Holding to the truth when error screams in your face.
Outrage seems to be the language of the day. If you say something with enough force, many emojis (since you are too lazy to find real words), and an abundance of bandwagon hashtags, your cause de jour may trend. Copy and paste, retweet, and forward… you can start a movement.
Back in the day when email was a new invention someone dubbed it as “spreading darkness at the speed of light.” This is even more true today when spontaneous beats are thoughtful. Speaking of spontaneous, have you signed up for BeReal yet? (Most of you haven’t… I know since I only have one friend on the app… and he doesn’t respond. It works by sending users a simultaneous once-a-day push notification declaring it is “time to BeReal”. A two-minute timer counts down; users must let the app take a picture with their smartphone camera and then upload it to BeReal.) But I digress.
Two weeks ago...
I came across an interesting verse in Ecclesiastes 7. I had to look in several translations to find that which mapped most closely to a literal translation, and here it is from The Message.
“Wisdom is better when it’s paired with money, especially if you get both while you’re still living. Double protection: wisdom and wealth! Plus this bonus: Wisdom energizes its owner.”
Young’s Literal Translation says, And the advantage of the knowledge of wisdom [is], She reviveth her possessors. You might be saying, “Give me the money and then I will be energized; when I have money, I will be revived.” But it doesn’t work that way in the long run. Without God, the more you have, the more you have to lose; the more you have to lose, the more you fear; the more you fear, the less energized you are. Money without wisdom is not necessarily life-giving. The counter-principle says, “If I have it and share it I’ll have...
Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works on man’s behalf!
Miracles can be a good thing, but they are not inconsequential. Miracles can get us out of a pickle, but they can also create their own dilemma. Miracles can be just what gets us out of trouble, and exactly what condemns us. Watch out for miracles. To understand this let’s unpack Psalm 66 a little, starting in the middle of the conundrum.
5 Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works on man's behalf!
6 He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot—
come, let us rejoice in him.
7 He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations—
let not the rebellious rise up against him.
The first dilemma with miracles is this: some see them and rejoice: “Shout with joy to God…come and see!” But others see the miracle, for some reason cannot accept it, and they rebel: “let not...
Your troops will be willing on your day of battle Psalm 110:3
We live in a time of war. There is no question about it. There are a number of “major wars” underway, with tens of lesser conflicts. These wars will most likely be with us until the end of time. If you believe in good and evil—or just evil—you will recognize that warfare in the natural is often an expression of spiritual warfare. There is a battle in the heavenlies between God’s forces and the forces of darkness. Like it or not, you are a participant, or at least you should be.
Psalm 110 is one of those passages that looks forward prophetically to the time when Jesus vanquishes his foes for eternity. When it says “on your day of battle” it is the Father speaking to the Son, and he promises Jesus that his troops will be willing.
1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” 2 The Lord will...
Our people must not live unproductive lives. Titus 3:14
You may not be a proverbial Cretan—“liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons”—but you are facing some subtle pressures that can be a by-product of tough economic times. Many things can lead to un-productivity. Let me see if I can unpack the cycle for you:
He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart. Ecclesiastes 5:20
Have you ever noticed how unhappy people think too much? You could make a case, I suppose, that they are not thinking enough and so they do stupid things and this leads to them being unhappy. But I am thinking about smart, lots-going-for-them people who over-think and are unhappy. What could be happening here?
Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe."
The book of Revelation has perplexed many people over the years. I am no scholar of this book, but this verse strikes a chord because it ties in so well with John 4 where Jesus says, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” It is good that we live in the hope that we could be the people who see the Great Commission completed in our time. John speaks about the hope of seeing Jesus again and becoming like him. “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”
It is my contention that the marketplace is one of the fields that is ripe for reaping, particularly at this juncture in history. With all the diversity in the world—and God gets glory from diversity—we...
The Lord be exalted, who delights in the wellbeing of his servant. Psalm 35:27
I have a great-nephew named Jeduthun, an unusual name. Psalm 77, an unusual psalm, was written by Asaph for another Jeduthun, a musician. But it is not one of those peace, love, and rock ‘n roll psalms. It starts off on a serious downer. “I cried out to God for help… hear me… my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered you, O God, and I groaned.” The first nine verses are about the sad state of the writer. Before you jump ahead I would warn you that there is no personal happy ending.
Will the Lord reject us forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time?
These opening verses are the small picture verses, about me remembering the righteous things I did, like singing and praying and being intentional in following God, but with no apparent result. They are the “it’s...
Anyone who has been around longer than the Internet knows the Beatles lyric, “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.” Many Boomers belted out this song and then went on to pursue careers that chased money. Even hippies of note trod the money trail eventually. Each successive generation of college students dreams of reinventing the economy but seldom does, perhaps because college debt locks them in the system. I am not going to go on a tangent about whether we now might do this with circular economies, blockchain, and crypto: I want to take us in a different direction by saying the Beatles were wrong: money can buy love.
It is the end of March 2022 as I write this. The blunt and brutal Russian invasion of the Ukraine persists. People are huddled in basements and bunkers. The underground train stations buried deep under Kyiv—I was in them 30 years ago—are packed with safety-seekers. I know quite a few groups who are successfully...
Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Uncertain economic, geopolitical, and personal times mean people around the world are learning to live with the paradox: peace and panic, lots of knowledge but little perspective, having things figured and lots of loose ends. Assurance of things hoped for, but nothing in the mailbox. Reality and faith.
For those with means, the paradox comes with the temptation to rely more on their own resources than on God. For those who have realized that their resources can be exhausted in a blink of an eye, there is a quick grasp that the only two ways are left: trust or despair.
When the Paradox of the Potter makes mud of your life, choose trust. When it seems that your career is in a muddy spin, be still. Amidst the ooze of the whirling lump of clay is the definite feeling of His warm fingers doing something better. Focus...