The Two R and Rs we need …


The current situation we are all in is likely stressing you. It is stressing us all.  That is because we are not designed to live this way. Two internal mechanisms that God installed in each of us have been short-circuited.

God wired us for rhythms (not the toe-tapping, keep-time-to-music variety) and relationships. Let’s look at those two areas to see how important they are, and why it is important to restore them.



“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” Exodus 20:8

Notice the cadence that our week is to follow: six days of work and one day of worship and rest. Every week. Every month. Every year. You might say that God wired us to keep the beat of 6/7 time — six beats per measure of a week, with a long sixth note that rests through Sunday.

As you read your Bible you will notice that God designed seasons of life, appointed times of feasts and celebrations, and prescribed points in time for resetting life.

“And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years …” Genesis 1:14

When we see a sunrise, or look into the starry night we are reminded of cycles and rhythms.

“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places. “These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.” Leviticus 23:3-4

Days and nights, months, four seasons, appointed celebrations … can you feel the gentle hum of the rhythm that He composes?

The arrival of quarantines, social distancing, and postponement of worship services has disrupted the rhythms of our lives. It is more significant than we think. We can’t go to eat together, worship together, or even laugh and talk at ball games or kids’ events. To not be able to do these things affects us more than we think. The 6/7 rhythm that God implanted in our souls is now 1/7, or 3/7. We are off kilter. Just knowing this helps us to establish temporary rhythms until we can return to familiar ones.



We are created to relate. We are to relate to God first, then others second. While our relationship with God can grow deeply during trying times, our relationships with others can be strained. Currently, we are are advised to stay away from each other to promote public health. Social distancing can strain our relational souls. While we follow those guidelines for preventing illness we can still reach out to each other in meaningful ways.

The New Testament lists over 30 “one another” statements/commands. You are likely familiar with many of them. The relational cues from the New Testament are critical to our relationships, and to our spiritual growth. Having studied these “one another” statement for years — and polishing up a book manuscript on them, shameless teaser, sorry — I can tell you that our “one anothering” has deep roots in us, by design.

Here are some examples:

  • “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
  • “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thess. 5:11
  • “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,” Ephesians 4:2

These are just a few of the beautiful admonitions that God gives us on how to relate to, treat, and help each other. Take some time and look up (i.e. Google) each of the verses in the New Testament that contain “one another.” You will be surprised how many there are, and how they enrich our lives. It is well worth your time to study them. I promise. Or, wait for the book to be published. Better yet, get a head start and go ahead on your own.

Remember, God has designed your life for rhythms and relationships. During these disruptive times, try to regain some rhythm and develop your relationships as best you can. Reach out to someone  by phone. We need to hear each other’s voices. Offer encouragement, pray for others, and then let them know that you are there for them. We need each other … more than we think.

Let’s get our souls tapping in time to God’s rhythms and lives re-connecting to “one another.” We will all be better off, and better for it.

Hang in there. God’s is nearer than we think and aiding and protecting us in ways we do even know yet. Let’s follow His R and R during these unusual times. It will help us and honor Him.


A letter for living with joy …

When was the last time that you wrote a letter? A real letter, one that involved a pen and paper. Do you recall the last letter that you received a letter?

Not so many years ago, receiving a letter in the mail sparked excitement. Once you identified who had sent it — a relative, friend, or a prison pen pal — you were likely eager to see what they had to say. Letters connected people. Letters shared thoughts, affections, news, and well-wishes.

The same is true of the letters of Paul, John, Peter, and others in the New Testament to believers and churches of their day. The primary difference between the letters written to the early church and those you and I have received was the cost and effort involved in sending them. The letters that you and I received had been composed, sealed, stamped, and dropped in a mail box. The paltry price of a stamp — what was the cost of a stamp when you were young? — assured delivery of the letter. In Paul’s day, many common folks did not have enough money to purchase the supplies for writing or have a servant who could deliver it — by foot — to someone. Sending or receiving a letter in Paul’s day demanded a good bit of money and much effort. A letter was a big deal.

With that context in mind we will begin to study one of Paul’s letters: the Book of Philippians. It’s a short book of four chapters. Our pace for surveying it will be less hectic than our study of Proverbs. Here is how we will approach Philippians. On Saturdays I will post an outline along with some basic notes for the chapter to serve as a skeleton for your reading of it. On Mondays I will highlight a few key verses from the chapter, provide some supplemental information for your reading, and offer a comment of explanation or two. On Thursdays I will post a handful of practical applications from that week’s chapter. By covering only a chapter each week we will be able to read the it several times over, marinate in it, and get a good feel for what is being said and how it can be applied. Sound good?

As a supplement to the blog posts please join the Bearded Acorn Facebook forum. It will function as a place for you to post about your are reading, your thoughts, or questions. It gives us all an opportunity to interact as we study the chapter together. Go ahead, take a moment and join it.


Background on the Book of Philippians:

Paul started the church at Philippi on his second missionary journey (this is recorded in Acts 16:12-40). The Book of Philippians was written years later while Paul was imprisoned in Rome for his faith.

He wrote to the Philippians for four reasons:

  1. To express his thanks to them for their support of him.
  2. To explain why he had sent Epaphroditus (who had delivered the letter to him) back to them.
  3. To inform them of his current circumstances in Rome.
  4. To warn against false teachers who might mislead them.

The Book of Philippians has two primary themes: living out the Gospel and joy in doing so. With that in mind, here’s a reader-friendly, dirt-under-the-fingernails breakdown of chapter one:

  • Paul’s fellow believers: 1-11
  • Paul’s circumstances: 12-18
  • Paul’s future: 19-26
  • Paul’s advice: 27-30

The book of Philippians will both encourage and challenge us. Along the way we will see many practical applications and points to pray about. I’m glad you decided to join in. Jump into chapter one. Check out the Facebook Forum. I am eager to see what God will teach us as we study this potent and practical book together.