Friday, February 29, 2008

Celebrating God's Goodness

As I got a loaf of sweet bread out of the freezer to take with me to Ladies Bible Study this week, I thought of more and more things to take. Why not make it a party, I wondered, like I mentioned in my Feb 22 post? So we did. It was sweet--not only the treats to eat but the time of sharing too.

We went around the table and shared some of the ways that God had helped us in the past. It was so inspiring.

We could have done that without the goodies, but it did make it more special—a real celebration of God’s goodness—like a party.

As we shared a theme seemed to emerge. One lady summed it up with these words from Psalm 147:11:
“the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their trust in His
unfailing love.”
At the end we all agreed it would be a good thing to do every year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Resurrection Part 3 - Life on the Edge

"And for us why do we endanger ourselves every hour?" Paul asked in 1 Corinthians 15:30.

Just being a Christian was dangerous in that time and place -- as it still is in many places. Paul and his coworkers were teaching others to become followers of Jesus Christ. So they were in even more danger.

It seems in this passage to be telling us that they did not relish life on the edge. They were not crazy nor did they have a death wish. They were normal people. They would probably have preferred to work regular hours and spend the evenings at home with their feet up.

So why did they do it? Why did they endanger their lives to tell others the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and on the third day He rose from the dead?

Because they really knew and believed that it is true!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Let's Celebrate God's goodness

The Ladies Bible study I attend just finished studying the book of Esther.*

It tells the story of Purim, the celebration that commemorates when Esther and Mordecai helped to deliver their people, the Jews, from almost certain annihilation at the hands of evil Haman.

Esther and Mordecai decreed that Purim “should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never cease to be celebrated by the Jews, nor should the memory of them die out among their descendents.” Esther 9:28

I was struck by the contrast between that wonderful deliverance and the terrible persecution that the Jewish people have suffered throughout much of their history since. What amazing tenacity to go on celebrating Purim even when enduring almost constant persecution.

Can you imagine celebrating Purim during the Holocaust for instance? It must have felt impossible. But for those who were able to, it might have helped keep at least a flicker of hope and faith alive during that tragic time.

We Christians also need to remember and even celebrate the good things God has done for us.

It is so easy to forget and then lose hope when hard times come. Or to become proud when good things happen because we forget God and think we did it.

I suggested, and the ladies agreed, that next week at Bible study we take time to share with each other some of the ways that God has helped us in the past. Maybe we should make it a party!

*The book of Esther is sometimes referred to as the only book in the Bible that does not mention God. “Jewish philosophy and scriptural commentators believe that the reason for the omission of God's name is in order to emphasize the very point that God remained hidden throughout this series of events, but was nonetheless present and played a large role in the outcome of the story. Furthermore, this lesson can be taken into consideration on a much larger scale: Throughout Jewish history, and especially in the present Jewish diaspora, God's presence has been felt more at certain times than at others. Megillat Esther (and the omission of God's name in it) serves to show that although God may not be conspicuously present at times, He nevertheless plays (and has played) an important role in everyone's lives and in the future of the Jewish nation.”
Read more about Purim at:
And for an inspiring story of celebrating Purim despite persecution see:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

As High As The Heavens

It was one of those days. My computer seemed possessed. I got so mad I ended up yelling at it and even crying in frustration.

As I sat praying and trying to get refocused, I looked down and saw the words "Proxima Centauri". I could hardly believe my eyes. Where did that come from I wondered.

Proxima Centauri is the nearest star to our solar system. It's about 250,000,000,000 miles away (or 40,000,000,000,000 km).

I learned about it last year when I wrote an article about God's love being so big that it reaches as high as the heavens are above the earth.

Did you know there are more than one hundred billion galaxies in the universe, each containing hundreds of billions of stars? In fact scientists think the universe may be trillions of light years across (one light year is 9,460,000,000,000 km), or even infinite in size. It’s just mind boggling.

Was I seeing a vision? No, it was just the label on my keyboard shelf. I don't usually have it pulled out as far as I did that day (it's a long story) so I don't usually see the label. But, I do think God was showing me that to remind me that His love is still as big as it ever was even though I didn't feel it right then.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Embrace baby steps!

It is ok to be a beginner.

Everyone is delighted to see a baby’s first steps.

As an adult, it is humbling, and can feel humiliating, to be a beginner. I feel clueless.

But I don’t need to focus on that.… Instead I can embrace the delight of taking baby steps. God sees. I am His child and He is delighted.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Resurrection Part 2 - So how would it change us …

to really believe in and understand the resurrection?

The disciples praised God continually at the temple. Does that mean we need to stay at church all day everyday? Chances are we will need to do other things now and then.

Would we go about our lives with greater peace, love and joy; and be ready to ‘give the reason for the hope we have in us’?

Hope. We would have hope. That this life is not all there is. There is a better one to come. And meanwhile, even in this life, we can trust that all things really do work together for good.

And hopefully, we would be less likely to get impatient and critical when we are held up and hassled.

Because we would have a better handle on what matters most.

We would agree with the Apostle Paul when he said:
“I consider everything a loss
compared to the surpassing greatness
of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,”
Philippians 3:8 (NIV)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Resurrection Part 1 - Do we really believe in the resurrection?

“And they stayed continually at the temple praising God.” Luke 24:53

Before this they were hiding in fear. What changed? Jesus opened their minds and explained from the Scriptures about the resurrection and what it meant for them. (v.46-49)

How would it change our lives if we really believed in and understood the resurrection?

We may believe that it happened. We celebrate it once a year at Easter and sometimes sing a song about it on Sundays. But do we really believe it with every fiber of our being? When the disciples did, they were changed. They went from hiding in fear to publicly praising God. And not just on special occasions or at a big rally, but continually.

Let’s ask God to open our minds even more than He already has and help us to learn from the Scriptures all that the resurrection of Jesus Christ means for us.