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Jonah’s World

Heavy-hearted today. Writer Marvin Olasky has posted a sobering article on the World Magazine site titled Blindsided. It’s a post that won’t show up in print until their July 11, 2015 edition. The article was posted early this morning (1 a.m.) prior to the Supreme Court announcement.World-1Olasky shares the heart-wrenching details of a San Francisco church congregation that was established in 1997. City Church began with about 30 people and a pastor whose vision it was to be salt and light in a community that has been compared to the ancient (and evil) city of Nineveh where God sent Jonah, the Old Testament prophet. Continue Reading →

Fashioned In Clay

The youngest witness of Job’s ongoing agony and complaint has now made himself known in Chapter 32 of The Book of Job. Last week I posted about Elihu’s first comments. He’s a young guy and he admits he’s been listening to Job and the three comforters, and has heard their explanations for Job’s suffering.

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

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

In Chapter 33, Elihu goes on speaking. Elihu explains how Job has been calling for a judge to whom he can present his case and make his appeal. In essence, Elihu tells Job, I’m the man you want! Elihu establishes his common ground with Job, saying he also had been formed out of clay. With thoughtful arguments, Elihu will offer judgment on Job’s complaints. Continue Reading →

Spring Blooms

Though I ended up working past dark (good thing I’m not afraid of the dark!), I completed my garden work this evening. All those tomato and pepper plants are safely ensconced in the soil – surrounded by a generous helping of Miracle-Gro garden soil – and ready to drink in the rain my Beloved tells me is expected overnight.2015-05-05 21.26.35

While I was working in the garden, my Beloved was also busy outdoors, spiffing up the shrub and flower beds around the house’s perimeter. When we next spoke, he surprised me … he had cut a stalk from the azalea bushes on the north side of our house and presented it to me! (See above picture.) 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 →

He Is Risen Indeed!

In its historical perspective, Passover (Pesach) is a week-long Jewish celebration to remember the liberation of the Israeli nation from their Egyptian captors. For clear understanding, the Book of Exodus (the literal meaning of the word Exodus is “going out“) offers an easy-to-read narrative that relates Moses requesting Pharaoh to “let my people go” out of Egypt where they had become slaves.cc_risen

The concept of Passover (with its spotless lamb) came years earlier in Genesis 22 where God instructed Abraham to take the son of promise (Isaac) and “offer him there as a burnt offering …” As Abraham and Isaac traveled to a particular mountain, Isaac observed they had fire and wood but no lamb. Abraham replied prophetically:  “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.Continue Reading →

Crossroad of Church and State

Hatred is an insidious emotion. The recent massacre at a Kenyan university underscores hatred’s indiscriminate power to destroy the innocent. With a death toll of nearly 150, the pre-dawn terror attack focused on non-Muslim students, setting professed Muslims free. Certainly, hatred with a religious component is even more insidious because the perpetrators justify their actions by claiming religious zeal.

Kenya1

FROM: http://tiny.cc/rhilwx

The religious leaders in the first century were masters at stirring up the Hebrew people. As Luke 22:47-53 notes, a crowd (mob?) had come under the darkness of night to where Jesus had retreated to pray. In the crowd (leading the crowd?) were the “chief priests and officers of the temple and elders.” As they seized Jesus to take Him away, He observes how He’s been teaching “day after day in the temple” and yet “you did not lay hands on me.Continue Reading →

Give Me Jesus

From scripture, we know the events of Holy Week began on Palm Sunday when a throng of people welcomed Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. While He rode on the foal of a donkey, the celebrants took palm leaves to lay on the path the donkey walked. They were also setting their garments along the path, rejoicing in Jesus’ coming.holyweekEvery day of Holy Week, Jesus spent His hours in the Temple and every night of Holy Week, He went outside the city gates to the Mount of Olives where He spent hours in prayer as well as in talking with His disciples. Continue Reading →

A True Fan of Eternal Life

Wandering – virtually – around the worldwide web this week, I stumbled upon (or maybe the more accurate term would be tumblr-ed upon) a post dedicated to “fans of eternal life.” Certainly, the intriguing intro here compelled me to find out what this Eternal Life Fan Club was all about.

MtVernonPA

FROM: http://ivymcallister.hubpages.com/hub/WDED#

It should go without saying, I am a fan of eternal life! Just yesterday, I referred to a future reunion (in Eternity) that we anticipate having with many of our friends and loved ones. I’ve posted about my views on Eternity numerous times in this space. More than once, I’ve quoted the words of C. S. Lewis from his book The Weight of Glory:

“… if we are made for heaven, the desire for our proper place will be already in us, but not yet attached to the true object, and will even appear as the rival of that object.” 

Because I understand I’m made for heaven though tied to this mortal body, my desire and heart’s yearning is for that “proper place” to which I belong. But there’s a balance. I don’t fear death, but as long as life is in me, I will clutch Life joyfully and without apology. I think it’s accurate to say I’m a fan of both this life and the one to come.

Continue Reading →

Can The Dress Stop A Bullet?

Humans are visual creatures. If ever anyone doubted it, the wildfire blaze of an internet meme (such as this week’s #TheDress) should immediately set those doubts to rest. Personally, whatever color it is/was, I thought it hideous. (I’m partial to pants.)jacksonFor part of today and yesterday, my attention was elsewhere and I missed most of this hubbub. Then I noticed the above picture on my friend’s FaceBook timeline. I read the tumblr post and Twitter’s trending list of hashtags and caught up.

I moved on quickly … and found myself roped in by another question:  how many water balloons will it take to stop a bullet? Now come on, wouldn’t you find it much more interesting to get the answer to this question? Funny enough, this question continued the previous meme’s theme (see picture below).

BlueBalloonsNow you would think these are blue balloons, right? They sure look blue to me … but alas, someone’s playing tricks, because look at the picture below. If you laid one image over the other, you’d have no doubt these are the same balloons and the same picture.WhiteBalloons

Comparing these two balloon pictures, I’m not sure I understand it myself. On the worldwide web, there are hundreds of explanations (scientific and otherwise) to explain our different perceptions of imagery and given #TheDress phenomenon, everyone and his mother seems to have weighed in, so there’s no point for me to do that here.

Continue Reading →

Making Room

Christmas 2014! We are blessed far more than we could ever deserve! The Christ-Child who became the crucified Savior is the biggest and best blessing of all.

gustave_dore_nativity

The Nativity by Gustave Doré

We’ve been talking this month about making room … when Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem (in order to be counted in the census and register in their home town for tax purposes), Luke 2 tells us the newborn baby was laid in a manger “because there was no room for them at the inn.” The Gustave Doré image above offers one depiction of the scene. Continue Reading →

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