Fear of the Lord

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring stand in awe of the Lord, all you offspring of Israel.” [Psalm 22:23]

Throughout scripture we are told again and again to “fear the Lord,” as we are in this verse of Psalm 22. Yet, in 1 John 4:18 we read, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment.” Holding the psalmist’s words and John’s words in tension gives us a fuller understanding of what the phrase “fear of the Lord” actually means. Continue reading Fear of the Lord

Getting Your Attention

Monday, March 11, 2019

Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great site, and see why the bush is not burned up.” [Exodus 3:3]

How does God get your attention?  I haven’t had a burning bush, but the beauty of nature certainly gets my attention and focuses my thoughts on God.  I marvel at the natural life that thrives in and around the pond that was created in my backyard. Over twenty birds were frolicking in the streams the other morning and they seemed just delighted. Continue reading Getting Your Attention

God Hears Our Cries

Sunday, March 10, 2019
“The the Lord said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have hear their cry on  account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them.’”

[Exodus 3:7-8a]
In the first chapter of Exodus we read, “Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.”

The new king feared the numerous, Israelites, so he positioned taskmasters over them and instructed them start to systemically oppressing the Israelites. Even so, the Israelites continued to thrive. Years past and the king died, only to have a new Pharaoh placed over them. Then the text tells us that God heard the cries of the Israelites. How comforting is it for you to know that God hears our cries? Continue reading God Hears Our Cries

Led into the Wilderness

Saturday, March 9, 2019

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” [ Luke 4:1-2a]

Jesus had just received this incredible blessing, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Full of the Holy Spirit, I am sure Jesus was ready to begin his ministry in earnest. Yet, our text tells us that what happened next, for Jesus was to sojourn into a wilderness filled with temptations. Have you ever received accolades or been given high praise? Continue reading Led into the Wilderness

Lead Me, O Lord

Friday, March 8, 2019

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead, me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of My salvation; for you I wait all day long.” [Psalm 25:1, 4-5]

You might remember a time before google maps, Waze or other electronic navigational helps. I know I do. I used to rely on the Thomas Guide to get to places that I had never been before.  But, sometimes even the Thomas Guide couldn’t help. So, I’d stop and ask for help, usually at a gas station or convenience store near where I thought I was going. What about you? Continue reading Lead Me, O Lord

I Lift Up My Soul

Thursday, March 7, 2019

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul” [Psalm 25:1]

How do you lift your soul up to God? Do you set aside time as you begin your day or maybe as you end your day or even more frequently? The rhythm of my daily life begins and ends with lifting up my soul to God. I also do so every time I eat or when something in nature draws my attention. I have been known to spontaneously blurt out loud, Continue reading I Lift Up My Soul

Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 – Ash Wednesday

“Then Moses ordered Israel to set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went for three days into the wilderness and found no water.” [Exodus 15:22]

Ash Wednesday signals the beginning of our trek through the wilderness of Lent. We will walk with the Israelites as they sojourn through the wilderness lead by Moses. It doesn’t take long for anyone in the wilderness to voice their complaints. It’s too hot or too cold depending on the season. It’s too barren, lacking water and food.  Continue reading Ash Wednesday

Mountaintop Experiences

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

“Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up to the mountain to pray… On the next day, when they had come away from the mountain, a great crowd met him.” [Luke 9:28,37]

Do you remember your last mountain top experience? When God’s presence was tangible, palpable, enlivening, or awe inspiring? I have had an abundance of mountaintop experiences and like Peter, I admit that I want to memorialize the experience in some way. Confession, I have mementos from many of my mountaintop experiences (a rock, a t-shirt, a drawing, a writing), even from those that happened years and years ago. Like the disciples, I often don’t want the mountaintop experience to end, because the figurative valley below is always just too full of demands. Our passage this week begins with Jesus taking Peter, John and James up the mountain to pray, but it ends with Jesus bringing them back down from the mountain, right into a sea of need and people. Continue reading Mountaintop Experiences

Love Your Enemies

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

“If you love those who love you what credit is that to you?” [Luke 6:32]

These words set the stage for Jesus’ challenge to come, for it is easy to love those who love us.  It is easy to love those who shower us with praise and make us feel good. Think Sopranos (a TV depiction of a crime family), even those who perpetrate all sorts of crimes against others, love their own families. So, Jesus doesn’t settle for what is easy, implying that to love only those who love you is not the whole gospel.  Jesus says the gospel is more expansive and demanding, so “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” But, how do we do this is?  Continue reading Love Your Enemies

A Wake-up Call

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

“Blessed are you who are poor; for yours is the kingdom of God… But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” [Luke 6:20b, 24]

The passage this Sunday is known as the sermon on the plain, for the text says that “Jesus came down to them and stood on a level place.” A crowd gathered just as was recorded in Matthew in the text known as the Sermon on the Mount, which begins with the Beatitudes or the litany of “Blessed are the…” Luke takes a different tack, because he doesn’t only address those who are blessed, but offers a warning to those who think they are blessed.  Woe to the rich. Woe to the full. Woe to those who laugh now. Woe to those spoken well of. The “woe” acts as a wake-up call Continue reading A Wake-up Call