While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Hail, Master!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, why are you here?” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. – Matthew 26:47 – 50
Imagine not speaking for the first three years of your life. That’s exactly what this little boy nicknamed the “dopey one” had done. Born in Germany, this young man was slow in learning how to talk. That, combined with his tendency to whisper words softly to himself before saying them aloud, led the family maid to nickname him “der depperte” or the “dopey one.”
Throughout elementary school, many of his teachers thought he was lazy and wouldn’t make anything of himself.
When I was a teenager, I worked on a farm. It was twelve-hour workdays full of hay bales, cattle, and green tractor driving… lots and lots of green tractor driving. When plowing an empty field, I was told to follow the last line of dirt that the disc plow had made in the ground. There was a clear distinction between the new turned fresh dirt and the old dry topsoil, so it was easy to see. Being young and inexperienced, I followed that line as close as I could. When my boss pulled up to check on me, he said, “Son, why does it look like there’s a giant snake in my field?”
Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. – Psalm 51:7b
As I look out the window on a cold February morning, the ground is covered with a beautiful layer of snow. It reminds me of growing up in western New York where the snow began in October and lasted until April. One of my memories of the snow in New York was observing the snow plows splash gray salt and brown dirt across the gleaming white fields.
Lent is a time when we pause to reflect on the areas of our lives that have been stained by our sin, failings, and mistakes.
For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
Two men. Two conversations with God. Two choices of surrender. God used one man to give the Law; the other man was God’s fulfillment of the Law. In Exodus 3, God reveals Himself to Moses and calls him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses’ immediate response was “Who am I?”
During the season of Lent, we often hear about the theme of forgiveness. In my experience, we are much quicker to forgive others than we are to forgive ourselves.
I bet if we all tried, we could remember something we’ve said in the past that makes us cringe.
I think we all know what it feels like to be overwhelmed. I feel it often. I have a great job, two fantastic girls, a loving husband, lots of family, and many amazing friends. One could say that I’m extremely blessed, and I would agree. But with all of those wonderful people in my life comes responsibilities, obligations, hard times, fun times, busy times, etc.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, be compassionate and humble. – 1 Peter 3:8
When I met Lauren Allison in our Faith Journey 101 class several years ago, I knew immediately that Lauren would be an inspiration to me. What I didn’t anticipate was how close we would become in what turned out to be the last years of her young life…
You hear the guttural growl. You feel the icy stare. The lion bares its sharp teeth just before the chilling roar. There is no cage between you. Other lions slowly enter the scene, locked on to your every move. You don’t dare run. One move could trigger the hunt. But standing still seems foolish as they carefully move toward you…