The Blue Box Blog
Bob Kinzel

Can you run with the horses?

It’s a strange question, but in its Bible context, it’s a means to encouragement. As Jeremiah is complaining (Jeremiah 12:1, 2 ESV) over how wicked people seem to get by unscathed, it’s clear that his confidence is flagging, and he needs a reality check.


Half a Century

Time passes so quickly. It hardly feels like it, but then again, what is it supposed to feel like to have been married to the same person for fifty years?

A lot depends upon who that person is, and a lot depends upon you. As Brenda and I mark our fiftieth wedding anniversary today, I’d like to make some observations about that.

I’ll spare you the rosy Hallmark rhetoric, and descriptions of marital bliss that are hard to read and impossible to believe. Marriage, like any relationship between two people in a fallen world, consists of two sinners, both of whom have egos, preferences, quirks, and flaws.

That means there are quite literally hundreds of opportunities for conflict each day. Anyone who thinks about it even for a second knows that must be true, and married people have experienced it.

I say “opportunities” for conflict because the conflicts are not inevitable. They are the product of choices, circumstances, and the influence of other people, and most garden variety differences can be settled amicably by any two people who choose to settle them.

This is where love comes in, and I don’t mean the romantic kind. I mean the tough minded, clear headed, Jesus kind of love, which purposefully lays down its life for another.

When our two sons began dating, I took them aside for some quiet, father/son talks, and gave them this advice: Only consider a woman who already knows and loves God, and has healthy, loving relationships with her parents, siblings, and friends. Become one of those friends, and then (and only then) begin thinking about her as your future wife.

The rest will follow, as God has designed men and women with the capacity for romance, which blooms and prospers within the safety of intimacy. But all will be hollow without the foundation of real love, the love of commitment and sacrifice.

My words rang true for them because I had taken my own advice years before. I am happy to say that I’m married to such a person, who has loved me unconditionally, even when it must have been difficult to do so. More importantly, she has loved and lived for God.

Perhaps the best tribute I can give to the gift that has been our marriage is that I’d do it all again. She says she would, too.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
1 Corinthians 13:4, 5.

The Price of Forgiveness

All too often we glibly say spiritually-sounding things to one another without really thinking. Cliches are easier than thinking, and we develop a spiritual shorthand of convenience without consideration. Take the idea of forgiveness, for example. We hear. . .


Picturing Repentance

Besides the word picture of “broken cisterns,” Jeremiah also has a vivid image of what repentance might look like, if it were a physical thing: ā€¯Break up your unplowed ground, and do not sow among the thorns.” Jeremiah 4:3


Leaky Cisterns

The prophets of Israel were passionate about drawing God’s straying people back to Him. Their language was both direct and colorful.


A Book of Biblical Proportions

For years I’ve made a practice of reading through the Bible once each year. I’ve used a number of reading plans and translations, but usually I just read straight through, about three chapters each day.


The Toss of a Coin

A friend and I were standing in line at a local burger hangout after our high school homecoming game. We found ourselves catching up with a former student who had graduated two years earlier.


Proclaiming Another Sabbath Jubilee

Every fifty days we remind ourselves that we live by God’s strength and serve at His pleasure, celebrating His goodness by taking a rest. We hope you will do the same, meditating upon His blessings in Jesus, which are too numerous to count. Ephesians 1:3

If you recall, the Jubilee was to be a year of liberty, of forgiving debts, and the time when any rented or leased property or fields were returned to their original owners. In essence, it was a fiscal and geographical reset in which each tribe, clan, and family would get a fresh start. It was the ultimate Sabbath, a Sabbath a whole year long. You can read about it in Leviticus 25.

Of course, the Jubilee never really happened, for not even the Sabbath years were kept, a symbol of Israel’s rebellion and their inability to trust God. Eventually, Israel was expelled from the land in a sort of forced rest, as the Lord had warned in Leviticus 26:33-35. 2 Chronicles 36:21

We might ask God to help our nation to have its own reset, as there are quite a few things which are out of place and need to be returned to normal.

“Father, we thank you for your provision and blessing, acknowledging that we do all things by your permission and in your power. We ask that you will reveal more of yourself to us this day, and that we will walk in the wisdom you provide. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

“It felt like power.”

Created in God’s image, we were meant to wield power lovingly for our planet and its people. Adam was a steward in the Garden with a mandate to be a worshiper who tended Creation for God.


Getting Used to the New Abnormal

We often hear people mentioning “the new normal,” as if we should know what that means. May I suggest that we not refer to the present state of affairs in any way as normal. It’s not, and I hope we don’t honor it with a good name.