The Greatest Tragedy

They called him the greatest.

I met him once. He was very involved where I went to Elementary school, and that is where I had the opportunity to challenge “The Greatest” to a fist fight. Continue reading

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I want you to want me. Daily Discipleship, Day 9: Song of Solomon 4-8

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me

How many times have we heard this song? It’s catchy, and beckons is back to the days before marriage when we still put some thought into impressing our significant other (amiright?).

But seriously, I think it should speak wisdom info our married lives as well. And as I found out today, those lyrics carry a biblical message.

The song of a married couple in love

I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers; then I was in his eyes as one who finds peace.
The Song of Solomon 8:10 ESV

The Song of Solomon should remind us that having someone to love and cherish is a great joy. But it’s not just that.

The verse shown above shows that these two love birds didn’t just find joy in loving the other, but they find joy in the other loving them.

I can say from experience as someone who has battled back an addiction to pornography in the power of the Holy Spirit that my wife never needed to simply love me. She needed me to love her and only her.

So let this verse be a reminder to us all: don’t stop trying to woo your spouse. She wants you to want her. Don’t stop protecting your marriage with vigilant wisdom that will keep your heart from straying away. He wants you to want him.

Joy comes when you give your whole self to the other person, and it overflows when they give their whole selves to you.

Protect that. Work at it. She (or he) needs you to need her (or him).

God Bless.

Daily Discipleship, Day 4: Acts 24-28

Who doesn’t love book ends?

Bookends are great, and make awesome decorative accents.

Whether they are bookends designed to look like books, or like the “B” bookends my wife and I had for years because that’s our last initial, bookends always come in pairs.

Literary bookends are the same way. They frame what lies between as a clue to the reader what takeaways are important. Continue reading

Daily Discipleship, Day 3: Acts 20-23

I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
Matthew 10:14

Today is day 3 of a year (or less) through the Bible. For the previous day, click here, and for all previous posts, click here.

Today, I read Acts 20-23. The prevailing thought I had throughout this passage was about how incredibly wise Paul was, and this could really serve us as an example of how to go about our lives.  Continue reading

Wanting Wisdom – 31 days through Proverbs

Sometimes I feel like I’m not so good at “real life.” The weight of real responsibility with a family and bills and deadlines makes me feel like this:

I can't adult today. Please don't make me adult.

As I look at my life, I found in myself a relaxed dependence on discipline and wise decision making. So through the month of July I will be working through the book of Proverbs, and will seek to share relevant insights on this blog. To quote the Proverb-ist (Proverbian?), I want to lean not on my understanding, but to trust in the Lord and in all my ways acknowledge his wisdom.

Here’s the format I will follow. If you haven’t ever read Proverbs this way, I do highly recommend it. The first nine chapters of Proverbs act as a single unit. While most of the book is like hors d’ouvres in the all-you-can-eat buffet of God’s wisdom that is the Bible, these nine chapters have several extended trains of thought. Read them as a unit some time. Between now and July 9, I will read this passage several times and highlight some themes. July 10-31, I will read that day’s corresponding chapter in the book.

Check back often this month, and feel free to read along with me.

Here’s to Wanting Wisdom!

NickSig

Whay My Toddler Taught Me About How People Grow

Today was the best kind of Saturday morning. I woke up first and started reading through the Psalms. Our smiley toddler then greeted me before we turned on some Saturday cartoons, all while Mal (and Clara!) had a much needed sleep in.

A recent favorite in our house is Daniel Tiger, a cartoonized homage to Mr. Rodgers’ “Land of Make Believe,” which follows the children of all our favorite childhood puppets. Every episode features a jingle to teach the lesson of the day. In a 20 minute episode, the jingle may play 30 or so times, reinforcing it in the minds of the children. Fred Rodgers’ uncanny ability to step into the mind of a child and relate to the challenges of growing up has found a voice in a new generation.

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A couple of weeks ago, I noticed the influence of the show when Cade showed new resilience and determination on the playground, singing, “If you keep trying, you’ll get better.” Sure enough, he kept trying and made it all the way up the slide. My toddler who almost always gives up on physical tasks too easily, was heartened by Daniel Tiger’s little jingle.

Fast forward back to today, when Daniel Tiger was on, teaching the importance of saying goodbye to fun things, “That was fun but now it’s done.” As the show came to a close, I found myself singing along, when Cade looked at me from across the room and said, “Sometimes that is really hard for me.”

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“What is?” I had clearly overlooked the fact that this may have sunken in.

“Stopping playing when I’m having fun.”

Wow! The simple nature of a truth conveyed and repeated caused our three-year-old to do genuine, real introspective reflection.

While I was marveling at the simplicity and beauty of the moment, Bible in my lap, I realizecd that the Christian devotional life is the same way. Truth conveyed and repeated brings introspective reflection, and then change.

How People Grow

Romans 12:2 says that our patterns of living should be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” Ephesians 4:23 says the same thing, then launches into all the ways our “new life” should look different from our “old life.” This is, in fact, the primary theme of Ephesians 4-6, and the difference between the Old and New finds its roots in our minds being renewed. Paul describes non-believers as being “blind, darkened in understanding,” with “hardened and callous hearts,” and that their ignorance (his words, not mine) is the result of being alienated from God.

This sounds harsh in our culture, but I’m just the messenger. Paul is saying that when people process, interpret and think about the world without adequately taking God into account, they are incapable of seeing the world rightly (because God is part of the picture).

We grow when we allow the Holy Spirit (and the writings he inspired) to change our minds and the very processes by which we think about things.

Just like Cade and the repetitive Jingles by Daniel Tiger, this “renewal of mind” only happens through frequent exposure to the Word. We see themes pop up over and over. Truth conveyed and repeated brings reflection and change. Faced with the same truth over and over again, we are forced into either obedience or obstinance, stubbornness or submission.

If you are depending on your pastor’s weekly sermon to transform your life, you will likely be sorely disappointed; even the most gifted communicator cannot give you the kind of pure exposure to God’s Word that we get when we set aside time every day to read it for ourselves. Likewise, devotional books are okay, but they offer a verse of Scripture and a lot of someone’s ramblings.

Calling “devotional” reading, “Bible Study,” is like calling Capri Sun “fruit juice.” It may contain traces of the genuine, but it doesn’t compare to squeezing your own oranges and relishing in the orchard-fresh real deal.

I leave this reflection about growth, minds transformed by repetitive exposure to the Word, and obedience, with the very text I was reading as this Saturday Morning scene transpired. Here is Psalm 19, starting in v. 7:

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
The Testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether;
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can discern his [own] errors?
Declare me innocent from [my own] hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servants also from presumptuous sins,
Let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer

David knew he would not be able to pray for, or even be aware of, every sin he would commit. He prayed for the Lord’s word, and wisdom, and precepts, and commandment, to keep him from “presumptuous sins.” Through this process, his actions changed (“the words of my mouth”), but also his character and his desires (“the meditation of my heart.”)

Truth conveyed and repeated brings reflection and change.

May our attitude be David’s in verses 7-11, and our prayer be verses 12-14.

NickSig

My Life Is Rubbish. Don’t You Agree?

Philippians 3

Let those who are mature think in the way of setting aside what is past, and striving for the path of becoming like Chirst.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Philippians lately. The one church who most consistently supported Paul in his traveling ministry, the book seemed appropriate and timely. And while there are many things that I could write about, and many verses that people have on the tip of their tongues (I can do all things, amiright?), I wanted to write about the one thing that has repeatedly resonated in my heart. Continue reading