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Forty is a significant number in the Bible, and there are many instances of something happening for 40 days or 40 years. To name a few things that lasted for 40 days — during the time of Noah, it rained for 40 days and nights (Genesis 7:12); Moses met with God on the mountain for 40 days twice, first to obtain instructions for building the tabernacle and then to receive the 10 commandments (Exodus 24:18 and 34:28); the spies explored the land of Canaan for 40 days (Numbers 13:25); Goliath taunted the Israelites for 40 days until David put an end to him (1 Samuel 17:16); one meal gave Elijah enough strength to sustain him for 40 days (1 Kings 19:8); the city of Nineveh was given 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4); Jesus fasted and was tempted by the devil for 40 days (Luke 4:2); after Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared on earth for a period of 40 days before ascending into heaven (Acts 1:3).
I’ve seen it frequently. You know, the little tagline quotes in our email signature lines. This one is an old Irish proverb, “Work like you don’t need money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. And dance like no one’s watching.” Dance is not just a wonderful metaphor for life, but also for God. Many have described the relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as a kind of cosmic dance. God’s very nature is relationship: loving, vital, dynamic, and life-giving. You can dance on your own, but it’s so much more fun when you dance with others.
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.
Recently, I took one of the most refreshing phone calls I’ve received in a while.
He is Risen, Indeed!
Did you hear about the horse that walked up to the bar and the bartender said, “Why the long face?”
“Some of our most stressful, broken, yelling and fighting family moments happen on the way to church and in the church parking lot!” Anysia Bates, Real Christian Mom
It was shocking almost — this simple moment that changed me one day. They happen like that, don’t they? Epiphanies. They arrive at the strangest times.
In Germany, “Weihnachtsgottesdienst” or “Christmas Worship” is generally celebrated in an evening service on Christmas Eve. Traditional German carols are sung, the story of Jesus’ birth is told, and the pastor tells of how the Christ child’s birth opens the door to “Peace on Earth, Good will to all.”
With all due respect to the Mayans, I have plans for Dec. 22. It also may be news to you, but you guys are not the first to predict the end of the world, and even though you still have a shot at being the first to correctly predict the end of the world, I have plans for Dec. 22. My daughter is getting married. Perhaps to be on the safe side, I won’t pay any bills until the 23rd.
Thanksgiving time is here. It’s easy to give thanks for the good things, but what about the difficult stuff? We are supposed to maintain thankful attitudes even IN the midst of trials (give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. [1 Thessalonians 5:18]), but what about actually being thankful FOR the trials? Ephesians 5:20 says we are to be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Thanksgiving is moving up on my list.
It wasn’t the outcome any of us had hoped or prayed for.
I was awakened at 12:30 a.m. a few weeks ago by the sound of chirping. The smoke detector in our bedroom was sending out a low battery warning. We didn’t have any 9-volt batteries in the house because my son had changed a different room’s detector a few days earlier, and that had been the last one. My husband pulled out the battery and we went back to sleep ... until 2:30 a.m., when the smoke detector in our daughter’s bedroom began chirping.
It’s amazing how many times I’ve encountered Jesus at the airport.
"Do everything without complaining or arguing...” (Philippians 2:14). Now there’s something that isn’t being followed very well in the midst of this current election season. It seems that the right to free speech has spun out of control. Whether it’s Democrats and Republicans bashing each other, or candidates slamming their opponents with dishonest remarks, one thing is for sure. Respect for authority figures is in desperately short supply.
Never have I read a column about marriage written by a single man.
I need to start out with a big apology. In last month’s article, I inadvertently credited Jason Gray with “I Refuse,” but that is really Josh Wilson’s song. I was made aware of my mix-up by a kind woman who graciously pointed out my mistake and then shared a few things that I hadn’t known. I learned that Gray has a speech impediment and stutters when talking, but it isn’t noticeable at all when he sings. Amazing.