I have a chronic, incurable illness. It causes a multitude of symptoms, with varying degrees in each person afflicted. The two main symptoms are pain and fatigue, sometimes mild, sometimes debilitating. A person’s ability for compassion and empathy only extends a certain distance beyond the end of his or her nose, and each person you know will have a different threshold for empathy. Some may be very sympathetic and genuinely want to hear how you are and how you are coping. Others may ask how you are, but don’t really want to know. There are some who are completely oblivious, and some who really don’t care. And then there are the ones (usually a veritable crowd) who think they understand your pain in the context of “everyone has problems (or pain, or gets tired, etc).” These are the hardest, for me, to have to deal with. And I rarely speak about my condition at length with anyone for two reasons. The first being there is only so much one personContinue reading »

I have heard it said that the first prayer God will hear from anyone is the prayer of repentance – a sinner acknowledging his sin and turning from it, and confessing the need for a savior who is Jesus Christ. But I cannot reconcile that with what I know about God. We know God loves us (John 3:16, For God so loved the world, emphasis mine). He sent Jesus to die for our sin and Peter tells us, “God is not slow in keeping His promise,” he wants everyone to be saved (2 Peter :9). I think saying that God won’t hear you until you repent makes Him sound cold and remote, and He is anything but cold and remote. Jesus is my best friend. That doesn’t seem like my friend, Jesus. He answered the prayer of the Gentile woman who asked for a miracle for her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28). God’s love and mercy are never more apparent than when we are at our lowest – scared, alone, desperate. It isContinue reading »

Perky Simone is on her honeymoon with Kirk, the man who she met in church a year ago. She married him even though more than a few signals came from the Lord that it wasn’t a God-approved union. Simone convinced herself that it couldn’t have been the Lord who’d advised her against Kirk. The two of them have had nothing but pleasurable times since becoming a couple. Kirk is tender, respectful and considerate of Simone’s needs and desires. He wines and dines her and gets on swell with her family. They love him. Day three of their honeymoon, Kirk’s true colors surface. After a late night supper, the newlyweds return to their hotel room. Out of the blue, a piercing slap lands on Simone’s cheek. Stunned, she places her hand on her face as she backs away in fear. Tears leap to Simone’s eyes. She screams out, “What’s the matter with you, Kirk?” He snarls, “I saw how you looked at that man at the table next to where weContinue reading »

How many folks have been dealt the crushing blows of disconnections from relationships, homelands, and jobs? Even when we initiate the disconnections it can be painful. Sometimes separations rip us in deep places. Yes, disconnections are often in our best interest, but that awareness doesn’t always lessen the hurts in our wounded hearts. When God draws His people to salvation, we disengage from some folks and some folks disengage from us. The Lord leads those who are His to separate from the world and its ways. Christ dwellers are often disliked, misunderstood and mocked. Initially, we tend to ache from such treatment. But oh glory, in process of time, the Lord God removes the sorrow and replaces it with happiness. Psalm 144: 15 – KJV, “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” Changing courses is a process. Adjustments can be unsettling — for a season. The more, though, that we’re willing and obedient to the will ofContinue reading »

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. James 1:13-14 The Lord does not tempt anyone to do wrong, but God does allow us to reap the fruit of our own unrighteous actions, and He uses that fruit of destruction to bring us to repentance. When we pursue our own desires apart from the will of God, we will inevitably reap the fruit of our evil desires. However, when we make a mess, let’s not blame God for suffering we have brought upon ourselves. Remember that even the knowledge of evil was a result of disobedience. Adam and Eve were created with only the knowledge of good, with pure hearts, but they let their desire to have the one thing that God forbid lure them into sin, and the knowledge of evil was born in their hearts. Even from the beginning they began toContinue reading »

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9 NKJV). Years ago, our sons Elijah, Luke and Gabriel loved it when their dad (Lee) came home from work and took them hiking through the woods near our home. As toddlers, the children tuckered-out easily and begged, “Daddy carry me, daddy please?” Gladly, he picked up Luke and held him in one arm and Gabriel in the other; but the oldest little guy Elijah walked alongside. Sashaying happily, Elijah often fell down; then repeated the process. I recall watching Lee as he patiently waited for Elijah to stand upright and begin following again. Sweet remembrances like those linger in my mind and when they do I think of our heavenly Father. I’m grateful we have a long-suffering Abba-Daddy who stands by in attendance, keeping watch as we stumble through life. To be honest, we need to humble ourselves quiteContinue reading »