beautiful care

Look how the wild flowers grow! They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of these flowers. God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won't he do even more for you? You have such little faith! (Luke 12:27-28 CEV)

it went through my head this week

Ministry is quite demanding. Those who think not are clueless and those who mock you if you utter a groan ought to try wearing the moccasins for a mile or two. Or then again, maybe it’s best they didn’t. Maybe they just ought to read these four posts: (1) Michael Hyatt’s Why I Attend So Many Conferences, (2) Death By Ministry? by Eugene Cho, (3) Pastor Burnout Statistics and (4) The Loneliness of Pastoring. Always pray for your local preacher.

Whather I totally agree with him or not on everything, I enjoy reading whatever Bono has to say whenever he speaks of faith and justice. The man thinks and makes me think. Check out Bono Interview: Grace Over Karma.

While I can’t agree with all that R.C. Sproul seems to believe and teach in his post entitled 5 Things I’m Surprised I Can’t Find in the Bible, I really like his honesty and openness on a subject that isn’t dealt with openly and honestly near often enough. And hey, why stop with five? What are some of the items you would have listed?

To all who sense that they’re on some sort of cosmic treadmill of trying to make God happy with them, I commend to you Tim Kimmel’s post and chart entitled The Grace List.

And finally, Jim Martin’s two posts, The Kind of People I Love to Be Around and 10 Things I Don’t Have Time For remind me of the kind of person I want to be (and not be) and what I do (and do not) have time for in life.

don’t get discouraged

Brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged in doing what is right. (2 Thessalonians 3:13 CEB)

Have you ever noticed how often the Bible calls Christians to not give up, but to persevere? This theme is all over the New Testament, but especially in the writings of Paul. Take for example:

… my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58 CEB)

Stay awake, stand firm in your faith, be brave, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13 CEB)

… stand firm, united in one spirit and mind as you struggle together to remain faithful to the gospel. (Philippians 1:27 CEB)

… hold on to the word of life. This will allow me to say on the day of Christ that I haven’t run for nothing or worked for nothing. (Philippians 2:16 CEB)

… my brothers and sisters whom I love and miss, who are my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord. (Philippians 4:1 CEB)

That’s why I sent Timothy to find out about your faithfulness when I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was worried that the tempter might have tempted you so that our work would have been a waste of time. (1 Thessalonians 3:5 CEB)

May the love cause your hearts to be strengthened, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his people. Amen. (1 Thessalonians 3:13 CEB)

Now, may the God of peace himself cause you to be completely dedicated to him; and may your spirit, soul, and body be kept intact and blameless at our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming. (1 Thessalonians 5:23 CEB)

With all of that in mind, three questions come to mind:

  • How is all of this a bit of commentary about human nature’s tendency to not see through to the end that which we’ve begun?
  • Taken to together, what do these statements communicate about what we as Christians can expect to experience in this life?
  • What does this say about our needs as Christians to never base our faith on our feelings?

Brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged in doing what is right. (2 Thessalonians 3:13 CEB)

Father, by the power of Christ, may I never leave you or forsake you, even if all the world, all of my feelings, and even others tempt me to do so. Amen.