Month: July 2011

Free 4 All

In an effort to assist people struggling to provide for their families during tough economic times, the church I attend created a program called “Free 4 All.”

We brought lightly used items to the church and opened the doors to people of the community. They could come and take home anything they needed.

Jupiter Falling

One day I bought an inexpensive model of the solar system for my son. Installing it required me to suspend each planet from the ceiling. After bending up and down several times, I was lightheaded and tired. Hours later, we heard a “plink” as Jupiter hit the floor.

Later that night, I thought about how our flimsy replica fell apart, yet Jesus sustains the actual universe.

The Good Life

Philosophers ponder, “What is the good life and who has it?” I instantly think of my good friend Roy.

Roy was a gentle, quiet man who sought no recognition, who left the care of his life to his heavenly Father, and who occupied himself solely with his Father’s will. His was a heavenly perspective. As he often reminded me: “We are but sojourners here.”

For The God I Love

A couple of years ago in our church we did a sermon series on the Old Testament tabernacle. Leading up to the message on the table of showbread, I did something I had never done before—I fasted from food for several days. I fasted because I wanted to experience the truth that “man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3).

Bribery

While traveling in a foreign country, my husband noticed that the paved roads had deep indentations. When he asked about them, our driver explained that they were caused by the tires of trucks carrying illegal, overweight loads. When stopped by police, the drivers paid bribes to avoid being fined.

Joy In The Morning

Angie could not see through the fogged-up windows in her car. Inadvertently, she pulled out in front of a truck. The accident caused such damage to her brain that she could no longer speak or take care of herself.

Over the years, I have been amazed at the resiliency of Angie’s parents. Recently I asked them, “How have you managed to get through this experience?” Her father thoughtfully responded, “In all honesty, the only way we have been able to do this is by drawing close to God. He gives us the strength we need to help us through.”

The Pleasure Is Mine

I always look forward to summer. The warm sunshine, baseball, beaches, and barbecues are pleasures that bring joy after a long, cold winter. But pleasure-seeking isn’t just seasonal. Don’t we all enjoy good food, engaging conversation, and a crackling fire?

Stay Close

My friend and I were traveling together, and she seemed a bit frazzled. When we got to the airport, she forgot to have her identification readily available and couldn’t find her reservation confirmation number. The ticket agent waited patiently, smiled, and then helped her at the “self” check-in. After receiving her ticket, she asked, “Where do we go next?” The agent smiled again, pointed at me, and said to her, “Stay close to your friend.”

An Amazing View

From my home in Colorado, I recently used Google Maps to “wander around” the neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya, where my family lived 2 decades ago. A satellite image on my computer screen enabled me to identify roads, landmarks, and buildings. In some cases, I got a street-level view, as if I were standing on the ground there.

Our Best Defense

Thrown together as seatmates for an 8-hour train ride, a retired US ambassador and I quickly clashed as he sighed when I pulled out my Bible.

I took the bait. At first, we traded one-liners aimed at goading the other or scoring points.

Pain No More

For a good portion of my life, I shared the perspective of those who rail against God for allowing pain. I could find no way to rationalize a world as toxic as this one.

As I visited people whose pain far exceeded my own, though, I was surprised by its effects.

Bedlam

England’s Imperial War Museum is housed in a building in London that was a former location of the Bethlem Royal Hospital, a care center for the mentally ill. The hospital was commonly known as “Bedlam,” which gradually became a term used to describe scenes of chaos and madness.

It’s ironic that the War Museum would occupy Bedlam’s former location.

Fear Factor

If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you know that his heroes always have a serious character flaw. It makes for a good story and teaches some important lessons. The same is true of our Bible hero Abraham. His flaw? Fear.

Twice Abraham succumbed to his fear that a ruler would kill him and steal his wife (Gen. 12:11-20; 20:2-13).

Sticks And Stones

The psalmist was fed up with “the contempt of the proud” (Ps. 123:4). Perhaps you are too. People in your neighborhood, office, or classroom may be scornful of your faith and determination to follow Jesus. Sticks and stones do break our bones, but words can wound more deeply. In his commentary on this psalm, Derek Kidner refers to contempt as “cold steel.”

Perfect Fit

Too long. Too short. Too big. Too small. Too tight. Too loose. These words describe most of the clothes I try on. Finding the perfect fit seems impossible.

Finding a church that is a “perfect fit” poses similar problems. Every church has something that’s not quite right. Our gifts aren’t recognized.

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