“…they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Is. 40:31)
We live in a day and age when our greatest desires are only a click away. You can even order toilet paper online and receive it with free shipping only a day or two later! “Why wait when you can have it now,” seems to be the motto of the hour (or minute). Our lack of patience is even catered to in the grocery store where if there are three people in a line a bell is rung or a call put out and suddenly another teller is taking guests. Why wait for that house, that job, that marriage? Is there good reason to learn patience when there seems to be little need for it anymore?
In the world around us patience may be a lost art, but to the Christian it remains a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Why does the Lord put such emphasis on the ability to wait without becoming irritable and out of sorts? What does waiting do for us? Continue reading
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
When Christ came into the world, it was not his aim to “strike the right balance” between grace and truth.
Maybe we think it’s necessary to aim for 50% grace and 50% truth. There should be an equal portion of both. But some people tend to lean to one side or the other. Some of us have lots of grace. We are 70% grace and 30% truth so we end up cutting people too much slack. We’re too nice for their own good, growth or accountability. Some of us stress truth. We are 20% grace and 80% truth and end running people over with our words.
That way of looking at the grace/truth paradox is cast out the window when it comes to Jesus and those who desire to follow Jesus.
Gandalf: I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.
Bilbo: I should think so—in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them …
Gandalf: You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back.
Bilbo: You can promise that I’ll come back?”
Gandalf: No. And if you do, you will not be the same.
Like Bilbo’s adventure in The Hobbit, parenting is an adventure that no one can fully explain to you with good reason. Every adventure is different and if someone could possibly explain what you were facing then you may not even want to start a family. Being a parent has grown me, both as a believer and as a human being. There are things that God has taught me about Himself, my husband, and myself through this adventure called parenting.
Death. Disease. Despondency. Everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike experiences, or eventually will experience, these things. One cannot live a day without hearing of mass violence around the globe due to ongoing wars, gang violence and natural disasters.
What is the common factor here? Humanity. Scripture tells us that sin entered the human race through the fall of one man, Adam, and that disease and death are the result. Everyone is by nature in sin. We desire to sin. This is evidenced from toddlers on up to adults.
We also know that sin leads to death, as we read in Romans, “For the wages of sin is death.” Death – separation from our body and separation from the God who created us.
When was the last time someone offended you? What was your knee-jerk reaction in response to what was done? I remember one evening playing board games with my family and in the heat of the moment, everything was moving in my favor as I was poised to win. Now I need to add that a $5 gift card was at stake in this particular game with family, and so immediately my mind began to gravitate toward ways I would be enjoying what would soon be my prize for winning the game.
Then it happened. As luck would have it, the tables turned and I was knocked back to a guaranteed loser’s position and my opponent was hoisted to victory. Now if the story had ended there perhaps there would be no need to write this blog.
As we gather together to celebrate Holy Week (Palm Sunday – Easter Sunday) and enjoy the Easter season we may also recall, with some introspection, Jesus’ trial before the Roman governor, Pilate. In the midst of their encounter Jesus says:
“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.”
To which Pilate replied:
“What is truth?” – a simple question with an immense impact today.
“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God.” Psalm 146:5
That word help is used forty-two times in the book of Psalms, more than any other book in the Bible. The closest rival is the book of Job, where that word help occurs twelve times. Then there are the other derivatives of that word help, like helps, helped, or helper. Gather them all together and this language of help from God occurs fifty-one times in the Psalms. That’s consistent with the fact that the book of Psalms is something of a prayer journal.
A section of Psalm 146 lays out a number of ways God helps those who call on Him. It contains a gallery of people in situations of need. Many of us have found ourselves in not one, but several of these circumstances.