#Septemblog Day 14: Upbeat Update.

The Lord is good, y’all. My God is gracious and kind to me.

  • Clean bill of health from the dermatologist. See you in a year, doc!
  • We had gotten a notice that our car insurance was going up $60 dollars next month, so I called to ask if there were any other discounts or changes that could be made to mitigate that. The woman on the phone said many states were having big jumps in premiums due to increases in medical liability coverage. But when she looked at my file, she noted that we had been with the company for 10 years and had never had a “credit check review.” Ten minutes later, not only is our monthly premium not going up $60, but after one month of about $10 more than what we were paying, it’s actually going down $20 a month!
  • I received some mercy related to work projects that I was not expecting and, frankly, am still not sure how to believe or trust. But it has taken off some ongoing anxiety that has been hanging over me for the last…year?
  • My wife and I had resigned ourselves to the loss of about $500 worth of her time and effort due to circumstances we couldn’t control. Despite the window for completing the transaction having passed, we got word that everything was fine and she would still be paid for her efforts.

The biggest worries in my life right now are health and finances. (No, duh, Dave, you’re an overweight married man in his 40’s with 3 kids.) We have been and are continuing to pray and trust God for provision and protection. Yesterday was a reminder that we aren’t abandoned.

If you don’t believe in God, maybe you write off all these things as coincidences, lucky breaks, happenstance. That’s fine; I don’t envy the chaotic and capricious world you live in.

But I believe this is my Father’s world, and every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of the heavenly lights. He’s a good Father who will not give his children a stone when they ask for bread, or a serpent when they ask for fish.

Today was a reminder: even in a wilderness season, my faithful God provides manna. Praise His name, all you saints!

#Septemblog Day 13: Feels almost like a throwback to another blogging era.

I used to blog as a way to vent my feelings in an overly dramatic and performative manner. My comments would drift into the overwrought and self-pitying. My perceptions of relationships and situations were hopelessly skewed.

What I’m saying is no one should document the inner life of their 20’s on the internet. It’s just a bad idea. (Are you paying attention, Gen Z? Listen to the old man’s advice.)

Yesterday was a long, tough day in the midst of a long, tough season. It definitely had its high points: aside from the daily blessing of working at home amongst my brood, we welcomed a dear couple over for dinner and were encouraged by their company and conversation.

But there were down notes and frustrations, hard conversations and bitter realities to confront. I sit here typing this past midnight, with a swarm of work assignments buzzing in my inbox like those murder hornets we were warned about a couple of years ago.

I’m tired, gang.

I’m also nervous. Tomorrow (that is, later this morning), I have an appointment with a dermatologist to get an initial exam and check-up. A necessary and prudent thing for an adult to do, but I’m nervous that something will go sideways as a result. I don’t have a lot of capacity for new challenges at the moment. Any unforeseen diagnoses will need to take a number and wait their turn on the Stressed Express.

Of course, it will probably all be totally fine and I’ll be good to go. It’s just as likely–much more likely. But fretters fret. It’s what we do. It’s a sin, and I need to repent of that, but that is my natural sinful tendency.

Okay, okay, I admit it. I have nothing really useful to say right now. I apologize, you sweet email subscribers (may your tribes increase!) for filling your inbox with hot air. Just file this one under “This is Where I Am Right Now.” I will try to keep these to a minimum.

I’ll have something positive, constructive, or entertaining tomorrow, I’m sure. Come back around and see me then.

Here. Here’s a song I’ve been singing with my girls lately. I need it as much as they do:

#Septemblog Day 10: Worth a look.

I saw a video recently on YouTube by Sean Malone, a creator who developed online content for the Foundation for Economic Education including one particularly excellent series called Out of Frame. Out of Frame uses pop culture as a lens for exploring questions about ideology, government, economics, and art from a conservative/libertarian viewpoint.

Malone is ending this particular channel to move on to other projects, and while I’m a bit sad that he’s doing this (I love his work), I get it. Sometimes, you need to make a change.

If you haven’t checked out Out of Frame, here’s the direct YT link to the playlist. I’ve linked his videos before, but they’re definitely worth a look. Let me know in the comments if you check them out and which ones you liked or didn’t like.

#Septemblog Day 9: God Save the Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II of England died yesterday. It’s really hard to fathom how much of world history has been affected by her individual life. Whatever her personal faults, she has been for seven-plus decades a public example of resolve, duty, faithfulness, decorum, and restraint–all qualities in tragically short supply amongst those who lead the great nations of our day.

Throughout her life, Elizabeth professed a Christian faith, though it was mostly a privately-held one, given the traditional stance of those in her office to play such things close to the vest. Do I know if she was truly born again? I don’t truly know. I hope so.

Because no matter the greatness or smallness of the mark a person leaves on the world, in the end, every single person leaves the world. Every single person dies. We all must face that final day. More than that, we must all face the Judgment that follows that day. The Bible says, “…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27). One day, every one of us will stand before God, the Righteous Judge, and give an accounting for our lives.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” This means that it’s good for us, from time to time, to step back from the fun and excitement and entertainment and distraction that surrounds us and consider that each of our lives has a beginning AND an end. Doing this helps to put things in their proper perspective.

I truly hope that the death of the grand old monarch makes you stop for a moment and consider the brevity of your own life, friend. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. You are not promised even your next breath. Whenever your final day comes, what happens after that? Where will you go? What will become of you?

If you would do me a favor, in honor of Elizabeth and for your own good sake, take 16 minutes and watch this video, and ponder the questions it raises:

#Septemblog Day 8: One More Book.

I’ve been wanting to read Erik Larson’s mega-hit Devil in the White City for a while now. I’ve checked it out digitally from my local library 2-3 times. It’s in high demand, so I usually have to wait a while before it’s my turn. Invariably, when it comes around to me again, I’m swamped with other responsibilities and can’t find time to read it before it’s due back again. (eBook borrowing: big-plus for convenience and access, big-minus for those of us who push the 2-week check-out time limit.)

I took a look online at used booksellers and found out that I can just grab a copy of the book for $4.00 with tax and free shipping. It’s super easy. Just buy the book, Dave.

And yet…I hesitated. Why? Do I not really want to read it? What’s going on with me?

I’m looking over at my physical TBR shelf, containing well over 150 partially-read or mostly unread books, and I’m reminded of a Japanese word I learned on social media (THANKS for this, everyone): tsundoku. The act of buying and stacking up books faster than you have time or ability to read them all. If there is a term that describes my life as a reader, it’s that.

And for that reason, I closed the browser and didn’t buy the book today.

(Though, let’s be real: I’m totally going to break down and buy it at some point.)

#Septemblog Day 7: Rumble on.

I’ve written about working on Susan’s farm in the the past, but despite my protestations 3 years ago about wanting to value my own time better, I still consume online digital content as much as ever. I know it’s pretty hollow and meaningless, but sometimes I just like turning my brain off and watching a video game playthrough, listening to some lo-fi, or laughing at funny political commentary.

In recent months, it’s become much clearer that the behemoths of the digital space despise what folks like me have to say (we troublesome Christian types who have conservative politics and generally walk against the progressive cultural winds). As a result, there’s been lots of buzz about finding alternative platforms for social media, video sharing, and information gathering. While so much of that discussion is bluster, I think it’s a proposition worth considering

Granted, it can be the wild west out there, with some rather wacky characters running about, but I find myself wanting more and more to decentralize my infotainment. I’ve started watching certain content creators on Rumble and Bitchute rather than on Youtube, and I’ve considered finding an alternative to Twitter/FB that isn’t just as full of insane people.

Have you explored some of these alternative options for news, entertainment, and communication? Which do you recommend? Which should I avoid? Hit me up in the comments. Looking for good recommendations here.

#Septemblog Day 5: To Those Who Labor and are Heavy-laden.

Happy Labor Day, to all my American readers. (Do y’all outside of the US celebrate today as “Labor Day”? Do you have something similar? Let me know in the comments!)

While I officially have the day off, I’m still going to be doing some work today (hooray, work-from-home life!). But my beloved wife and darling children actually let me sleep in until around 9, so I’m feeling pretty decent at the moment.

On this Labor Day, my mind goes quickly to the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Which brings up two things I need to tell you today.

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Friend, one absolute certainty in your life is that you are a sinner. You know it. I know it. Everyone who knows you knows it. You do wrong things. You act selfishly. You speak or think or act in ways that harm others. We all do it, but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable or excusable. We all sin. It’s in our nature.

When we come to grips with the reality of our own sinful natures, the immediate temptation is to try to work harder to clean ourselves up and make ourselves appear good. There are all manner of standards we choose to use as our measure of “good enough.” But the only standard that matters is the one that our Creator set up–the one that we will inevitably fall laughably short of, relying on our own strength.

We are all sinners. We have broken God’s laws and rebelled against His rule over us. We deserve God’s judgment, every one of us. But in His mercy, God offers grace and forgiveness by taking the payment for our great sin upon Himself. Jesus the Son of God, wholly God and wholly man, lived the perfect life we were commanded to live, died in our place to pay for our sin, and then rose from the dead displaying His victory over death, hell, and the grave. If we will turn from our sin and submit ourselves fully to Jesus, trusting in Him alone as the payment for our sins and the provider of our only means of measuring up, we will find new life in Him. We are made new creatures. We are given new hearts.

If you do not know Jesus like that, I would love to talk to you more about that. Comment below and let’s chat.

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Secondly, for those of you who have already repented and believed in Jesus, and you are seeking to follow Him daily, you need the reminder of that verse up there: Jesus offers you rest from the fruitless struggle of perfectionism. Your best efforts and religious activity will not gain you any more acceptance in God’s eyes than you already have right now because of Jesus’ finished work. You cannot add to His perfect righteousness in order to improve your standing.

Jesus wants your heart and your obedience, not your resume. He wants you to walk with Him, learn from Him, and grow in obedience and holiness with Him. The wooden yoke pulled by two oxen requires them to be shoulder-to-shoulder, in close proximity, working together–often with the older or more experienced ox modeling for a younger or weaker ox how to pull the plow correctly.

Jesus, the Lord of the Universe, invites you, Christian, to come in close and work together, and He will walk beside you as you pull the plow and serve Him the way He designed you to. He is not shouting at you like an angry boss or a cruel taskmaster. He leads through service, and He empowers through proximity.

The yoke is easy and the burden is light for you, believer. He’s done all the heavy lifting.

#Septemblog Day 4: The Lord’s Day.

I’m not a Sabbatarian, but I have friends who are. They seem happier.

I heard part of a sermon by Alistair Begg recently, in which he described the Lord’s Day sabbath as a time of reading Scripture, praying, reading spiritual books, having spiritual conversations, and enjoying fellowship with your family and fellow believers. He asked his congregation something along the lines of, “When I describe it like that, does that sound appealing to you, and if not, why not?” I think he was assuming most of his congregation would think it sounded boring.

But I gotta admit, after that description, when he asked if it sounded appealing, I responded aloud, “That sounds awesome.”

The last six months have been hard, gang. Good. Full of blessing. But really hard. This season has taken its toll on my health, my family, and my relationships. I’m often exhausted, out of balance, and in need of restoration and recalibration.

I’m not a Sabbatarian. I don’t hold a conviction about it that’s based on the Scriptures. But I have to admit, I’m thinking about Sabbath rest REALLY often these days, because I can recognize one very clear fact: I can’t keep functioning for long when my life has a staccato jazz rhythm of inconsistent sleep and frequent 12-16 hour work days. All the lines are blurring. I’m losing the clear boundaries of work-life and home-life. Things fall apart. The center will not hold.

I’m not a Sabbatarian. Maybe I should be.