Christ, the center of our ideas

We live in an era like none other, with a constant exchange of ideas. We are all commentators, authors, newscasters, and influencers. This free flow of thought is good, exhilarating, and liberating.

It is more important than ever to identify a center in which the solar system of your ideas revolves. I have found that in Jesus Christ, revealed in Scripture and affirmed by centuries of proven faith.

Prayers for the busy during Lent

I am so disappointed at the busyness of March, especially since it is the middle of Lent. My rhythms have been thrown off entirely between my responsibilities, travel, car troubles, and other necessities to support the kids.

Busyness really is violence upon the soul. I feel the bruises on my soul from the aggressive onslaught of busyness. The roaring rapids of activity shakes spiritual confidence, dulls the mind, and produces restless emotions.

Here are a couple of prayers that are good for me and anyone else out of spiritual rhythm:

  • God, help my soul find rest in you. May my appetite for your Scripture bring soul nourishment instead of the destruction I crave. May I allow your presence to settle in my spirit.
  • “You made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless until it finds its place of rest in You.” – St. Augustine

March Madness – Hobby or Worship?

It’s March Madness! It’s the annual NCAA basketball tournament that includes dozens of games over three weeks. I have been following this tournament my entire life, and I enjoy the competition. It has become a family event as an easy way to bond around something with my family. We attended some games in Indianapolis Thursday night and had a great time (despite our team losing!). That’s the good part!

The problem? Sports can quickly become more than a hobby; it is now the other religion. The emotions attached to these games go beyond fun, as it sinks to the core of people’s identity. Interestingly, people have an emotional release at a sports game but exclude emotion from worship. This observation is not new from me or countless others, but, amazingly, this irony keeps repeating with each American generation with greater intensity.

God, help us to use sports, but not let sports use us.

The Child is Only Sleeping

Through parenting, we learn about God and His heart for us.

I read in Mark 5:21-43 about a spiritual leader named Jarius, whose daughter appeared dead. Jesus said two things about that situation that stick out to me:

“Do not fear, only believe (vs. 36).”

“The child is not dead but sleeping (vs. 39).”

If you don’t know the story, Jesus raised the child to heath and life.

In reflecting on this, I prayed for my kids, and I pray for yours, too. I pray we choose belief over fear. And, when we think a child is spiritually dead, take hope that “the child is not dead but sleeping.”

Tears for Ukraine, Joy on the journey

I pray God gives us the heart to care for the injustice in Ukraine but the joy to live fully in our realm. Being human means, you live with the dual capacity to mourn and rejoice. You may start the hour distraught by the world’s condition but end the same hour with a belly laugh at a joke. Both are needed. Both are good. Lent reminds us we live in tears and laughter, and the Lord is in both.

Beauty on January 6

This January 6, we had a morning snow in middle Tennessee, which brought a blanket of peace and beauty for those safe at home. As I look out the window, it reminds me of the snow globes I used to be mesmerized with as a child – a dream world that seemed pure and enchanting.

What a contrast of the divisive strife coming from our national leaders. When will a leader bring Americans together? Promoting unity is not a way to keep power these days, but it is an ache within us waiting to be soothed. May kinder and cooperative days fall over us like gentle snow, making us more beautiful.

Read the New Testament this Year – You can do it!

I have noticed some great posts with Bible reading plans for 2022. Which one is best? The plan that works for you!

After working with new converts, seasoned pastors, and observing myself, I am convinced that reading the New Testament in a calendar year is a realistic plan. 

I have used for years the 5x5x5 New Testament Bible Reading plan designed by Navigators.   This plan only takes 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week

A link to the PDF is here

Also there is a digital link on You Version.

https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/232-discipleship-journals-5x5x5-reading-plan

It’s helpful to use both the printout and Your Version. 

You can do it!

Divine love colors you with beauty

Many things we love never love us in return.
Many people we love never love us in return.
This reality is why love is always a risk.

Except with God. Any love given to God is a response to Him loving us first.

During this fourth week of Advent, we focus on love. We have difficulty accepting a God who loves us for many different reasons, and it seems each person has a customized objection. Our understanding of God is complicated, and His love is not easy to comprehend. Divine love is hard to explain, but it is always accessible to receive.

Accept that God loves you, and it will color your life with beauty this week and beyond.

Comfort for Christmas Week

We are turning the corner to Christmas week, and I am not emotionally ready quite yet. I am not prepared for all the festivities to begin because I do not want them to end. That is where I am this year, ready to soak up the comfort and joy.

However, I have experienced some dark Christmas weeks in which the holiday only exasperated my pain. I recognize many of you are in a dark season, and I am thinking about you and praying for you.

There is no perfect Christmas celebration, so we take what life gives us under the grace of God, whether in good or bad circumstances. Let’s face this Christmas with poise, strength, resolve, and perspective. Let’s not get too up or too down. Steady on in the will of God, as we assuredly plod forward.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!