It is common in the South to hear someone say, “I don’t want to be beholden to anyone.” It is a way of refusing help so that one doesn’t owe help back to another – even upon pain of failure or facing a long struggle on one’s own when a little help would make the solution much easier. That is often how the world works – I do something nice for you and I hold that in reserve against the day that I need help. Then I can say, “Well, I helped you when you needed it.” It is the way of the world and not altogether bad that if you help me I feel like I need to also help you. However, this exchange of debt is why some folks refuse help and seek rather to pull themselves up “by their own bootstraps.”Read More
Mary Ann Shadd Cary, born in 1823, was a writer, an educator, a lawyer, an abolitionist and the first black woman in North America to edit and publish a newspaper. Her obituary was published in the NY Times in June 2018 in a special series called Overlooked. “In 1850, when the US Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act — which compelled American to assist in the capture of runaway slaves, and levied heavy penalties on those who did not comply — Shadd Cary and some other members of her family left the United States for Canada.” From there, she published several pieces that “advertised Canada as a safe haven for former slaves.” (1)Read More
If you knew me growing up or if we’ve spent any time talking about my childhood, you know I was a “daddy’s girl.” One story often told about me was how I would sit on my father’s lap and eat the exotic cheeses he loved – some of which my siblings would consider unpalatable. For me, it was all about being like Daddy.
My older sister spent time helping our Dad on various remodeling projects and, to this day, will take on any construction or remodel project and is quite handy with power tools. She learned by carefully following instructions from and imitating Dad as they built things togetherRead More
Ji Seong-ho left his homeland in 2006. He says he crossed thousands of miles on crutches after enduring years of hunger, grievous injuries from falling on train tracks, and torture at the hands of North Korean police.*
"I understand you still keep those crutches as a reminder of how far you have come," Trump said during his State of the Union speech. (Ji Seong-ho was there)
To some extent, we can be defined by the things we keep and those we don’t.Read More
Perhaps, like me, you have seen it many times: new believers, very excited about what Jesus had done for them, and what God has revealed to them, riding appropriately high on this new hope, excited about their new understanding about salvation and abut finding repentance, forgiveness, and peace, and just sure God wants them hired by a church or ministry. Perhaps, as a longtime believer you have a new, renewed or even long-standing passion to share you “hope of glory” with others via what might be considered some form of full-time ministry.Read More
Recently, I was watching an episode from the Science Nature Page that showed the connection between physical activity and brain health.
The video gave a summary of a medical study that found that people who are inactive, especially if they are unable to do load-bearing exercise, including bed-ridden people and even astronauts on long trips into space, not only lost muscle mass, but their body chemistry was altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system was adversely impacted. It found that limiting physical activity, even if all other activity was normal, decreased the number of neuro stem cells by 70%.Read More
Apparently, we humans have a very dim view of our ability to actually better the world we live in or to rule it in peace and kindness, let alone love. According to Hollywood movies and the books some of those movies are based on the future for mankind is bleak. Literally, every futuristic movie I researched paints a dystopian future, mostly of our own making
We see our efforts to cure disease potentially going very wrong:
I Am Legend
Planet of the Apes
The Maze Runner series
World War Z, The Walking Dead and every other zombie movie or TV show.
Recently, I has sharing coffee with my younger sister on her porch and chatting about church stuff. She mentioned that she had a hard time with a previous church pastor because he had lived such a perfect life. He’d grown up a believer, never strayed from the faith, married in the faith, was stilled married to that woman of faith and served side-by-side with his wife in a Dallas-area mega church. She did not think this pastor had never sinned, she just wondered how someone whose life was always focused on obedience could ever connect to “real” sinners who had made some painful, life-wrecking mistakes.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I’m thinking two things: (1) I wish someone would complain that I was too unstained by sin to relate to normal folks and (2) this reminds me of the non-prodigal brother of Luke 15:11-32.Read More
I am not one who believes that doctors are out to keep you sick. I believe they are motivated to remove disease where they can and manage symptoms where they cannot. They often advise us on what we can do to get or stay healthy, but too often are faced with folks who are going to keep having jelly donuts, bacon and Frappuccino’s for breakfast and then come to the doctor for medication for pre-diabetes and high blood pressure.
However, I think that doctors are never more motivated to violently rid someone of a particular disease then when it comes to cancer. And, let’s face it, I speak from experience here. I have lost both of my parents and one sibling to this disease. Of the five remaining siblings, three of us battle skin cancer regularly.Read More
All the best lies include a modicum of truth. It’s what makes them so believable, so alluring, so tempting to believe. A half-truth, they say, is more effective that a whole lie.
Not a day goes by that we don’t hear the accusation of “fake news” from one side of the political spectrum or the other. I think it might eventually come to define this decade.Read More
When it rains in New York City, getting a cab is nearly impossible. I mean, I see people in cabs and I wonder, “How did he get a cab?” but I never see an empty cab. Finding a cab on a rainy day in NYC feels like chasing after the wind.
So, on a rainy Wednesday in May, I gave myself 40 minutes for a 20 minute drive and I used the official app of the NYC cab system, Curb, to schedule a cab. The Curb app kept looking, looking, looking, to no avail – not an available cab in all of NYC, apparently. But, no worries, I opened the Uber app and checked there. Uber said the nearest driver was 17 minutes away. Nope. So, I opened up the Lyft app and was told it would be 11 minutes. I had already chewed up 5 of my 40 minutes but it would have to do. I scheduled the Lyft driver.Read More
If you haven’t heard it before, or if you’ve heard it before but don’t believe it, let me start off by saying that God, the Father, Creator, Life-giver, and Jesus Christ, Messiah, Lord and High Priest want an intimate, personal relationship with you. I hope that sinks in to the core of your heart and mind and impacts every thought, every decision, every moment of your life. It is one of the greatest revelations of Christianity – we, mere mortals, can commune with, have a direct, personal and intimate relationship with God.
If you have trouble believing this as fact, believing it in a way that impacts your life, let me offer a couple of proofs from Jesus’ time in human form on this earth, which, I feel, support this amazing truth.Read More
Apologies are all the rage in the business world these days – at least talking about them – who owes one, who is offering one, who did a good job, whose apology was worse than the thing they did wrong. Facebook has been under fire lately for data breaches, business leaders for harassment, airlines for mishandling (or manhandling) passengers – and rightly so. When someone, or even some business does wrong, an apology is the start to doing better next time.
However, far too many apologies boil down to “sorry, not sorry.” As Christians, the standard for our own apology tours is much higher.Read More
“Women come together best at a birth.” This is a line spoken by the midwife in the book I’m listening to called “The Last Midwife,” written by Sandra Dallas (published by St. Martin’s Griffin). As the midwife looked around the room, she saw the mother, mother-in-law, and two sisters of the woman in labor, moping her brow, giving her sips of water, working on a quilt for the baby and cooing words of comfort and support during the rigors of labor. When the baby came, every woman in the room rejoiced as if the labor had been her own, because they were in it together.Read More
Wes and I recently saw the movie Paul, Apostle of Christ. In just four words, I can sum up the theme and message of the film, as it impacted me: love is the answer.
If you think it is hard being a Christian now, you may feel differently after seeing this movie. There are definitely places in the world where Christians suffer great persecution today. The USA is not one of those places. In that, we are greatly blessed. However, perhaps our growth in this fruit of the spirit, love, is a bit stunted or at least in danger of being stunted because of that lack.Read More
IN this world, but not OF it. That is one of the messages and focuses of the prayer of Christ Jesus before His crucifixion.
John17:6, 9, 11, 13-15 [NIV] 6 I have revealed You to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to me and they have obeyed Your word. ... 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they are Yours. ... 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name, the name You gave me, so that they may be one as We are one. ... 13 I am coming to You now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of My joy within them. 14 I have given them Your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one.Read More
Life cycles through good times and bad for each of us individually. Right now, so many, many people I know are suffering trials and troubles. Our prayer list at church is long. I am on a couple of email lists for prayer requests and via a variety of personal and group connections my Facebook feed is full of prayer request as well. Cancer, terrorist attacks, school shooters, miscarriages, divorce, job loss, natural disasters, car wrecks, and so much more. We pray for them all, don’t we? We labor long and hard in pleading with our Heavenly Father for relief for friends and family, church brethren, neighbors and strangers.Read More
We are always getting advice on being balanced. Fitness experts encourage us to get the right amount of exercise with a mix of weights and cardio and stretching. Nutrition experts tell us that a good diet includes a balanced amount of protein and carbohydrates, healthy fats, etc. There are a wealth of self-help books and videos focused on creating a work-life balance. Balance is important.Read More
Have you ever made sausage? Or watched it being made? Me neither, but I understand the implication in saying something is “like making sausage.” The end result is good, but the process is messy – even violent. If you think of the fact that the animal is first killed, then bled, then put through the grinder… Well, let me just say that I prefer my turkey sausage in a package, all cleaned up and ready for cooking.Read More
I was reading Proverbs recently and this segment just floors me.
Proverbs 1:10-18 [CSB] My son, if sinners entice you, don't be persuaded. If they say, Come with us! Let's set an ambush and kill someone. Let's attack some innocent person just for fun! "Let's swallow them alive, like Sheol, whole, like those who go down to the Pit. "We'll find all kinds of valuable property and fill our houses with plunder. "Throw in your lot with us, and we'll all share the loot" -- My son, don't travel that road with them or set foot on their path, because their feet run toward evil and they hurry to shed blood. It is useless to spread a net where any bird can see it, but they set an ambush to kill themselves; they attack their own lives.
Was it really that frequent of an occurrence that Solomon had to be worried that his son might just run into a group of people who were like, “hey, let’s go kill somebody for fun and profit?” Not for revenge. Not for religious or national supremacy – just for the “fun” of it. That would be pretty shocking even in this day and age!
But things take a turn at Verse 19, where it says, “Such are the paths of all who make profit dishonestly; it takes the lives of those who receive it.” While I doubt a band of sinners will ever entice me to murder for money and sport, the temptation to profit dishonestly is pretty common in the world around us.Read More