Monday, February 12, 2018

Maker of the Redwoods

When my sons were growing up our family camped every summer in the coastal redwoods of California. We loved the state parks – Big Basin, Patrick’s Point, Prairie Creek, Portola, Butano, Grizzly Creek, Henry Cowell. 

Being in an old growth redwood forest is like being in a cathedral. You are humbled by the scale of these trees – both their height and their age. They tower 200 feet above you, and some of them are over 2000 years old.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Heir of All Things!

If we say, Frank owned him in that debate, we mean not only that Frank won and the other guy lost, but we imply that Frank dominated and the other guy was humiliated. Same with “she owned the former champion on the tennis court today.” The former champion didn’t just lose a close match. She was beaten like a drum.

So to start off this reflection by saying, Christ owns us may provoke unpleasant feelings. And of course saying you own someone could remind people of the ugliness of human slavery.With those disclaimers aside, it is still true: you and I belong to Jesus even if we don’t follow Him. He owns us. And for that matter He owns all of creation.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

What Would God Like to Talk About?

My wife and I have a regular route we walk in the evenings through our 
neighborhood. We often use the time to debrief about our day. She’ll say, what do you want to talk about? So I’ll tell her  about my day, a book I’m reading, questions I’m mulling over, or whatever. Then it will be her turn: now what would you like to talk about? And she’ll use the return trip to tell me about her day, a visit we’re planning to see grandkids, her upcoming Bible study, or whatever.

Imagine if you could take a walk with God, and He said, what would you like to talk about? You might bring up personal issues, questions you’ve always wanted to ask Him, and requests for His help. Then it would be His turn. You would say, Lord, what would You like to talk about? I wonder what He would say.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Miracle of Dunkirk

Winston Churchill had been Prime Minister only about two weeks when the devastation of the entire British Army seemed all but certain. The Allied Forces in southern France had been shattered by Hitler’s blitzkrieg, and by May 24, 1940, nearly 400,000 troops were trapped against the northern French coast near the port of Dunkirk.

Evacuation seemed the only option. After all, Dunkirk was only 40 miles across the English Channel. But German tanks were closing in and the Allied Forces were already beaten and in disarray. To pull off a rescue operation of the necessary magnitude seemed beyond the resources of either the British or French military. Churchill estimated only 10% of the British Expeditionary Forces might be saved.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fear of Divine Judgment - How Jesus Overcomes Our Fear of Death

Many people assume that death is bound to be better than our suffering right now. How often have you heard somebody say, “Well, at least he’s not suffering anymore…”? Or “Now she’s at peace; she’s in a better place.”

If you’re in heaven, you are in better place where there is “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Tears and suffering are over forever.  But according to Jesus, not everyone goes to heaven. Christ said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it (Matthew 7:13-14, NLT, my emphasis).
If you end up in hell, the suffering is infinitely worse than anything you might experience in this life. Christ described hell as a place where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:48).

In three previous posts I’ve talked about the reasons why people may fear death. But this last one, fear of divine judgment, is the most important one. People should fear being punished for their sins.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Jesus' Cure for Frustration Over Other People's Business

Have you ever worried about how God is handling other people’s business? Sometimes out of love and sometimes out of more negative emotions - resentment, frustration - you find yourself unsettled because of what’s happening in someone else’s life.

Even one of Jesus’ apostles was not immune from being stirred up about somebody else’s business. (Of course the apostle was Peter, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.)

Peter had had a very public melt-down the night of Jesus’ betrayal. After  the resurrection Christ challenged and restored Peter. There on the shore of the Sea of Galilee Jesus patiently and gently put Peter back where he needed to be. The Savior’s thrice repeated question to Peter - “Do you love Me?” - was followed by a threefold commission:  “Feed my lambs…tend my sheep…feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Enemy Bride

I never understood what he saw in her in the first place. She was pretty, I guess, in a wild, unhinged sort of way. But she had no family, no education, no job (not a decent one anyway). And frankly I didn’t see any evidence that she even felt the same way toward him that he obviously felt toward her.

But it was none of my business. I’ve been able to live peacefully in this neighborhood all these years by keeping to myself and out of other people’s business. But I never thought it would work out.

So they got engaged. He looked happy, she looked, well, like a trapped animal. My opinion.