Have you ever felt that your personal struggle, temptation, or challenge is especially burdensome? Perhaps you feel your thorn in the flesh is unmentionable. You might consider it more shameful, embarrassing, or onerous than the burdens that others bear. You keep it to yourself, instead of letting other saints help you with it.
Or maybe it weighs upon you so much that you speak of it incessantly. It follows you constantly, like a thick cloud of oppression. It keeps you from experiencing the full joy of God’s presence.
Did you ever ask God why you struggle with this thing instead of something else? Would you swap your burden with someone else’s? Do you wish you didn’t have to deal with this particular difficulty? You’re not alone. Continue reading
Brazilians have a new word to tell someone not to worry: Relaxe! Relax. Don’t get worked up over it. No problem. Somebody used it with me recently when I was in line at the padaria with an armful of items and a younger man urged me to go in front of him. I protested that I was fine, there was no need for me to step in front of him. “Go ahead,” he said, “Relax!” So I did.
One guy I know tends to overwork and overthink. When he remembers to do it, he tells himself to relax. Unfurrow the eyebrows. Breathe deeply. Let go. Instead of being an escape from responsibility, relaxing in this way can becoming a path to trusting God.
Spiritual relaxation isn’t an occasional nap from doing the will of God. Rather, it is a state of being as a saint, a way of living in the Lord, an easygoingness that permeates the zeal for the house of God.
Such a state is needed for people who get worked up over the tensions of life, the pains of relationships, and the challenges of faith. Pretty much includes all of us, doesn’t it?
Here are three ways to relax spiritually, involving the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The saint tells himself to: Continue reading
The Missus was miffed recently when a popular brotherhood effort reprinted a post of mine and misspelled both my names. I’m used to it by now. We’ll let the guilty go unnamed, because they’re good people and it’s an innocent and harmless mistake.
Normally careful people have their moments of inattention. I have mine; you, yours, right? Some moments of distraction can burn the house down or drown the baby in the swimming pool (for those who have such luxuries). We pray those moments are few and far between.
Other moments might let the water boil out of the kettle, or the tea steep too long, or the toast burn in the pan. Inconvenience, for sure, but nothing much more than that. Continue reading
The video of a doctor dragged bloodily from a United Airlines flight last Sunday by airport security personnel will long provoke anger, long after the episode is investigated and resolved. The video went viral, and United’s stock has taken a multi-million dollar drop in value.
One writer noted that it wasn’t United personnel responsible for the scene, but an airport security person. Regardless, it happened on a United flight and the company will bear the brunt of the criticism. Continue reading
Yesterday, someone discovered the post on my personal website, from 2011, which shared a link of a podcast by the name “Water in the plan.” I was a guest on Kyle Massengale’s “iQuest” program, and that was the title for the subject of the day. We spent about an hour talking mostly about baptism in all its rich and varied teaching.
Since yesterday the post has received over 50 hits. On my site that’s a significant number for such an old post. So somewhere on the internet, the link was undoubtedly shared, with lemmings falling over the podcast cliff. I thank whoever it was. Continue reading
What follows is something of a confession. Through the years, I’ve felt no shame or embarrassment to invite churches and individuals to financially support our efforts in missions. In the past, I’ve joyfully extended that invitation, believing fully in our task, as I still do. After several occasions, however, where we have lost larger amounts of monthly support, that ease of asking, that freedom to invite, has been lost. Perhaps it’s partly age, partly feeling tired of the process of fundraising, which I am no professional at doing, nor do I wish I were.
We no longer have a wide base of contacts among Christians, after so many years on the field. In recent years, our friends have heard our pleas several times. How can we then place yet another burden upon them? Continue reading
Trust is a precious and rare commodity in the world. It is easily damaged and destroyed by thoughtlessness and selfishness. To place ourselves or a part of our hearts in the hands of another is a delicate step.
We have learned therefore that trust is not to be extended lightly. We’ve become skeptical, even hardened against hurt. Love is a jittery bird, easily frightened.
Coupled with our desire to see before we step, such reluctance to trust prevents us from having a full and free relationship with God. He deserves our unreserved confidence. He never fails his people. He always comes through. He never forgets a promise. Continue reading