Apr

15

2014

Nancy Guthrie|12:01 AM CT

Please Don't Make My Funeral All About Me

I just got home from another funeral. Seems we've gone to more than our share lately. And once again, as I left the church, I pled with those closest to me, "Please don't make my funeral all about me."

large_FuneralWe were an hour and fifteen minutes in to today's funeral before anyone read from the scriptures, and further in until there was a prayer. Resurrection wasn't mentioned until the benediction. There were too many funny stories to tell about the deceased, too many recollections, too many good things to say about the things she accomplished to speak of what Christ has accomplished on her behalf.

But then this wasn't a funeral. It was a "Celebration of Life." In fact there was really little mention of death or of the ugly way sickness slowly robbed our friend of everything. Christ...

 
 
 
 

Jan

24

2014

Nancy Guthrie|12:01 AM CT

We Don't Have to Read the Book or See the Movie to Know Heaven Is Real

"Have you read Heaven Is for Real?" I've been asked this question more times than I can count. So let me just tell you—no, I haven't. I was actually asked by the publisher to read the manuscript to offer an endorsement before the book came out, but I declined. And clearly the lack of an endorsement from me has not hindered sales.

HeavenisforrealtheaterposterI've been hoping that the hoopla surrounding this book and so many of the other "died and went to heaven and came back" books would end. And then I went to the theater over the holidays and saw previews for the upcoming movie based on Heaven Is for Real. So before you ask if I am going to see the movie, let me just tell you—no, I'm not.

Do These Books Encourage Genuine Faith?


People sometimes say these stories encouraged their faith or the faith of...

 
 
 
 

Oct

30

2013

Nancy Guthrie|12:01 AM CT

Those Who Sleep in the Dust Will Awake

We buried our daughter, Hope, in the heat of June. Nothing in my life has ever felt so wrong as putting her body in the grave and simply walking away. Then came that October morning when there was frost on the ground and a nip in the air and the heat came on in our house for the first time, giving off the smell of burning dust. I lay in bed, feeling a wave of resistance and resentment toward the cold. I thought about the cold earth surrounding Hope's body and I wept, feeling a sense of helplessness in surrendering her body to the coming winter. It's a mom's job to keep her child warm, isn't it?

tombstone-on-the-grave-in-the-old-cemetery-fresh-mound-with-a-stone-crossAround that time, our neighborhood began the annual ritual of decorating for Halloween. When my neighbors hung their orange lights on October...

 
 
 
 

Sep

18

2013

Nancy Guthrie|12:01 AM CT

Why Do We Say, 'God Told Me'?

When someone begins a sentence with "God told me . . ." I have to admit a silent alarm goes off somewhere inside me—unless the phrase is followed by a verse of Scripture. I know that many see this as the way the Christian life is supposed to work—that if we are really in fellowship with God we will be able to sense him speaking to us through an inner voice. But I'm not so sure. And it's not because I think God is incapable of or uninterested in speaking to his people today. In fact I resist this language precisely because God is speaking to his people today. He speaks to us through the Scriptures.

When we read the Scriptures we are not just...

 
 
 
 

Sep

11

2013

Nancy Guthrie|12:01 AM CT

The Judgment and Mercy of Our Greater Joshua

To say the least, the battle plan given to Joshua as he led God's people to take possession of the Promised Land was unconventional:
You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him. (Joshua 6:3-5)

Ancient battles were characterized by noise—not only the sounds of clashing swords and horses' hooves but also the yells and chants of opposing...

 
 
 
 

Dec

24

2012

Nancy Guthrie|10:54 AM CT

Born to Raise the Sons of Earth



There's a line in the carol, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!" that caught my attention this year that I don't think I've noticed before. The line immediately prior, "Born that man no more may die," has long been meaningful to me as one touched by the pain of death. Its truth has given me perspective in the midst of great sadness in the Christmas season by reminding me that what began in a manger will culminate on a cross where Jesus will "destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb. 2:14). Yet here we are, living in this world where there is still so much death. We keep thinking that if God were good he would sweep into this world and our lives and protect us from all this loss and pain, that he would put an end to disasters and disease and death.
...

 
 
 
 

Sep

04

2012

Nancy Guthrie|10:00 PM CT

50 Reasons I'm Having a Happy Birthday

I remember when I thought people who were the age I am about to turn on my birthday were . . . really old. Something about these big birthdays soberly reminds us that we likely have fewer years ahead of us than behind us. But do we have to so easily absorb the world's attitudes about aging? Doesn't the reality of Christ change everything about our lives, including the growing older part? If "to live is Christ," shouldn't that make a difference in the way we face these big number birthdays?

It is not at all lost on me that my "outer self is wasting away" (2 Corinthians 4:16). But because I have Christ, my "inner self is being renewed day by day." All flesh is like grass, and let's just say this...

 
 
 
 

Apr

04

2012

Nancy Guthrie|10:00 PM CT

Praying Past Our Preferred Outcomes


It is one thing to be asked to pray for another person. I'm happy to do it. I want to do it. I must admit, though, I am not always faithful to do it. However, it is another thing to be told what to ask God for in the situation. I've noticed that often requests for prayer come with specific instructions on how to pray. I call it a "please pray for my predetermined positive outcome" request.

And while I'm questioning our accepted methods of requesting prayer, I've got to ask, why do we seem to make it our goal to get as many people as possible praying toward our predetermined positive outcome? Is it that we think God is resistant to doing what is good and right but can be pressured by a large...

 
 
 
 

Nov

23

2011

Nancy Guthrie|5:00 AM CT

Joy to This Cursed World

"Happy Thanksgiving!"

"Merry Christmas!"

"Happy New Year!"

As the end of the year approaches, everywhere we turn someone is telling us we should be happy. But for families who've lost someone they love, the holidays can seem more like something to survive than to enjoy. The traditions and events that can add so much joy and meaning to the season are punctuated with painful, repeated reminders of loss. Many grieving people wish they could find a quiet place to hide until January 2.

So is there any joy to be found in the midst of the holidays when you are grieving the loss of someone you love?

Still Infested


When you're grieving, the songs you have sung in church your whole life suddenly sound different. Phrases that easily rolled off your tongue, that you barely thought about...

 
 
 
 

Jul

28

2011

Nancy Guthrie|5:00 AM CT

How Could God Ask That?


In our Sunday school class circle we were discussing Genesis 22, the account of God coming to Abraham and telling him to take his beloved son, Isaac, and offer him as a sacrifice. “I have always struggled with this story,” one man in the class said. “I just can’t understand how God could ask Abraham to do that. It just seems so cruel.”

Many of us have struggled to understand what seems like an outrageous request. And it is not only this command to Abraham that confounds us. We also read about Jacob’s wrestling in the dark with God throughout the night until finally God wrenched his hip, leaving him with a limp, and we wonder why God would do that. We read about God telling Hosea to marry...