Funky lizard staring me down at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS


The English language fascinates me. It’s a melting pot, a strange concoction of so many different languages and influences. But I imagine it’s a nightmare to try to translate from and into. I’ve worked with enough people who speak different languages (Arabic, Hindi, Russian, Spanish, German, etc.) to grasp that. English, and especially American English, is broad and indolent and verbose; American English likes the sound of its own voice. But even so, it’s a fun language to learn about because the more you learn about English, the more you learn about other languages.

Granted, I’m a word nerd. But today’s verse made me think of a word that I really haven’t heard used much recently. The word I thought of is dawdle.

Funky lizard staring me down at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Funky lizard staring me down at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is 2 Peter 3:9.

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Did anyone else hear, “Don’t dawdle!” in this verse? Or was that just me? Maybe it was just me because, again, I’m thinking this word has fallen out of common usage.

I looked it up on, and the word actually started into common usage around 1775, probably based on the word “daddle” which started in 1656 and meant to walk unsteadily. The thought is that the daw bird influenced the word because of its reputation of being sluggish and silly. And that’s what dawdle means. To waste time. Being sluggish. Being idle. Lingering for no purpose other than to linger. It’s the kind of word I used to think only stiff and proper nannies used when telling unruly children to get busy.

The thing about dawdling is that it’s purposeless. It’s a waste.

And what I see in this verse today is that God isn’t dawdling. He’s waiting. Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between waiting and wasting time, but the way you can tell is that one has a purpose and the other doesn’t. Waiting means there’s a plan in action and you’re just anticipating when it’s your turn to jump in; dawdling, wasting time, is knowing the plan but refusing to jump in even when it’s your turn.

God isn’t dawdling. He has a plan. He has a purpose. He’s waiting to come back for us because He wants to give everyone the opportunity to make a choice. He’s waiting because there are still some people who are dawdling.

By that same token, it’s a good idea to think your decision through, though. Don’t make snap judgments ever. I truly believe that many people decide to follow Christ on a whim. It’s easy to say; it’s much more difficult to live. And if that decision wasn’t truly a decision made with both heart and head in tandem, it’s not real. It has to be a commitment, not just a statement. Unfortunately, I think people who don’t believe are confused by those of us who do when we tout the Christian life as easy.

Yes, there are aspects of it that are easy, but it’s not an easy life. Not by a long shot. It’s a life full of joy and gratitude and contentment and wonder and awe at what God can do. But it’s a life of sorrow too because we are constantly surrounded by darkness and contempt and foolishness–and there are days when holding up “This Little Light of Mine” makes my arm really tired. And those are the days that we need to be honest with people about.

So it’s good to think about your choices. But dawdling over choices can get you in trouble. We are a culture of procrastinators, and that would be all right if we had all the time in the world. But we don’t. You need to make sure you understand what you’re changing your mind to, but don’t dawdle about it. Know your choices. Make your choice. Don’t waste time because it’s rapidly running out.

And that works the same in life. We can linger and loiter over choices all day long, but all you’re doing is wasting time. And if God doesn’t dawdle, we shouldn’t either.

So check your heart. Are you wasting time on a decision you need to make? Are you waiting for God to show you what you need to know to make that decision? If you are, that’s between you and Him. But if you already know what you’re supposed to do, do it. Don’t dawdle.

Sunset at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

God has every right to be angry

Do you know people who do wrong all the time and are never sorry for it? I do. I’m around people like that all the time, and it frustrates me. I believe in an absolute right and an absolute wrong. I’m not capable of doing right all the time, but I want to at least try to be the kind of person who tries to do right. And when I do wrong, I want to own up to it. I want to take responsibility for what I’ve done wrong and do my best to change.

But there are always people who do wrong constantly and have no intention to change. Why should they? Doing what is wrong is so much easier than doing what is right. Maybe it has consequences, but they don’t come right away. And even if they do come, it’s a lot easier to convince other people that you’re the victim in the situation than it is to claim responsibility for it.

Granted there are many circumstances where people truly are victims. We live in a broken world, and it’s the innocent who suffer the consequences for the most part. But I still believe the vast majority of us make our own problems. I really believe that most of us (including myself) end up in rough situations because of our actions, because of our choices, and it comes down to either taking responsibility for what you’ve done or trying to push that responsibility off onto someone else.

When you know someone is shifting the blame from where it really belongs, how does that make you feel? Angry? Frustrated? Well, think about how you feel, and then think about how it makes God feel.

Sunset at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Sunset at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Psalms 7:11-13.

God is an honest judge. He is angry with the wicked every day. If a person does not repent, God will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He will prepare his deadly weapons and shoot his flaming arrows.

We live in a kinder, gentler era now. We don’t like to think of God as an angry God. We much prefer to focus on His love, and that is true. God is a God of love. He is love.

But how many of us really understand love? And if we can’t even understand love, can’t we hope to understand God? Does anyone understand God? I mean, I believe we can understand His heart. I believe we can understand what He’s telling us to do and how He’s telling us to live. But those are just a fraction of who God is. Saying we understand God because we read the Bible or because we pray is like saying we’ve experience the ocean when we’ve only visited the Gulf of Mexico.

Is it all right for you to be angry with someone who is doing wrong and refuses to change? If it’s all right for you, why is it not all right for God?

Repent is a scary church word. It basically just means to change your thinking. If you repent from your sin, it means you change the way you think about doing what God says is wrong. That’s what repent means. It’s not a stained glass, organ music kind of concept. It’s something we can’t do without.

What’s frustrating about people who won’t repent is that they pretty much live a life that’s flipping God off every day. I’m not talking about the people who don’t know better; I’m talking about people who know what the Bible says and who have chosen not to believe it. I’m talking about people who say they follow Christ but deny Him with their lives every day. I’m talking about typical American Christians who go to church on Sunday and live the rest of their week as though they are the center of the universe.

It’s frustrating. Because they know better, and they’ve chosen to ignore God in spite of it.

Does it frustrate you? Well, it frustrates God. And the plain and simple truth is that none of us can thumb our noses at God and expect to get away with it. He will do what is necessary to show us that we aren’t in control of our lives, and it won’t be pleasant. None of us are unbreakable.

So the next time you feel the urge to do something you know the Bible says is wrong, take a moment to think about how God is going to feel about it. I’m not saying we should cower in the corner because we live our lives based on whether God is angry or not. I’m not saying that at all. But God has given us everything so that we can be free. God has made the ultimate sacrifice, and He’s been patient with us through circumstances where everyone else would have given up on us. And if you can think about all God has done for you and how much He loves you and still be callous enough to go on sinning even though you know what that sin cost Christ, God has every right to be angry.

Repent. Change the way you think about doing what God has said is wrong. It’s worth it. You won’t fear consequences, you won’t face guilt, and God will honor you for doing what is right.

A change of heart

The Bible doesn’t usually dole out “if, then” statements but it does have a lot to say about living life. If you do BLANK, then BLANK will happen. When you BLANK, God will BLANK. Don’t BLANK or God will BLANK. Statements about how to live life. Warnings about what not to do and how not to do it.

One has a promise associated with it. Honor your mother and father, and your days will be long.

One has God daring us to test Him. Trust Him with your finances and He will give you more back than you have room to store.

But what about this one? Psalm 37:4.

4 Take delight in the Lord,
      and he will give you your heart’s desires.

To take delight in something is to find joy in it. says that delight means “a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment.” How many times have you taken a “a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment” in God this week? How many times have I?

I delight in Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes (ironic because according to the word history of delight, it shares a root with the same word for delicious). I delight in a really good story. I delight in sunrises and sun sets on my farm.  But delighting in God? That seems more difficult to do because in a strict sense, He isn’t something our senses can experience. We can’t see Him. We can’t touch Him. Or smell Him. Or taste Him. Or feel Him.

I’ve heard it said before, though, that we can’t see the wind either. But we can see the effects of the wind. It’s the same with God. We can’t see Him but we can seen what He’s been up to. And I’m telling you, if there were ever someone to take delight in, it’s God. There’s no one more worthy of it. Because there’s no one like Him.

And when we finally convince ourselves that God is worth delighting in, something pretty spectacular happens. When He is all that matters, our lives take a sudden turn. And suddenly, we have everything we ever wanted.

Now, does God wait for us to turn to Him before He starts giving us everything we want? No. Not really. Because honestly, even if you turn to Him, there may be some things He holds back. They may not be good for you to begin with.

What happens instead is that when you turn to God and delight yourself in Him and in the things that He is doing, your heart changes. And when your heart changes to love the things He loves, your desires change too.

It’s funny. Because when I got my perspective right and started delighting in God and living the way God wanted me to, I realized that I already had everything my heart desired. And then I was overwhelmed when God gave me more, beyond the things that I had desired, over and above.

And that’s because He’s good. He’s so good to us, especially when we aren’t good to Him.

So whenever I feel myself unsatisfied with my life or my accomplishments or the things I have, I just remind myself that I need to take joy in God and what God is doing in my life and in the lives of others. And when I do that, suddenly the things that I wanted don’t seem to matter so much. They seem temporal and fleeting because I can see how silly they are in comparison to what God is doing in the world. And when I start wanting the same things that God wants, He answers . . . and most of the time, He gives me the other things I wanted too.