One of the godliest men I know is scheduled to have open heart surgery on Wednesday. This current situation follows a number of other medical issues including eye problems, cancer, diabetes, and some mystery symptoms that remained undiagnosed for years. He’s followed the LORD faithfully for decades, serving his church and his family well. He could have been bitter, angry, or hardened at the fact that, in spite of his faithfulness, he hasn’t had much relief from difficulties. But he wasn’t. I talked with him yesterday, and he was full of joy, peace, and concern for others. Something changed how he viewed his circumstances.
Grant me the strength to do what honors you,
And let me ever be
A testament to what your grace can do.
Let ev’ry word I speak be pure and true
So others hear and see
My what, why, when, and how point to a who.
Shape the affections of this heart made new
And make them more like he
Who gave his life to rescue and renew.
God, teach my mind to never misconstrue
What you require of me,
To count the cost and see the journey through.
And let me be found faithful to the two-
Fold sum of your decree,
That love might be my story’s overview.
Photo by Eskil Helgesen on Unsplash
I had a lot on my plate that day. I’d chosen a seat in the student center so I could drink some coffee while I worked, and I was hoping I could avoid people long enough to get some work done. Typically, however, such attempts were unsuccessful, and that day was no exception.
People love ghost stories. People hate ghost stories. But no matter the response, ghost stories have crept into our lives and our cultures, and they don’t appear to be leaving. Continue reading
James left us with some frightening thoughts.
People struggle to respond to imperfect people.
A number of my friends from seminary work in local churches, meaning their coworkers and bosses are fellow believers. A number of other friends, however, work in coffee shops, department stores, or in other non-religious occupations. One such friend recently asked how Christians in such positions can best represent Christ to their coworkers, specifically when lifestyles and ethical frameworks conflict. Today, I want to offer a few thoughts on the subject.
Do flowers honor Father more than I?
For they do not rebel against his name,
Never abandon purpose to proclaim
Another glory. Ev’ry passerby
Is bidden by the bud to look beyond,
To glimpse the author of the grand design.
I point as well, but I demand a fine,
Some profit for the prophet. Still, the frond
Is ever faithful. Though its days are few,
Great kings cannot compare to its array,
A testimony from the soil and sod.
Look closely and detect the divine hue
And find the same at work within your clay.
All beauty bears the signature of God.
Photo by Milos Tonchevski on Unsplash
I see my lack of holiness
When I observe my heart.
It shows a certain homeliness:
Tis stained in ev’ry part.
I long to live in purity,
Yet clearly not enough;
For sin remains a surety.
Temptation calls my bluff.
Thus I take up these robes of white;
I drag them through the dirt.
I pledged my life to perfect light,
Yet still pursue my hurt.
Oh pardon me this parody,
This purposeless pursuit.
Enable me to fully be
A son who bears good fruit.
May all who hear my story find
Your mark of perfect love,
And use me, Father, to remind
Them of your land above.
(Photo cred: Jeremy Poe)
Yesterday, I posted some thoughts on singleness being a gift, not a curse. I believe those words, and I pray they serve you well, but I also recognize the power of testimony in this discussion. Knowing the theology behind a subject helps; hearing how a person applies that theology may help more. So today, I want to share my current situation along with some lessons I’ve learned in the last few years.