Showing posts from November, 2010


Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, the will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. Exodus 34:15 The words prostitute and prostitution are extremely unpleasant. I don’t know how you respond but a very specific picture forms in my mind. No matter many times I see real pictures of what we technically term a prostitute, no matter how high dollar that person may look, the picture in my mind is much more of the seedy variety. That applies on both sides. I am still stunned when the celebrity or politician is caught with their pants down, figuratively speaking. What possesses a person of some semblance of intelligence to take that path? Over the years I have been offered several fairly good explanations of what drives men and women to that behavior but I frankly still don’t get it. And I still see it as less than savory. The picture in my mind, on both sides, is that of a dirty, unkem

Some Things Never Change

“What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. Bit to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must want these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name. Acts 4:16-17 Does this sentiment seem at all familiar to you? Peter and John have just appeared before the Sanhedrin. The result is that now all the big guys are in complete uproar. Here are these two uneducated, ordinary guys claiming that they have indeed given the lame guy his legs back. Worse, they are claiming to have done it in the name and power of Jesus Christ. You know the elders, Sadducees and the rest of the crew were thinking, “Oh please! Are we ever going to stop hearing about this Jesus?” Pretty sure that they won’t, they decide to stop Peter and John. They tell them, “That’s it, no more talking about Jesus.” Fine, except Peter and John aren’t quite so easily deterred. Politely they sa

The Translator

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Acts 8:30-31 The other day a dear friend of mine gave me some recipe books. Not unusual, women do that right? Sure. Except for the books are in Spanish, a language that is completely foreign to me. The pictures are lovely and I’m sure I would like some of the foods and baked goods if I could read the recipe. Let me say here that Bella did not give me the books to frustrate me. There are decorating ideas that literally just need the pictures. They have words but the words aren’t necessary. This was a lovely gesture from a dear, sweet friend. She would, I am sure, translate every word if I asked her for help. Looking at the books, thinking about them, made me think of how some people see the Bible. There are people who see God’s Word the same way I see

Bless this Acorn

All you have made will praise you O Lord, your saints will extol you. Psalm 145:10 Many people are awed by nature. Everything about the natural world is fascinating to them. I am not one of those people. There are sights and sounds in nature that take my breath away but I’m not a bird watcher or a hiker. I do not seek opportunities to commune with the land. Not being a nature purist I can enjoy those books, movies and cartoons that lend human qualities to animals. Yesterday our pastor showed us a picture of a squirrel in a position that looked as if its paws were raised to heaven. The cute little thing even had its eyes closed. Adorable! Yes, it is a rat with a tail but irresistible in that pose. The caption was a Scripture verse but it could have read, “Bless this acorn and berry I am about to eat.” That image grabbed my heart and stayed with me all day. I know that little squirrel cannot speak. I know that the pose is not what I want to think it is and that it may, in fact, be s
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, May have the power , together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Ephesians 3:17b-18 This morning when I picked up my Bible, it was open to a Scripture that I have been using to remind myself of God’s amazing power. I need a miracle and those verses assure me that God can and will answer my prayer. While I was reading and praying the enemy kept poking me, trying to get me to worry about something unrelated to my prayer. It was very distracting so I stopped reading and prayed that each and every time the poke came that my merciful Father would remind me that through Him I have the power to make that enemy shut up. The image from Psalm 91:13 came to my mind, the one about trampling the serpent. After thanking God for showing me a way out of that danger, I went back to the Word. The very next passage spoke of the disciples fears. The commentary for that passage explained that

Herod’s Puzzle

…Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him. Mark 6:20 Herod liked to listen to John. Okay, so how is it that John ends up beheaded at Herod’s command, only seven verses later? For the same reason many of us make lousy choices. Herod let the call of the world, the beauty of a woman and the lust in his heart, rule over the sweet, subtle invitation from God. He liked listening to John. The Bible says he was “puzzled.” That made me think of my own reading of many parts of the Bible, I read the verse, reread the verse, read the commentary, reread the verse and still I’m scratching my head in total confusion. I keep reading because I like it, even the parts I don’t get. In this I have a distinct advantage over Herod. I know that what I am reading is the true word of God. I know that each word is included in that sacred tome for a reason. Herod knew only that he was interested

Playing God

Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 I watched a TV show tonight where one poor tortured soul committed heinous, horrible crimes because he believed that his own life was over. He erroneously believed that he had nothing to live for. He believed it because a person who had once been everything to him kept a very important piece of information from him. The information withheld from him was truly life changing but because he didn’t have it he was empty and lost enough to torture and kill several other people. The story was fiction but it gave me great pause. How often do we choose not to tell someone something for their own good? How often do we withhold information out of spite? When we do things like that we play God, which is extremely dangerous. That decision has a direct effect on how the other person behaves. When the truth comes out the consequences can be dire or, as in the TV show the consequences could be avoided by telling the truth. When


“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14 There are a couple of reasons that we may be reluctant to forgive an offense. The first is that many people believe that forgiveness indicates acceptance. It does not. We may forgive an offender but we’re not condoning the offense. Our forgiveness does not suggest that we now think whatever the other person did is all right. The second reason is about reconciliation. When a sin is large enough to cause a rift in a relationship we may be disinclined to forgive because we fear that means reestablishing the torn relationship. That isn’t always the case. Some sins may cause a temporary rift. Perhaps the people involved need some time apart to recognize the sin that exists between them. Maybe they just need a cooling off period and when the apology is offered and accepted they then mov

The Value of Crisis

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to proper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 Years ago I gave birth to my first son, Paul. He was beautiful. A large baby, he had a round face and chubby little fingers from the moment he was born. He looked pink, healthy and perfect. He wasn’t. Day five of his life saw him back in the hospital, hooked up to an IV, not very pink, and according to the doctors, not at all healthy. Day four brought seizures into Paul’s life and that meant hospitalization to determine the cause. The cause, which we found out a week later, was an error in judgment on the part of the delivering physician. Too much pressure on Paul’s tiny, delicate skull caused blood vessels to break and bleed into his brain. As the blood in the brain was reabsorbed the brain seized. “We’re so sorry but your baby has brain damage.” The message was basically, oops, that’s not good but go home, put him on this medicine

Go Team!

It is because of him [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30 There are certain moments in life that are not unique to anyone. They are banner moments that become the topic or catalyst in books, movies and plays. There are weddings, births, deaths, and the one that is often supposed to be hilarious, but may fall short depending on one’s own experience, the choosing of teams. Just this morning I was reading a book in which a now middle-aged man recalled the pride of getting his football letter jacket. He talked about how he wore that banner to his athletic prowess every day, regardless of the temperature. He then noted how that paled in comparison to being part of God’s team. That gave me pause. I was one of those skinny, not at all athletic kids. There wasn’t much in the line of physical education that was on my list of accepted activities. I was a booky kid not a runner, no

God's Kid

And he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4 A devotional message that I read this morning used the analogy of walking with a small child to define our walk with Jesus. The point was that it is not just for the child’s protection that we stay near or hold hands but also for our joy in the nearness of the child. My first thought was of my grandchildren. Just last night I sat with five of them reading stories. They love books, just like their Grammy. It was a lovely and precious time for me as well as for them. I understood the analogy of the message quite well. Then the lights came on inside my foggy brain. God sees us the way I see my babies! Think about that for a minute. What is your profession? Teacher? Lawyer? Chef? Musician? Doctor? Mom? Dad? Or maybe even, pause for the moment of rev