Often when we think of pastors, we might associate the agrarian function of a shepherd who provides nourishment and physical guidance to his flock with the spiritual leadership of the local church office. When recently asked, “how does a pastor protect the flock?” I found myself initially thinking in terms of the appeal given by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:13, “Purge the evil person from among you,”—which presumably finds its foundation in the similar refrain found in Deuteronomy, “So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” The danger I began to experience in my mind as I mistook the intention of these passages was a tendency to over-anticipate evil within the camp. Whereas elders are called to deal swiftly with wolves who may be masquerading as sheep, I found myself focusing primarily on the threat of wolfl-y sheep. In other words, I had begun to view God’s people, his children, as the enemy.
Your brain is a powerful place.
It’s the command center of all that you think, feel, and do. That means all of the functions of your emotions, desires, perceptions, ideas, and memories take place inside your brain, which contains about 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion interconnections.
Strong Faith When Weak
I remember when I had a serious situation that I was praying about; it was a complicated medical diagnosis.
The doctor’s report shook my family to the core. Once we received the news, I immediately knew I needed to pull myself together and stand up fully in my role as mother and intercede on behalf of my son.
Although I was familiar with the word “gospel” growing up, I didn’t know what it meant. Despite sitting through countless Sunday morning services, the gospel itself was never fully articulated in context.
It makes sense that many people, even those who grew up in church, might have a muddied idea of the word. In our culture, there’s a wide array of meanings that are often attributed. It can be a music genre, a slang term for conveying something as important, or it can represent a generalized idea of religion.
Trauma. It’s sometimes as fast as lightning—a car careening, a gunshot echoing. Other times it’s a slow burn—repeated abuse or manipulation leaving us feeling out of control, ill-equipped, unsafe, or all the above.
But trauma always takes us by surprise. Something devastating happens, and we can’t stop it. But there are things we can do after the trauma, ways we can help ourselves heal.
I Trust You, Mom and Dad.
These words in the ears of any parent – whether spoken verbally or witnessed in their kids’ actions, light up the heart and make a mom or dad feel proud, doesn’t it?
Getting your kids to trust you is hard, and it gets harder the older and wiser they get.
In a society where youth run to everything and anything BUT their parents, when your child can trust you it’s the ultimate win as a parent. Let’s face it, we may not always be their first choice to share their hurts, pain, challenges, or joys, but every parent wants to be somewhere in the number.
A single image, from my first few visits to London, is impressed on my mind: the view from the top of an escalator in the larger Underground Tube stations. I remember standing looking at this enormous moving stairway, tilted at a frightening angle, inching slowly but steadily into the depths of London’s underground. Imagine gazing at hundreds of people on this downward trajectory into the belly of London.
This image of downward motion is one which is created by the book of Jonah in the first two chapters. Initially, Jonah goes down to the port of Joppa (1:3).
In fresh grief, well-meant words can sometimes wound.
Even now, I shake my head at the unhelpful comments I made as a young mom handing over a hot casserole and the painful comments said to me a few years later after my husband died. So when a radio host recently asked me for the three best words to tell someone in grief, I perked up.
Maybe it’s “I love you,” I thought as I waited for his answer. Those words sure comforted me as a new widow. Or maybe it’s “let me help.” Practical love is so needed when life falls apart.
Eternity – The Soul’s Destination and Life’s Wake Up Call
Sometimes this life seems like it will last forever. However, with death increasing all around us, you know that life is temporary. As I sit and meditate on God, He has pressed upon my heart something to share with you. I could not help but write a simple but strong reminder to you today. That is:
DO NOT FORGET ABOUT ETERNITY.
“Forget not all His benefits.”
It is a delightful and profitable occupation to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints, and to observe his goodness in delivering them, his mercy in pardoning them, and his faithfulness in keeping his covenant with them. But would it not be even more interesting and profitable for us to remark the hand of God in our own lives? Ought we not to look upon our own history as being at least as full of God, as full of his goodness and of his truth, as much a proof of his faithfulness and veracity, as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before?