Recently, we learned of yet another mass shooting, the likes of which have increased considerably. We certainly don’t understand the full scope of why people resort to such horrendous measures of cruelty and hatred. At present, the family members of the most recent victims of a mass shooting, in Oregon, likely feel that their grief is insurmountable. But we know that God heals sorrow. I can’t wholly imagine the heart pain that loved ones experience when their family members and friends are no longer present here for them to enjoy. And the pain is particularly enhanced when acts of violence remove those whom they love. Healing is a process and it often happens in stages. No two people grieve alike. My heart goes out to people who have losses to the family dynamic and the interruption of valued friendships. My thoughts extend to the children who will grow up without their parents. Their realities are significantly altered. Their fragile beings are shaken to the core. What a treasured relief thatContinue reading »

“He could work no miracle there, except from curing a few who were ill by laying hands on them” – Mark 6:5 It is stark comment, made by Mark who had witnessed so many signs of power and wonder from Jesus, that in Jesus’ hometown he could not perform any miracles. Matthew softens the stark nature of the comment, in his Gospel, by saying the Jesus would not perform any miracles. But, why not? What prevented Jesus from yet more glorious displays of the power of God? Many detractors of Christianity, in their woeful lack of understanding of faith, point to these passages as evidence of the limited power or, even worse, mercy, of Jesus. Such an unfortunate rendering! Miracles are glimpses of the Kingdom of God and the wondrous power which permeates Kingdom of Heaven. Miracles are the power of God breaking into our realm. However, as page after page of the Bible teaches us, this power will only come us if we have faith and are open toContinue reading »

Robust laughter pleasantly interrupts our glum moods — It came suddenly, driving a stake in the heart of depression — Yes, it triumphed over the gloomy drama A new table has been set with lively and vibrant dishes — The cups are full of delicious juices Opposition reared its ugly head — Merry hearts laughed in the face of adversity — Oh, yes they did We’re now feeding on ample portions of glee — Smiles are spread all around the table — “Pass the butter, please.” The Bread of life occupies front and center giving us plentiful joy at this fine dining experience with laughter on abundant display We swallow, digest and enjoy the appetizers, full courses and — yummy the giggling desserts that tickle our fancies — The hilarity is contagious We’re present at a laughter rainbow spread Colorful rays of hope are indeed on the menu. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: . . . John 6:35 – KJV Then was our mouthContinue reading »

Rejection arrived in painful doses — We didn’t order the prescriptions; they manifested anyway We gulp from the grip that rejection dispenses — It feels like a stranglehold — until . . . In season, hope magnifies and speaks — “Uncover your heads, dear ones — Rewards are packaged in the rejection episodes “Lessons are contained in the properties of your wounds — Lessons to prepare for new and pleasant victories “Hope is here to “arrest” rejection and to teach from what it delivered “Collect yourselves — Straighten your drooping shoulders — Stand erect with heads up and know that there are indeed escape routes “Get ready to ride the splendid tides of relief and freedom — Surfs up!” Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, . . . Hebrews 6:19 – KJV

Grief is at the door. No invitation was extended so why is it at our door? Why is it a necessity? Why the “rude” interruption into our blissful lives? Grief enters. We have no choice about its presence for this season in our journey. Oh, grief, we implore you to delay your strikes at the core of our hearts. Silence is the “reply.” Instead, it lowers the “hammer” that pounds to the core of our beings. Tears flow as our bodies quiver with sorrow. We plummet in depths of depression. This must be until … Lo, we see slivers of light in the midst of the shadows. As we focus, it broadens and breaks the yokes that attempted to “strangle” our steadfast postures. Coping mechanisms kick in and we’re encouraged. Jesus, you’re a rest for our weary souls. Your presence is water in our dry lands. Yes, living water to quench our parched thirst Thank you! We’re anchored in hope and assurance that grief shall exit in this trying timeContinue reading »

No one has ever, or will, ever suffer more than Jesus. Isaiah called Him “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” Isaiah 53 is speaking of Jesus 700 years before His birth. The Bible tells us that God’s plan from “the foundation of the world” was Jesus Christ as our Savior; the whole Bible is the story of Jesus; the fall of man, the payment for that sin, and the glorious return of our triumphant King of kings and Lord of lords. “He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and thatContinue reading »

In some denominations, the wives of pastors are called “First Ladies.” Often, people perceive those roles as glamorous, and there are some women who covet being wives of pastors for reasons that aren’t necessarily for the love of God. The positions do have their “perks,” but the true roles of the wives of pastors are to love God first, and to support their husbands in the homes and in the missions assigned by God. When the marital unions complement the calls of ministries, those are indeed harmonious placements. Positive matrimonial team choices benefit in manifold ways. Outside the realms of balance, the wives of pastors can be lonely and neglected women. There have even been reports of them being abused by their husbands. Misunderstanding the wives of pastors is another issue of concern. Some church members knowingly and unknowingly put stress on them. There are folks who have unreasonable expectations of pastors, their wives and families. Inconsideration comes in to play in various circumstances. Occasions manifest when some folks crossContinue reading »

Orange County is the locale for the edible meeting. The orchard folks have been looking forward to the oral feast. The summit was called by the fruit delegation to address the increased disconnect between fruits and vegetables. The fruits earnestly desire a better relationship with the vegetable community. Attendees pour into the Strawberry Field Arena. Early participants snatch the prime front seats. Turnip, cauliflower and watermelon rows fill up quickly. Bananas peel in and slide by grape clusters. Veggies roll in and take seats across the aisle from the fruit ensembles. Peas and carrots are side by side joined by green beans. The row is plenty colorful with the combined mixes. Lights are lowered. The fruity speech is about to begin. Honey Dew Melon strides center stage and approaches the lectern. He speaks in love with eloquence about the need for unity. Initially, all in attendance aren’t on board, but as the speech continues, nods throughout the assembly are observed. Honey Dew emphasizes that the body has a need forContinue reading »

Amber and her family have moved to Evergreen Lane in Tampa, Florida. Geographically, they love it but emotionally their hearts are deeply attached to the east coast where extended family remains. Job duties called Trent, Amber’s father, to Tampa; responsibly, he answered the workplace need. In the laundry room, pony-tailed Monica, clothed in a red and white polka dot sundress, hums along with the low playing classical music on the radio. She taps her flip flop clad narrow foot to the tune of the soothing music. Smiling as she folds Trent’s assorted basketball uniform shorts, Monica thinks of his passion for the game. “That husband of mine loves his basketball nights.” Dressed snappily in her blue denim capris and tie-died tee shirt, lithe Amber enters the laundry room. “What’d you say, Mom?” She rests her three-fingered hand on the warm dryer. How’d that hand matter come to be? Amber was born minus her pinky and index fingers. Monica cheerfully answers, “Oh, I was absorbed about your dad and his basketballContinue reading »