Showing posts from March, 2015

Gift of God - an Angel with Fur

In February of 2005 a gift of God came to live in our house. Her name was Godiva (meaning "gift of God"). She was a magnificent chocolate lab with fantastic brown hair the shade of which was the beautiful progeny of the delightful marriage of dark and milk chocolate. Impossibly, her disposition was even more wonderful. I have had the joy of being around dogs my entire life, and I can say without equivocation that Godiva was the best of all that it means to be a dog and more. She truly was a gift of God.  To say that  Jennifer, Allison and I were diligent about selecting a dog to become a part of our family would be a gross understatement. We had been through a lot together in seven years as a family of three. We knew that we couldn't just invite any dog to join in this family. No, if we were going to add one to our number, it would have to be just the right one. In an effort to find just the right dog, Allison and I developed a ritual of going to our local pet store every

Lent: Choose to Give - Matthew 20:1-16 - the abundant grace of God

Matthew 20:1-16 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, th

Lent: Humble - Matthew 18:1-5

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Where have you seen the humble spirit of a child? What might it mean to possess such a humble spirit? Where might you welcome the Christ today?

Lent: Mercy - Nehemiah 9:16-17

Nehemiah 9:16-17 16 “But they and our ancestors acted presumptuously and stiffened their necks and did not obey your commandments; 17 they refused to obey, and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them; but they stiffened their necks and determined to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and you did not forsake them. What is mercy? When have you received mercy? What does reading "But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful" do to you?

Lent: Grace - Romans 5:12-21

ROMANS 5:12–21 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned — 13 sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. 14 Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 16 And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17 If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift

Lent: Hope - Romans 5:1-11

ROMANS 5:1–11 1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. 9 Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies, we

Lent: Comfort - Psalm 119:73-80

Psalm 119:73–80 73   Your hands have made and fashioned me;           give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. 74   Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,           because I have hoped in your word. 75   I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right,           and that in faithfulness you have humbled me. 76   Let your steadfast love become my comfort           according to your promise to your servant. 77   Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;           for your law is my delight. 78   Let the arrogant be put to shame,           because they have subverted me with guile;           as for me, I will meditate on your precepts. 79   Let those who fear you turn to me,           so that they may know your decrees. 80   May my heart be blameless in your statutes,           so that I may not be put to shame. Where do you find comfort in your life? What might it mean to bring comfort into the lives of others? Seek comfort in God's stead

Lent: Walk - John 5:1-18

JOHN 5:1–18 1 After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3 In these lay many invalids — blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” 12 They a

Lent: Day 14 - Sign - John 4:43-54

john 4:43–54 43 When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee 44 (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). 45 When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival. 46 Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. 51 As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was aliv

Lent: Day 13 - Love - 1 John 4:16-19

1 John 4:16-19 God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.  17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world.  18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.  19 We love because he first loved us. Join in the Lenten Photo-a-Day Project. Take a photo each day that somehow reflects the theme. Post your photo to social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) with the word of the day and these hashtags #40days40looks and #lentwith2nd. This is a great way to journey through Lent together.  What is fear? Where do you fear?  Where do you see love driving out fear?