Death is the pre-requisite for resurrection & today is that middle ground. Death happened on Good Friday & resurrection happens tomorrow. But the disciples didn’t know that Jesus would raise tomorrow, no matter how much He told them. And they knew He was dead with lots of uncertainty on the horizon. This is often how the middle feels – uncertain & tenuous.
I don’t think there’s anyone who is reading this now who isn’t in some middle place in life. We can find ourselves in the middle of: schooling, fighting a disease, a financial crisis, a relationship challenge, a difficult decision & heaps more.
So what do we do in the middle? Here are some suggestions that could be helpful:
1 – community: the disciples held together when they found themselves in the middle & waiting for what was next
2 – faith focus: let’s keep our attention on God who works all things together for our good, as we stay in love with Him
3 – purposeful farming: be sure to plant healthy seeds like patience, gratitude, diligence & others since we will reap what we sow 🙂
Happy Spring Break! Although it snowed last night in Denver, I know that Spring is soon to overtake Winter so I’m celebrating the conclusion of Winter! Winter seems to be when life hibernates & sometimes ceases. But Spring reminds me that life is always present, even when it seems dormant or unseen.
Spring is also the season for Easter when we celebrate resurrection – life springing from what’s dead. When I think about it, Holy Spirit is an essential for life. Indeed, Romans 8:11 tells us that Holy Spirit was responsible for Jesus’ resurrection & let’s not forget that man became alive when God breathed His Spirit into human shaped clay on Genesis 2. Furthermore, Pentecost happened in the Spring, so let’s be certain to welcome Holy Spirit into our hearts, decisions, outlook, desires & any place on our lives that is dead. With Holy Spirit, resurrection is on the horizon!
My dad always ordered his eggs over easy & I remember hearing waitresses say to him, “Sunny Side Up!” As a kid, I didn’t understand what they meant, but later learned that this phrase was kind of a synonym for over easy. Now whenever I hear, “sunny side”, everything inside me smiles & I feel warm all over. Maybe this is because I remember my dad sharing his breakfast with me or maybe because the sunny side feels friendly, inviting & open!
I’ve been thinking about this sunny side thing lately because of some plants I’m attempting to keep alive. Even yesterday, I moved a tomatoe plant out of the shade & into the sun – to keep it on the sunny side 🙂
This is pretty cheesy, but we also have to keep ourselves on the “Sonny” side in our thoughts, conversations & decisions for each day. Following Jesus, God’s Son, means that we actively chose to stay on the “Sonny side” of life, sharing encouragement, hope & genuine love with the dark world around us. Indeed, let’s stay bright by letting God’s Son shine through us!
“The devil would kill ya with a hangnail if he could!” My dad had lots of fun quotes like this. From my childhood, I remember people laughing at this quote & I smiled like I understood, but I didn’t get it. Now that I have some life tread under my belt, I get it.
The enemy of your soul is out to rattle your cage, poison your thinking & sideline you with anything possible, even a hangnail.
Don’t let him – full stop.
Some helpful pointers:
Keep your eyes in Jesus.
Keep loving wholly.
Feed yourself the Bible everyday.
Chose faith & reject doubt.
Never forget that greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world!
In many ways, gory seems to be the antonym of glory and I don’t commonly associate these words together besides the rhyming sound they make. But there’s a stark and startling place where these words converge into one place and that would be Jesus when He was crucified.
If you saw the movie by Mel Gibson, “The Passion of the Christ”, it showed with disturbing clarity the gory nature of Jesus’ death on the cross. I’ll never forget how deeply moved I was to the core of my soul when I saw this movie the first time. As I watched, I found myself repeatedly thinking, “please stop, that’s enough!” And at the end of the movie, I was entirely unraveled because I couldn’t escape the reality that Jesus endured this excrutiating experience entirely on the pure motivation of genuine love, full stop.
Jesus was glorified in the gory mess of human suffering, sin and sacrifice. And this continues to give me the assurance that Jesus can redeem human gore and transform it into divine glory, a truth that we would be wise to ponder throughout this weekend 🙂
It is very disturbing to read the unfolding news about the mass shooting yesterday in Orlando. A muslim security guard, armed with a semi-automatic machine gun, entered a gay bar in Orlando and began shooting. He was confronted by an off-duty police officer and manuevered into the bathroom where he maintained a stand-off for three hours while the Orlando police and emergency services worked to protect and rescue victims from the carnage and violence. Of course this story is continuing to unfold in the news and I have no doubt more information will come to light over time.
In the political world, various leaders are advocating better gun control laws, some leaders are rallying support for the LGBT community and many leaders are blaming the immigration struggles with which the US is wrestling.
As a follower of Jesus, it is my sincere prayer that my community rallies around the words of Jesus more than the world of hate. There are some people who would try to explain that because this was an attack on a gay bar, God is expressing His judgement and wrath on the homosexual community. There are other folk who would seek to ostracize muslims because of this violent atrocity.
Seems to me that when Jesus was hanging on the cross, He didn’t ask the Father to get revenge on these wicked, violent and undeserving sinners. He asked the Father to forgive the people who violently beat, condemned and hung Him on a cross – the most innocent and pure human to ever grace the human race. May our words and actions be overflowing with the grace and love that have been so richly lavished on us. Let us freely give what we have so abundantly received. We need the Holy Spirit to work into our thoughts and actions the redeeming life of Christ.
The ultra famous rocker “Prince” died today at the age of 57, of causes yet unknown. If you ever listened to pop radio in the 1980s, there’s a good chance you heard at least a few of his songs – “1999”, “When Doves Cry” & “Let’s Go Crazy”, to name a few. Prince was a very private and creative person. His religious leanings were probably in the Jehovah Witness persuasion & he didn’t really comply with anything institutional nor common. At one point, he changed his name to a symbol & that’s probably where I lost the plot with him.
While you can find plenty of things in his life that didn’t agree with you, he was nevertheless an innovative creator of a rare breed. Some of that creativity was bizarre but some of it was sheer genius.
While many of the people who read this blog may not be familiar with Prince, his premature death drives home the point that life is short. Let’s be certain to live with divine intentionality and pray for the people not only in our daily living but also for the people have platform and influence in today’s culture.
TGIF takes on an entirely new meaning when I think about it in light of Good Friday. This day marks not only the conclusion of a workweek, but more importantly, Jesus’ crucifixion which was humanity’s windfall. Jesus’ death on the cross was:
the defining moment for humanity’s reconciliation with Heaven.
the conclusion of approximately 2,000 years of Law with human shortcoming & failure.
the ultimate expression of Genuine Love for an unworthy planet
the fertilzer for resurrection
the place where our lives receive ultimate freedom, redemption and acceptance
Truly, Good Friday is good and God’s ultimate expression of Genuine Love & I find myself in a state of awe, wonder, gratitude and overwhelming astonishment at such extravagant love. May Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection work redemption into our hearts, through our lives and reconcile the world in which we live to our loving Heavenly Father. Today is truly a Good Friday.
At Christmas, we don’t often think about Jesus dying, but rather about His birth. But let’s not forget that Herod looked for Jesus to kill Him as a baby but Herod’s plans were divinely interrupted when Joseph had a warning dream about Herod’s plans. Herod looked for Jesus with evil intent.
One of the reasons I’m so very keen about Saving Moses is because we are all about helping & saving babies where the needs are most urgent & the care is least available. When Jesus was a baby, despite being divine, He was vulnerable to Herod’s evil intentions but was divinely protected. With Saving Moses, I believe that we are God’s tangible hands to protect & preserve God’s most important creation, one baby at a time. Small & vulnerable doesn’t mean unimportant nor unvaluable #lookforJesus
My son & I were talking this morning about being sensitive to people and their needs. In our discussion, I was reminded of the story when Jesus came to Martha and Mary after their brother Lazarus had died, landing in possibly one of the darkest moments of their lives. If you remember, Martha & Mary had sent to Jesus before Lazarus died, asking Him to come & heal their sick brother. Despite receiving this information, Jesus waited where he was and purposely came to Martha & Mary after their brother died. Jesus’ delay was extremely disappointing to Martha & Mary (“If You had been here, he would not have died”). Nevertheless, Jesus had a really insightful conversation with Martha about resurrection & if you have some moments, I’d encourage you to read John 11 to look into that chat between the two of them.
After talking with Martha, Jesus connected with Mary who was a virtual basket case from her grief, disappointment, anxiety and loss. Jesus listened, watched, observed everyone’s grief and didn’t reply with a cliche’ quick fix answer – “Oh he’s in a better place now,” nor did Jesus try to change the subject, distract everyone with a miracle, discuss theology with the attending religious leaders, or do the All Knowing God answer. After taking everything in, Jesus wept. When you read to the end of John 11, we see that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead so there’s a really unexpected and extremely happy ending to the whole story – but Jesus didn’t raise Lazarus from the dead before He experienced the grief through which everyone was going with the death of Lazarus.
I just learned about the tragic plane accident and death of Dr Myles Munroe, his wife and seven other people who were killed on this plane. My condolences and prayers go out to these families for this awful loss! Dr Munroe was a really amazing man who had very profound wisdom and insights into many areas with practical living as well as fantastic help with leadership. He was a graduate of ORU and was a regal ambassador on many levels (business, politics, faith, leadership, etc) and was a prolific communicator of amazing depths into the Bible.
Let’s be sure to pray not only for his family but also for his church and the communities that are so massively impacted through this awful loss.
The Founder of Check-fil-A died yesterday at the age of 93 and I’m choosing (thanks Robert Bowman for the grammar help!!) to blog on him today since I blogged last week about Joan River’s death. Please don’t get nervous & think that all of my hot topic blogs are now going to turn into obituaries – not so 🙂
But in all fairness, it seems appropriate to honor a man who achieved many commendable accomplishments. Mr Cathy is probably most well known for being the founder of the fast food chain Chick-fil-A and he also was a man of deep convictions, generosity and noteworthy business acumen. Here’s a cool quote from Mr Truett,
“Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”
If you’d like to know more about him, there’s plenty of web links to explore, but here’s one for starting: Truett Cathy
One of the lessons I learned last week from my Joan Rivers blog is to request any comments to be respectful and not hostile or combative, please and thank you 🙂
With that being said, please be very free to leave your polite feedback and share this blog with your friends 🙂
Yesterday, Joan Rivers died and this was big news for various circles. Honestly, I didn’t really know much about Joan Rivers until her death. Thankfully, my husband knows a little something about everything, so he quickly brought me up to speed. Having looked through some of her style of comedy, it’s not what appeals to me, except on one very important level. She maintained an element of truth in her comedy, despite being coarse, biting and even degrading. While I don’t appreciate humor that degrades others, I do appreciate truth and in that way, I choose to give honor to Joan for this part of how she presented her comedy.
It’s always easy to find bad things about people, but with her passing, let’s find the things that were valuable to honor their memory moreso than maximizing their failures, shortcomings and flaws 🙂
I was really sad to learn about Robin Williams’ death & it’s even more tragic to learn that he committed suicide. For my generation, he was a very significant person who made many valuable contributions in the entertainment industry and many other areas. When I learned of his death, I of course thought of all the different roles that he played and only recently learned about his struggle with addiction & depression.
Depression is nasty stuff & we would be wise to be sensitive to people who are struggling in this area. Cliche’ & quickie one-liners don’t usually help people who are depressed. The “snap out of” talk, “pick yourself up by your boot straps”, “it’s all in your mind” along with other band-aid phrases can sometimes be nothing more than vaporous cotton candy, frothy & flimsy. If you know someone who is wrestling with depression, here are a few helpful tips:
be gentle & patient
genuine prayer is always valuable!
giving them some company can sometimes help
If you’re struggling with depression, here are some things that may help:
keep some regular routines: prayer, Bible time, church, going to sleep & waking at normal times
If you’ve been following the news of late, there’s been a very significant increase in the military activity between Israel & Palestine within the last several days. Israel has mobilized troops and is currently carrying out ground operations into Palestine & Gaza. There have been very noteworthy increases on both sides of fatalities and loss. And there are many individuals who support Israel and many individuals who support Palestine. No matter what “side” is your position, let’s pray for peace in Israel and Palestine. The loss of lives, injuries and property destruction from this conflict is all extremely high, so let’s be sure to keep this area in our daily prayers!
Tomorrow will mark the 1 year anniversary of my dad’s death & it’s been an interesting journey over the last year with some good & some not so good stuff. While I have no intention to ignore the “not so good stuff,” I think you’ll find it more helpful & interesting to read of some of the “good stuff” today (maybe I’ll do the “not so good stuff” in a subsequent blog):
about 2 months ago I had a really vivid dream about my dad & it was extremely comforting. I dreamt that my dad was hugging me like he did when he was alive & really healthy – super strong & caring
people have been exceptionally kind, caring, patient and generous with words, time and support
I find that God the Father seems more real to me now
I have grown more dependent on God for more things in broader areas of my life – good for an independent soul ,)
I haven’t talked much about my dad on this blog, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking if him. Of course I thought of him over the Christmas season & at various times with church & family stuff. So here are a few things from my dad that I miss:
*most of all I miss his faith strength – I never knew him to be negative, to give up or lose confidence in God
*his love for people – he genuinely enjoyed people
*good food – especially very good green chili
*strong coffee – he would always say that weak coffee makes you sick 🙂
*encouragement – my dad always told me that I was going to make it
So I miss my dad & I’m extremely grateful that my Heavenly Father is enjoying my dads company 🙂
Well, my dad passed away a little over a month ago & it’s been a weird time & kind of like a whirlwind. Before we had his memorial service, I had a quick trip to Rome with mom & our group trip. While I totally love Rome, my visit was a little bittersweet, as I recalled some of the times I’d been there with my dad. After the Rome visit, we had a really amazing memorial service for my dad & we were nothing less than overwhelmed with the support, prayers, kind words & gratitude expressed during this service – completely AMAZING!!
It’s been a few weeks now since the memorial service & while I think that we (mom & I) are generally doing pretty well, there are certainly some moments when it gets difficult and sad for me. I’m finding that these moments are really unpredictable (watching my daughter play basketball & remembering my dad watch me, driving to church to present a difficult sermon, typing this blog now, . . . .). With all of that being said, I’m learning to value & appreciate the different ways that God is helping me and that I am not invincible nor impervious. Jesus carries our griefs and sorrows – we aren’t designed to bear that weight. So let’s join together & give Jesus our cares, worries, sorrows and griefs because Jesus is the ultimate Hercules 🙂
My dad passed away almost 3 weeks ago & it’s been an interesting journey. I’m really blown away by how kind & generous people have been in so many different ways. Both my mom & I are deeply touched with the prayers & love that we have received. “Thank you so much” is altogether inadequate. Nevertheless, thank you!!
For my journey, these are a few observations:
*i feel more deeply & it seems like I’m more sensitive
*I’m really appreciating the various people that God brings to listen & be present – these are very tangible expressions of God’s love for me at the present
*patience to walk through each day with its various demands & surprises
*some things that have been helpful: drinking lots of water & taking walks 🙂
Again, thank you more than words can say for the kind words, love & prayers! Our celebration service for dad is this Sun, 11 Nov at 6pm at ORCC if you can join us 🙂
Today we had the privilege of meeting some really great & totally fun pre-schoolers, as well as some great moms looking after their babies who we are helping. One of the things that I’m wrestling with is the moms that I’m meeting who have lost babies. The majority of the moms whom I’ve met have lost anywhere from 3-10 babies. When I began to discover this, it simply takes my breath away because I can’t imagine how a mom processes such losses. When you meet the majority of these moms, you wouldn’t know that they’ve endured such tragedies. So as we are now taking a bit of a drive, I’m writing this blog & trying to talk w God about this and to let the Trinity help my heart. I will think & pray for a bit now.