Always be Ready

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

(1 Peter 3:15) NKJV

Today is one of those days when it is necessary to pause and reflect on God’s goodness and grace. It’s Sunday, and so the day is given over to the Lord because the whole aim of the day to be to complete two church services.

The goal is not just to complete the services, but it to do it in such a way that honors the Lord. It’s easy to be stressed by the demands of responsibility. The irony is that we can allow the stress of the business we are conducting for the church to cause us to be irritable with our family, angry about the slightest cause of delay, and generally of an ill demeanor that means we aren’t enjoying the fellowship of believers and the worship of God, we are just doing religion because it has to be done.

Likewise if I am going to be cranky and mean to my kinds so that I can get my writing done, have I missed the point?

It’s easy to let worldly concerns cause us stress. Finances are a big one for most people. You probably know that God promises to meet our every need:

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:19) NKJV

Are you aware, though, that the context in which Paul tells the Philippian church that God will supply their every need is that he has just thanked them for supplying his own needs? A passage that I use frequently in my dealings with atheists is Malachi 3:10, the classic verse on tithing.

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

(Malachi 3:10) NKJV

The way in which we can forget our financial woes is to support our church. God has challenged us to put him to the test. He’s daring us to give a tithe of our income. This is a source of such peace and satisfaction to me. I frequently challenge atheists who claim to want proof of God with this passage. Tithe your income to a Christ honoring church and you will get all of the proof that you need.

There’s something else that I’m learning to come to terms with, in ways that I may never fully understand: Twitter.

There is a point at which the idle fascination with social media, for me this is primarily Twitter, becomes an obsession. At that point it’s unhealthy. It’s all about growth. Content takes a back seat because the only thing that matters is growth and engagement. In the case of Twitter there is also a lot of ego involved. I have gone to a lot of trouble to address every specific point raised by atheists and scientists who claim that the Bible is false. I have made a big deal over the fact that a perfect reconciliation between physical evidence, empirical observations and the Bible is possible. This gets quite heated and, at times, somewhat unpleasant. There are times when this is unhealthy too. Is it simply about intellectual mastery? or is it about making your opponent look like a fool?

There are times when I simply don’t want to touch it. I know I can handle whatever they throw at me, but I don’t want the hassle of having to explain, again, to another jeering idiot why they mistaken in believing that science has any real answers.

And then there are times like today. I got my priorities right. I wasn’t stressed or cranky when it was time to get everyone ready for church. At church I remembered why we were there: to worship the Lord and give thanks for his provision. It was my smug delight to place my tithe in the offering plate. My family got invited out to lunch with friends and by the grace of God, paying for the meal wasn’t an issue because, guess what? God had provided my every need. They day is almost over and it is with deep gratitude that I can say that God is good.

What do you know? Someone just popped up on Twitter to tell me what an idiot I am and that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I have the peace in my heart that I am going to need to do what 1 Peter 3:15 says: give him a reason for the hope that is in me with meekness and fear.

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