"The Course of this World" and how to resist it

I've written an article on the Crossway blog about the course of this world (Ephesians 2:2) and how to resist it. Here's a brief excerpt...

Through our godly lives, God’s light illumines the shadowy darkness of the world (Phil. 2:15). And through Christ, we can resist the vortex of the course of this world. One way to practically do this is to “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).

Your weeping implies that you recognize something to sincerely weep about. This may give you an opportunity to tell why you aren’t falling for the course of this world’s gravitational pull into complacency and acceptance of evil. Do not underestimate the impact of your tears in the life of your friends...
— https://www.crossway.org/blog/2017/03/how-to-resist-the-vortex-of-the-course-of-this-world/

On the occasion of our 8th year in the desert

Eight years ago today we landed on the Arabian Peninsula! We call it our "sandiversary." The Lord has been kind. We consider it the greatest privilege of our lives to serve his church in this place.

Here's a fun then-and-now pic:

Time would fail me if I wrote down all the marvelous things the Lord has done, proving over and over again that he is who he says he is. He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. His Son is worthy to receive the reward of his suffering-- namely, worship from the great multitude whom no one can number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. Perhaps in glory we will get to tell and re-tell stories to one another that proclaim the glory of God. 

Although my old blog, "Life in Arabia," has been offline for some time now, a few years ago I did get to republish this testimony about something God did the day after we landed. 

And because cheeseburgers and ice cream are great complements to reflecting on God's goodness, we plan to brave the heat and do that tonight with our kids. 

Audiobook Giveaway

Happy New Year!

Praise be to God, whose mercy is new every morning without exception.

I'm giving away copies of these recently released audiobooks via my Instagram account today, Dec. 31st. Click on the pic on the right to be redirected.

Then, just for fun, set a timer to remind yourself to tune in to the livestream of Dubai's NYE fireworks. You've probably never seen anything like it!

Jesus introduces himself (in Revelation)

Here are some of the ways the crucified, risen, ascended, and enthroned Jesus describes himself in the Book of Revelation:

  • Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
  • him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands
  • the first and the last, who died and came to life
  • him who has the sharp two-edged sword
  • the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze
  • him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars
  • the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens
  • the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation
  • I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
  • I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.

Sometimes "Quiet" Time Isn't Quiet

For more on this idea, you can read the books "Glimpses of Grace" and "Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full." :)

But if you're short on time, here's a brief article, "Don't Settle for a 'Quiet' Time," originally published on the Crossway blog in May 2014.

"Don't Settle for a 'Quiet' Time"

Walking the Living Room by Faith

A small lamp threw light up into the corner of the dark living room. As I walked through that room into the home office where I worked, I made the otherwise still air move with me. The owners of the house didn’t like to use the air conditioner—even in the Texas summers—because it felt too cold on their skin. Spending decades in third world conditions will do that to you. On the mornings when I came over to work she would turn on a tiny desk fan just for me. He would shiver as he sat nearby, so I would turn it off.

I was there to help the elderly missionaries keep up with their writing and administrative work, and move an occasional box in or out of the garage. A few years ago they both died and immediately awoke in the presence of the Lord—her first and then him very soon after. Their fellowship with God is now by sight forever. But for the years, months, days, hours, and minutes they were with us here, their fellowship with God was by faith.

Their house in America had wall-to-wall carpet, and, in between the furniture that hadn’t been moved for years, you could see where their faith had moved their feet. There were well-worn paths in the carpet where she paced back and forth with her Scripture memory cards and knee-shaped patches where he knelt to pray.

I thought it was remarkable that the one thing that didn’t gather dust in that house was the collection of shoe boxes scattered around, each overflowing with handwritten Bible verses. They took God’s Word everywhere with them—even in those final days when the distance they traveled was not to the other side of the world, but rather to the other side of the house. 

Letting the Word of Christ Dwell in You Richly

This older couple didn’t carve out just a portion of time for God’s Word and leave it at that. Rather, they put God’s Word in their heart so it could be carving them into the image of Christ all day long.

Their example ministered to me back then while I was a busy college student taking a full course load and working a couple of part-time jobs. And their example still ministers to me today, now a busy pastor’s wife with four children. As I seek to fellowship with God in my days and nights, I need to see with faith-eyes that the Word of God isn’t just a part of my life, but is my very life (Deut. 32:45-47). 

Whether Circus or Solitude, Christ is Sufficient

I’ll be the first to confess that wholehearted devotion to God’s Word is hard to come by when you have lots of people who need your attention plus a smart phone in your pocket. I can think of few things that sound more peaceful than a brewing coffee pot against a backdrop of unmitigated silence, inviting me to sit in a comfortable chair for a leisurely read in my Bible for as long as I like. Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I could sit still for hours to hear the word of Christ, especially when I hear a sibling squabble starting in the next room.

However, for many of us, this is not a season (or lifetime) that naturally lends itself to this kind of “quiet time.” But that is no threat to the word of Christ! We need to be encouraged by the fact that peace and quiet are not ultimate, and the Holy Spirit does not abandon us in the absence of solitude.

Rather than restrict fellowship with God to a certain time of day, we need the word of Christ to dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16) all the time and everywhere we go (Deut. 6:4-9). Scripture is always sufficient for your life, whether it is quiet or chaotic.

Jesus promises to light your path wherever you walk (John 8:12) as you look forward to the day when your faith becomes sight and you behold the Word of God (Rev. 21:23).