Keep Doing Good!

Help Others

I’m tired.

I can’t believe summer is over (school started this Monday for some counties in South Florida!).


And then, I came across a story out of Minnesota a few weeks ago that encouraged, and yet challenged me. A wife lost her husband to a motorcycle accident, and as she received his belongings, his wedding ring was missing. Desperately she asked the police if it was anywhere else. When they assured her it wasn’t, she returned to the scene of the accident, frantically searching for his wedding ring.

She didn’t find it.

Later she told a friend who is also a biker, and soon a dozen friends and strangers who were bikers came to the scene of the accident to search the fields in waist-high weeds and grass. Finally, they found the husband’s glasses, and a flashlight that belonged to him.

And they found the precious ring covered in mud!

The wife was amazed at the lengths everyone went just to help her.

This beautiful story reminded me of the book of Galatians, which I have just finished studying in my quiet time, and specifically Galatians 6:9:

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (NLT)

Here’s my personal translation from the original language:

We should not become inwardly weak or tired of continually doing good, for indeed in time we ourselves will reap a harvest, if we don’t succumb and quit!

Yes, I’m tired.

Yes, I had so much more I wanted to accomplish this summer.

But this passage, and the stirring story above, remind me of one thing: as Christians, we should always look to “continue doing good” to everyone. It shouldn’t matter how we feel, how frustrated we might be, or whatever may be going on in our “personal bubble”. We can’t miss an opportunity to serve another person and take the time to share the love of God with them.

And, notice what else the verse says . . . we stand to “reap a harvest” if we don’t quit (doing good).

Scholars debate what that harvest may be, but I think it’s enough to know we made someone else’s day better and were able to be Christ-like to them.

How were we Christ-like?

By giving of ourselves.

Strangely enough, I’ve noticed when I’m tired, and at times frustrated and buried in unfinished work, if I take the time to give, I’m refreshed! I’m renewed! And, I am blessed knowing God used me to bless another person.

Isn’t that reward enough?

So . . . what are your plans for today?


Randy’s Weekly Reads (6/5/15)


This has been a great week of encouraging articles. I could have listed five more, but for now, here’s my favorite “reads” from this past week:

3 Current Cultural Crises That Provide Great Opportunities for Leaders (If You Seize Them)

I thought this piece by Canadian pastor and author Carey Nieuwhof was insightful and a proper assessment of the culture and the opportunity leaders have if they seize it. I loved this statement: “The crisis in our culture isn’t a crisis of information, it’s a crisis of meaning.”

 5 Reasons Why America Remains the World’s Only Superpower

I have always been a history buff, and while this piece is not typical of what I usually highlight, I still found it incredibly informative, and a reminder to all Americans, and especially all Christians in America, of just how influential America is on the world’s stage.

 Seeing the Invisible God

I was thoroughly encouraged by this article by counselor and professor Ed Welch. He addresses a question all of us have asked at one time: Can’t I just see God, at least once? His answer is profound as he shares that God has already answered that question.

Lastly, Pastor Ray Ortlund had a great quote from scholar Francis A. Schaeffer describing what the real problem is in our culture, and life in general:

“The central problem of our age is not liberalism or modernism, nor the old Roman Catholicism or the new Roman Catholicism, nor the threat of communism, nor even the threat of rationalism and the monolithic consensus which surrounds us [nor, I would add today, postmodernism or materialistic consumerism or visceral sensualism or whatever].  All these are dangerous but not the primary threat.  The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually or corporately, tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit.  The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them.”

Francis A. Schaeffer, No Little People (Wheaton, 2003), page 66.

I hope you have a great weekend!


The Secret Things of God


A few weeks ago I started teaching a summer session of my Old Testament class. One of my personal resolutions during that class is to read as much of the Old Testament to them as possible, and not just tell them about the Old Testament. This past weekend, as we were completing our study of the Torah, or the first five books of the Old Testament, I read Deuteronomy 29:29 (here it is in both the New American Standard and the Holman Christian Standard Bible):

 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” (NASB)

 “The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.” (HCSB)

I love this verse, but also marvel at it for a variety of reasons. For instance, it declares:

  • We serve an infinite, awesome God whom we approach with our limited, finite minds.
  • We will never fully understand God or all of his ways.
  • We are expected to understand and obey what has been “revealed”.

Take a moment to dwell on those statements! I don’t know about you, but I’ve stumbled over these truths and failed to comprehend them too many times to mention. For starters, I want to know the “secret things”! At times, if I’m being honest, my questions for God (“Why this? Why that?”) are more numerous than my praises!

And not only that, but I’ve also noticed another curious fact about those “secret things.” For the longest time, I used to think that as I drew closer to God and meditated on his word more and more, I expected the “secret things” of God to decrease in size, but I’ve since learned collectively it actually enlarges! Why?

But as I slow down and truly reflect on all that God has revealed to me, I’m humbled and incredibly embarrassed by what I still don’t understand and fail to obey consistently. As an example, I know 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 by heart (the famous “Love Chapter”), but I’m still not always “patient” with my loved ones, or as “kind” to them as I should be, and so on as the rest of vv.4-8 unfolds.

All of this reminds me of a comment I came across by pastor and author Pete Wilson. In his book What Keeps You Up At Night? How to Find Peace While Chasing Your Dreams, he wisely says:

“We think the more spiritually mature we are the more clarity we should have. The fact is, the more spiritually mature we are the less clarity we need.”    

 Why? Because as Deuteronomy 29:29 helps us to understand, the more mature we become and closer we draw to God, we discover how great and magnificent he truly is, and the tremendous task before us of being accountable simply for all he has already revealed! That should consume us, and not the “secret things”, for while that may enlarge as we truly comprehend how great and profound God is, so should our love and trust for God, as we marvel at how much he has already revealed and the manner in which he has loved us!

And that’s what people of faith should be occupied with.


A Brief Analysis of Some Myths about Temptation from James 1:13-15


13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. 15 Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. (NET)

 Here are some myths I’ve heard people say about temptation and sin in general:

  • “The Devil made me do it!”
  • “Why is God tempting me so much?”
  • “I can’t control myself! I am what I am.”
  • “It can’t be wrong because it feels so good!”

In short, all of these are false statements and enormously detrimental to your spiritual life!

In contrast, James has done a remarkable job explaining how God does “test” us with trials, trying times and even persecution, so that we can develop perseverance, or as I earlier called it “a willingness to cling to God no matter what” faith (James 1:1-12). In the process, we become “perfect” and “complete”, and consequently lacking nothing good whatsoever!

Then, using the same Greek word as he did for “test”, James begins 1:13 declaring when (not “if”) we are “tempted” from within by our desires, we should be aware of these facts, and not believe the above popular myths. Let’s examine them briefly against what Scripture says.

  • “The Devil made me do it!”
  • “Why is God tempting me so much?”

If I may, let me dispense with this first and foremost: Temptation is because of me, not God! (V. 13)

James helps us to see that obviously we don’t understand the nature of temptation when we say things like, “The Devil made me do it” or “Why is God tempting me so much?”.

As James expressed earlier in 1:3-7, God certainly does and will “test” us for the reasons previously stated. But now, in v. 13ff, James unequivocally proclaims that God does not “tempt” us or seek to “lure” us and “entice” us with evil! To make such a statement is ludicrous for one simple reason: if we as Christians have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, why would God seek to tempt us with evil? As v. 13 literally says, God is “untemptable”! How could he tempt himself, and even more, why would he “lure” and “entice” his children with evil?

If we struggle with temptation, and we all do in one way or another, we need to place the blame somewhere else – not on God!

  • “I can’t control myself! I am what I am.”

So where do my temptations originate? Look in the mirror.

Our temptations come from our own desires that literally seek immediate gratification but in ungodly ways. Ironically, what makes the whole process even more exacting is that we live in a world that incessantly provokes those desires, and incites us to instantaneously fulfill them in a host of unsavory ways.

Now, many people have thought since desires can seem out of control and can bring harm, it’s best to ignore them, or suppress them. In fact, Buddhists believe, generally speaking, that desires must be extinguished and rid from the body because it is the source of all our problems. The mistake with this view is that we were made to desire: to love and be loved, to serve, to hunger, to worship, and a variety of other good desires. Since we were created to desire, and our creation was deemed “very good” (Gen. 1:31), something else must be the problem.

Consequently our challenge is not to ignore or extinguish our desires, but to learn to express them in godly ways, by the power of the Holy Spirit (see Gal. 5:16).

  • “It can’t be wrong because it feels so good!”

Unfortunately, it can be wrong and extremely detrimental to our health – both physically and spiritually. As James states in v. 15: “Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.”

As illogical as it is to blame God for the temptations that come from our own desires, notice the logic of what James says, using the language of reproduction, regarding inappropriately expressed desires: once conceived, they are the “mother” of sin, and the “grandmother” of death!

While it can’t be denied that sin brings momentary pleasure, it must be affirmed that sin will also bring momentous consequences, based on the act committed. This is why it’s so important that a believer lives not based solely on feelings but faith. And faith dictates that one way we attack temptation is not by blaming, but recognizing the role desire plays in temptation, and seeking to express them in godly ways.

Finally, may we never forget that we are not alone as we face temptations because God is always with us, ready to guide and strengthen us. And C. S. Lewis aptly, but also stunningly, summarizes the situation:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” 

Let’s be who we were created to be: desirous people yearning for our Creator and the wisdom to express our desires in the proper way.


Randy’s Weekly Reads (5/15/15)


What a week of stimulating and edifying articles! I could have put five more here, but these nuggets of gold will due for now. Read on!

When God Interrupts Your Plans

This article by Christina Fox was the most convicting article I read this week! I love how she reminds us – no, really challenges us – to think of life’s interruptions as “divinely placed opportunities to grow in grace.”

And, she finds a noble ally in author and pastor Paul Tripp:

You and I don’t live in a series of big, dramatic moments. We don’t careen from big decision to big decision. We all live in an endless series of little moments. The character of a life isn’t set in ten big moments. The character of a life is set in ten thousand little moments of everyday life. It’s the themes of struggles that emerge from those little moments that reveal what’s really going on in our hearts. (Whiter Than Snow, 21)

The One Sure Mark of Christian Maturity

This gem is from one of my favorite bloggers Tim Challies, and it’s a powerful reminder of what true spiritual maturity is: “This means that spiritual maturity is better displayed in acts than in facts.” Be sure to read all of the article, especially as he quotes Titus 2:14 at the end! Good stuff!

What Does It Mean to Accept Jesus

Sometimes I love an article just because of a great illustration in it. This article by pastor Ray Ortlund does a great job of using a common, ordinary event to explain what accepting Jesus should, and shouldn’t mean. Do you like it?

I hope you are inspired by these, and that you have a blessed weekend!


Randy’s Weekly Reads (5/8/15)


Before I share some of the great articles and blogs I’ve read this week, I wanted to apologize for not publishing any new content this week. I created this blog to help you with your Quiet Time, and I take that seriously. I’ve been working on a great study – James 1:13ff – but it’s just been incredibly busy this week, and for some reason I’ve been led to continue working on it.

But, I do want to give a sneak preview of what I’ve learned through my research. In James 1:13ff he gives a brief analysis of temptation and sin. Here’s some of what we’ll get into next week:

“Sin always amplifies its benefits and minimizes its cost.” Tim Challies

“If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation.” John Owen

*The problem is not desire itself; the problem is when we seek to fulfill desire in ungodly ways.  (Me)

“If God is ‘untemptable’ as the passage literally proclaims, why am I so ‘temptable’?

I know I’ve enjoyed researching and meditating on that topic. I hope you’ll check it out next week and more importantly, be encouraged and challenged by it. For now, here’s two great reads I enjoyed this past week:

Difficulty Does Not Mean Desertion

This is a powerful and timely article by pastor and blogger Erik Raymond. I’m still wrestling with all the truth in this excerpt:  “It may be spiritual persecution, social pinching, physical suffering, or just the chaffing of life in a fallen world. We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that our present realities are neither a surprise to God nor a subversion to his plan. What’s more, we can be assured that since he is our Father, by means of gospel adoption, then every station of life is a station ordained by love. Difficulty does not mean desertion. If there was a better situation to be in at the present moment then divine love and wisdom would have put you there.”

The Real Reason We Fail To Pray

This gem is my author Michael Kelley! I’m not sure I agree it’s the “real reason”, but he has a great point! I won’t spoil it for you – read it and see what he says is the real reason. Do you agree?

Have a great weekend!


Randy’s Weekly Reads (5/1/15)


Time marches on! I can’t believe it’s already the end of the week, and also now it’s May! I only have two articles for you this week, but they’re good ones – enjoy!

Why God’s Will Isn’t Always Clear

I loved this article by Jon Bloom and particularly this insightful quote: “But one reason why God usually doesn’t give us specific guidance in our sometimes-perplexing decisions is that he places a higher priority on our being transformed than our being informed in order that we will be conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).”

How Captain America is Practically Biblical

Anyone who knows me quickly discovers I’m not a big comic book movie fan (did we really need five Spiderman movies since 2002?), but my family – that’s another story. Consequently, it has been a challenging week in my house since all the talk has been about the new sequel Avengers: The Age of Ultron. Well, believe it or not, I found a great article by Paul Asay about the biblical lessons that can be gleaned from at least one of the heroes. Enjoy, but I still not seeing the movie anytime soon 🙂 !

Have a great weekend!