10 August 2018

This 'n' That

There are bugs in the grass. Get it?
Earlier this week, after finishing an evening walk, I wandered over to my “garden” (okay, it’s a couple of raised garden beds on the side of the house. I live in the suburbs, so I have to improvise) to pick some peppers and cucumbers, and check on the progress of the zucchini. I wasn’t in the grass even five minutes before my legs were covered with mosquito bites. That’s me, the human mosquito banquet! The next morning, I brought in the paper and read the front page headline, which said that mosquitos in my county have tested positive for West Nile virus. Yippee.

Thankfully, most people don’t actually experience symptoms of West Nile. I know, it kind of makes you wonder why they make such a big deal out of it, doesn’t it? I suppose because, if you do get a severe case, it can be pretty bad. No matter, because I think I've already had it (yay for immunity). I’m far more concerned with more practical matters right now, like how many tubes of cortisone cream I’m going to go through before the end of the season!

So, what is the big theological point here? Simple. Mosquitoes are evil. They have been vomited out of the very pit of Hell. They have no redeemable purpose on this planet. If they do, I’m sure I’ll learn of it someday in glory. In the meantime, I think I’ll just stay inside until fall arrives.

What do you do when you’re trapped inside your house, surrounded by blood-sucking monsters buzzing around your yard? The answer to that is also simple: you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

03 August 2018

This 'n' That

Yeah, I don't get it either, but somebody
thought this picture was a good idea.
It's hard to believe summer is speeding by so fast. Did you know that it's already August? It's curious to me how, even as an adult, I tend to view the summer months as a time of rest. As a child, teenager, and young adult, this makes sense because we're granted a "summer vacation" between school years. Not so much as an adult (unless you're one of those who chose education for a career. Kudos to you for thinking ahead on that one!). Once you land that much anticipated first job post-college, it's all over. Say hello to 40 hour work weeks all year long (if you're lucky, that is. Most of us are probably more familiar with 50+ hour weeks). Still, there is something about summer that makes us a bit more relaxed and ready to take some time to step away from the busyness of our lives.

That's why it can be so discouraging when circumstances arise to "ruin" our summer relaxation plans. I venture to say this happens to most of us at one time or another. What we remember in those moments is that God is sovereign over the circumstance and that, just as the seasons turn from one to another, so too do each one of us endure seasons of waiting in the valley, seasons of climbing the mountain, and seasons of reaching the peak. To everything, there is a season, right (see Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and cue The Byrds)? And when that season has ended, we will look back and see God's gracious hand of provision, providence, and protection through it all, whether it was a time of trial or a time of joy.

So, before this season of summer turns away, let's take the opportunity to sip a few more glasses of iced tea and relax in the sun. Hey, that sounds like a great accompaniment to your week in review (kind of):

27 July 2018

This 'n' That

Does anyone else tend to overthink things? I mean, really overthink things? I have a tendency to do this, at least with major circumstances. Sometimes this is good, because I find I've thought of a situation from every angle, so I'm prepared for whatever might come. Many times, though, it brings me close to a point of immobility, particularly when there appears to be no good decision or outcome. That's when God graciously jumps in (even though He was actively there all the time) and shows me again that He is sovereign over all things. I am very thankful for His patience with me!

There is one thing, however, that we can never overthink, and that is God Himself. This is because He is immeasurable and we can never exhaust our study of Him. Thankfully, He has clearly and fully revealed Himself in His Word and so, though He is immense, He is not unreachable or unknowable. He is high and lofty, yes, but He is also personal and near to His children. May we pray that we would be more aware of His hand in our lives, even in times that seem mundane, or in situations that we think the Creator would deem trivial. He will answer that prayer, and no doubt it will bring us to our knees in praise and thanks to Him who so deliberately cares for His own.

Well, as the summer starts to wind down, I hope you'll set aside some time this weekend to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

23 July 2018

A Life Exhausted for Jesus


The Lord does not promise us a long life. Nor does He promise us a life free from trials. What He does promise His children is a life of abundance (John 10:10), both on this fallen earth, and exponentially more in the next life.

Our abundant life in this temporal realm may not be marked by riches, fame, or ease, but, for those who belong to Him, there is joy in the mundane, and even joy in the trials. We Christians have this joy because of the eternal inheritance that is ours in Jesus Christ.

It seems we often fail to fully experience and appreciate this joy, though. The trials of life, the daily meanderings through this sinful, fallen world, are quick to strip us of our eternal focus. This is why we pray that God, through the enabling power of His Holy Spirit, would strengthen and quicken us for His service while we are here on this earth. It quickly becomes difficult to lose sight of the joy that is ours in Christ when we're busy with His work!

This work for Christ's kingdom does not need to be particularly "radical." It does not require moving to a remote, unknown land, or living on the streets of the inner city. It does not necessitate extreme fasting or 24-hour service in a church building. We serve Christ well when we serve Him within the circumstances in which He has sovereignly placed us. We serve Him among our families, in our workplace, and in our classrooms. We serve Him as we shop or tend to daily duties in the world. We serve Him well by reflecting His grace and joy even when we are enduring an unthinkable tribulation.

20 July 2018

This 'n' That

So, it's 6:00 pm on Friday and I am just now writing this post. For comparison, I usually draft This 'n' That on Thursday, then make minor tweaks Friday morning before scheduling it to publish in the early afternoon. That didn't happen this week (obviously). It's just been one of those weeks, though I feel like I say (or at least think) that a lot.

About an hour ago, I tweeted out that I was still at work and the post would be late. The wonderful thing is, I work from home, so when I'm done with work, all I have to do is turn on my personal computer and start writing with no commute or crazy coworkers to come in between. I'm really thankful for that luxury, especially in times like this, but thanks for your patience nonetheless.

I had plenty of ideas for this post throughout the week, but unfortunately didn't write any of them down and have now forgotten them (getting old I guess!). No matter, because at this point, your Friday is almost gone anyway, but don't dismay! In my part of the country, this evening is filled with thunderstorms and general droopiness, so it's the perfect excuse to stay inside, curl up with a cup of tea, and enjoy your week in review (kind of):