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):

13 July 2018

This 'n' That

There are nights when I turn off my lights, ready to drift into (hopefully) sound sleep, and I realize that my room is still bright, awash with the glow of the moon. Other nights, I awaken in the wee hours of the morning wondering who is shining a flashlight in my face, only to recognize that another beautiful, full moon is beaming through the panes and the blinds.

Thankfully, the light doesn’t keep me awake, and I almost welcome the heavenly radiance. Night can be a time when our trials overwhelm us, when the “what-ifs” can dominate our waking and sleeping thoughts, and when regrets or doubts seem to gain the most traction in our tired minds. Waking to find my room gleaming with the moon’s brightness reminds me that I serve—and indeed am a daughter of by gracious adoption—the One who Himself is light!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5)
Even the blackest night is pierced by the light of the moon and the stars. And, at the risk of overusing a tired analogy, even in the darkest moments of our lives, the light of Christ shines through. Further still, the brightness of His beams reminds us even in the joyful times that He is sovereign and that He watches over and cares for His own.

God is transcendent, high, and lofty, yet personal and near to His children. He is not disconnected from our lives. He is indeed the Light.

Well, it looks like tonight we'll have a new moon, a supermoon, in fact, though it sounds like there won't be much for us to see. Regardless of what the night brings, I hope you’ll take a few moments today to relax and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

06 July 2018

This 'n' That

When I sat down yesterday to draft this post, I didn't know what to write. Honestly, it's not been a great week and I'm dreading what today will bring. Some of you may know the details, most of you probably do not. It's been a very stressful few months and just as I was anticipating some things easing up, another shoe dropped. Still, God, in His amazing goodness, offered great encouragement yesterday. As I anticipate today, I am thankful for yesterday which, in the context of this week, was a really good day.

When things blindside us, it's really easy to ask, "Why?" I've done it a lot this week, even knowing the foolishness of doing so. In the end, though, the "why?" doesn't really matter. What does matter is, "How? How am I going to get through this?" and there's only one answer to that: God. He wasn't blindsided and His grace and strength are sufficient to carry us through whatever path He has sovereignly ordained for us to travel.

Once we've established the "how?" we must quickly move on to, "What next?" lest we become paralyzed by our circumstances. This is where I'm thankful for the way God has wired our bodies. The shock and numbness that we can sometimes experience in times of trial are indeed gracious mechanisms granted us by the Lord. It allows us to plow through or jump over each hurdle, make difficult decisions, and even appear strong when inside we feel like a sobbing, helpless child. And we cannot move forward with that "what next?" without prayer. Over the past few days, I've wondered how this circumstance is supposed to help my prayer life, because I find myself unable to pray and not knowing what to say. But God knows that.
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)
That's a good and gracious God. And in the end, things could always be worse!

So, friends, if you're so inclined, I'd appreciate your prayers in the coming days. In the meantime, it helps to focus on other things, so I've still gathered a few links for you. As we greet this first Friday in July, I hope you enjoy your week in review (kind of):