Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two old friends paid me a visit last week. The first slipped in without a word, freezing my mind for an instant, like the shock of ice cream gulped down too eagerly on a hot day. As we visited for a while, I noticed the familiar voice is edged with a steely insistence, somehow sharpened rather than blunted by a hunger for news of trouble, and the scent of brewing chaos. By God’s grace and through His perfect timing, there, just in nick of time, was another beloved friend knocking on the door of my heart, gently enfolding me in loving arms. This beloved voice speaks quietly, yet perfectly clearly, sharing a different story, at once both old and fresh. The voice carries words brimming with abundant life, like a lush oasis in an otherwise barren and hostile desert. Such is the power of moments of fear to paralyze our senses, and to leave us feeling isolated and lost. Such is the power of the unparalleled peace found through our faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord, in the comforting words of Scripture.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12).
You may remember one of the most well-known miracles that Jesus performed in Mark, chapter 6: Thousands have gathered, it’s getting late, and most (if not all) are hungry. The natives are starting to get restless, and much like I get when I’m hungry, I’m sure that irritability was going up as patience was on the decline. So, Jesus tells the disciples to feed the masses of people who had followed them there, to which their first thought was to make a run to the local market and buy all the bread they had left (Mark 6:37). We know where the story goes from there — Jesus performs another miracle, turning close to nothing into a feast, satisfying all who were hungry.
I did it. Even though it might make me the last person in Ahwatukee over the age of 9 to do so, I have a smartphone. It was not a case of desire; the screen on my “vintage” phone was so scratched I couldn’t see it, and it turned out I could get the smartphone and pay $10 less per month. I suspect the kid that sold it to me was like a seedy, back alley pusher — “come on, its even cheaper” — and that a smartphone is gateway technology.
In the wake of last week’s tragedy in Boston, what are the images that stayed with you? The pillowing smoke? Blood on the streets? Shell-shocked victims in wheelchairs? Our hearts have been broken again. And since the footage is shown over and over, we’re traumatized each time, just like when the twin towers burned on 9/11.
Being a person of faith isn’t like being a football player or a plumber. In those cases, everyone knows the rules, the skills and who qualifies. Christians don’t even have universal agreement of what it means to “belong” or “get in” the club, let alone answers to life’s most pressing questions.
I recently heard something pointed out that had not occurred to me before last week. At Jesus’ baptism, God told Jesus He loved Him and was pleased with Him BEFORE any public ministry had occurred.
Recently, I took one of the most refreshing phone calls I’ve received in a while.
Being sick — taken out of the game of life’s commitments — is so tough. But sometimes that’s what it takes for God to show us that He’s working through us, in us, and even in spite of us.
The Roman Catholic Church is the oldest organization on earth at 2,000 years. It changes very slowly. In theology it only changes at the far edges. It is built on a rock (some say built of road).
He is Risen, Indeed!
It’s such a strange feeling when you know something is done. Our son just turned 20 and his teen years are in the past. Our oldest daughter will graduate in May and her lifetime of home-schooling days will be over. My sister’s fiancé is retiring after more than 35 years with the Denver Fire Department. There is such finality in all these things. When they’re over, they’re over.
One of my favorite parts of scripture has always been the story of the last supper. Every spring as we move towards Holy Week, I’m always drawn back to that last night Jesus spent with his disciples around the table. But the reason I’m so fond of that part of the Gospels is because of the moment where Jesus begins to wash the feet of his friends.
Six years ago, Janine Skinner was a mother of three who was reentering the workforce. Some of the return was financial: the aforementioned kids were just a few years away from college. While serving as a youth event chaperone, she was introduced to Minnesota-based Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). That was the beginning of a six-year whirlwind.
"Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor” (Proverbs 22:9).
Isaiah 43:12 says, “I have revealed and saved and proclaimed — I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.”
I recently became the proud owner of a new (well, new to me) car ... and I’m proud to announce that I’m still alive.
Around 25 years ago, I was racing bicycles in Southern California. It was mostly local club races and I enjoyed training rides with teammates. We began hearing stories of a talented junior (under 18) in Texas. He had gifts, but tended to be so relentlessly competitive that he wanted to lead a race from start to finish, which often is not the best strategy. That young Texan turned out to be Lance Armstrong.
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