Tag: Devotional

Are You Engaging an Active Faith?

Are You Engaging an Active Faith?

I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today. Here’s a Preview:

The disciples spent three years with Jesus watching him preach, heal people, and interact with the Pharisees. They also observed many memorable encounters, like the healing of the blind man.

John 9:1-7 says, “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means ‘Sent’). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing” (NIV).

It’s okay to acknowledge that this is weird. Jesus was powerful enough to heal the man with a word, but he smears mud on the blind man’s eyes and tells him to walk to the Pool of Siloam to wash.

We don’t know how far the group was standing from the pool, but archeologists recently uncovered the pool, discovering steep stairs to enter the water.

Photograph ©Bible Places with permission

I admit this image didn’t match the picture in my mind. The steps are steep and narrow. Even someone with clear vision could easily slip on the rocks.

I think there are as few reasons Jesus engaged the man as an active participant in his healing.

First, consider how John 9 begins. The disciples notice the blind man and ask Jesus who had sinned and thereby caused his blindness. This man had likely spent his entire life hearing people debate his sin status. Was he the sinner, his parents, or someone else in their family tree? The belief that an ailment such as blindness was a result of sin was justified through Scriptures such as Exodus 20:5 and Ezekiel 18:20.

But Jesus said the blind man wasn’t a sinner. His life had purpose, and his blindness was present “so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

The second reason I think Jesus had the blind man actively participate in his own healing is because he didn’t know who Jesus was before their encounter.

Read the rest over at The Glorious Table

Holding on for Dear Life

Holding on for Dear Life

I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today. Here’s a preview:

On February 3, 1989, apprentice jockey Nate Hubbard was having the race of his life. That is, until his horse, Sweetwater Oak, launched him from the saddle with only a hundred yards to go. He clung to the neck of his mount and crossed the finish line in second place. After finishing fifth in the race on Lystra, Ron Warren, a fellow jockey, helped to slow down Sweetwater Oak so that Hubbard could let go and land safely.

Much to everyone’s surprise, after examining the results of the race, the stewards declared that the placings were official. During the race, Hubbard’s feet never touched the ground, and Sweetwater Oak remained the second-place winner.

Interestingly, when he was asked about the event later, Nate Hubbard said he wasn’t focused on winning. He explained he looked at the alternatives and holding on was a better choice than getting trampled by the rest of the horses.

Have you ever had a Nate Hubbard moment? Maybe not a literal one, but a moment when you were at the starting line with everyone else, and before you knew it, you were hanging on for dear life? Forget finishing first; have you ever been in a season so challenging you’ve found yourself choosing between holding on and being trampled, forgetting all about moving forward?

Read the rest of today’s post over at The Glorious Table

Do You Have Blind Faith?

Do You Have Blind Faith?

I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today. Here’s a preview:

Jesus had a special friendship with the siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. The Gospels highlight this in a few places, especially Jesus’ interactions with Mary. My favorite story about Jesus and these siblings is in John 11. It’s the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

John 11 begins by stating that Lazarus was sick. We pick up in verse 3, where Mary and Martha do the only thing they know to do: “So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick’” (NIV).

When Jesus receives the message in verse John 11:4, his response gives us insight that things are about to get interesting: “When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’”

Jesus delays going to see Lazarus by two days, and when he is finally ready to go, he tells his disciples,

“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” (John 11:11-14 NIV)

As Jesus and the disciples arrive, they encounter Mary and Martha mourning Lazarus, who was placed in a tomb four days earlier. Traditional Jewish mourning begins with seven days of intentional mourning known as sitting shiva. Read the rest over at The Glorious Table

Is It Your Turn?

Is It Your Turn?

Is it Your Turn? A Devotional Post for The Glorious Table

I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today about Leadership. Here’s a preview:

 love January. For me, this is the time when hope bubbles up in every conversation. As the new year begins, we get to not only start a new page in our planners, we get to throw away the battered pages from the past year and open a brand-new calendar. Empty spaces on each day whisper of new opportunities.

Are you training a new business partner? Is it your turn to prepare the next generation for ministry? Is it time to start obeying that nudge and courageously step up and start leading somewhere? What’s holding you back?

There is something about the first page of a new planner that sparks hope for me. I believe strongly in fresh starts and new opportunities. Over the years, I’ve developed a conviction that one of the most generous gifts we can extend to each other is the space to use our spiritual gifts, strengths, talents, and skills in our individual passion areas.

It takes courage to pursue a fresh start with a ministry or step onto a new career path. Having a mentor to look to and learn from is invaluable. A mentor can help build our confidence as well as guide us with years of experience.

As important as it is for the less experienced person to have a mentor, it’s just as valuable for the mentor to invest in someone. Our time on earth will eventually end, but that doesn’t mean our ministry won’t go on. And our ministry will grow when we can train people to work alongside us rather than trying to manage everything ourselves. Read the rest over at The Glorious Table

The Value of Our Words

The Value of Our Words

One of the most amazing things about the Bible is that the authors didn’t fully comprehend what they were writing. As a shepherd boy, David wrote poems of praise to pass the time in the fields and journaled prayers on anguish and praise to God later in life. Paul wrote letters from a prison cell to the churches he counseled.

Similarly, in more recent history, we understand the complicated emotions of a Jewish child in hiding during World War II because of Anne Frank’s diary. We know how hard the journey through Ellis Island was for many immigrants because of historical records as well as how many people retained letters.

One of the features of Ancestry.com is the ability to read newspaper articles, letters, and oral histories about relatives. These vibrant pieces help to paint a picture of what was happening within a family during a significant point in history.

Perhaps we forget from time to time that today, we have more than newspaper articles and news reports documenting our daily history. Social media is a digital journal. Just like Anne Frank, every social channel we use can record our daily thoughts, images, and comments of the moment, likely without us considering who will see them beyond the next few hours, let alone beyond the next few centuries.

Occasionally we may regret overheated words (well, at least I do) and we’re thankful there is a delete button. That is, unless someone chooses to take a screenshot of our comments and archive them, right? While this scenario isn’t exactly true, a version of it is.

One of the first things my boss taught me when I started working in digital media is that nothing is ever wholly erased online. I know you want to believe that deleting your Facebook account is as simple as going through the steps Facebook provides, however, even if you delete your profile, your comments aren’t removed, nor are your images. Further, we’re relying on a company that’s proved repeatedly to not quite tell the truth about our data.

Essentially, when we use social media, we’re creating digital journals for future generations to view as part of our historical records. If you’re panicking right now, thinking of your great-grandchildren scrolling through your Facebook feed. Scary? I’m sorry. Stick with me for a minute, though, since we’ve already established the record isn’t going away.

Read the rest about creating an online legacy over at The Glorious Table

It’s Hard to Believe: Faith and Physics

It’s Hard to Believe: Faith and Physics

I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today about Galileo. Here’s a preview:

Faith is hard. Always confident? Yikes. Faith without sight is one thing, but unwavering confidence seems impossible some days. At the same time, I believe living out our faith, boldly trusting in the God we profess to believe in without requiring visual confirmation, is more important than ever.

A recent study conducted by YouGov of 8,215 U.S. adults has discovered that just “66 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds are convinced that the Earth is round.” This means 33 percent of eighteen to twenty-four-year-olds don’t believe photographic proof and eyewitness accounts of something proved through the centuries—first by math, then by exploration, and now by visual documentation.

When Strengths and Passions Collide

When Strengths and Passions Collide

I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today. Here’s a preview:

 

I’ve always been one of those people who does a little bit of everything. Often my activities pull me in multiple directions with minimal overlap. In high school I was a student athletic trainer and served on my youth group leadership team. My resume includes a variety of jobs including working for a local health department, on college campuses, and as an administrative assistant, not to mention as a swim lesson instructor. I’ve continued to stay involved in ministry through mentoring, in Young Life, or by leading college Bible studies.

I’ve enjoyed almost every job and ministry opportunity that has crossed my path, but with each one I’ve felt a bit like a fish out of water. I never thought those jobs used my strengths or passions.

God’s Grace: The Consequence We Don’t Always Deserve

God’s Grace: The Consequence We Don’t Always Deserve

I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today. Here’s a preview:

“You can choose your sin, but you cannot choose your consequence.”

As Havilah Cunnington tossed out that statement from the stage at my church, all I could think was, “Yep.” My head flooded with memories. How many times had I cried out in frustration to God because I didn’t like a hand I’d been dealt? How many times had I cried out “It’s not fair!” when my disobedience was the catalyst for a resulting consequence?

I’m not sure at what age it happens, but there seems to come a time when we make decisions based on the consequences we assume are before us. Have you ever been convinced to do something by this phrase?: “Come on, what’s the worst that could happen?” I know I have. I’ve also used it when I needed a partner in crime for an “adventure” I wanted to take.  Continue reading here

Steps Towards Delight

Steps Towards Delight

31 days of delight

 

I’ve spent this month exploring much of what God says about delight in scripture. We began by defining delight and fleshing out the actions of humans that God delights in, but we moved on to how we are also called to delight in the Lord.

The next step for me in this journey would seem to be the application of delight.

Delight Begins with Belief

The Lord your God is with you. He is the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you. In his love he will no longer punish you. Instead, he will sing for joy because of you. Zephaniah 3:17

Just as with many other aspects of a relationship with Jesus, trusting that my creator delights in me is an act of faith. It is a choice to claim this verse for myself. To trust that God sings for joy because of me.

Delight Involves Obedience

You will obey the Lord again. You will obey all his commands that I’m giving you today. Then the Lord your God will give you great success in everything you do. You will have many children. Your livestock will have many little ones. Your crops will do very well. The Lord will take delight in you again. He’ll give you success. That’s what he did for your people of long ago. 10 But you must obey the Lord your God. You must keep his commands and rules. They are written in this Book of the Law. You must turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 30:8-10 NIrV

I need to focus on God’s call for my life. I need to stay in my lane and work with all of my effort to God’s glory alone.

God Delights in the Humble

The Lord takes delight in his people. He awards with victory those who are humble.  Psalm 149:4

If successes come along I need to redirect accolades where they belong.

Delight in the Lord

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:3-4

Choosing to trust God, to delight in him will allow for him to fulfill his plan for my life. It will allow that which I was created for to occur.

 

Delight Yourself in Abundance

Delight Yourself in Abundance

31 Days on Delight

“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk. Without money and without cost.
“Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in abundance.
“Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
According to the faithful mercies shown to David. Isaiah 55:1-3

Why do you spend money on things that are not needs and won’t satisfy? Instead, choose to eat what is good for your body and instead delight in me!

Lean your ear towards me and listen. I will make a covenant with you says the Lord.

I think the part about this section that stands out the most besides the logic that is still so profoundly relevant today is that God promises abundance when we delight in him.

Since the lines before directly point to satisfaction, it seems to me that the choice to seek the Lord for comfort instead of worldly things bring contentment while the decision to delight in the Lord brings abundant satisfaction.

On Day 2 of this Delight Journey, we explored the definition the word “high or highly” is used as well a “great”:

Dictionary.com  Delight

noun
1. a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture: She takes great delight in her job.
2. something that gives great pleasure: The dance was a delight to see.
verb (used with object)
3. to give great pleasure, satisfaction, or enjoyment to; please highly: The show delighted everyone.
The addition of these words seems to speak to the word delight as elevating emotion from mere happiness. So it would also make sense that the choice to turn versus the decision to press into God would be the difference between feeling contentment in God’s provision versus receiving an abundance of God’s provision.
God delights in those who delight in him, and it seems that life becomes abundantly more full when we choose to delight in he who delights in us.

I’m still participation this whole month in Write 31 Days! Head over and see that which others are also writing about.