Am I Intellectually Lazy?

lachlan-donald-90605

The simple believes everything,
but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

~ Proverbs‬ ‭14:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

A few years ago my spouse and I were driving to San Diego. Because of the labyrinth of freeways that make up Southern California, we had the GPS (Global Positioning System) running. I knew generally how to get where we were going, but it is helpful to have those little reminders of impending exits and freeway interchanges. As we were cruising southbound on Interstate 15, the GPS suddenly commanded, “make a u-turn if possible.” Continue reading

Do I answer the fool?? (Coffee Chat 16)

coffee chat

Good morning!

It’s been far too long since we’ve met for a cup of coffee (or tea) in our virtual coffee corner! If you’re new to the blog, welcome! Every so often I like to host a little “coffee chat” to discuss some question or other. This one is long overdue! As always, it’s important to keep the discussion civil—any ad hominem attacks will be deleted without apology.

So grab a cup of joe (or a mug of hot cocoa) and join in the discussion!

For today’s coffee chat, I want to hear your thoughts on the following verses:

Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.

~ Proverbs 26:4-5, ESV (emphasis mine)

In our post-modern society, most discussions take place via the internet (like this one). Facebook, blog posts, and news comments are breeding grounds for vitriol—“you’re a bigot! You’re ignorant. You’re racist. You’re a sheep! You’re uneducated.”

“Blah blah blah (insult) yak yak yak (attack).”

Listening to some people duel with their keyboards is akin to listening to two children bickering on the playground. What’s worse, those attacks are often made by self-proclaimed “intelligent” people. Continue reading

“Little Faith” — Good, bad, or simply a start? (Coffee Chat 15)

coffee chat

With all the big leaps I’ve taken lately, my mind has travelled several times to the account of Peter stepping out on the water in the middle of a storm. There are a plethora of songs that allude to this idea of stepping out in faith/walking on water. Many focus on Peter sinking the moment he took his eyes off Jesus. That’s a great lesson for every season. Lately, however, I’ve been mulling over the term “little faith.”

Jesus uses this phrase throughout the gospels. The only time I found “have you no faith?” was in Mark. Most often he says, “O you of little faith.” Is it a term of disappointment, condescension or frustration? Or, is it an acknowledgement that they have faith, but it needs development?

Let’s look at the passage in Matthew 14 that I alluded to earlier:

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.

And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?””

‭‭~ Matthew‬ ‭14:23-31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I find it interesting that he doesn’t say, “where’s your faith?” Or “have you no faith?!” Jesus says (in essence) “you have faith, but it needs to become greater than your fear.”

Here are thoughts/questions I’ve been pondering and I’d love to hear your input:

1) Peter was a fisherman. He knew what happened if you got out of a boat in the middle of the water—you sink. In a stormy situation, you would likely drown. He had faith enough to step out on the water and walk a little ways. Nobody else jumped out to follow him. Only Peter took that risk. Was he being brash or foolhardy? I don’t know what was on his mind, but if he had been trying to show off, I think Jesus would’ve rebuked him for that. Peter believed that Jesus had the power to help him walk on water. He had faith enough to take the first step.

2) Peter had faith, but his fear was greater. His initial trust in Jesus was overwhelmed when he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the danger. His fear overshadowed his faith. I wonder if Jesus looked at him like we look at our children sometimes. For example, my children trust me, but sometimes their fear overwhelms their trust. When they went swimming in a big pool for the first time. I assured they would not be scared, but they panicked as soon as they couldn’t feel ground beneath their feet. I may have been a little disappointed in their lack of trust, but, as an adult, I also recognized that they did not possess my long experience. Sometimes this makes them rush headlong into danger and at other times it makes them reluctant to trust.

3) “Little faith” is meant to be a starting point, not a permanent residence. Thus far, these men had left their livelihoods, their families and the status quo to follow Jesus. We often shake our heads at their mishaps, but I wonder if we would have done as much as they did with the little knowledge they had. Jesus watered their faith regularly so that by the time He ascended to heaven, they had enough faith to move mountains.

4) I find it interesting in James he says this:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

~ James‬ ‭1:5-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Do you think James may have been thinking of this incident when he wrote this?

Your turn!

What do you think about the phrase? When Jesus uses it, what does it mean?

Grab your favorite cup of coffee or tea and join the discussion!

Coffee Chat 13 – Myths, Fairy Tales and the Bible

coffee chat

Read previous coffee chats under the “discussion” category or click here.

It’s been awhile since we gathered around our coffee cups and keyboards to “chat.” It sure would be nice to meet you all in person! One of the awesome things about being at the conference in November was meeting face-to-face with people from all over the country (and from other parts of the world) who have the same philosophy about food and nutrition. I actually did enjoy a “coffee chat” with one of my fellow conference attendees. It was great fun discussing ideas and talking about vaccines and schools and all that jazz. One lady from Canada (originally from India) described how her father made chai tea by grinding the spices and using seeded raisins for sweetening. So cool!


It’s the time of year when children dream of red-nosed reindeers and toy-making elves. Santa Claus/St. Nick/Father Christmas has become the icon of Christmas. Unfortunately, a jolly old man from the North Pole delivering toys on a reindeer-drawn sleigh that flies come snow or shine is not real.

I hope that I haven’t burst your bubble… but I felt you should know if you weren’t already aware.

I love good stories. I read fairy tales to my children. I love the creativity that goes into authoring these tales along with the gorgeous illustrations. My 8-year old has completed five Harry Potter books and is currently devouring the sixth one. She gets into the story. We have to remind her that it’s all imaginary. When we do, she giggles and says, “I know that!”

There is a problem, however. Our secularist society—particularly the “over-educated”—consider the Bible to be no more real than Aesop’s Fables or Greek Mythology. It’s just one more historical fiction book to them. They believe that God’s existence is just as likely as Santa’s. He’s just another fairy tale—to them.

But God IS real. The older I get and the more I learn about biology, anatomy, physiology etcetera, the more my confidence in His existence increases.

So, the question(s) up for our discussion today: how do you juggle myths vs the Bible? How do you make clear to your children that it is ok to dream and imagine, but also teach them how to separate fact from fiction?

Take, for instance, the Santa problem. Do you allow your kids to “believe” in Santa? If so, why? Do you worry that they might one day feel that since they’ve been wrong about Santa, they might be wrong about God as well?

The bottom line: how do you teach them to critically distinguish/critically think about such things?

The Elihu’s Corner cafe is open for discussion! 

I’m going to be sipping on some warm Joy tea and enjoying your comments.

Remember: Keep your comments civilAd hominem arguments and attacks will be moderated without mercy. Grinches and scrooges—you have been warned!

 

 

Coffee Chat 12 – Are we entitled?

coffee chat

Read previous coffee chats under the “discussion” category or click here.

Thank you to all my readers who have given me so much inspiration and insight with your comments. I love hearing from you! We had an awesome discussion at our last coffee chat on taking a break from technology. If you missed the dialogue, it’s never to late to check it out and leave a comment. You can read it here.


I have been mulling over the concept of the “propserity” or “health and wealth” gospel for several months. Lord willing, I will write a series on the subject in the near future, but the posts are still marinating. In the mean time, I’d like to have a little chat with you on this topic. So grab your pumpkin spice latte, black coffee, green tea or whatever you fancy and join me in a little discussion.

Side one: Goodness = Health & Wealth?

Have you ever read books or attended seminars by prominently polished people passionately promoting the idea that righteousness will lead to riches? The idea is that Christians can be wealthy and prosperous if they just work hard, persevere and live “right” (this is loosely defined). It is implied that if we are faithful to God and diligent with our resources, He will not only provide our needs, but endow us with great prosperity. After all, look at Job, Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon and Daniel. They were diligent folks. They succeeded at everything they did! They prospered!

The individuals who promote this idea say, “Look at me! I’m successful, I’m wealthy, I’ve worked hard and made it! You can too! Oh, and, uh, God blessed me because I’m so awesomely diligent and righteous.” Certainly, diligence deserves reward. Proverbs promotes this idea:

A slack hand causes poverty,
but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

~ Proverbs 10:4, ESV

Psalm 1 speaks of the righteous man who “is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)

The beauty of living in the U.S. is knowing that perseverance often pays off. The elusive American Dream is to transform humble beginnings into great prosperity, with a little creativity and a good deal of sweat.

The burning question that I have is this: if we are hard-working, righteous, God-fearing people, are we entitled to earthly health and wealth? Does one follow hard upon the other? This is one of the big issues in the book of Job; his friends had a devil of a time with this concept. Job argued that evil people often prosper, so integrity alone does not secure riches. (Job 21)

Side 2: Goodness = poverty?

When Jesus came to earth, he lived a flawless life. He said the right words at the right time, showed abundant compassion, taught thousands of people, met with both the exalted and the lowly, and yet he had “no place to lay his head.” He was not wealthy—it would have detracted from His purpose. He did not descend to earth in order to establish a utopian kingdom of sensual pleasure and comfort; He came to demonstrate how to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. The kingdom of Jesus was to be a transcendent one: a collective of people who sought to reflect the Lord they loved in the lives they lived.

The apostles who carried the gospel into the world after His ascension lived impoverished lives. They didn’t sleep in soft beds or hobnob with Caesar and the Senators at prayer breakfasts. In the Bible, we read about them sleeping on stone prison floors shackled to Roman Soldiers. If they met rulers, they were not seated in a place of honor at the table. It was quite the opposite. Their missionary travel was done by foot power or wind power—they did not get carried on litters by servants or transported by chariot.

[I want to pause for a moment and note that the above juxtaposition is not a criticism of all prominent Christian writers or leaders. They have been put in their various places for a purpose and many of them have had a profound impact on thousands of lives. We should be thankful that good people are in positions of influence. My prayer is that they will use their position for the Lord’s purpose and not their own glory.]

Some of the early Christians were wealthy, some were not. Some were spared crucifixion/torture/consumption by lions; others were not. Were those spared more righteous than those killed? Were the wealthy more righteous than the poor?

Does one have to live in harsh circumstances to be right before God?


Here is my take on the whole matter:

Our justification from God (i.e. righteousness) does not entitle us to a cushy life. Those of us who are wealthy and successful need to be good stewards of what God has given us to further his purpose. Those of us who are barely scraping by—in spite of hard work, diligence etcetera—need to continue to share with others and give thanks for what we do have.

The apostle Paul said it best:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.

In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

~ Philippians 4:11-13, ESV

Paul had “learned the secret”: Whether rich or poor, full or hungry, He could be content through Christ who strengthened Him.

We are here to glorify the Lord in our lives, no matter what our circumstance.

If we are granted abundant earthly blessings in this life, we need to learn contentment and gratitude. We are to recognize that they are temporary gifts that we can enjoy and need to share with others. Our position is a tool that God wants to use for His good purpose. Are we allowing our blessings to be tools or are we slaves to our stuff?

If we are not granted riches, we need to learn contentment and gratitude. We need to recognize what the Lord has given us—even if it is the bare minimum—and be an example of joy and peace. Our position is a tool that God wants to use for His good purpose. Are we a vehicle for demonstrating a godly life or are we lusting after what we don’t have?

This subject is a point of confusion for many Christians. There are many who view “riches” as a result of righteousness, while others see them as a curse and think we need to engage in self-inflicted poverty or communal living.

What do you think?

Leave a comment below!

Coffee Chat 11 – A tech sabbath

coffee chat

Read previous coffee chats under the “discussion” category or click here.

students & selfies

I’ve seen various discussions about technology taking over our lives. I saw a hilarious (and disturbing video) of around 8 girls sitting in the stands of a sporting event taking selfies and remaining absorbed in their phone. The sports commentators were getting a good laugh out of it… I’ll admit that I did too, but not because they were girls. I would have laughed if it had been anybody. Time to disconnect!!!

While I’m not in the habit of taking “selfies,” I’ll admit that I look at my phone a little too much. I’ve actually started leaving it in a different room while I’m home so that I can have an intentional break from technology.

Numerous studies have been conducted that demonstrate the deleterious effects cell phones have on our sleep (not to mention other things like our brains…). There is an article discussing this at WebMD (click here) and another at Chris Kesser’s blog (click here). I personally use my phone as an alarm clock, but now I’m thinking about buying a real clock…

The fact of the matter is, we may be getting too much of a good thing. Like so many things in life, it may be unwittingly overused.

One theme that is present throughout the bible is the need to rest or cease from certain activities for a time. God rested on the 7th day from His work (Genesis 2.2). The sabbath was instituted so the people would rest (Exodus 20.8-11). The land was supposed to enjoy a sabbath once every seven years (Leviticus 25.1-7). I’ve even read that it is currently a good farming practice to let the soil rest every few years. Rest is important. A break from worldly activities is important. We probably wouldn’t want to be at the office 24/7 or driving 24/7. We like to get a break, right? It’s ingrained in us to change activities or take a break.

We don’t really know how to “rest” in our society. Vacations are usually filled with an itinerary of activities; Sundays are often used to squeeze in whatever we didn’t finish on our Saturdays, evenings are used to wash dishes, do homework, watch TV conduct some sort of business… we have very little quiet time. And now, with technology providing us constant access to the latest news, entertainment and games, we don’t even have the opportunity to get bored while sitting at the doctor’s office.

We need rest. God designed us to sleep once a day for a reason. Our brains need a chance to process information. We need a break from the constant inundation…

What do you suggest as a way to let your mind have a break? What do you think about some sort of “tech sabbath?”

Do you think that it would be wise to have a day of rest from all information technology (i.e. TV, phones, tablets, computers, etcetera)? I tried turning my phone off one Sunday and just ignoring it from the time I woke up until that evening. It was a bit challenging at first, but it was an excellent break for my mind. I chose Sunday I already ignore my phone for at least 4 hours on Sunday while getting ready for worship, traveling to worship or sitting in worship. It was the perfect day to disconnect. Each person has to take into account their own situation of course; you may be waiting for an important call (or on-call for work). You still might consider turning up the ringer and putting the phone in another location within earshot in case it does ring, but allow yourself a break from picking it up and checking it.

What do you think?

Do you think we should try taking a “sabbath” (rest) from technology? How would you implement it?

Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

Coffee Chat 10 – Are children supposed to be missionaries?

coffee chat

Read previous coffee chats under the “discussion” category or click here.

It’s almost Fall! The early fall is one of my favorite times of year. The weather is starting to cool, pumpkins are available both to decorate and eat in some form or fashion and the leaves begin to turn color. Who’s up for a pumpkin spice latte while we chat?

I’ve got a question for you and it’s one that is rather old: Are our children supposed to be “missionaries” in their schools?

I often hear Christians say that they don’t homeschool because their children need to be “lights to the world” in their schools.

What do you think?

Testing, 1, 2, 3… [Coffee Chat #9]

coffee chat

I love a good discussion with a friend over a steaming cup of chai, but since I can’t gather all of you at a comfortable cafe, I’ll have to be content with this little corner of the Internet.

I want to thank each and every person who has come to these coffee chats and commented. I have thoroughly enjoyed your insights and inspiration! Thank you for your time.

Read previous coffee chats under the “discussion” category or click here.


On Monday evening, my spouse and I were engaged in discussion with two young men. They were teaching that they had “revelation from God” that gave more knowledge than the Bible. We had been having classes for a couple weeks and in each discussion, we were able to reasonably demonstrate to them that their “revelation” was full of holes.

Now, I want you to know that these discussions were quite amicable. There wasn’t shouting, fighting arguing or rudeness. It truly was a good setting for back and forth… definitely different from discussions I see on forums & comment sections that can get very acrimonious!

These young men had a minimal knowledge of the Bible. They knew the basic sketches of Bible accounts, but they were quite ignorant of the details. They liked to cherry-pick verses and base their doctrine on those out-of-context snippets. When they could no longer defend their position, the fall back answer was, “we just know, because God told us.”

After all our discussions, we told them that because their book contradicted the Bible, we would have no part in it. The “prophecies” contained in their book were short-term ones that could be easily brought to pass by the people who wrote them down. There were errors splattered everywhere.

It was nothing like the real thing.

We kept trying to gently show them the difference, but this was always the final answer:

“We’ve prayed about it. We just know these things are true. If you prayed about it, you’d know too. We just know.”

*sigh*

Ironically, the next morning, I was listening to the next few chapters in my daily reading of 1 Kings when I heard the account of a prophet who did not follow God’s instructions.

This prophet told Jeroboam, King of Israel that the altar he had built would be torn down. The king seized the prophet and his hand withered up. He begged the man of God to ask God for restoration. God granted the prophet’s request and Jeroboam’s hand was restored. Jeroboam, grateful to have two working hands again, asked the prophet to come home with him and get a reward.

This was the prophet’s answer:

And the man of God said to the king, “If you give me half your house, I will not go in with you. And I will not eat bread or drink water in this place, for so was it commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came.’”

1 Kings 13.8-9 ESV

It so happened that an old prophet heard about all this and set about to deceive this prophet. So while the man of God is on his way home, he runs into this old prophet.

And [the old prophet] said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’”

But he lied to him. 

So he went back with him and ate bread in his house and drank water.

1 Kings 13.18-19

Now, as I read that, I asked myself: “Why in the world did this man of God, who had a direct line to God not check with God himself???”

What was he thinking?

If I could have back-and-forth dialogue with God, I would hope that if something contradicted His original instructions that I’d be saying to that old prophet, “Hang on a sec, I’ve got to check with the Lord Himself first…”

Why didn’t he ask God?

Why didn’t he test the word of this prophet?!?!?!

The result was his death.

And [the old prophet] cried to the man of God who came from Judah,

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command that the Lord your God commanded you, but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’”

1 Kings 13:21-22

I do not know if the old prophet lied to the man of God as a test or because he was seeking harm. Read the full account here.

Regardless, the lesson is plain: Just because someone says they have a message from God, doesn’t mean they are telling the truth.

Test their message.

Test them.

What litmus test do we use?

I read recently that the best way to recognize a forgery is to be intimately acquainted with the real thing. Bank tellers are taught the intricacies of real bills so that they can see the difference between a real dollar and a fake one.

What is the real thing? The Bible.

Now, riddle me this:

  1. Why didn’t the old prophet in 1 Kings get punished for lying?
  2. Why do you think the prophet didn’t ask God for confirmation?
  3. And finally, aside from my little anecdote, do you think that we can honestly distinguish between truth and lies by only using God’s Word?

I look forward to your answers while I sip some homemade iced chai!

Coffee Chat 8 – Are you putting family or God on the back burner?

coffee chat

I love a good discussion with a friend over a steaming cup of chai, but since I can’t gather all of you at a comfortable cafe, I’ll have to be content with this little corner of the Internet.

I want to thank each and every person who has come to these coffee chats and commented. I have thoroughly enjoyed your insights and inspiration! Thank you for your time.

Read previous coffee chats under the “discussion” category or click here.


It has always mystified me how a godly parent can have awful children and how awful people end up with godly children. The most common answer is, of course, that people make their own choices in spite of upbringing. While that maxim is certainly true, it still shocks me when I read about Eli, Samuel, David and their children. The accounts of all three families are sobering.

Eli’s sons 1 Samuel 2:12-36

Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.

1 Samuel 2.12

If you click on the passage, it will take you to the full context so that you can read, in detail, the wicked deeds of Eli’s sons. In that scripture, it details how they “treated the offering of the Lord with contempt,” and that they would “lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” Eli rebuked them, but he did not stop them and it was within his power to do so.

Samuel’s sons 1 Samuel 8:1-5

Yet [Samuel’s] sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.

1 Samuel 8.3, ESV

The people of Israel were so frustrated with Samuel’s sons that they demanded a king!

David’s sons

  • Amnon – 2 Samuel 13 (Amnon raped his stepsister)
  • Absalom
    • 2 Samuel 13 (Absalom kills Amnon because he raped his [Absalom’s] sister)
    • 2 Samuel 15 (Absalom conspired to overthrow David and rule the kingdom)
    • 2 Samuel 16:20-23 (Absalom had relations with his Father’s concubines on the roof of his house for all to see).
  • Adonijah – 1 Kings 1:5-7 (Adonijah set himself up as king without authorization from David)

Now, those three men—Eli, Samuel and David—were recognized as godly men, but the state of their households was deplorable! They pleased God, and yet it appears they neglected to instruct their children in the ways of the Lord.

I know of instances in which missionaries, preachers or pastors decide they are going to do some “great work” and they go on to accomplish great things in the name of the Lord… but while they are off changing the world, they leave their families behind to crumble from neglect. Is this acceptable to God? Is this how God wants us to put Him first?

It’s an interesting conundrum. In the book of Matthew, Jesus talks about the need to put God above family.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 10.34-39

When two people choose to be married, that relationship is a covenant relationship. Vows are made between two people before God and other witnesses that they would love, honor and cherish one another under every circumstance while they are both living. There will be times in which that commitment requires one spouse or the other to set other obligations aside. When a couple decides to bring children in the world, those children are entrusted to their care (unless for some reason both parents are suddenly killed). We are told repeatedly to train our children in the ways of the Lord. Training children up in the way of the Lord is putting God first while still caring for the needs of those children. The two are not mutually exclusive.

God told the Israelites that they were to teach their children, and we know how well they did that… (sarcasm intended):

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 6.4-7

Here are some cut-and-dry scenarios:

  • Your kid’s Sports/Extra-curricular activities on Sunday or… worship? (Ahem. Worship, of course!)
  • Your child doesn’t want to go to Bible class because it’s boring. In order to keep peace, you decide to stay home. (Negative! They are under your roof and you are charged with teaching them. Don’t be wishy-washy!)
  • Your child or spouse or parent has a medical emergency or illness and you are missing services or losing out on bible reading or class to care for them. (Yes!)

Here is where the gray area emerges: I have read about (and observed) missionaries and preachers so engrossed in working for the Lord that their families are neglected. Their care for a congregation is phenomenal and the church is thriving, but their children don’t love the Lord. The spouse begins to seek affection elsewhere. They may be doing a great work for the Lord, but what about their family? I read the story of one woman who was sent off to boarding school so her parents could go be missionaries in a foreign country. Apparently this was not an uncommon practice in the early twentieth century. Would you entrust the teaching and raising of your child to someone else so that you could go off and teach the gospel? Which one is right?? If you take your children with you, will you be able to care for them physically and spiritually? I’ve read about it being done successfully from time to time. Again, how do you find balance?

Maybe you aren’t a preacher or missionary, but you are very involved with your local congregation. Are you still meeting the spiritual and physical needs of your own children?

As a blogger trying to share the Word of God with others, are there times you have to set aside your blog to care for the needs of your family?

Maybe you have the opposite problem and you make excuses not to do this or that because you have to take care of family. (I will be the first to admit that I have been guilty of this in the past.)

I firmly believe that our walk with God and care for our family should be intertwined, but the how is not always clear.

How do we uphold our commitments to our families in a way that honors God without neglecting the work that God has for us outside the home?

How do we achieve balance?

Coffee Chat 7 – How can I be a peacemaker?

coffee chat

I love a good discussion with a friend over a steaming cup of chai, but since I can’t gather all of you at a comfortable cafe, I’ll have to be content with this little corner of the Internet.

I want to thank each and every person who has come to these coffee chats and commented. I have thoroughly enjoyed your insights and inspiration! Thank you for your time.

This week, I want to talk about peace and conflict.

Where would the world be if England had rolled over and played dead when Hitler assaulted them with his Blitzkrieg?

Where would the world be if the United States of America had chosen to turn a blind eye to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941?

Where would we be if Jesus Christ went along with the folks who wanted to make him an earthly king?

If there were never resistance to evil, there would never be peace.

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James 4.4, ESV

I’m going to step out on a limb here, and I beseech your patience and mercy.

The apathy within the church towards sin makes my blood boil.

So often, people become “members” of their local church so they can have friends or the approval of family, but they don’t care much about the approval of God. They want to keep doing whatever it was they were doing before—fornication, adultery, porn-addiction, alcoholism, selfishness, greed, pride, hate—and the people in the church, not wanting to be cast as “judgmental” go along with their sin so as not to create waves. They don’t want to push them away, so they remain silent. “Let’s not preach about selfishness, it’s too negative.” “Don’t rebuke brother so-and-so for causing so much trouble in the church or else he might leave.”

When Jesus resisted the calls to be made a king, he put himself into conflict with the people and with the leaders. They didn’t want the will of God, they wanted earthly triumph and vengeance against the Romans. He engaged in conflict in order to make peace with God on our behalf. Until he died, we had no way to be in that state of peace.

The church gets corrupted when it decides that it doesn’t want to engage in conflict with worldly desires—pride, selfishness, greed, conformity—to remain at peace with God.

There is no Switzerland in the war with Satan. There is God’s side and there is Satan’s side.

There is no neutral territory.

The point is this: Peace cannot be achieved without conflict.

In Matthew 5:9, in Jesus famous “Beatitudes” he says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

James also writes this:

Who is wise and understanding among you? 

By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

James 3.13-18

I am not someone who takes pleasure in conflict. I like harmony.

And yet, I don’t often feel harmonious with the church. More often than not, I feel anger and frustration. I feel overwhelming vexation by acceptance of sin, weakness of leadership, acquiescence to stupidity “in the name of peace,” and compromising truth “in the name of unity”.

Am I wrong to feel this way? Am I at odds with God?

If I am right in my feelings, what in the world am I supposed to do about it? Simply stewing in my anger doesn’t help anybody.

How can I help my brothers and sisters in Christ without sinning towards them and towards my God?

How can I be a peacemaker?