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Random Vicissitudes

Most people understand – at least in a theoretical sense – how quickly life can change. In the two months since I last posted, the silence hasn’t come about due to a lack of blogging material. No, no, no. Furthermore, every single day without a post brought a deeper sense of unease … the pattern of my life seeming slightly upended! Red-Pencil

But the respite from my daily pattern was necessary and welcome … necessary because life demanded I attend other matters and welcome because it freed me (somewhat) from my irrational obsession to slavishly maintain daily posts – no matter what! With each day that passed, my figurative pencil grew more insistent and red-faced. Much to my surprise, people continued to drop by and read previous posts. (I am gratefully humbled by your interest.) Continue Reading →

Mighty To Save

Everyone needs compassion
A love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me

Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

The lyrics above are the first stanza to a song written by award-winning lyricist and contemporary Christian vocalist Laura Story. The song is titled Mighty To Save.power-of-forgiveness_tListening today to the statements of family members in South Carolina addressing the young man who murdered their loved ones during a Wednesday evening Bible study, I heard these people express willing forgiveness for the murderer and a steadfast refusal to be consumed with the kind of hate the perpetrator’s deed demonstrated. Continue Reading →

Before Forever After

A recent television show, titled Forever, offered the intriguing tale of a man who experiences a kind of immortality. He’s a couple hundred years old and if he dies or is killed, he returns. The premise had promise but earlier this month, after just one season Forever was cancelled. (I suppose when it comes to episodic television, there’s no such thing as Forever … unless it’s Law & Order.)foreverFrom the moment we’re born, it seems we consider ourselves invincible. It’s in our nature to view the world through what I would call forever eyes. As I’ve noted before on this blog, C. S. Lewis explained it this way:  “… we were made for another world.” Because we were made for another world, our eyes want to envision forever, our fingertips ache to touch forever, our hearts long to connect with forever. Each of these impulses is innate.

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In Days Gone By

Most people, at some time or another in their lives, have known the crushing weight of aloneness … not only because their current circumstances appear bleak but also because it seems God isn’t there, His silence baffles and depresses! In Job chapter 29, the long-suffering Job laments his loneliness and yearns for previous days (verse 2) “when God watched over me.

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

Having progressed more than halfway through Job’s saga, we can begin to intuit from his remarks that he’s adjusting to his diminished state. He notes in the early verses of the chapter how God had richly blessed him … he and God had experienced a precious friendship (verse 4). Continue Reading →

Not A Sour Note

Ever since we first viewed the 2007 film Bella, I’ve paid attention to Eduardo Verástegui and the projects with which he’s been involved. Bella tells the story of an international soccer star (José played by Verástegui) whose life takes a sharp turn that abruptly ends the man’s career. As the movie begins, he’s working as a cook in a restaurant.eduardo-verastegui-jose-in-bella-2007-wallpaper_1280x1024_20488Lest I ruin the pleasure you’d have in watching this film, I won’t provide more details. It is well worth viewing. The movie earned multiple awards and honors, and though it didn’t fare well in reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, audiences liked it well enough to reward the film with RT’s Golden Tomato award. Continue Reading →

Where Is Wisdom?

When it comes to Wisdom, The Book of Job comprises one of five books of the Old Testament loosely referred to with the subheading wisdom literature. While Job has its historical context, the foundational questions about God and man, about Creation and the nature of evil and suffering, form the book’s decidedly philosophical tilt. This book is a serious conversation between the Creator and His created ones.

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

Following up on yesterday’s post about The Principal Thing, this post continues my Sunday discussions about Job with chapter 28 as today’s focus. Given the chapter’s overall flow, it complements yesterday’s post nicely.
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A Legacy of Integrity

What do you do when a man maintains his innocence in the face of persistent accusations? In wartime, combatants are conditioned to undergo extensive interrogation without blurting out any secrets. Name, rank and serial number but nothing more. For the title character in The Book of Job, he continues in chapter 27 to argue he’s a man of integrity. Come on, my friends, my comforters! You may waterboard me but I’ll give you the same exact answers! My torment isn’t because of wrongdoing!

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

An interesting change has taken place though. Bildad, the last comforter who accused Job, spoke in chapter 25 and his speech was brief. The other comforters seem to have lost their vigor or have become weary of Job’s unwillingness to admit wrongdoing. Has Job convinced them he’s a righteous man? Or have they simply done with the discourse and backing away from their friend in anticipation of a lightning strike targeted at Job? Continue Reading →

Looking for Good News

All of us appreciate hearing Good News. Am I right?! When a person has waited on Good News the better part of fifty years, it can’t come too soon. Nearly a year ago, I posted about my good friend Joseph Wood who has been researching the details of his parentage, having been abandoned as an infant and found wrapped in a blanket-lined basket, mere hours after his 1965 birth.

JosephWood June

Joseph and June, 2015

Joseph’s delightful story has now made its way to the pages of the Chicago Tribune where it will (hopefully) garner attention and lead (at long last) to a reunion with the family of his birth. (Thanks to Mary Schmich for kindly featuring Joseph’s story!)

There’s already a basket-load of Good News related to Joseph’s story … even as he was abandoned, he was lovingly placed where he’d be found, he was lovingly adopted, he was nurtured in a loving home and all along the way, God had His hand on the lad – who grew into a man, husband, father, as well as a respected and admired friend who currently serves the State of Arkansas as our Deputy Secretary of State. Continue Reading →

The Human Story

Everyone has a story to tell. Life doesn’t occur in a vacuum and although the details of one’s life may seem mundane, even boring, other people don’t always share that view. Yesterday’s poem-of-the-day email from Academy of American Poets featured a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning begins “O Dreary life!” we cry, “O dreary life!” Who among us hasn’t felt that identical fatigue?story 2Stories energize us, convince us our personal experiences aren’t isolated … it’s comforting to know other people have felt the very same emotions as we do. A person boards a plane, train, or bus and starts a conversation that is often summed as:  this is my story, this is who I am. Each aspect of one’s story sets a basis for common ground, our points of connection with one another. Continue Reading →

Naming the Name of Jesus

A little boy needs his daddy. When birthdays roll around, he feeds on his daddy’s presence … the grown man modeling for the young one how to navigate through the normal events of life. For a boy in primary school whose daddy is half a world away, an extended absence of more than thirty months represents a significant chunk of the child’s life. Knowing daddy is wrongly imprisoned causes a level of anxiety a little boy should never have to endure.abedini-pastor-saeed-abedini-and-their-two-young-children-in-this-undated-family-photoThe boy is Jacob Abedini whose father Pastor Saeed Abedini has been detained in an Iranian prison since 2012. Back in January, President Obama met with Abedini’s wife and two children; he assured them Saeed’s release was a “top priority” for him and his administration. Continue Reading →

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