Archives for April 2020

Subscribe to the RSS Feed
  • Featured Posts
  • All Posts
1

The Opportunity of Isolation

After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailerwas commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.About midnightPaul and Silaswere praying and singing hymnsto God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:23-25). On the surface, being...

Keep Reading
2

In Two Places at Once

After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison...About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,and the other prisoners were listening to them (Acts 16:23a and 25a). In the movie A Walk to Remember, Landon takes Jamie to the Virginia/North Carolina state-line and asks her to stand with one foot in one state and one in the other. ...

Keep Reading
1

When Life Turns on a Dime

Acts 16:16-36 March 13. That's when everything changed. As a teacher and mom of three school-aged children, hearing school would be closed at the end of that day for an unknown period of time rocked my world. I was working hard, cooking dinner, taking kids to practice, going to church, and going about life as normal up until then. I had been listening to the news, of cour...

Keep Reading

In Bad Trouble for Good Reason

Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment, the spirit left her (Acts 16:18). What got Paul and Silas into the tight space of a jail in Philippi? We're more familiar with how they got out, or rather how God got them outmore on that during this third week of ou...

Keep Reading

Unbound

They saw the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; theirrobes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them (Daniel 3:27).Refuse to bow in worship? Into the fire you go. The king orders the furnace heated "seven times hotter than usual" and orders his strongest soldiers to bind them tightly and toss them in. The heat is so i...

Keep Reading
2

Antibodies Needed!

There are some Jews who neither serve your godsnor worship the image of gold you have set up" (Daniel 3:12). Exile to Babylon was, for the Jews of Daniel's time, the ultimate discipline from the Lord. But God's judgments are righteous and redemptive; their goal is not punishment, but recovery of identity, restoration of true health, reclamation of mission, and-- God ext...

Keep Reading

A Survival Guide for Blazing Furnaces

"'But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what godwill be able to rescueyou from my hand?' Shadrach, Meshach and Abednegoreplied to him, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliverus from it, and he will de...

Keep Reading

Furnace Friends

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3: 12, 13, 16, 19, 20, 22, 26, 28-30). The most famous story in the Book of Daniel doesn't even have Daniel in it. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: every single time they appear in Scripture, they appear together and "in order," always Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Each and every time, standing as one, speaking as one. They appe...

Keep Reading

Upright

Daniel 3the whole chapter, please! As we relearn each and every Easter, God does his finest work in the tightest spaces. Please keep that empty tomb in mind as we work our way through this Shelter series. Easter is not a once-and-done date on a calendar; death-and-resurrection is how God always goes about his work Be on the lookout for ways in which each of our Shelter ...

Keep Reading
1

Running to Our Lives

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life (1 Kings 19:3) Where did Elijah think he was going? What was he hoping to find once he got there? He runs because the powerful king and queen of Israel, Ahab and Jezebel, have sworn to kill him. He flees, first, all the way to Beersheba, the southernmost city in the Promised Land. From there, a day's journey into the desert. Find...

Keep Reading
3

A Cure for Fear (and many other ailments)

"'Go out and stand on the mountainin the presence of theLord, for theLordis about to pass by.' Then a great and powerful windtore the mountains apart and shatteredthe rocks before theLord, but theLordwas not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but theLordwas not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire,but theLordwas not in the fire. And after...

Keep Reading

Hamster Wheels, Ears that Hear, Eyes that See

The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD,for the LORD is about to pass by" (1 Kings 19:11) What if God would like to have a different kind of conversation with us, with you? And what if God is present, is with us, in our current circumstancesin our current tight spacesto that end? There are all kinds of tight spaces. Some are shelters...

Keep Reading

What Are You Doing Here?

And the word of the Lord came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (I Kings 19:9b and 13b). A few weeks after saying my life-transforming "Yes" to Jesus, I sat in a church service where I Kings 19:3-18 was being preached. Although that was forty-plus years ago, I can still hear that pastor's reading of "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He put strong emphasis on the...

Keep Reading
5

Sheltering Places, Confined Spaces

Elijah traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.There he went into a cave and spent the night (1 Kings 19:8-9). God does some of his best work in confined spaces. Jonah inside a great fish. Paul writing much of our New Testament from prison, and John, the Book of Revelation from a penal island in the Aegean Sea. Bunyan's Pilgrim's P...

Keep Reading
4

Sit-With Saturday

So Joseph brought some linen cloth, took the body down,wrapped it in the linen and placed it in a tomb (Mark 15:46). What is today, this day that you are reading these words? Well, it's Saturday, April 11, 2020 a weekend day, Day Number Whatever in our virus-changed world maybe your birthday, or anniversary just another day the day after Good Friday, the day before E...

Keep Reading
1

New Normal to New Creation

Mark 16:1-8 Take time with the story; take time in it. Notice: Mark tells the story of the Resurrection through the lens of three women. They have been "minor characters," not even mentioned by Mark until the very end of chapter 15: these women witness the crucifixion and watch as Jesus' body is entombed nearby (15:40, 47). It has been just a week since what seemed to b...

Keep Reading

Did You Notice?

Mark 16:1-8 As you work your way through Mark 11-15 and arrive at this week's passage, Mark 16:1-8, the sermon text for Easter Sunday, here are some things to notice. First, notice Mark's very strange ending. The final word in Mark's Gospel is afraid! You'll probably have some footnotes in your Bible that explain that we're not sure if this is how Mark intended to conclu...

Keep Reading

The Day Reality Was Revised

... they were on their way to the tomb... "Don't be alarmed, "he (the young man dressed in a white robe) said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here... But go, tell his disciples..." Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb.They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid (Mark 16:2, 6a, 8...

Keep Reading
2

Service Reimagined

"As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robesitting on the right side, and they were alarmed."Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene,who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him,ju...

Keep Reading

What Happens on the Way

When the Sabbath was over very early on the first day of the week,just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb (Mark 16:1-2) We'll be reading this week's Connect Devotionals in the days immediately after Palm Sunday. However, they focus on the sermon text for next Sunday, Easter Sunday. So we're doing a bit of time-bending here, providing tomorrow's news (or n...

Keep Reading

Not My Feet?

"No, said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet" (John 13:8). Oh, Peter: you got it partly right. It is of course inappropriate that the one you call "Lord" should be washing your feet! (We note that Peter is happy to advise Jesus, but not leap to his feet and switch places with him.) (And, noting how this story unfolds, Jesus would not have let Peter switch places.) It...

Keep Reading

Be a Part, Do Your Part

If I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm doing...So, if I, the Master and Teacher,washed your feet, you must now wash each other's feet." (John 13:8) As I parent I hear myself saying, "Just watch me. I can explain, but just watch for a minute and you'll get it." Likewise, as a daughter, I find myself doing things just as my mom did them -- because I saw her do i...

Keep Reading

In Another's Sandals

Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now,but you will know after this" (John 13:7). I had never participated in a foot-washing ceremony until 2007 when I began attending a small historic church in NJ. Their custom was to do this on Maundy Thursdaythe night commemorating the Last Supper. Never since have I read the account of Jesus wash...

Keep Reading