Search for the perfect

On my microblog site at randal.us, I mentioned, “That elusive search for the perfect WordPress theme is like going after the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: Just over the next rise.” In productivity books and sites, there’s an idea that the search for the perfect thing is a waste of time and energy. Go for what is good enough, they say.

Some people never find the perfect present for their loved one. Writers disappear in rabbit holes looking for the perfect word. Job hoppers can never seem to find the perfect employment. Continue reading “Search for the perfect”

Preach the good news

“I give you a command in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, the One who will judge the living and the dead, and by his coming and his kingdom: Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching, because the time will come when people will not listen to the true teaching but will find many more teachers who please them by saying the things they want to hear. They will stop listening to the truth and will begin to follow false stories. But you should control yourself at all times, accept troubles, do the work of telling the Good News, and complete all the duties of a servant of God.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5 NCV)

Is it getting more difficult to reach those around us with the good news of Jesus? Perhaps this is a sentiment that you have expressed as those around us seem to be less and less interested in God’s word and more intent on doing what they want. In my experience it is more difficult now to find those who want to study the Bible, both those who are not Christians and even those who are Christians. Continue reading “Preach the good news”

Growth, grace, and the gospel

We have joined the happy horde of dog owners. We adopted a sweet and crafty Mini Aussie named Penny. She is a puppy and she acts like a puppy. She chews on toys and on items that are not toys. She digs along the fence and has escaped into a neighbor’s yard on two occasions. With love, training, and patience, she will grow beyond some of the typical puppy behavior. But right now, we cannot expect her to be something she is not. We need to have reasonable expectations.

We are not so different. Children should not be expected to behave as adults. We expect them to be respectful, but we expect them to be children. We give love, training, and patience as they grow. With God’s grace and parental dedication they will move beyond their childhood, into adolescence, and eventually become mature, godly adults. Continue reading “Growth, grace, and the gospel”

When the levee breaks

It began to rain and it seemed that it would never stop. The tributaries rose steadily and without abatement for months. Slowly, the disaster began to take shape. Finally, in the spring of 1927, the levees along the great Mississippi River began to fail. Tens of thousands of square miles were inundated. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and their jobs. The waters did not fully recede for months.

Many songs were written in the aftermath of the flood, including “When the Levee Breaks” by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie. It detailed the sorrow of the inevitable. Where do you go when your protection fails and the flood waters surge? Continue reading “When the levee breaks”

God’s patience

Although we realise that God is different from us and so much more than we are, often we place our human limitations and thoughts in how we think of him. Two verses that should bring us back to our senses are found in 2 Peter 3.

“Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9 NET)

There are two thoughts here that radically distinguish God from humans. Continue reading “God’s patience”

If you are a worker in God’s kingdom

If you are a worker in God’s kingdom, take the long view. Present afflictions, without the perspective of eternity, can be depressing. But knowing the sovereignty of God, we can be sure that he works all things for the accomplishment of his will and the good of his people, Romans 8.28.

As planters and waterers, we may not always see the growth. Sometimes we will, sometimes not. Sometimes the growth may come quickly, at others times slowly or, in our limited sight, not at all. But if God gives the growth, 1 Corinthians 3.7, we may be sure that growth there will be. Patience is key. Continue reading “If you are a worker in God’s kingdom”

Quit arguing!

We often don’t realize what damage we do when we argue. What we say can damage people and even damage those not part of the argument but are just listening to the exchange. Three times in a few verses Paul reminded Timothy that how we use our words can harm people.

“Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen” (2 Timothy 2:14 CSB). Continue reading “Quit arguing!”

Just keep on keeping on

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9 NKJV).

A group of us were riding in a van, returning from a day’s visit to one of the village churches in Bangladesh. It had been raining all day, and in the early hours of darkness the rain had gotten harder, and water was beginning to rise.

We drove into a low section of road with standing water, and as it began to grow deeper we caught up to slower traffic ahead of us. Our driver, aware that water was above the tail pipe on the van and that we were in danger of having the engine choked down, stranding us, passed the other vehicles and drove as quickly as possible until we were through the water. Continue reading “Just keep on keeping on”

How patient was Job?

Throughout Job’s ordeal, he maintained before his friends that he was innocent, that he had not committed any dreadful sin that would have caused God to send these calamities on him. But he also did not understand why God had allowed all this to happen to him. We have the advantage of knowing what happened in chapters 1 and 2 when God and Satan were talking together. Continue reading “How patient was Job?”