Voices
Ali Douglass

No glib utterances

Some advice from the chair of faith

Issue: "Crackdown," July 18, 2009

There are a finite number of days left with that 15-year-old sitting in your living room. Get off the computer and drag her out into the sunshine.

I knew all the verses on good parenting-put a roof over their heads, put food in their bellies, read the Bible, talk about God when you're coming in and going out, punish their follies and praise their good deeds. The ones that slipped my net were not so much the rules God taught as the ones He modeled: spend time with them, get to know them, delight in them.

If you neglected to celebrate your daughter's birthday, don't despair. You can always have an "un-birthday" party.

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Don't hesitate to take a trip with your kids. Even if you have a lousy time, it will become a better memory every year.

Don't let some platonic fiction of 100 percent certainty keep you from doing something you are 80 percent sure God wants you to do.

I discovered that discouragement is a choice I make and not something that happens to me.

A wise man said to "get rid of everything doubtful in your life," but I have been dithering for years, making an academic problem of which things are doubtful and which are permissible. I'll bet if I suddenly had a diagnosis of six months to live, it would be clear.

When you're depressed, carry on as if you're not depressed. Better to have just one problem than create additional ones. When you blow one part of your day, don't give up on the rest of the day.

Every time I have gotten involved in some Christian work, or with some group of people, I have not at first wanted to; I would have preferred to stay in my cozy home. And every time, I have ended up glad I got involved.

"Love the Lord with all your mind" is delightful. It gives me permission to fire connections, to put Bible verses together with experience and observations, and to run with it.

God's commands turn out to be doorways to intimacy with Him. And the best kept secret about obedience in the face of a hard temptation is that there is a blessing waiting on the other side. Satan doesn't want us to know that. He would prefer the usual succumb-and-repent routine.

The real work of life happens at the cellular level of ­one-moment-at-a-time believing God's promises, praying like breathing, and obeying His Spirit immediately. There are no larger battles. There is no more profound analysis of the decline of the church.

If a person has impeccable theology but no love and no joy, I am suspicious of his theology. He hasn't understood the first thing.

When you ask for forgiveness, make it clean. Resist the temptation to tack on qualifications or excuses. Do this even if the other person is more at fault than you.

There are only two chairs in the room-the chair of faith and the chair of unbelief. The double-minded person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord (see James). I made up my mind that henceforth in my perplexity, I will be perplexed from the chair of faith and not the chair of skepticism.

God takes our sins and our vain strivings and our noble deeds, and they all go into the hopper of history. And when the smoke clears, there are the 12 tribes of Israel all in a row. His ways are higher than our ways. Who can understand it?

Every time you open your mouth, you are either building up or tearing down, ministering or manipulating, sowing for the kingdom or sowing for hell. How fearfully consequential are our most glib utterances.

Give someone a compliment sandwich today. Deliver a rebuke between two words of encouragement and commendation.

I have resolved to handle good days by giving myself fully to rejoicing in them with thanksgiving, rather than always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Anxiety is all about the future. I have to admit that at this present moment I have enough grace.

"Don't be afraid; just believe" (Mark 5:36).
If you have a question or comment for Andrée Seu, send it to aseu@worldmag.com.
To hear commentaries by Andrée Seu, click here.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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