Digging in Deeper: Philippians 4:11-13

“I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you remember the “yanny” versus “laurel” fad from a few years ago? The audio illusion became an internet sensation for a couple of weeks in May 2018. The clip contained both of the words, but the former was more prevalent at higher frequencies, and the latter at lower frequencies. Which one you heard depended on which sound frequencies were picked up the most easily by your ears. A slight majority of listeners (including me) reported hearing “laurel” when they heard the clip. I even still hear “laurel” when the low frequency sounds are filtered out to some extent so that the “yanny” sounds are more prevalent. The rest (including my lovely bride) heard “yanny.” The clip came from a Georgia high school student doing some homework when he recorded the audio pronunciation of the word “laurel” (see, I knew I was right!) from Vocabulary.com. The poor quality recording he made is what allowed some folks to hear “yanny” instead. Without getting any of the back story or listening to an edited version of the clip to make one sound more prominent than the other, though (here’s a video where they edit the clip so you can easily hear “yanny” and then transition it back to normal – it was the first time I’ve ever heard what the “yanny” sounds like and promptly couldn’t any longer when it went back to normal), most folks will hear the clip one way and never know there was another option. What has me thinking back to 2018 this morning is this well-known declaration by Paul. Most folks have only ever learned to hear it one way (the “yanny” way), but when you play it with the pitch Paul wrote it, something entirely different – and better – comes to the fore. Let’s talk this morning about another lie Christians believe and why the truth is so much better.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Micah 6:9

“The voice of the Lord calls out to the city (and it is wise to fear your name): ‘Pay attention to the rod and the one who ordained it.’”
— ‭‭Micah‬ ‭6:9‬‬ ( CSB- Read the chapter)

One of the basic assumptions humans have always made about the world is that there’s more to it than we can see with our eyes. The unique phenomenon of modern atheism aside, the general belief about the nature of the world that every human culture has held since there were thinking and reasoning humans walking around on the planet is that there is a spiritual world we cannot see and it has an impact on our daily lives. The exact understanding of the nature of that impact has varied rather widely, but the belief that we are foolish to ignore it has not. And while this largely manifests itself as various superstitions, what we see right here reminds us that it isn’t all superstition.

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What If God Answered?

In this third part of our series, Grace in Hard Times, we finally get a look at what God had to say to Job and his friends after all their questions and assumptions about who He is and how He works.  The result feels hard at first until you look a bit closer.  What we learn is that God’s job in running the whole universe is a lot bigger than we think and that if we’ll let Him do it, He’ll do it well.  Keep reading to see how this unfolds.  Up next: A look at how we can keep the rhythm of our lives adjusted to the right beat.

 

What If God Answered?

Do you remember the worst lecture you ever got from your parents?  While I confess that I fall to it way more often than I should with my boys, my folks either weren’t much for lecturing or else I’ve forgotten all of them (which really isn’t very comforting news for all the wisdom parents depart to their children through the vehicle of a lecture…).  Still, though, there are times when as parents we need to impart a great deal of important information to our children in a rapid-fire fashion.  And, coincidentally or not, these times often happen in conjunction with something they’ve done that wasn’t perhaps totally on the up-and-up and when we are in a state of mild to extreme anger.  Now, if that happens to come across as a lecture, is that our fault?  Well…probably…but that much is not where I want to go this morning. I’ll come back to this idea in a second. Read the rest…

How Not to Comfort the Hurting

In part two of our series, Grace in Hard Times, we take a look at the conversation among Job and his friends as they wrestle with the awful tragedies that have befallen him.  Their attempts at comforting gradually transform into attempts at condemning him when he won’t play ball with their notions of how the world works.  Along the way, we learn an important lesson on how to approach getting our minds around the hard times we face.  Keep reading to find out what it is.

 

How Not to Comfort the Hurting

Have you ever been sure you were right…until you learned you weren’t?  Tell me if you’ve been here before.  One day we were getting ready to go to the pool and I had asked Noah to go to the garage to get something for us to take.  We weren’t planning on making it a long trip and so to the boys’ disappointment we pretty severely limited the number of toys they were going to be able to take. Read the rest…

What to Do When the Wheels Fall Off

Evil is present everywhere in our world.  We can’t escape it.  We can only try and deal with the aftermath.  This fact has long seemed deeply at odds with the idea of a good and loving God.  The problem of evil is one of the thorniest challenges that has long seemed a roadblock to the Christian faith.  In this new series, Grace in Hard Times, with the help of the book of Job, we are going to examine through the context of this epic story one powerful answer to the problem.  In this first part of the conversation, we start with a bit of perspective.

 

What to Do When the Wheels Fall Off

A few years ago the news came out that Elizabeth Elliot had passed away at age 88.  Elliot had been serving the Lord in various capacities for nearly her entire life.  What she is perhaps best known for, though, is having been married for a short time to Jim Elliot.  Jim was every bit as dedicated a servant of the Lord as Elizabeth was, but his story did not end in the same way hers did.  In 1955, Jim and four other missionaries, including Nate Saint, were attempting to make contact with the Huaorani tribe deep in the jungles of Ecuador.  After making several initial peace offerings by lowering gifts in a bucket from their plane, the pair finally decided it was time to make personal contact with the tribe.  On the morning of January 3, 1956, they landed and met with some of the tribe members for the first time.  They were received with excitement and it was looking like things were going to go smoothly.  This road for the advance of the Gospel was appearing most promising.  But just five days later everything fell apart.  When the tribe warriors came out of the woods that morning to the Amazonian beach the missionaries were using as a landing strip and campsite, they did not come for peace.  They came to shut down this outsider intrusion into their private lives.  Nate, Jim, and the three other men with them were murdered in cold blood, speared to death by the Huaorani warriors.  They each left behind a wife and a total of 10 kids among them.  These five men had committed their lives to serving Jesus and advancing the Gospel regardless of the costs.  They were selflessly committed to this goal and yet this was their end. Read the rest…