All posts by Cheryl Raine

Who is Invited?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

“One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to Jesus, ‘Blessed is the one who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!’” [Luke 14:15]

Jesus had an invitation to the house of a Pharisee.  The people invited, in addition to Jesus, were people of influence and power within the church. So, all eyes were on the Pharisee’s special guest and the first thing Jesus did was heal a man with dropsy in front of the Pharisee’s home even though it was the Sabbath. Now no one dared to dispute his actions, Continue reading Who is Invited?

Becoming a Neighbor

July 10, 2019

Which of these three, do you think was a neighbor to this man who fell into the hands the robbers?” [Luke 10:36]

 The parable of the Good Samaritan indicts good church people. At first the good pastor sees the individual in distress, but not wanting to get her hands dirty her eyes avoid contact and she walks by. Then a respectable church leader spots the individual and rushing to the next church meeting he avoids getting involved.  What happens next surprises the first hearers of these words, Continue reading Becoming a Neighbor

Thanks, but No Thanks

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

“Ah Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you.” [Jeremiah 1:6-7]

What is your excuse? Are you too young or too busy? Are you unskilled or overqualified? Are you just scared or believe you are just too old?  Jeremiah thought he was too young. Sarah thought she was too old.   Moses thought he wasn’t eloquent enough. Throughout scripture God calls people whose first response is, “Thanks, but no thanks, God.” Continue reading Thanks, but No Thanks

Are You Sure?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head… Follow me.” [Luke 9:58]

Jesus’ words can surprise and even offend us at times. After someone made this declarative statement to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus remarked, “But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  I hear in his words a deeper challenge. I hear Jesus saying, “Are you sure, really sure you want to follow me? Continue reading Are You Sure?

The Power of Your Story

“The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’” [Luke 8:38-39]

Healed and whole the man just wanted to be with Jesus. To travel with Jesus. To experience the transformation of others by Jesus.  Who wouldn’t want to be in Jesus’ entourage? Yet, Jesus said to the man, “return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” I can see the bubble above the man’s head, “Return home? Continue reading The Power of Your Story

The Building Blocks

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

“Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” [Romans 5:3b-5]

The Holy Spirit is at work in us, pouring God’s love generously into our hearts so that we can endure whatever troubles or celebrate whatever joys might come.  How have you experienced the Holy Spirit at work in your life? How has or does the Spirit fill you with love? The visual image of pouring in this passage is powerful for me. I can easily envision myself Continue reading The Building Blocks

Not Just an Event

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

“God will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.” [John 14:16b]

When you think of the Holy Spirit, what words or images come to mind for you? With Pentecost this coming Sunday, we may envision dancing flames or the effects of a mighty wind blowing things around a room. Words for the Holy Spirit found in Scripture are varied depending on the translator – Advocate, Counselor, Friend, Helper, Comforter, and Spirit of Truth. Whatever words or images come to mind for you, Continue reading Not Just an Event

May Be One

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

“The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be completely one.” [John 17:22-23a]

Our passage on Sunday is part of Jesus’ final prayer recorded in the Gospel of John before he was betrayed and arrested.  Jesus prays for those who will come to know God through his disciples.  Throughout this section of the prayer Jesus emphasizes his hope, “That they may be one.”  Yet, as those who have come to know Christ through the lineage of those who heard the good news through the disciples, we have failed miserably at oneness. Continue reading May Be One

Quick With Excuses?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

“Jesus said to the man who had been ill for thirty-eight years, ‘Do you want to be made well?’” [John 5:6]

Jesus’ question sounds absurd to me. Think about chronic pain that wears you down every day or a chronic condition that is debilitating, not for a month or so, but for thirty-eight years.  Of course, the man wants to be healed! But does he?  Change is hard. This man’s world would be turned upside down and inside out. He has spent 38 years poolside. No craft or profession. No 401K building up over the years. No job experiences other than waiting Continue reading Quick With Excuses?

It Takes Courage

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

“When Lydia and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.” [Acts 16:15]

Lydia was a merchant, a dealer of purple cloth, in a historical time when women had no status unless they were part of a male head of household. Yet, her story doesn’t mention a male business partner or husband. She courageously stands on her own Continue reading It Takes Courage