Prophetic Burdens, Dark Clouds, and Rainbows of Hope

I sometimes feel sorry for the Old Testament prophets. Their messages from God were often described as a “burden.” That’s understandable given their divinely appointed task of publicly pointing out the nation’s sinful behavior and total disregard of God. Beyond that, they were obligated to announce the judgment that their rebellion against God would unleash. The consequences of rejecting God are not always immediate, but they are ultimately unavoidable, and God’s prophets were burdened messengers of grace sent to warn the potential victims.

An Intolerable Vacuum ~
When God is rejected, there’s an emptiness left in the space God designed for Himself. It leaves a spiritual vacuum that the hearts and minds of human beings cannot tolerate, and a process begins that quickly fills the space with Continue reading

Posted in Faith and Politics, Faith, Family, and Culture, Forgiveness, In the News, Insights, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Heaven’s Wounded Warrior ~ A Different Kind of Memorial

Living in a country where memorials of one kind or another dot the landscape can make dealing with a holiday like Memorial Day a bit challenging. Reminders of sacrifices made and the cost of victories won are everywhere, but as this Memorial Day approaches, my thoughts are captivated by monuments that aren’t carved out of granite and marble or engraved on brass plaques. I think there is no more fitting memorial to be considered than the scars borne by those who engaged enemies in our place, fought battles on our behalf, and whose torn, broken, burned, and violated bodies insulated us from the kinds of torture they endured to secure our freedom. I join with multitudes this Memorial Day in honoring those warriors and celebrating the legacy of courage that was established in their wounds and preserved by their scars. Continue reading

Posted in Easter, Faith, Family, and Culture, Forgiveness, Insights, Memorial Day, Right Side Up | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Essential Oils, Part II ~ Midnight Cries and Empty Lamps

Last week I borrowed the term “essential oils” and used it to introduce a brief look at one of Jesus’ parables found in Matthew 25:1-13. The story involves ten bridesmaids and centered on the failure of half of them to be adequately equipped. The “foolish five” had gone in search of more oil and were absent when the bridegroom arrived. That caused them to be excluded from the wedding and shut out of the subsequent celebration.

The previous post highlighted the fact that an unavoidable face-to-face meeting with the Lord awaits each of us at some point in the future and Continue reading

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The Oil that Really Is “Essential” ~ Part I

Well, I should probably begin by establishing my credibility to deal with the subject of essential oils. From my earliest days growing up on a small family farm, I was familiar with the vital place that various oils occupied in our lives. Clearly, without certain oils, life could not go on normally. Some were designed for internal use, and others were designed for external uses. Some oils were medicinal, some had a nutritional quality, and some were simply to make things move smoother.

Of the medicinal oils, castor oil held the top spot on the priority list. Just the threat of having to swallow it would Continue reading

Posted in Forgiveness, Humor Turned to Insight, Insights, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

A Love the Poets Ignore

In listening to popular Christian music, I hear the word “love” a lot–not a surprising thing, given who they’re singing about. God’s unrelenting, unconditional, indescribable, and overwhelming love for us seems to be a prevailing theme throughout the genre. In at least one song, God’s love is compared to a force like a hurricane, and the recipients are pictured like a tree caught helplessly in its path with no defense against its power. I’m not sure that it’s an accurate portrayal of the love that Jesus demonstrated during His earthly ministry, but Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, and Culture, Forgiveness, Insights, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

A Probing “Post-Resurrection” Question

I love questions. Perhaps I should qualify that statement, because I haven’t always loved questions. When forced to answer questions in situations over which I had no control, I have often hated them. For instance, when my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Holmes, decided to subject me to public humiliation by asking me right out loud in front of everybody what 9 x 12 was, I hated it. I hated the question and everything it represented. In that awful moment as Mrs. Holmes stared at me and tapped her wooden pointer on the floor, my only hope was Continue reading

Posted in Easter, Faith, Family, and Culture, Forgiveness, Insights | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments