Enjoy these entries - we hope they make you think.


Pray and Don't Worry

Monday, June 03, 2024

Clown World is in full swing these days, and craziness abounds everywhere. It’s easy to feel like the world is coming apart, our social fabric is ripping, and we can trust no one.

We have seen politically motivated upheavals at unusual levels over the past few decades. Rioters have burned cars and shops in some of our major cities, commandeered sections of those cities, swarmed the capitol building as elections were being counted. We have seen unrest on many major university campuses as young people protest the war waged by Israel against Palestinian terrorists.

We see injustice, and we cry out against it. It hurts our souls. We might say, alongside Solomon,

“When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
but when the wicked rule, the people groan” (Proverbs 29.2).

Our hearts groan deeply, and we hear the cries around us.

“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous
are both alike an abomination to God” (Proverbs 17.15).

Moses wrote:

“You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 16.18–20)

When we see leaders and people in power who seem to blatantly disregard the rule of law and execute end-runs around the truth, we want to pull out our hair. We cry foul, but who is listening? Who cares?

The good news for Christians is we don’t have to worry about it. It is right to be upset about a travesty of justice, but we don’t have to worry in the sense of despair. God gives His people a peace the world cannot understand and a joy that cannot be stolen. How can we enjoy this supernatural peace? It is anchored in the knowledge of our God (Eph. 3.14–21), that He loves us and is for us and will never forsake us (Rom. 8.31–39). We don’t worry because our Father holds all things in His hands. We don’t worry because our Elder Brother is King over all nations. God reigns over Clown World.

Our little nation could crash down around us, cities could burn, the United States could become the Divided States, yet our Father and our King will always remain sovereign. They still love us. They still hear us. They still act on our behalf.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4.4–7)

So let us ask God for His help in all these things. Ask Him to judge all the injustice and to keep His people in the palm of His hand. This is the way to eliminate anxiety and be at peace.

Book Review: Strangely Bright by Joe Rigney

Sunday, May 19, 2024

I recently listened to Joe Rigney read his book, Strangely Bright, and I have been greatly blessed! You can get his book on Amazon here.[1]

The tag line under the title reads, “Can you love God and enjoy this world?” This is the theme of the book—how do we balance our love for God with our love for the things of this world. Doesn’t John tell us not to love this world or the things in it (1 John 2.15)? On the other hand, it seems obvious that God wanted Adam and Eve to enjoy the good world He had made for them. He wanted Adam to enjoy Eve, and Adam broke out into verse as he saw his beautiful wife for the first time. Adam spoke an ode about the woman, and men have been doing so ever since.

The verses which tell us not to love this world or to hate father, mother, sister, brother, etc. must be understood in their contexts. God is not telling us to despise all the things He has made. We know every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights (James 1.17). God gave us food not only to sustain us, but also for our pleasure. When God says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34.8), we understand that because God has given us good things to taste. God gave us delicious food to show us a little about Himself! When David says God’s word is “sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19.10), we get it because we love the sweetness of honey.

Joe Rigney points out that we cannot, in fact, love God the way we should if we don’t love what God has given us in this material world. Some Christians fear loving someone too much. What if they loved someone more than they love God? We should certainly avoid idolizing anyone, but it is virtually impossible to truly love someone too much. Of course, the more we love someone, the more pain we will inevitably experience when we are parted from that person, and we might avoid loving because we wish to avoid the pain. But a love for a spouse, a love for a child, a love for a bosom friend reflects the love God has for us and we for Him. Our close relationships on earth teach us more about God’s love.

When we appreciate beauty in nature, we see what God loves, and we learn to love what He loves. This should lead us to praise Him with hearts full of gratitude. And if He has made such amazing things here, what has He prepared for us there (John 14.3)?

Yes, we can love God and enjoy this world. God intended for us to enjoy His creation, and if we are not enjoying this world, we are missing a boatload of blessings!

I encourage you to grab a copy of the book in print or audio—it’s worth the read!