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Showing posts from January, 2020

God is not the author of evil, but He is the editor!

Several years ago I made the statement that "Everything we have is a gift from God." I went on to suggest that even our life life's circumstances (good and bad) are a gift from God. Later, I received a super kind email asking if I would explain that concept a little more. I think this is a pretty common issue that people wrestle with, so here are some excerpts from my answer to him. Please understand that I am NOT writing this as an ivory tower theologian or as a behind-the-pulpit preacher. I am a fellow pilgrim who has seen the swamp of despair and has endured the abuse of Vanity city. I have days when I am certain God has given me a burden better suited for someone else, and yet those same days are often marked by unmistakable interventions of his gracious provision. My life's journey is not resolved. In fact, it is decidedly unresolved and often I would be happy to give back the "gifts" God has deemed me worthy to receive.... Do I really believe that

Be Honest. Be Content.

PROVERBS 30:7-9 Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. Here is a simple summary: 1) Be Honest. 2) Be Content. These verses require some meditation. Pursuing honesty and contentment can be a lifelong pursuit in which you may always improve but will never arrive. Chew on this throughout your day. In your conversations with others, seek to be open, authentic, and truthful. When you compare yourself with others, choose to be content with what you have rather than desiring what is theirs. Rinse and repeat.

Work Always Trumps Worry

PROVERBS 28:1 “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” ‭‭ Why would anyone run away if no one is chasing them? Because they are worried someone might start chasing them. Everyone worries about something, and when we worry we do weird stuff.  What if I don't make enough money? What if I don't save enough money? What if I don't get a promotion? What if I don't close the deal? What if my wife stops loving me? What if my husband finds someone one else? What if my children don't excel? What if I miss out on something? What if I get sick? What if it snows? What if people don't like me? Ironically, the majority of problems which cause us worry never come true. Earl Nightingale suggested that 40% of things you worry about will never occur and 30% of the things you worry about cannot be changed anyway. You may or may not get sick, but all the worry in the world won’t change it. Your children may or may not make mi

Much has changed in the past 15 years, but much is still the same

I have been blogging for a very long time. Much has changed over the past two decades, but some things are still very much the same. Check out this blog post from 15 years ago (note that one of the big changes is that I now employ traditional capitalization rules): there is a high level of dissatisfaction in our world today: - toward the government - toward the oppressive upper class - toward the tsunami - toward Duke basketball - toward corporate America - toward terrorism - toward me - toward the evangelical church - toward the emergent church - toward the eggshell white church the result of the malcontentedness has been a great upheaval of structures and the proliferation of all types of new movements. of course, it is human nature to react against things that outrage us. when we observe inequity or any other type of "wrong" we typically: 1) acknowledge our tension with said situation 2) evaluate our ability to change said situation 3) enact a pla

You Are Who You Meet

PROVERBS 22:24-25 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. Friends are great. Many times our friends become closer than family. Our friends laugh with us, care for us, and shape us. You've probably heard the expression that all of us are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most amount of time. Sometimes our friends shape us toward joy. When we are with them, their high spirits are contagious. They are full of encouragement, always speaking well of everyone else, and always seeing the positives in every situation. But sometimes, our friends shape us in a darker direction. We began to adopt their proclivity for complaining. The criticisms they aim at everyone else become a weapon in our arsenal as well. Being with them leads us to see problems and persecution everywhere. If the people around you encourage anger in you, find a new group of friends. Their negativi

You are being shaped by the people around you

PROVERBS 14:7 “Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.” Sometimes I watch my children and see myself in them. Sometimes I see their mother in them. They have spent the majority of their lives with us. For now, no one has influenced them more than we have. Now that they are out of the house that is beginning to change, because they are no longer spending time with us and now they are spending time with others. The people you spend time with influence the person you are and person you will become. You will begin using similar language to those with whom you spend the most amount of time. You will begin to have the same attitude as those with whom you spend the most amount of time. You will begin to behave like those with whom you spend the most amount of time. Proverbs 14 warns you to leave the presence of a fool because they will not help you learn. I can think of a few other dangers which arise when we spend too much time with the wrong influenc

Failing Doesn't Make You A Failure

It's Monday. The majority of Americans have already failed at keeping their New Year's resolutions. Perhaps you are among that number. Or perhaps you have failed at something else. We all have. Failing doesn't make you a failure. You failed in the past. Leave it there. You cannot change the past and you cannot control the past. The past is set in stone. Don't let something you cannot control seize control of you. Don't be controlled by the past. You can control the present. Choose today to seize the opportunities which come your way. Apply wisdom to every possibility. Speak truthfully and graciously. Look for the best in people and situations. Focus on solutions instead of obstacles. Your future will be determined by your present unless you allow yourself to be controlled by your past. So you failed. Learn from it and let it go. Yesterday is gone, it died when you went to sleep. The Son has risen, and so has the sun. Resurrection happens every day and