From the Archives: Three Invaluable Time Management Principles

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey (2012), the average working person between the ages of 25-54 spends 2.5 hours per workday in leisure and sports (is Facebook a sport?).

That’s 12.5 hours per week, about 50 hours per month, and roughly 600 hours per year. And remember—that does not include weekends! While we certainly need rest and recharging for the many tasks God provides, perhaps we can ask ourselves what we are doing with that 600 hours per year.

Consider some of these estimates: Read more about From the Archives: Three Invaluable Time Management Principles

How to Deal with Being "Crazy Busy"

Image of Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem
by Kevin DeYoung
Crossway 2013
Paperback 128

I’m sure that every single reader of Sharper Iron has time management issues of some kind. We are all busy—and many are busy beyond juggling family, work, and ministry while trying to nurture one’s own physical and spiritual health and well-being. We are stressed, overwhelmed, and downright cranky. 

My story probably doesn’t sound much different from anyone else’s. I’ve been a stay-at-home homeschooling mom for over 20 years, caring for an elderly mother with Alzheimer’s, organizing activities at church, leading a homeschool support group, writing for my blog, and hey—let’s not forget handling registrations for Sharper Iron. I sometimes don’t know how I got it all done, and then sometimes I didn’t. The laundry piled up, we ordered pizza for dinner, and I figured floors were just supposed to look like that, ‘cause they are, you know, floors.

I thought it would get better when my mom moved out into a nursing facility, and two more kids graduated from our homeschool. But as any workaholic will tell you, we just find ways to fill those gaps. I took a part-time job as an administrative assistant at our local Chamber of Commerce, and started writing a book.  Read more about How to Deal with Being "Crazy Busy"

Making a Covenant with Abraham (Part 8)

Isaac Blessing Jacob - Govert Flinck, c. 1638

Read the series so far.

Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob (Parts 2 & 3)

The sequel has Isaac making a pact with Abimelech after which the God of Providence gave him water. Since there had been quarreling over water sources the conflict was resolved by covenant (cf. Heb. 6:16), Isaac named the new place “Beersheba,” meaning “well of the oath.” God’s blessing came in conjunction with an oath which was clearly understood by both sides. The chapter ends by noticing Esau’s marriage to two pagan wives and the grief it caused to his parents. Notwithstanding, when it came time for the aged patriarch to pass on the mantle, his intention was to give it to Esau (27:1-4). It was only the subtlety of his brother, with the collusion of his mother, that prevented Isaac’s wishes from becoming a reality (27:11f.). Read more about Making a Covenant with Abraham (Part 8)

New Year Thoughts on the Meaning of Life

A study by LifeWay Research several years ago found that 75% of the general population agreed with the statement, “There is an ultimate purpose and plan for every person’s life.” That number still seems surprisingly high to me. The same study found that 50% of those who never attend church services said there is no purpose or plan for human lives.

Though Christians are usually clear that there is purpose and meaning in life, many seem confused as to what exactly that purpose is. So my aim here is to answer what is really a pretty simple question:

What is the meaning of life? Read more about New Year Thoughts on the Meaning of Life

Theology Thursday - Maddened Robbers & Accursed Wretches

"Council of Nicea"

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. We hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).

Arius Explains More (ca. 324 A.D.)

God Himself then, in His own nature, is ineffable by all men. Equal or like Himself He alone has none, or one in glory. And Ingenerate we call Him, because of Him who is generate by nature. We praise Him as without beginning because of Him who has a beginning. And adore Him as everlasting, because of Him who in time has come to be.

The Unbegun made the Son a beginning of things originated; and advanced Him as a Son to Himself by adoption. He has nothing proper to God in proper subsistence. For He is not equal, no, nor one in essence with Him. Wise is God, for He is the teacher of Wisdom. There is full proof that God is invisible to all beings; both to things which are through the Son, and to the Son He is invisible. Read more about Theology Thursday - Maddened Robbers & Accursed Wretches

Biblical Fundamentalism, Part 2

From Think on These Things, Mar/Apr 2016. Essentially the same article also appears in Voice magazine. Read Part 1.

The Second Great Divide

The colossal differences between liberals and conservatives were crystallized around the turn of the century with the subsequent division of the two camps occurring in the 1920s and 1930s. At this point the conflict was often referred to as the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy but, as the years rolled by, another division was looming, this one among the Fundamentalists.

By the 1940s the question of cultural and social engagement had arisen within the Fundamentalists’ camps. The original Fundamentalists, perhaps oversensitive to the social gospel that was at the heart of liberalism, often pushed away from any form of social action. In time, some felt that they had gone too far and needed to become more involved with the culture and improve society, as well as preach the gospel.

This ultimately led to a split within the conservative camp. The Fundamentalists would take on more separatist views, that is, they would separate from any who taught false doctrines and, rather than try to infiltrate society, they would live as lights of the gospel calling people to Christ. On the other hand, the opposing position would be termed new (or neo) evangelical. Read more about Biblical Fundamentalism, Part 2

Biblical Fundamentalism, Part 1

From Think on These Things, Mar/Apr 2016. Essentially the same article also appears in Voice magazine.

I am a Fundamentalist. There I said it. And yet, although I inherited a few guns I don’t know where the bullets are. I don’t hate anyone, not even my neighbor whose cat keeps my songbird population thinned out. Knowing my own weaknesses and sinfulness I refrain from being particularly judgmental of others. Some might call me a “Bible-thumper” but I have not actually thumped anyone with a Bible since junior high when I was trying to impress the girls (I learned many years later that punching girls did not impress them nearly as much as I originally thought).

I have some strong preferences and opinions about everything from politics to entertainment (just ask me), but I recognize that not everyone shares all my views and I am at peace with that. I believe in separation from sinful practices and compromising associations, but I do not hide out in a wilderness refuge in an effort to stay as far away from “sinners” as I can. And horror of horrors, I will tune into CNN as much as Fox News—which may cause me to lose my Fundamentalist membership card in the eyes of some. Read more about Biblical Fundamentalism, Part 1

What Child Is This?

"Adoration of the Shepherds" by Caravaggio (1609)

Jesus’ birth was the beginning of the end for Satan and his kingdom of darkness. That old serpent, the devil, tried his best to stop Christ from coming into the world. He knew if he failed, his fate would be sealed. Over and over again, Satan tried. 

In the wicked man Haman, he came near to pulling off a mass genocide of Israelites – cutting off Christ before He could come. Through Herod, he slaughtered untold numbers of young children in the region around Bethlehem (Mt 2:16-18).

The Apostle John summed up the matter in his vision of the dragon and the woman (Rev 12:4b-5a).  Satan tried to stop His own Creator, God’s unique and one and only Son, from coming into the world. He failed. Instead, Jesus completed His work, then “was caught up to God and to his throne.”

Why did Christ come? He came to save us from ourselves. Read more about What Child Is This?