Autumn Rest 

“Make it a source of spring water; even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings.”

-Psalm 84:6 (CSB)

Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people.

-Hebrews 3-4 (CSB)

 

Autumn is a season of beauty. The days begin to get cooler from the hot summer season. The leaves change and fall to the ground. Together it creates a beautiful tapestry of foliage across the plains and the mountains of God’s creation.

Autumn is a season of reward. Here the fruits of our labors during the summer and spring are given. Crops are collected, livestock is tended, and gains are made during this harvest season. Each of these rewards is made possible from the hard work and exploration made from the preceding seasons.

Autumn is a season of preparation. After the harvest, winter crops are planted to produce needed resources during cold months. Families invest in firewood to keep warm. Even God’s creatures know that Autumn is a time of preparation, as many animals gather their final collections before winter. Continue reading “Autumn Rest “

Memorizing the Bible: A Simple Scriptural Challenge

In 2002, I attended a Christian Conference while I was in college. The speaker of that event strongly emphasized the need for scripture memory. The students like myself in that room did not want another chore on our busy college plates. Plus, no one likes more legalism. Anticipating these responses, the speaker had a very fair challenge to the room of about 1,000 students. First, he asked every student to stand up. Next, he asked students to remain standing if only they could quote as many scriptures from memory as their age. In other words, if the average college student was 21 years old, they should have 21 verses memorized. After giving his second requirement only about ten students out of 1,000 remained standing. In full transparency, I was one of the 990 students who sat down. Doing so, I knew there was no reason why I should be sitting because committing one Bible verse to memory each year is not difficult.

So, let’s be honest for a minute. Why do we struggle to memorize a minimum of one scripture verse a year? This suggestion is not a harsh approach; rather, one scripture verse a year is more gracious than legalistic. Factoring in that we could count John 11:35, which says, “Jesus wept,” it’s an attainable goal. So, why do we struggle to memorize scripture? We may not know how, but an answer we should wrestle with is that we are lazy.

Lazy is a harsh term, but notice I included myself in this critique. I too could memorize more scripture than I do. Plus, if we focus on doing just one verse a year, then lazy is probably an accurate definition, even if it is a strong term. Furthermore, lazy is the opposite of self-control, which is the final Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Still, since we should want to practice good spiritual discipline related to scripture memory, it would help to have a few practical suggestions too. Continue reading “Memorizing the Bible: A Simple Scriptural Challenge”

Faith is in Order

The military is a way of life. From the early mornings to the long days, there is a pattern to the military lifestyle. A part of that design is orders. Just about everyone in the military takes orders from someone. Most of the time the orders make sense. Occasionally the orders don’t make sense, but one follows them anyway because that’s a part of the lifestyle. This part of military life is a critical one. Not only does it keep one from trouble, but it teaches a service member a key part of life: faith.

Yes, there is a connection between practicing faith and taking orders in the military. No, it’s not because God is a cosmic Drill Sergeant seeking to enforce divine push-ups for disobedience. Rather, the connection rests on the idea that God often leads us, calls us, or asks us to do things we do not always understand. He might use our current circumstances. He could ask something from scripture. Either way, his request is a timeless command that will make life easier if we trust and obey.  Continue reading “Faith is in Order”

Film Critics and Life

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

How did the critics grade it? Did it get a high or low score on Rotten Tomatoes?

Do you even care about their critique of the film? Of course not! It’s your favorite movie after all. So, you don’t care that it has a bad storyline, you watch it for the action. Perhaps, it’s the love story you enjoy, despite the bad acting. Maybe it does have great acting and storytelling, but the budget was so small that it’s a B-grade movie. None of these factors matter because it’s your favorite movie, period! You then forget, ignore, or never even bothered to see what the critics said because it would your favorite film no matter what.

Why then can’t we do the same when it comes to critics and criticism in our daily lives? We should and we can if we, Press on!

Steve Jobs said, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Continue reading “Film Critics and Life”

Beautiful Perspectives

Mountain top outlooks are gorgeous. Growing up near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky I hiked to many mountain tops. Rarely did the view disappoint, which made the journey to their summits worth the effort. At the pinnacle of each mountain, I could appreciate the view, and the path required to reach my peak destination. Mountain tops are a great illustration of life too.

Within the journey of life, we each experience a host of paths and obstacles towards our eventual destination. Challenges might be steep hills, tight trails, or various animals like snakes. These adversities cause us to question our need to continue our journey. We must weigh the risk over the reward. After all, the view might not even be worth the trip. Though if we only desire a beautiful view, then our journey is already wasted.

No, a mountain peak both literal and in the journey of life is not just about the view we see. Rather, it’s about understanding and appreciating the path taken to one’s current outlook. It’s at the mountain top we can understand, appreciate, and see our past obstacles with appreciation. This 20/20 hindsight lets us reframe the good and the bad of our journey into even more optimism. We may look back and be frustrated that we didn’t handle an issue with more grace, calm, or poise. However, such self-criticism is not the point because it’s a journey into our negativity.

No, our point is that we are to use our accomplished outlook with appreciation. We can rejoice that we handled things as well as we did. Then we can choose to learn from our mistakes. We learn because we are reframing our past errors towards future hope. That’s the beauty of the mountain top. Not that we see something we’ve never seen before, but now see both the big picture of the past while we view the beauty of our future. Let’s then journey through our paths in life because a beautiful perspective is just over the horizon.

The Depth of Anxiety – Applying Grace

Anxiety confronts us all. Circumstances will always arise that cause a fight or flight response from us. Sure, we may manage stress, but it does not make us immune from it. This fact should not discourage us. Rather, we should be encouraged because we are no different than anyone else. Plus, there are effective coping techniques to assist us, if we will use them.

As Christians, our primary coping mechanism should be faith in Jesus. Not just a faith that saves, but a faith that comforts us daily in each circumstance. See, we forget that the grace of Jesus is available to us so we can rest in Him than in ourselves. In fact, I believe God allows anxieties into our lives to serve as constant reminders that we need to rely on Him than ourselves. In other words, if you are a very anxious person, then rejoice because God loves you. He loves you so much that he allows anxiety as a discipline in your life so that we will relate to Him more intimately (Heb 12:5-8).

Personally, this lesson is one where a continue workplace conflict taught me this lesson. Continue reading “The Depth of Anxiety – Applying Grace”

We Need Messy Bibles For Our Lives

In high school, my friend Eric Wren told me, “If you’re Bible is in good shape, you’re probably not!” His phrase suggests we should have marked-up Bibles than pristine. Despite this truth, it can be hard to highlight or write in our Bibles; but we need to be messy!

In a previous post, I shared my Bible highlighting system, which I try to follow when possible. However, there are times when a deviation is needed. The exception creates a dilemma because I feel if I’m going to mark Bible I want the marks to be consistent. Having talked with others I know I’m not alone in this struggle. A challenge that can impact our Bible intake, so, what to do? Again: Be messy!

Our faith rests in a relationship with Jesus. It’s not a set of rules; it’s not indulgence in ourselves, it’s a dynamic relationship when led by the Spirit can look different than other Christians. Like other healthy relationships, our faith with Jesus can be messy, not because He is a wreck, but because He is taking our mess and turning it into His message. Jesus creates this message for His glory as we grow in our relationship with Him. Therefore, our Bibles don’t have to be consistent when we mark in them. Again: Be messy! Continue reading “We Need Messy Bibles For Our Lives”