Go to dark Gethsemane,all who feel the tempter’s power;your Redeemer’s con ict see,watch with him one bitter hour:turn not from his griefs awayteach us, Lord, how we should pray.
For some reason, our daughters became interested in the “expiration dates” on perishable food several years ago. I suspect they heard someone say “the milk has gone bad” or maybe they saw a news article about someone becoming sick because of expired pop tarts. Regardless, it has become their half-joking protocol to look for the expiration date on the packaging of nearly every item in the refrigerator. We lovingly tease them, knowing that the vast majority of food in America is safe today, and that we as good parents would never have expired potato chips in the pantry (hint of sarcasm!).
Grace, God’s amazing grace – there’s nothing more powerful or humbling to receive. When I think of grace, the words to a favorite hymn come to my mind:Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,that saved a wretch like me.I once was lost but, now I’m found,was blind but now I see.T’was grace that taught my heart to fear.And grace, my fears relieved;How precious did that grace appear,the hour I first believed!
I’ve had the privilege to watch some amazing teachers in Oklahoma. The ones who stand out the most in my mind are those who have changed the everyday environment of the students they teach. They welcome them into a classroom each day that has a different, higher set of standards than the outside world.
Lent is the time we remember the sacrifice that was made to give us life. Oftentimes I have found myself guilty of placing Christ up on the cross, being a part of the crowd chanting to crucify him. I begin to think of myself as a failure when I remember times in my life when I missed the mark Jesus has set for me. I feel somewhat broken, a disappointment that isn’t worthy of the love God gives me.
March 16, 2019 Daily Devotional
Be Thou My Vision
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father and I, Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart;
O King of glory, my treasure Thou art.
O King of glory, my victory won;
Rule and reign in me ’til Thy will be done;
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall;
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
A funny thing happened when I was a school principal and made a rare home visit. The teacher and I arrived at the home, which was dimly lit, so it took a few moments for our eyes to adjust to the room. When we could see clearly, we noticed that the living room was filled with bird cages, and there were birds of all sizes and shapes both inside and outside of cages. The mom greeted us and explained that she raised and sold birds and shipped them all over the country.
I once knew a couple that had been married for over 60 years. When I asked them to tell me the story of how they met and married, they looked at each other with a degree of embarrassment and then confessed to me that they eloped just two weeks after meeting. It was obvious that the beginning to the marriage was still a source of guilt in their lives. It turns out that their families were hurt by the quick marriage and it began their wedded life under a shroud of remorse. I was stunned that this couple who had such a beautiful and lengthy relationship was still carrying around shame. They were best friends for over 60 years, they were successful in business, they had wonderful daughters who dearly loved them, and they were close to all of their grandchildren. Despite all of this – they still felt guilty about eloping after only dating two weeks. Their story reminded me of the story of Lazarus:
“It feels like the end of the world!” Have you ever had that thought? I have, especially after a major loss… or what I perceived to be a ‘loss.’
An ice cream cone falls to the ground; a child becomes inconsolable. A teenager gets a bad grade at school; they’re devastated. An adult loses a job or a relationship; feelings of failure and shame take over. Over time, we look back at our reactions to those events and think, “If I only knew then what I know now…”
One of the most poignant days of my life was having to say goodbye to my Mom from a faraway country, knowing that it was not possible for us to make it back in time to see her in person before she passed from this life into life eternal. It all happened unexpectedly and very quickly. Thankfully I had an incredible visit with my Mom several weeks earlier. When I talked to her the night before we left, she was chipper, chatty, and expressed her love over and over.