31 August 2018

This 'n' That

Lately, I've had a lot of opportunities to bite my electronic tongue. It seems as though I'm living and reliving Proverbs 13:3 in nearly every area of my life: on social media, in text message conversations, and at work. Yes, if my electronic tongue were real, it would be quite bloody by now!

I've studied the book of James a couple of times over the years, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels more than a pinch of conviction when arriving at the third chapter. Let's face it, because the tongue can be used to bite, sometimes we must bite our tongue. Often, this may not even be due to a desire to deliver scathing or unfavorable remarks, but simply to offer an opinion—an opinion that isn't actually necessary.

This is where godly wisdom comes in. Sometimes we may have something perfectly worthwhile to say...but to say it at a particular time or place isn't wise. Guarding our mouth means more than just refraining from speaking in haste or anger or irritation, it means knowing when and where to speak, to opine, to admonish.
He who guards his mouth and his tongue,
Guards his soul from troubles. (Proverbs 21:23)
Well, now that I've spoken about speaking, I'll be quiet and let you enjoy your week in review (kind of):
  • A great reminder that we must keep our mind on more than our immediate circumstances.
  • Savor the everyday blessings.
  • Some interesting insight into the man who is sixth in line for the throne of England.
  • Here's your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Life under the Son.
  • This is cool even if Legos and cars aren't your thing.
  • Duh. Now, if only the powers that be in those chilly office environments would realize this!
God’s wisdom in creation amazes the eye. His wisdom in providence astonishes the mind. But his wisdom in redemption awes us and it leaves us lost in wonder, love, and praise. It is centered in Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God. —S. Lewis Johnson

24 August 2018

This 'n' That

Whenever I see a particularly beautiful sunrise or sunset, I become acutely aware of our Creator, His goodness, His beauty, and, well, His creativity! I'm sure I'm not the only one who enjoys His handiwork, but no matter how many lovely sunrises I see, I never cease to be amazed at the distinctness of each one. No matter how many gorgeous sunsets I witness (and when I lived in Malibu I saw plenty), I still cannot capture the hues with my camera, no matter how fantastic that device claims to be.

Now, I know you're expecting me to go to Psalm 19:1 here, but that's actually not the verse that strikes me in these times.
Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
Praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
From this time forth and forever.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
The name of the LORD is to be praised.
The LORD is high above all nations;
His glory is above the heavens. (Psalm 113:1-4)
I think it's the third verse of Psalm 113 that is most convicting here. Yes, the Lord should be praised from sunrise to sunset; He should be praised always! Yet, I fail. Miserably. Daily. I'm going to take a chance and say that you fail, too. Miserably. Daily. But why?

It's frustrating to realize that, in our fallenness, we fail in this intensely important task. We get caught up in the worries and the busyness of life and we do not take time to stop, breathe, and praise the Lord for the day He has given us. We're too busy complaining about all that's gone wrong to thank Him for giving us breath, and to thank Him for saving us in spite of our sinfulness. Goodness, I venture to say that many of us are too busy to even see the sunrise or sunset, let alone to take time to praise their Painter!

Thankfully, God forgives even this failure, but let's pray that He would increase the praise on our lips. After all, no one is more worthy!

Okay, if the sun is setting as you read this, step outside and enjoy it, praise God, and then come back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

17 August 2018

This 'n' That

It's raining. It's been raining. It's humid. It's been humid. All. Summer. Long (the humidity, not the rain). The air outside is so thick, you can barely breathe. Even though the sun isn't shining, today you can step outside and quickly break into a sweat just because the heavy, stagnant air isn't moving. Fun times.

Less-than-desirable weather, be it too hot, too cold, too dry, or too wet, often makes me ponder our eternal home. I don't know about you, but I cannot fathom what it will be like to see Jesus, or what exactly our "mansion" (John 14:2) will look like. I can't imagine the brilliance of the New Jerusalem described in Revelation 21. And since I cannot fully grasp these things in my brain, I ask lesser, though still unanswerable, questions. Will there be seasons in eternity? Will there be snow without the bitter, breath-stealing cold? I cannot wait to find out! I do know one thing is true: there will be no stifling humidity in heaven. I mean, that's just a given because nobody enjoys that.

Well, while I go ponder the heavenly thermostat, why don't you hunker down inside, away from the rain (if it's raining by you), or settle into your chaise lounge with an iced tea (if it's warm and sunny by you) and take a few moments to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

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):