More of What?

I wonder if this might be called the super-size age. “Up size mine, please.” More and bigger is the cry. Does man’s fleshly appetite know any limits? Our appetites are given to us by our wonderful, loving, all-knowing, all-good God. They are good when seeking the right things under the control of His Spirit. What do your appetites seek?

“Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:19). “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Romans 6:12).


“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God” (Psalms 42:1-2)?

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6). “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13). May we feed the spirit and starve the flesh. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).

The Blessing of a Smile

I remember the time years ago, in the midst of my season of homeschooling when my husband looked at me one day and said, “Honey, I think you should smile more.” I don’t recall the exact circumstances, but I am sure it was not one of my more stellar days, and I didn’t receive his encouragement very well. I went off by myself into my bathroom and did a little experiment.

I looked at myself in the mirror and evaluated how I looked. Then I pretended to be unhappy with a child while correcting the child with an attitude. Immediately, I thought to myself, “Wow, Lord, if You had put little mirrors on my children’s foreheads so that I could see what they are seeing when I am displeased with their behavior, perhaps I would have more quickly come to the meek and quiet spirit that I long for.”

Finally, I smiled at myself in the mirror. The difference was astonishing. It was beyond amazing. There was no doubt in my mind which image I preferred looking at, and I could readily see why Steve suggested that I smile more. Truly, the smiling face was the one I desired for my family to see.

When a mom writes to me with struggles with her children, the first thing I usually ask her to do is to look each child in the eye at least once every day, smile at him, and tell him you love him. We get busy with life. We work with our children. We talk to them. We play with them. We do school with them. We disciple them. We are with them a great deal of time each day. Sometimes, though, we forget to simply quiet ourselves enough to catch their eye, smile into their face, and express the words that fill our hearts—”I love you!” We might say, “I love you” as we hug them during the day or tuck them in at night, but what about looking them in the eye when we say it?

There isn’t a verse in Scripture that says there is power in a smile, but this verse is pretty close: “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13). Here the smile comes from the heart. For me, there were times when my heart was not merry, but I chose to put a smile on my face. From that, I discovered the decision to smile could also cheer up my heart.

A smile is a blessing to my family. They like to see a wife and a mother who is happy. A smile is a blessing to me. It expresses my feelings for my family, and it causes me to feel happier. A smile is also a blessing to my Lord because it says to Him that I am content in Him with whatever circumstances He has given to me. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

Could I challenge you to take the mirror test yourself? What kind of wife and mommy do you want your husband and children looking at—the one who is smiling, the one who is serious, or the one whose brow is furled and frowning? I would like to remind you to smile more. I would like to remind myself to smile more. There is a blessing in your smile. Don’t lose those precious blessings!



I consider myself quite active in sharing Christ. I have a long list of people I pray for almost daily. I actively seek to engage neighbors with a desire to get to talk about spiritual things. When I am in stores or pumping gas, I try to strike up conversations with that same goal. I’m motivated by my love for the Lord Jesus and for others. However, there is something that I’m very reserved to do and that is to hand out tracts.

We have known a missionary couple, serving with their large family in Africa, for almost twenty years, and we observe their lives. They are the most active soul winners I know whether stateside or in their country of ministry. They recently came back to the US for a son’s wedding. They were engaging people in spiritual discussions or handing out tracts at every opportunity. It’s who they are. I love that about them. 

I have really good “reasons” why I don’t hand out tracts (at least I have convinced myself for the almost 50 years I have been saved that they are good reasons). So I asked their thoughts on my “reasons.” They gently reminded me of the power of the Word and prayer (Ugh, where’s my faith?).

What if over those 50 years, I gave out 100 tracts/year? That is only 2 tracts a week. That is nothing, agreed? Out of 5,000 tracts, what if 10 people were saved? Would that be worth it? What if only 5 were saved? Now what if only 1 single person was saved from eternity in hell? Of course that answer is YES!

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Frankly, I have come to believe my “good reasons” stem from my pride and a lack of trust in the power of prayer and God’s Word. 

My brothers, I’m publicly repenting. 

What Do We Love?

My heart deeply grieves for the dire need for us to be men of God, serious about living for Him Who died for us. Our Savior humbled Himself by leaving the glory of Heaven to come to this world to redeem for Himself a peculiar people. Are we living for Christ or the “gods” of this world? 

I believe we are living in the midst of a modern-day example of the Corinthian church. Paul’s admonition to them is highly appropriate for “us” today. 

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

Brothers, do you love what unbelievers around you love? Are you spending your time on those things? Your children will love those things also. 


Contentment – how is it going for you? If you are struggling with it, do you know where to begin? Paul and James are wonderful teachers of contentment, so let’s turn to what they have to say.

“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Paul had a “thorn in the flesh.” He asked the Lord three times to be relieved from his difficulty. However, the Lord’s answer was “no.” God had a purpose and was going to use this as a demonstration of His grace and strength in Paul’s life. What was Paul’s response and ultimately his secret to contentment? He chose to take “pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

For me, this kind of response goes against my natural reactions to hard circumstances. What I feel like doing is grumbling, complaining, being irritated and unhappy, feeling sorry for myself, and figuring out my own solution.

James learned the same lessons about contentment. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4). The word “count” means “to consider, deem, account, think” (Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary). This is an act of the will. It is a decision I make as to how I will think about my trials. James didn’t tell me to simply accept my trouble, to endure my difficulties, or to grit my teeth until it was past. No, he said to “count is all joy.” JOY! Doesn’t that sound like an impossible reaction to hardship? It is when I am relying on myself, but remember Paul told us when we are weak, Christ is strong.

Our natural reactions put self in the limelight. How does this affect my comfort level? Is this to my liking? Can I see anything positive in it? Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ is to be the center and object of our thoughts and therefore, as always, the focus. When this is true, then we can rest. Resting is the place of faith and trust in a sovereign God. It is acceptance that He knows what is best for our lives. We count it as joy. When we receive trials with this attitude, then we are content. My joy is not in what is happening but rather in my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Seeing that Scripture teaches us that contentment is important and knowing this from personal experience as well, may we seek contentment. May we make the choice to “count it all joy” and to take “pleasures in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Teri Maxwell


If you or someone you know has peripheral neuropathy you will have a practical understanding of how important it is for feet to communicate injuries (for example) back to the brain. A person with neuropathy might step on a nail and not even know it needs to be treated to prevent infection. If left untreated, serious infection sets in, and the danger of foot amputation is real. 

The body gives us a good example of how important communication is in life. Communication is the lifeblood of relationships. No communication, no relationship, and poor communication yields a poor relationship with the potential of severance. How many divorces might not have happened if communication had been diligently worked on?

Teri and I have been married 49 years. We know each other quite well, and you might  expect that by now communication is easy, having had so much time to “practice.” Yet, we are often amazed how we can still sometimes misunderstand each other. It continues to take effort to communicate well, but it is worth it. Oh my brothers, we communicate with those we value.

Communication takes your time and energy. Get rid of distractions, and make dedicated time with your wife a priority so you can talk. 

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). I have never had a husband tell me he regretted time spent nurturing communication with his wife. Love her by well by communicating with her.