Words

I decided a few weeks ago this is a time to read through Proverbs. Many messages from many directions demands wisdom be supreme.

Written and spoken words are crucial. They can help or hurt, confuse or assist, push away or bring forward…

As reminders, here are some lines from Proverbs 15:

  • A gentle answer turns away anger
  • The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive
  • The tongue that heals is a tree of life
  • Pleasant words are pure
  • The mind of the righteous person thinks before answering

Words have power. May we use them well.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Brett Jordan

The Power of Christian Contentment (book review)

Releasing this book last year, there’s no way Andrew Davis knew how helpful this book could be this year.

I agree with a life coach that said this about COVID-19: “It’s not creating fear. It’s exposing the fears we already had.” The same could also be said about our contentment.

Each of the twelve chapters are rich. The most helpful ones are entitled The Mysterious Mindset of Contentment (5), The Excellence of Christian Contentment (7), The Evils and Excuses of a Complaining Heart (8), and Contentment in Suffering (9). Here are quotes from the entire book to help you tap into the power of contentment:

  • Christian contentment is finding delight in God’s wise plan for my life and humbly allowing him to direct me in it.
  • It is no stretch to say that the Lord may orchestrate amazingly challenging circumstances for you and your family for the primary purpose of giving your supernatural hope and Christian contentment a platform.
  • Abiding, supernatural contentment is a “secret” to be learned, not part of the original equipment of conversion.
  • Cosmologists estimate the total number of stars in the universe to be 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Each of those stars is named and sustained moment by moment by God.
  • The combination of complete satisfaction in the world and complete dissatisfaction with the world is a mystery of contentment.
  • There is an inherent humility in Christian contentment and a basic arrogance in discontentment.
  • Tempting a content man is like shooting flaming arrows at an iron wall.
  • Christian contentment enables us to worship God excellently, in a way far purer and more glorious than any other form, better than hearing a sermon or attending corporate worship without contentment.
  • Esteem contentment highly; hate complaining passionately.
  • Old wicked habits die through starvation, and new godly habits grow through obedience.
  • American evangelicals of the 21st century are the wealthiest Christians in the history of the church. According to one study, evangelicals worldwide collectively made $7 trillion in income for that year. The Christian income in America represents nearly half of the world’s total Christian income. That is a massively weighty responsibility for American Christians.
  • The tapestry of our life’s history is made up of Todays.
  • God sees everything in super slow motion, and every microsecond of history is calculated and part of God’s providential plan. Don’t let Satan speed things up. Slow down! Breathe!
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how your electronic devices, especially your smartphones, are making you discontent.

You Have Cookies?

Dialogue at the end of my drive-through order at Wendy’s earlier today:

Wendy’s: Would you like any sauce?

Me: No, thank you.

Wendy’s: Would you like to add a cookie to your order for only $.99?

Me: You have cookies? 

Wendy’s: Yes, we do.

Me: Wow! I didn’t know that. Yeah, I’ll have a cookie (with a no-brainer tone).

Later I enjoyed my Wendy’s double chocolate chip cookie.

Why do you need to know this?

  • Future orders
  • The power of offering
  • The blessing of knowledge
  • Runners eat cookies, too. Well, this one does.
  • Imagine that cookie with your Frosty!

Post credit: G2

Waiting for Presto!

Parlor magicians hired to entertain children at birthday parties frequently begin tricks with a display of an empty hand, offering clear proof that there is nothing up their sleeve, nothing in the shiny top hat they are about to sit on the table in full view of the fascinated children. Then suddenly-presto!-a rabbit is pulled up by the ears, a dove with fluttering wings emerges, a shiny silver dollar flips into view. Something created out of nothing! We adults know that these are just parlor tricks, sleights of hand, practiced technique.

This quote comes from chapter seven of Andy Davis’s book, The Power of Christian Contentment. Davis is describing the best worship that comes from contented believers, and he shares this thought under the heading Most Comforted by Things Not Seen.

Some people want to know how the trick works. Not me. I’d rather not know. Were I to know, the awe and wonder would be gone. To keep the awe, I don’t want to know.

Often I’m tempted to know how God is going to do something, what He’s up to, or even to tell Him what to do. I’m learning that giving in to those temptations ruins contentment. Giving in also displays my lack of trust or my need for control. What I’m realizing is I’m also ruining my awe and wonder. 

I need to stay off the stage and wait for presto!


Photo Credit: Unsplash/Omid Armin

How To Pray (book review)

A few months ago I received a copy of Ronnie Floyd’s book How To Pray, 20th Anniversary Edition. Was I excited? Ehh. Another book on prayer. I added it to the pile of books on my nightstand, and it waited its turn. That turn started a few weeks ago. Ended yesterday.


True to his promise, Floyd delivers a book for everyone. Whether you feel like a newborn or seasoned prayer, you will grow through his suggestions. He also delivers a book true to his objective-to be helpful. His help includes addressing barriers to giving keys discovering power and movement in your prayer life. All 19 chapters are practical, simple, and immediately applicable.

Of the books I’ve read on prayer, How To Pray is in the top three. I’d specifically encourage young (in age or in practice) Chistians to read it. Some books you read and pass along. Some books you read and add to your library. Then there are books that you read and reread. Floyd’s is a reread.

So much beauty…for eternity

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart…”

This verse explains why a pandemic like COVID-19 creates such response. In our hearts we long for beauty and eternity. Anything that smothers that longing is threatening and unnatural. The promise of beauty and eternity gives us reason to desire heaven more. Why?

  • Eternity won’t have restrictions
  • Eternity won’t be isolating
  • Eternity will be peaceful
  • Eternity will contain yet-to-be-seen beauty

Yesterday a thought came to me while visiting a friend who is dying from cancer. He talked about all the different birds that visit his backyard feeder every day. Made me wonder, “Can you imagine what the wildlife in heaven will be like?” 

No pandemic can threaten eternity. Nothing will ever again separate man from God. So much beauty…for eternity.

What If I’m Goliath?

This morning our pastor spoke from I Samuel 17, the story of David and Goliath. Tonight, our Life Group discussed his notes and answered some discussion questions, one of which was “How do you speak to your giants?

In our discussion a thought came to me. It’s possible, when I get really honest with myself and God, that I’m my own giant. My willingness to be content in fear may be my giant. My need to control may be my giant. My lack of grace to see people how God sees them may be my giant. In pondering how to speak to my giant, it very well could be I have to answer, “How do I speak to myself?”

What if my fear is my Goliath?

What if my pride is my Goliath?

What if my self righteousness is my Goliath?

What if the flesh and blood I’ve made my giant is only a distraction from the real one?

What if I’m Goliath?

The Faith Doctor

I’m half through the autobiography of Jerry Kill, a successful college football coach known for turning around programs. One part of his personal story is a bout with kidney cancer. In the chapter recalling the bout, he gives a shoutout to his team chaplain with these words:

He is the best Christian man I know. He knows how to talk to you, how to relate to you, and he has the “it factor.” He’s a faith doctor. You have to have your medical doctors obviously, but he was a faith doctor for me.

That’s a first-hearing someone categorized as a faith doctor. Made me ask two questions:

  1. Who’s my faith doctor?
  2. Who’s faith doctor am I?

Maybe we all should ask those questions. After answering them, we could ask further ones like…

  1. How often do I see my faith doctor?
  2. What symptoms do I need to acknowledge to my faith doctor?
  3. How willing am I to be someone’s faith doctor?
  4. What fruits of the Spirit are needed to be someone’s faith doctor?

You get the gist. This chapter, by the way, was entitled Upsetting Cancer. Whatever spiritual issue you have that needs upsetting may well be worth answering these questions.

Better & Deeper!

Questions: Three for God, Three for Us

The media, culture, and environment in which we live has sought to define love as a feeling that lives rooted deep within our emotional character. This could not be farther from the truth when understood through the focused lens of God’s Word. God defines love not in emotional terms but in commitment and covenant. God has self-defined Himself as love and rests His identity in His intention that He will never recant that commitment to humanity nor will He break His own special covenant no matter our propensities toward sinfulness or spiritual rebellion. (-The Pastor’s Wife and The Other Woman)

I started a new book last night. This quote is from a section discussing how our choices regarding our time indicate what is significant to us.

What is significant is more than what feels good. What we know we can count on, what is solid, what has been tested, what has survived fire-that is significant.

When we question our significance to God, here are three questions to ponder:

  1. What promises has He kept?
  2. How has He shown Himself to me recently?
  3. When was the last time He forgave me?

Turning the spotlight on the other person in the relationship, here are three questions for us:

  1. What promises have I made to God?
  2. How am I looking for God each day?
  3. How do I open my heart to God?