Where there is good news, let there be praise for Jesus, who secured our access to call on our Father who answers, delivers, saves and provides.
When there is bad news, let there be praise for Jesus, who secured our access to call on our Father who answers, delivers, saves and provides.
Sometimes the Lord gives and sometimes the Lord takes away.
At all times—blessed be the name of the Lord.
Wifi. According to Scientific American Magazine—the term is not an abbreviation, just a name industry pioneers came up with because it sounded better than a bunch of numbers and dots. At our house, we love Wifi very much. We grieve when it’s down and pout when it’s slow. We smile when it makes our stream dreams possible. Wifi is great because of where it can take us. No one has Wifi just to have Wifi. Having it and not utilizing it would be wasteful.
There are myriad benefits to knowing Christ Jesus. We are sons and daughters of God—adopted by grace. We are forgiven and clean and free. Through the Son we have access to the Father—invited to approach and to ask and to seek and to knock. Each of us has a place among the community of faith known as the Church. The support, prayer cover, teaching, friendships, and mutual ministry makes the value of this benefit difficult to calculate.
“For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being…” Romans 7:22
Through what lens do you see the commands, precepts, testimonies, laws, instructions, and statutes of God? Do you view them as limiting boundaries or as gifts of love? Certainly, they combine as God’s non-negotiable expectations for life. Yet we must not consider the expectations as separate from His desire for our joy. Obedience can be a path to delight. There is a connection between the commands of God and the kindness of God.
Worry is a toxin that attacks our faith.
It relentlessly wonders, “What if ______ doesn’t work out?”
- What if I don’t get the job?
- What if I don’t get into the program?
- What if I have to move back home?
- What if my daughter doesn’t win the audition?
- What if I made the wrong choice?
- What if my parents divorce?
- What if the cancer comes back?
- What if this new relationship falls apart?
- What if I can’t find a roommate?
- What if people find out I failed?
In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus encourages us to lay down our habit of worrying. We could list dozens, but here are five Christ-honoring reasons worry is really bad for us:
- Worry keeps us from the mission of fruit-bearing and disciple-making. Life is more than your career or when you might get married or your child’s opportunities. Sometimes worry exposes a threatened idol. Does your worry reveal imbalanced priorities? Christ-Honoring Response: I will pursue what is eternally important, rather than worrying about what is less than eternally important.
- Worry leads us to compare our story to others. Right now, right in front of you—choose to see the goodness and faithfulness of God. Count your blessings. Contentment can disarm worry. Remember how God has shown Himself to be absolutely faithful. Christ-Honoring Response: I choose to enjoy the blessings of today, rather than worrying about the unknowns of tomorrow.
- Worry urges us to help ourselves rather than wait on God. Worry generates a secret panic. Christ-Honoring Response: I will trust God because I have seen His work in my life. He can be trusted.
- Worry accuses God of being untrustworthy. God sees every detail of your life. His sovereign rule is both all-encompassing and intimately personal. You are not forgotten. Christ-Honoring Response: I will trade “what if” for “Lord-willing”. He alone controls my path.
- Worry robs our joy in present blessings. Worry nudges us to wonder what other people are thinking about us. Worry cozies-up to point all of our attention toward future “what-ifs.” Instead, let’s be concerned with God’s expectations for how we spend TODAY. Christ-Honoring Response: I will be concerned about tomorrow…tomorrow. I refuse to entertain hypothetical conversations or outcomes.
Stop worrying. It’s more than you’re not supposed-to; you don’t have-to.
Pass this along to someone who needs to read it…
**This is a re-post of some thoughts I shared back in 2007, following the campus shooting at Virginia Tech University. In light of today’s tragedy at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, I hope these words will encourage and buoy grieving hearts.
April 22, 2007
By 11:00am on Monday, 33 hearts stopped beating at Virginia Tech. But the number of those affected is much greater than 33. It is multiplied among the injured survivors and uninjured witnesses. And it is exponentially multiplied among the parents and friends and families of those who died. And beyond this, others are affected—a shocked and grieving kinship is felt among college students everywhere; so aware that it could have easily been their school. It is natural to hurt and to grieve and to fear. It is natural to shake your head at the unimaginable scene. I picture a room where cell phones keep ringing—parents trying to reach their sons and daughters who will not answer…because they cannot answer. Yet this tragedy stirs something of hope in me. It is a deep and mature hope—grown out of knowing God. We’ve seen the pictures and the videos and heard the stories of this nightmare. Let’s turn our attention to hope in God—something just as real and compelling.
- Hope in the nearness of God. “TheLord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) God is a tender-hearted Father. And he is right in the thick of the weeping and brokenness. He is active. He is responding and defending and healing and comforting right now.
O God My Father,
This moment in life—this time spent as a student—is a privilege made possible by your generous hand. You created my abilities, you led me to this school and you made the finances possible. Thank you for opening doors and providing for needs. I am grateful for the long string of kindnesses you have shown to bring me this far.
[Furnishings Part Two]
Meal experiences are some of life’s best. Think of holiday gatherings, wedding rehearsal dinners, sitting-down to find mom made your favorite dish. And there are times when good food and good conversation with good friends turns into lingering hours—enjoying each other long after the food is gone.
Dinner tables can also be a place of tension and feelings hurt by mumbled comments, slicing accusations, or cold-shoulder detachment. Few things cut like unkind words from a family member.
Jurassic World is a summer hit. Chris Pratt fills the big screen with Indiana Jones-like heroism. Thirty minutes into the film, the audience watches Pratt’s character, Owen, discover a genetically engineered dinosaur cooked-up by the Jurassic World scientists. He is not happy. They’ve created a super-predator, trusting a tall and thick fence to keep it confined. Owen lets them know they are idiots. [Spoiler Alert] The monster gets out, and the rest of the film deals with the destructive results.
That fence reminds me of the sins we try to keep as pets; never putting them to death, trusting they will remain small, secret, and under control. Like the scientists, sometimes we are idiots.
Waiting on God is one of the most difficult challenges on a disciple’s journey. If you are currently assigned to this draining task—if you are waiting for God to move or act, I hope this will encourage your soul and buoy your faith. There is a way to honor God as you endure. If you are not in a season where what’s next is still unnamed, I ask that you digest the heart of this post and bookmark this link…for your turn to wait will eventually come.
Beach-goers of all ages love to stand in the ocean surf, bobbing between the waves. Normally, mild waves lift the swimmer gently up and down again. At other times, large breakers crash as violent tests of strength and courage. Victory is measured by taking the hit and somehow keeping your feet.
Waiting on God is a similar test. There are good days when you barely notice the paused plans. But there are other days when waiting assaults the heart and mind like one of those unexpected big waves; swirling, pushing, attempting to pull you from upright to under.
Loneliness is an aching awareness of the absence of people who care about you because they know you. It’s easy to feel lonely standing in a big crowd. It’s easy to feel lonely while others around you laugh and have a good time. Loneliness is an emptiness that others may have no idea you endure.
If you feel lonely right now, I’m very sorry. You deserve someone who gets you, cares about stuff you care about, and listens to you. This is not the way life should work. Loneliness is a consequence of humanity’s fall. Continue reading