Carrying the Cross

Hidden Heroes of Easter – Simon of Cyrene Part Four of our Hidden Heroes of Easter Series A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. Mark 15:21 (NIV) One sentence. That’s all. Simon of Cyrene is mentioned in three of the gospels, but this is all we know: his name, where he was from, the names of his sons, and what he was forced to do. When he was chosen as cross bearer, Simon was just “passing by on his way in from the country.” Probably not his plan for the day. He did not volunteer for this task. In fact, the word […] Read more »

You Want My What?

Hidden Heroes of Easter – Donkey Owner Part Three of our Hidden Heroes of Easter Series  He sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a [donkey] tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” Luke 19:30-31 (NIV) Singer Michael Card tells the story of his grandfather in the song “For F.F.B.” It seems he was always giving his coat away to someone who needed it more than he did. When I remember that line from the song, I always smile thinking about this South Carolina preacher who couldn’t help […] Read more »

Who Am I Pleasing?

Hidden Heroes of Easter – Mary Part Two of our Hidden Heroes of Easter Series Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3 (NIV) There’s just no pleasing some people. Folks who are so unhappy inside they feel compelled to find fault with everyone around them. Have you known anyone who seems to be permanently dissatisfied with you and anything you do? Hard to be with them, isn’t it? No matter how we try to please them—or at least not anger them—it backfires. We often end up stifling our true character just to keep from […] Read more »

When God’s Plan Does Not Look Remotely Like Yours

Hidden Heroes of Easter – Lazarus Part One of our Hidden Heroes of Easter Series Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. John 11:5-6 (NIV, 1984) I was mad. No, mad is too mild. Furious is a better word. Ray and I had been married less than a year, and my college graduation was quickly approaching. I had proudly attended his graduation from West Point the year before—and even had the great privilege of pinning his 2nd Lieutenant bars. Now, Ray would not even be attending my graduation. What! You see, the army decided to send Ray on a mission for three months. And the army did not […] Read more »

Full of Grace and Truth

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (NIV, emphasis mine) Grace. It’s a word that humbles. Defined as “unmerited favor.” In my mind, I picture the prodigal son finally stumbling home, and his Father running toward him. Did a guy who had grabbed his inheritance prematurely and squandered it in spurious behaviors deserve this? A father who hiked up his robe and ran to greet him? No word of condemnation on that dad’s lips? No lecture. No reminders of how deeply the son had hurt him. Nope. Just arms clasped tightly, embracing, weeping, perhaps at the joy […] Read more »

Stop. Look. Admire. Repeat.

How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all. Psalm 104:24a (NIV) I checked the time on my watch. Dad had been out on our deck for two hours. I’d been in and out several times, making sure he had coffee and was still comfortable. Again, I stepped out to the deck. “Hey, Dad, want to come back in now?” “Look at the trees, honey. They are so tall,” he said with wonder in his voice. Then he seemed to hear my question and answered, “I’m fine right here, thank you.” And he was. He sat out on our deck hour after hour, coffee cup beside him, looking. Admiring. Marveling. You see, for years the poor circulation in his legs had […] Read more »

Random Advice on My Birthday Week

It’s hard to believe another decade has flown by. What? Wasn’t I a tiny girl, a teenager, a young mama just a few short years ago? Yet, here I am. A grandmother of five and about to be an age I always thought was “old.” Now I realize it’s still quite young. 😊 I’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and today I’d like to share random pieces of hopefully helpful advice. Pull up a chair and let’s talk about life. More is Not Always Better Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15 (NIV) I’ve lived long enough to notice that people with tons of […] Read more »

How God Treats Anxious People

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. Psalm 94:19 (NIV, 1984) Dear Anxious One, Do you beat yourself up—and even get anxious about your anxiety? Do you read verses like Philippians 4:6 (do not be anxious about anything) and feel like a total failure? Do you find it hard to explain to people that you don’t look for anxiety … it looks for you and grips you and shakes you like a pit bull, not letting go? Just let your eyes read Psalm 94:19 slowly … with wonder. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. This, dear friend, does not sound like a God who is angry with the anxious guy who wrote Psalm 94. […] Read more »

Invisible

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Proverbs 14:31 Yes, I know it’s pretty ragged. And probably needs to be washed more often than it is, but I’m afraid it will fall apart. The zipper is coming unmoored and needs to be sewn back into place. It’s splotchy in spots and decidedly unattractive. But it is warm. Super warm. When you live in New England and you love walking outdoors in below freezing weather, warm trumps attractive. At least that’s what I believed one February day when I put this jacket on and headed to my favorite ocean town. The day started out beautifully. It was a Sweet Selah Day for me: a day […] Read more »

First

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35 I don’t know about you, but I’m easily distracted. I walk downstairs to start the laundry and notice a dirty glass and saucer in the family room. I put down the laundry basket, pick up said glass and saucer, and take them upstairs to the kitchen, where I wipe the counter while making myself a cup of tea. While the tea is brewing, I remember a card I need to get out to the mailbox before the mailman comes. I grab the card, look for stamps, and then realize I never started the laundry. Or drank my […] Read more »