On the Hunt

She poured the contents of the brownie mix into the bowl. As she stirred the ingredients, she could imagine the joy she would feel as she ate her favorite dessert. Oh. It looked so good. And the scent wafting from the oven was heavenly. She dreamt of that first bite. Her teeth would sink into the soft brownie and her taste buds would erupt with satisfaction. She had made sure to use a smaller pan so the brownies would be thick. It didn’t matter that a smaller pan made fewer brownies. What mattered was the satisfaction they brought when savoring each bite. So for the moment, thin brownies in a larger pan were no longer in vogue in her kitchen. And she was hoping the rest of the household would turn their backs on this batch of brownies. If only. Her name was written all over them.

So she ate the brownies. Oh. She’s never one to cut a dessert into small pieces. Big pieces are magical. In her mind. Small pieces require more to be eaten. And if she could say she only had two brownies, who cares if that really meant she ate the entire row. Who’s counting anyway? And does it really matter? If she’s happy, then life is good. At least, that’s what she tells herself.

Once the plate of brownies has been eaten, then what’s next? Another batch? Will happiness remain if she continues to eat brownie after brownie? Is that what brings true fulfillment? Is that what life is all about? Brownie happiness? Or is it really gluttony?

Perhaps for you it isn’t an endless supply of brownies that satisfies. It could be swiping the credit card for new purchases. Whether the item is needed or not, just the zip of the card brings a flutter of happiness in that moment in time. Perhaps it’s the scratching of the penny on the lottery ticket. Scratch after scratch. How many lottery tickets are enough? Or it could be the downing of that drink each night. Glass after glass of the intoxicating liquid soothes the worries of the day. But does it? Tomorrow will come fresh with a splitting headache. Then where is the happiness from last night? Oh. It could be the viewing of those pornographic movies or erotic photos that stir some deep longing within. But is it truly satisfying? When does lust ever end for you?

It seems that the search for happiness is never quite fulfilled. Just one more brownie. One more drink. One more lottery ticket. One more exotic vacation. One more pair of shoes. But happiness is so fleeting. One day we’re happy. The next day we’re searching again. Does it ever end?

Sometimes too much of a good thing is just that. Too much. And too much of a bad thing is just that. It’s bad.

This past Thursday, we stuffed ourselves with a turkey feast and called ourselves thankful. Now we rush onto our Christmas shopping in order to make others happy. No longer do we differentiate between need and want. We just want our loved ones to be happy. So we buy their happiness in the name of Christ’s birth. Somehow it doesn’t translate. We’ve gotten our priorities so misplaced that we don’t know how to search for the true meaning of life. Yet we call ourselves blessed.


Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11


God has planted eternity in each of our hearts, and we’re all searching for it. Oh. The Thanksgiving feast was a momentary pleasure. The Christmas indulgence will soon be forgotten. We’re searching for something far more eternal than what money can buy. We just don’t recognize it. We’re looking in all the wrong places. We’re wasting our time and we won’t admit it. We become quickly dissatisfied with the things we thought would make us happy. But we find out that those things, too, are meaningless.

And yet. God has made everything beautiful for its own time. There is a time for beauty. And joy. And fulfillment. There is a time where our deepest longings will be satisfied.

We don’t realize that what we’re really looking for has always been right in front of us. Oh. Sometimes it’s veiled. At times, it’s misrepresented. And at other times, it’s simply ignored. In our searching for fulfillment, we must search deep within. We must realize that our longings don’t come about because of boredom or abuse. They come because we’re made for fellowship with our heavenly Father. And those longings can be so deeply satisfied if we allow ourselves to fall in love with our Creator. The Maker of our souls.

These longings that will never be satisfied this side of heaven can lead us down a dreadful path. We search in all the wrong places. And leave less fulfilled than when we started. It sometimes seems a never ending search. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can find fulfillment in God alone. But we must be willing to pay the price of giving up first place in our lives to everything else. Only then will we be content.

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

C.S. Lewis

Attracting Others

As Christians, our goal is to see others make the decision to live for God. To repent of their sins and live in obedience to God’s Word. In order for those who haven’t made that decision to get there, we must make Christianity attractive. But how do we do that? Because what they know of Christianity doesn’t appeal to them. If someone hasn’t read and studied the Bible, all they know about Christians is what they do and don’t do. What they stand for and what they stand against. They think it’s all about rules they don’t want to follow.

Look like this. Don’t look like that. Wear this. Don’t wear that. Go here. Don’t go there. Drink this. Don’t drink that. Say this. Don’t say that. Sleep here. Don’t sleep there. Rules like that don’t attract too many people. But what message are we sending when we say and do the same things they say and do? What sets us apart? What makes us different if we’re just like them?

And it really shouldn’t be an us or them kind of issue. Should it? But for this moment, let’s think along those terms. Just to see where it takes us. No judging. Just considering how to appeal to those who don’t call themselves Christians. Because really. We are in two sets of camps, based on our beliefs.

How do we make living a Christian life appealing to those who don’t want it? After all, the Bible tells us that we who believe carry the scent of death to those who don’t believe. Yet the aroma of Christ is sweet. But they can’t smell the sweetness. So why would they want it? Who is attracted to stink, after all?

Some people think they need to change. To clean up their lives before they turn themselves over to Christ. But he doesn’t require that. He invites you to come to him just as you are. He will let you know when or if he wants you to change.

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

The gospel is offensive. It has always been offensive to those in rebellion to Christ. God isn’t going to change who he is. We need him to change who we are or face the consequences!

Samuel E. Tolley III

And those who haven’t accepted the message of salvation and repentance think we are fools for believing it. After all. If we’re good, isn’t that good enough? Some would say so. But for those who believe the Bible speaks the truth, we know that being good isn’t good enough. Because we’re never going to be good enough on our own. We need the saving blood of Jesus Christ to wash away our sins. We need to repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness. Then we, too, will be covered with the life-giving perfume.

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 8

So. If the gospel is offensive to those who don’t believe, how do we make it un-offensive? How do we attract others to faith in Christ?


You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:5


Of course. The Bible gives us some guidelines to follow in order to attract others to Christianity. We must show love to everyone, even when we don’t feel like it. And especially when others don’t deserve it. We must be joyful. Joy comes from a deep abiding peace that when we trust God in all circumstances. We must pursue peace with everyone. Even when it’s difficult. We must turn the other cheek, but we don’t have to allow others to walk all over us. We’re told that patience is a virtue, but it speaks volumes when put into action. Being kind to others should be a given. We think. But sometimes we have to try a little harder than expected, but the payout is worth it. Goodness and faithfulness. Gentleness and self-control. When others see these fruits of the spirit in our lives, they will wonder how it’s possible to live in such a manner. We have the opportunity to show that Christ living in us makes us more like him. And that he makes a difference in how we live our lives. We always have a choice as to how we live and how we treat others. And a godly lifestyle is attractive, even when others don’t know where the godliness comes from.

We always have a choice as to the type of employee or employer we will be. Go to work and do a good job. Be faithful. Be diligent. Speak up when necessary. And keep quiet when necessary. Others will notice. Be a good neighbor. Show kindness to those in need. Be generous, but not overly frivolous. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Don’t complain or argue.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. Galatians 5:22-26

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:14-15

We believers can do this. We can live a life that makes others want peace, joy, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Oh. We may not get it right every time, but let’s show the world that they need what we have. And let’s do it with grace.