Praying the Lord's Prayer, Part 3

Praying the Lord's Prayer, Part 3

Christ ends the preface of The Lord's Prayer with establishing the inviolableness of  God’s name. God’s name is to be set apart and high above all other names. He is to be revered and viewed utterly sacrosanct. His tender fatherliness does not give us license to relax our reverence toward him.  

Praying the Lord's Prayer, Part 2

Praying the Lord's Prayer, Part 2

After Christ addresses God as our Father, thus establishing the intimate and unhindered relationship we enjoy with him as his beloved children, he continues The Lord's Prayer by establishing God’s address...

Praying The Lord's Prayer, Part I

Praying The Lord's Prayer, Part I

Andrew Wilson is a young pastor in England who, together with his wife, have two children on the Autism spectrum. In his book, The Life We Never Expected, Andrew and his wife chronicle their experiences with their two beautiful children, as well as what they have been learning about God through them. The book is candid and raw, and beautifully written. The Wilsons are a couple who love the Lord, despite, and even on account of, the path he has placed them on. But it hasn’t been easy. In the book, Andrew admits to becoming distracted during prayer, and that sometimes the anguish and fatigue are so deep that he scarcely knows how or what to pray.

The Fog of Unforgiveness

The Fog of Unforgiveness

The week before Easter was so painful that I could not even open my Bible. My prayers seemed to be blocked. No praise, no supplication, no communication whatsoever got through. My mind was a jumbled mess of static that simply could not reach out to God. Every time I walked past my Bible on the kitchen table, I felt a moment of compulsion to open it, followed by a sense of futility. I simply could (would) not hear God. The only voice I could hear clearly was my own, convincing me of my justifiable pain and suffering at the hand of my husband. Oh, woe was me. 

The Right Road

The Right Road

A friend of mine recently began a sentence with the phrase, “They say that…” I can’t remember what she said they said or even who she said they were, but I do remember that I didn’t agree with whatever she said they said.

The Bread of Adversity

The Bread of Adversity

There is a tiny Italian bar and restaurant in Lancaster, PA called Valentino’s. To say that their generation-spanning secret spaghetti sauce recipe is comparable to Feast-of-the-Lamb fare is only a slight exaggeration. And complemented perfectly to this plate of wonders is a red plastic basket full of impossibly fresh, soft yet perfectly crusted, secret sauce absorbing bread. Oh, how I love bread!

Please Stop Saying God is Good

Please Stop Saying God is Good

We Christians have our sayings. In response to, “How are you?” we have, “Feeling blessed!” Or, “I’m feeling sick today.” “Oh, I’ll be praying for you.” Or, “Got a raise today.” “Amen, praise God!” Or,  “I just saw the worst news on the Facebook this morning.” “Wow, hard to understand, but, God has a plan.”

Please don’t misunderstand me. We Christians are sincere people who want to help and serve and encourage. And these phrases are not bad. It’s just that they are used so profusely and so automatically that I worry that the depth of their meaning has been hollowed out...

Thoughts on Thinking

Thoughts on Thinking

I knew an elderly woman who was a prolific crocheter. Each day she would sit in her living room, crochet hook flying, afghan materializing from wrists to ankles in a matter of hours. And while this sweet woman crocheted, she thought. She was also a prolific thinker...

Prosperity in the New Year

Prosperity in the New Year

With the coming of the New Year, I am in agreement with Jose Feliciano when he sings “próspero año y felicidad,” a prosperous and happy New Year. As Christians, we can expect that, right?

Let the Nations Be Glad (Reflections on the Cross Conference)

Let the Nations Be Glad (Reflections on the Cross Conference)

I’m sitting in the Indianapolis International Airport, waiting for a connecting flight to Detroit and on to Baltimore before returning home to Lancaster, PA. My husband and I are heading back from volunteering at the Cross Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana...

Going to Church

Going to Church

A few years ago, in preparation for a Bible study, I threw out a little test on Facebook which read, “Quick, I say church, you say…” The responses I got included fellowship, pastor, pray, God’s people, community, lady (that one made me chuckle), Amen, worship, people, building, steeple, and mouse...

Fox-Catching Joy

Fox-Catching Joy

Often, it’s not the big problems in life that steal our joy, it’s the accumulation of the little ones.

The Doctrine of the Force

The Doctrine of the Force

I was fifteen when Star Wars first hit the big screen. With my four year old cousin in tow, I sat in a packed house in the Queen Street Theater in Lancaster, PA’s downtown. The theater is now a bus terminal, but when I drive by there I sometimes reminisce sitting in the dark, cousin and popcorn balanced on my lap, and being blown away as spectacularly as the Death Star. What a phenomenon...

He Just Is

He Just Is

When my children were little, and we would come across some natural beauty in the world-a sunset, the ocean, a scenic view-I would ask them, "What is God?." They would respond, "A good artist!." I never wanted them to forget for a moment the author and the origin of beauty. I was reminiscing about this recently, and realized that this description of God is not enough. It's lacking...

To My Unbelieving Friends: Please Hear Me Out

To My Unbelieving Friends: Please Hear Me Out

There is an account in the Bible (John 9) that tells of a beggar who was blind from birth, whom Jesus healed by spitting in the dirt, making mud, and putting it on the man's eyes, healing his blindness. Witnesses who saw the man come home with his sight restored doubted the account and said it wasn't the same guy. The "learned leaders" of the day came to the man and interrogated him, indignant that Jesus had healed him on the Sabbath. They called Jesus a sinner, but the man called Him a prophet. Incredulous, they interviewed the man's parents, who being nervous that they would be persecuted by the legalist set, verified that the beggar was their son, and that he was, indeed, blind from birth. They then readily deferred to their son for a detailed explanation. The leaders went back and grilled the man, accusing him of being a liar and a sinner. The man became indignant and basically told these "righteous" authorities, "Hey, you guys claim to have all the answers, yet you don't know where this guy Jesus comes from.  How in the world could he have made me see with just  his spit if he wasn't from God? And we all know that God doesn't listen to sinners, so what does that make you?" (Just a bit of paraphrasing, there). Then the man added simply, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!." (No paraphrasing here.)...

Humble Confidence

Humble Confidence

Lately I've been wrestling with pride vs. confidence. God gives us gifts. We are called to use them. But if we walk in complete confidence as we use those gifts, which is the only way to use them to their capacity, we run the danger of falling into pride as we enjoy success and perhaps even affirmation or accolades from others...

On Christmas

On Christmas

There is a sliver of me that doesn't want to give any gifts this Christmas. At least to my family.  It's not because I don't think they deserve gifts, or that they've been "bad" in some way. I have a wonderful family. And, it's very true when God says that we love to give good gifts to our children. No, that sliver of me just wishes that Christmas wasn't what it turned out to be...