Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry — Book Review

white picket fences by Susan Meissner–Book Review



New Month/No Theme

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” Romans 12:6

We are all Lutheran Ladies, but we also have our differences  If we were shoes, some of us would be high heels and others would be sandals;  some of us would pick a bright red and others a more neutral shade. In the same way, some of us like having a theme to focus our thoughts, while others prefer to let inspiration strike where it will.  This month we will be one of our “no theme” times.

One of my blogging sisters recently told me that she would like us to become “edgier”  so my challenge to her (and to everyone) this month is to do just that!  In fact, I would enjoy seeing each one of our bloggers post this month on a topic that is close to her heart.

If you, dear reader, want to suggest a topic, we would also love to hear from you.  This blog is meant to be about all of us — growing together spiritually at our own rate, with our own unique lives and interests.

God loves you and so do we!