Friday, October 31, 2014

Why Forgiveness is Frightening

Did you ever think that being forgiven by God would or should induce fear? It seems more likely that being forgiven should make us feel joy, gratitude, humility, or peace.

But I was reading the Psalms the other night and I was surprised by Psalm 130:3-4 (with my emphasis) -

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
That you may be feared.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Hero

One of the finest compliments I ever received was from a woman in my church. She said, “You remind me of Father Tim.” That was years ago, before she got to know me. Sigh

Father Timothy Kavanagh is a retired Episcopal priest who lives with his wife Cynthia in the North Carolina town of Mitford. He’s retired now, in his 70’s, and when he served as a pastor, he didn't have a big church and he wasn't a well-known speaker or writer. But still, he’s one of my heroes, and it would always be a compliment to be compared to him.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Painting the Dragon Red

Years ago some church planting friends asked my wife to be on their prayer team. They recruited thirty-one people who promised to fast and pray one day a week for the new church. Dionne’s day was the 11th of the month.

As she prayed on one of her designated days, she suddenly felt that the Holy Spirit was warning her about a demonic plot to sneak a deceptive and disruptive person into the baby church - someone who could do great damage.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

When Your Faith is Weak

When I was a young Christian a friend of mine named Pat was brutally beaten in a gang fight. He ended up in a coma and was not expected to live. Pat's family knew I was a Christian and they asked me to pray.

It was overwhelming that people were counting on my prayers to help my friend. My faith, what there was of it, seemed so small and weak. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

When I Come to Die - The Story of Two Women with Terminal Cancer

Brittany Maynard is a 29-year-old wife with terminal cancer. Her story has been all over the internet, including her own first-person account on the CNN website here. Brittany has a form of brain cancer that is particularly aggressive, and those who have it usually die within 6 months.

She and her husband moved from California to Oregon, a so-called “right to die” state, because she wants to end her life on her own terms. She plans to do so on November 1, and is spending her last days as an advocate for the right of all people to commit suicide when and how they wish.

Here’s one quote from the CNN article: "When my suffering becomes too great, I can say to all those I love, 'I love you; come be by my side, and come say goodbye as I pass into whatever's next.'"

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Because He Was There

Sometimes you forget who your Savior is, or at least I do. I guess it’s a little like having a friend who just happens to be the President or the King. You’re used to being around him, having access to him, and you don’t always remember he’s also the most powerful person in the world.

I remember seeing President George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna on a talk show while her dad was still in office. The talk show host said something like, “So you could just call him up right now?” And the daughter took out her cell phone, punched a number, and started talking to the President of the United States. Pretty amazing.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

When You're Spinning Out of Control

We all have weeks when it feels like everything that could go wrong does. You begin to think God has taken a break from watching over your life, and you’re on your own, spinning slow-motion like a hydroplaning car on a mountain road, heading for the cliff.

Maybe that’s overly dramatic, but you probably know what I mean.

Christ hasn't gone anywhere, of course, and what you have to do is ride it out. Keep praying, and ignore the sense of vertigo you feel when it seems like your circumstances are spiraling out of control. And, of course, continue to read your Bible.

You never know when a very familiar, or seemingly dull, portion of holy Scripture may be just the encouragement you need. This week, for example, the Lord helped me through a genealogy. Usually you think of long lists of names – So-and-So begat Such-and-Such – as the boring verses you skip to get to the action parts of the Bible.