His Peace Must Be Chosen

jordanEver heard psalmists and David Crowder sing unabashedly of God being “everything they need” and wondered, What on earth are they talking about?

Me, too.

One of the chief comforts of Scripture when we are disappointed, discouraged, or heartbroken, is that the Christian’s highest goal is not that dream or achievement or milepost you’ve fallen short of, but knowing God. Making him your peace, your joy, your contentment, your soul’s richest food and water. He, the Bible tells us repeatedly, is the only thing that will truly ever satisfy.

But you might have noticed it doesn’t just drop in with the mail.

Where is it then, God? Where are you?

Or as a friend put it recently, “Why can’t I appropriate for myself what God has promised me?”

We know God is faithful. His side of the deal is inerrant and unfailing; there is no lie or failure with him.

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Find a Savior Who Looks at You Like He’d Die For You

5661613189_65be533432_bLife has a way of breaking down your categories. You leave home and discover that Christians aren’t always decent people, nor atheists villains. You get a job and find out that some of the people out there with the foulest mouths and quickest tempers also have the very biggest hearts. You go through an election cycle. I’ll say no more about that. Whatever the case, our black-and-white definitions of things and people are constantly being broken down by life. It’s really a huge favor, if you think about it.

Same thing with marriage.

I’ve longed to be married for quite a while. I have many friends who can say the same. The world around me, too, seems convinced that this is the answer. You can tell by what they say, what they post, what they pursue. They just don’t talk about anything else. “Find a man who looks at you like…” Continue reading

Unexpected

storm2A friend of mine lost his father very suddenly this last week.

Another friend is struggling to stay afloat after a car accident last summer brought towering bills and dependence on a chiropractor.

Even sitting down in a chair that can’t support your weight can bring on sudden suffering like nothing you’ve ever known…debilitating pain to wake up to every morning, endless second opinion, flummoxed doctors.

Someone once said something to the effect of, “It’s not the old familiar fears that end up coming true…it’s the ones that come with a phone call at 2:00 on a Thursday morning, the ones you never saw coming.”

How do we live like this?

I certainly don’t want to live paranoid. I don’t want to live life looking over my shoulder.

Yet these stories remind me of the uncertainty of life, and the certainty of death. They remind me tomorrow is not guaranteed. They remind me that God’s ways – whether you believe he directly causes all things or whether he causes some and allows others – are rockier and more elusive than we’d care to admit.

So how do we live knowing that each and every day could bring about the end of our lives as we know them?

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Was Your Mind Made Up?

stormWe were expecting life to be pretty simple.

High school graduation, maybe a college degree, maybe the family route instead, but all of it falling into place in our early twenties without all that many bumps.

And when heartache started calling instead, when our plans for life folded like a cheap suit and God was nowhere to be seen, some of us just shrugged and walked away.

“If God won’t be there for me, why should I be there for him?”

It wasn’t quite that blase. We still love him…kinda. We certainly believe. We know he exists. We get riled up on his behalf when some atheist or Democrat starts talking.

But we’re not really on fire for him otherwise.

I don’t mean this as a guilt trip. Please hear me out.

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Daylight Savings Messed Up My Unbelief Clock

daylightWith daylight savings coming up on us again in a few weeks, I thought I’d update this story from last spring.

This weekend, I served as a counselor at a youth retreat, out of cell service.

I woke up Sunday morning at 8:30am feeling most refreshed. I’d initially worried that I wouldn’t get enough winky-winky because I’d gone to bed late (12:30am), but nope…8 hours of sleep. It felt good and I was happy. (You know you’re coming up on middle age when these are the things you think about.)

Until a little while later, when I overheard that Daylight Savings Time had started that night. I hadn’t heard about it during the prior week, and didn’t see the usual Facebook memes the previous day because we were out of cell service.

So I’d actually slept only 7 hours.

The moment I realized this, I kid you not, I started feeling tired. Over one hour.

And it got me thinking: Our reality determines our thoughts and feelings to a great degree.

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Let Us Not Be Lazy. Pray Over the Hurricanes Again.

I don’t have anything terribly original to post today, but our broken world seems content to supply something in my place.

We must pray for the victims of Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut.

Does it seem obvious and re-“duh”-ndant to pray for this again? Perhaps.

But maybe that’s what it takes to keep us on our knees, to spare us our laziness – let’s just call it what it is – the hope that maybe just one visit to the prayer closet will do. I have that suggestion constantly whispering within my flesh, and I grieve at it and pray that God silences it.

Scripture commands that we “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), where the Greek for “without ceasing” really means “constantly recurring”. Folks in the Old Testament modeled repeated prayers, like Moses’ 40 days of intercession or Elijah’s seven pray-and-looks. And if nothing else, God simply deserves our time in communion with him. Drive-by prayers will not do here.

We can’t know what God’s up to, and we must accept that sometimes the answer is no. But I still wonder whether we are falling short of the results we could be seeing in this world – “leaving points on the field”, as it were – by not praying as we should.

Even now, according to NWS forecast discussions (I highly recommend these narratives for their educational value, by the way), Florence has weakened a bit and the eye is breaking up. It reminds me of Katrina, which weakened significantly just before it hit New Orleans. Or Lane, which, although destructive, turned aside from Hawaii last month and spared the islands far worse.

Could it be that prayer had something to do with that? There is still going to be suffering. But I’ll take every MPH of reduced wind speed we can get.

Fellow blogger Megan Reedy is teaching in the Phillippines, which are currently the target of a 180 MPH(!) typhoon, Mangkhut. This is stronger than most Atlantic hurricanes and hitting a country with far fewer resources and infrastructure to protect its citizens. Please pray for that country and, if you don’t mind, specifically for the safety of Megan and her students.

If our prayers don’t inconvenience us today, we’re probably not doing it right.

God is Lord over Florence and Mangkhut. Let us pray as if we believe it.

35

cordAs occasions for celebration of recovery go, birthdays aren’t bad.

I used to have this subtle feeling that mentioning my birthday was akin to seeking attention. So I wouldn’t mention it. Then I realized that this was really just akin to worrying about what others would think of me.

So today, when a chance to glorify God through a birthday came up, I decided I would take it.

So there it is. I turn 35 on Thursday.

Is this, like, the part where where “no longer a kid” actually starts? Anyone? Bueller? Frye?

Anyway, it is the tendency of advancing increasing age to look forward and worry over the narrowing gap. Diminishing opportunities, declining vigor, regrets over goals not yet achieved, etc. I, in particular, am reminded today that my mission on earth – to lift up the name of Jesus to others – is not indefinite. I have a limited span to get this done. (Yes, I know, I’ve still got plenty of time. Though I did find out this summer that my knees are going to be requiring help from my leg muscles and will no longer hold out on their own.)

But this time I found myself looking to the past.

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