Does God Need ME to Correct This Person?

Scripture Religion 3d Faith Glasses Bible Book

We’ve all been there. We look at someone else’s life, we see an issue that might need speaking to, and we experience an urge to be the one to bring it up – “for their own good”, of course.

I’ve learned to stifle these urges, for the most part.

One of the most encouraging possible relational truths is that whatever correction is needed in a person’s life, God is already on top of it. He hasn’t missed it; he doesn’t need to be notified. In fact, he saw it millennia before it came up.

Sometimes God doesn’t even use a human speaker. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve kept my mouth shut about someone else’s rough edges and, months or years later, heard the person speak of working on that very matter themselves, without any involvement from me. God laid it their heart all on his own.

And that’s when I’m right. Sometimes I’m wrong about what I’m seeing. Or, what I’m seeing is the result of deeply rooted habits or wounds that would change the conversation entirely if I knew them.

If the person doesn’t seem to be changing, there are a few possible explanations:

1) God is waiting for a moment when they’re ready to hear correction;

2) God is grooming the right speaker with the right words;

3) The person isn’t listening to God;

4) Change is slow. (Or has change been fast with you? I’m afraid it hasn’t been with me.)

Whatever the case, I find I’m rarely the person God uses – or nearly not as often as I’d volunteer myself.

Some of that’s just simple math. If we assume every person has twenty mature, Scripturally literate people in their lives that they trust to speak difficult truth, just how many times should I expect to be the one out of twenty?

It’s also worth mentioning that I’m often just ooking to eliminate an inconvenience on myself (the ripple effects of their behavior) rather than honestly seeking to help.

So I don’t say much anymore. Instead, I trust God to have eyes to spot what’s important. Like a pair of colored glasses, he sees things I don’t. And what I do see, he sees differently.

Besides, don’t I have enough sanctification to work on in my own life?

Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning when he seals his lips. (Prov. 17:28)

 

I’m glad you tuned in today. If you found this post to be of value, please feel free to share it on social media. Thanks a bunch!

Take Care Objecting to the Bride of Christ

applesThere was a second-grade teacher with a reputation for strictness. First-graders heard horror stories and dreaded the day they became hers.

What it meant, of course, was that she was doing her job and running an orderly class. Her students excelled and moved on with the tools they needed. The third-grade teachers adored her.

Someone else did, too, because eventually she got engaged. She was very happy.

Good thing, because that year she’d gotten one of those second-graders. You know the type. Disruptive, rude, fiendishly intelligent, yet never quiiite stepping over the line. How do eight-year-olds learn to play such games? It was a constant battle of wits keeping this student on-task.

Months later, her bag of tricks was exhausted. The student was insufferable. The parents never answered her calls. Counselors were of no help; reluctantly involving the principal did nothing. The boy thrived on the attention.

One day, he downed a soda before school and arrived twice as hyper as usual. The teacher was struggling financially, falling behind on lessons, and had barely slept. She was at her wits’ end.

As the boy distracted a friend, this teacher turned from her smartboard, drew herself up and, for the first time in her career, bellowed with months of pent-up frustration a phrase she would forever regret.

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Oh. So I’m Not The Only One

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5 Tips for Christian Bloggers on WordPress

Since it’s been a while and I’ve picked up numerous new followers, I thought I’d post some tips and advice I’ve gleaned over the years. Those who have followed me for a while have seen this already, but hey.

Trying to draw more traffic to your WordPress blog, Christian? For those trying to build a larger audience (say, to snag a potential publisher), here are five things I’ve found helpful.

via 5 Tips for Christian Bloggers on WordPress

The “Enter” Key: How to Instantly Get Readers to Finish Your Post

If you’re wondering why you’re getting so few likes and comments on your blog posts, there’s one suspect you can immediately investigate.

Your readers’ attention is fragile. They have limited spare time and mental bandwidth, and most will decide whether they’ll stay and finish your post upon first glance. This creates a number of “traps” your post can fall into, which may cause readers take the path of least resistance and move on.

One is unnecessary clicks. Surveys, subscription requests, content-less home pages that require people to dig for your actual posts – this stuff will dislodge many readers at first sight. Be careful with these.

Another is sheer length. If visitors skim the post and see that it’ll take more than a couple minutes, you’ve probably lost them, no matter how good your content. 500 words is a good maximum.

But the subject of this post is the size of your paragraphs.

Paragraphs exist for a reason. They break down your ideas into manageable chunks, lend flow to your work. This is Writing 101.

People struggle to follow paragraphs that ramble on. It signals “massive investment required”. If the first thing that greets visitors is a paragraph running off the page, many will just click “X”. They’re not book readers. They’re surfers, read-on-the-go types.

On the other hand, a post that’s split into manageable paragraphs tells them “I’m going to do the hard work of building and supporting my ideas for you, reader!” This is a good thing.

I personally don’t like going over four or five lines in any single paragraph (my column width is about 90 characters long).

I also don’t make EVERYTHING a paragraph. Some ideas can stand on their own as a single sentence.

Then again, making EVERYTHING a single sentence is just wonky. It strikes readers as a pretension, draws attention to itself. It also doesn’t do much to reveal your ideas’ structure and interplay.

Vary the lengths of your paragraphs (using the “size” of each idea as a guide). Shake things up. I’ve tried to make this post a good example.

I’m rooting for you, Christian blogger, to hold onto those slippery readers when they come by. I know it’s frustrating that your valuable ideas alone won’t hold onto people, but that’s just life. Let’s embrace the art – be good at everything, as Christians should be.

 

Laminin, Noah’s Ark, and Why I Don’t Like “Meme Christianity”

Nothing but the greatest affection towards my fellow believers is intended in this post.

There’s a popular idea in circulation, commonly known from speaker Louie Giglio, that likes to speak of the Cross-resembling shape of the protein laminin, in conjunction with Colossians 1:17 (“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”), as “proof” that God designed the human body.

You should probably know that the world just kinda chuckles when we pass this meme around, and not for no reason. For one thing, that cross looks drunk. But really, while a protein taking one of the most basic shapes possible in nature (and shakily so at that) may strike the already predispositioned as a “wink” from God, it doesn’t really impress unbelievers as proof of God’s authorship. Nor does it need to, for the Gospel to be true.

It’s common to claim, in defense of our Christian heritage, that George Washington spoke thusly:

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

He never said that. That quote has never been adequately sourced to our first president (though correct me if I’m wrong). The enemies of our country’s Christian heritage wouldn’t care if it was, honestly. Almost none of our Founding Fathers, in fact, were Bible-believing Christians according to their recorded words. Nor did they need to be, for the Gospel to be true.

A creationist scientist once spoke at our church and included, in his refreshingly realist philosophy, a faintly annoyed comment about our habit of portraying the Ark to our children in this way:

His words were, “may I politely suggest that you’re reinforcing ignorant stereotypes?”

Good call. The data from Genesis – words every bit as divinely inspired as the Sermon on the Mount – tell us the Ark existed on the scale of aircraft hangars. Say what you want about the creative liberties taken by the 2014 Russell Crowe movie Noah, but one thing it got right was the general scale of the Ark. It didn’t look remotely like that picture. Nor did it need to, for the Gospel to be true.

And on and on I could go.

If you’ll allow me a “get off my lawn” rant before my time, meme culture hasn’t been kind to Christians. We pass around so many half-baked memes as “smoking guns” and seem unaware that they’re historically, scientifically, and Biblically flawed. It’s an embarrassing look.

Few of us delve into the real intellectually defensible arguments for Christianity. I get that we’re busy. I get it’s intimidating. But we could at least grab a few quick, sound facts. What cause could be more worthy of our time? Souls hang in the balance. Hostile skeptics are plenty willing to do their reading.

I long for a realist Christianity – a faith that strikes the streetfolk as reasonable (if they’re willing to assume the supernatural). That’s why I loved Passion of the Christ, harrowing though it was. The Bible was rough. Flawed, quiet apostles. Tent pegs through temples. A Savior that didn’t look suspiciously like a Seventeen interviewee fresh out of his makeup trailer, but died an ugly death for an ugly people.

Perhaps, if it our faith was drawn less like a fairy tale, it wouldn’t be taken like one.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to badly photoshopping eagles and flags onto pictures of Jesus as a white man.

How important is my happiness?

This is an amazing article.

I am convinced that God cares about our happiness. Really.

But I am also convinced that we can’t truly be happy until we are holy and connected to God. Our definitions of happiness are what’s flawed. If we simply trust God’s definitions instead – and that’s difficult – then we will find it, and only then.

Elihu's Corner

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“I needed to be happy, so I ____________________.”

How many different ways do people fill in this blank?

  • “…left my spouse.”
  • “…quit my job.”
  • “…stopped going to church.”
  • “…aborted my child.”
  • “…drank my sorrows away.”
  • “…took some “me” time”

How would you fill in the blank?

Or, would you even say this at all?

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