Archive for the 'Personal Crisis' Category

(Posts Archive)

Lost Love

Can’t remember whether I  first read Jesus’ words to Laodicea (Rev 3:20) before or after sensing the dark mood of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous, “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of […]

Unforgivable!

Some of the most difficult words of the Bible come from the mouth of Jesus. For example, he is the one who talked about 2 sins, one against God (insulting the Holy Spirit), the other against one another (an unwillingness to forgive), that he called unforgivable. (Luke 11:18; Matthew 6:15) Writing about the unnecessary suffering a misunderstanding […]

One Last Drink

Over the years, I’ve wondered about Jesus’s comment to the Samaritan woman about the last drink she would ever need. Standing at Jacob’s well, in the heat of the day, she didn’t know what he meant either. Has anyone ever gotten what they would call one last drink from Jesus? So what was Jesus promising […]

If Then

Sometimes understatement says the most. The other day, I was reading an author who caught my attention with just a few words. He said, “If God is anything like a father, and… if I am anything like his child… then…” Since then, I’ve found no end to ways of adding to that one thought. May the most important if/then […]

Origins and Outcomes

In our last post we talked together about how in the 9th century BC, the prophet Elisha counseled the king of Israel not to kill his prisoners of war. As a result, Joram (king of Israel) prepared a feast for the soldiers of Ben-Hadad (king of Aram/Syria) and sent them home. After that, we’re told, that […]

God on the Run

A Christmas weekend marked by unseasonably violent weather and the emotions of caring for the needs of loved ones reflect, as Regina and Steve wrote yesterday, a realism we cannot escape. The embodying of the God of the universe in the flesh of a baby can sound so much like a child’s story—vaguely related to the […]

Living with Imagination

While watching a PGA golf match on television the other day, I caught an interview with the professional who, at that point, was on top of the leader board. When he was asked, “Do you have a strategy for what it’s going to take to handle the pressure and win this tournament?”, I expected him […]

Tired in Trying

After a wind storm took down big limbs and snapped trees in our neighborhood last week, my neighbors and I wore ourselves out trying to get down a heavy wild cherry branch that was hanging dangerously just beyond the reach of our ladder and ropes. Yet, as I think back on it now, our physical […]

News Without Borders

The ongoing debt crisis that has become such a defining moment for Greece and the nations of the Eurozone might be a parable for the world. What do you do with a debt that cannot be paid? Many believe that to cut Greece from the Union would amount to the imposition of a national foreclosure […]

Words in the Night

In the middle of the night, lately, I’ve found myself waking, with some of the same words running through my mind, over and over… and then over and over— as if something deep inside me is trying to reach and grasp something that seems too good to be true, suspended teasingly just beyond my will […]

What Was Adam Thinking?

In our last conversation about forgiving ourselves, I think many of you sensed that, if the God who revealed himself in Jesus is our reference point, then the root of forgiving others, and ourselves, is the highest kind of love (i.e. not just feeling, but choosing to actively seek the highest good of another). In […]

While we Wait

In “He Still Moves Stones”, and as quoted in his “Grace for the Moment” inspirational guide, author Max Lucado suggests that, “Sometimes God is so touched by what he sees that he gives us what we need and not simply that for which we ask. It’s a good thing”, Lucado adds, “For who would have […]

Holy What?

For much of my life I’ve had trouble with the word holy— and with those who seemed to love and long for it. My associations with the word— didn’t seem to put a good face on God. Left me thinking of him as distant, frightening, and not like someone I want to be with. So […]

Who Am I?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is widely remembered as a German author and pastor who was arrested in 1943 for his role in resisting the policies of the Nazi government. While in prison he continued to write and was assisted by sympathetic guards who smuggled his letters to the outside. He was executed on 9 April 1945 as […]

The Spirituality of AA

I recently heard a friend say that going to an Al-Anon meeting was like going to church. This person talked about what it was like to be able sit together in such broken love. I’ve heard others talk or write about what it is like to walk into other12 Step meetings where they immediately feel […]

Mindsight and Violence

In an unpredictably violent world it’s hard to think straight. This isn’t all bad. In dangerous moments our survival often depends on reactions that enable us to act quickly either in our own behalf or for the sake of others—when we don’t have time to think. Way too often, however, we all end up doing […]

Am I Listening?

Am thinking it might be important to have another conversation about issues of authority and obedience. Many of us have been taught to net out our relationship with God in two words— trust and obey. Trust God. Do what he says. Could anything make more sense than the thought that our Creator God deserves our trust and obedience? […]

Ed’s Story: Gratitude

Some of you may have seen the story of Ed Dobson either on a widely distributed CNN.com link or on the five Day of Discovery conversations that I did with Ed about his experience with a slow progressing form of ALS. I just got word from Ed’s wife, Lorna, that the Moody Radio Network is […]

Ebola and Leprosy

Toward the end of a BBC article on the tragic story of Ebola, a video provided by Street Child quietly whispers the story of African family members who have lost loved ones. Their subtitled words and talking eyes portray the humanity behind the sterile images of suited, goggled, and masked health workers. While recalling their […]

Class Struggle

All over the world there are indicators of class struggle. In elections, protests, looting, crime-rates, joblessness, and unfair wages— ongoing wars of every kind and degree  reflect the struggle between those who have a voice in what happens to them that those who don’t. In the middle of such tensions and conflict, one of the […]

Loving in Loss

Two days ago dear friends lost an adult son in a tragic work accident. This morning I received an e-mail from the father who described what happened last night when their grieving family reached out to the man who had accidentally killed their son, brother, husband, and father. The note described not only their overwhelming […]

Why is God so Angry?

How are we going to explain to our children and grandchildren an angry, fearsome, merciful, compassionate, beautiful Father? The thought lingers in the lyrics of the ancient song we’ve been thinking about together. Reflecting on the passing days of our lives, Moses writes, “For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; we finish […]

In Low Visibility

Was too preoccupied during the week to stay with the conversation as it unfolded. But I’ve had a chance this morning to catch up and appreciate the way you’ve interacted with one another. Am guessing that others who came and checked in without posting found something helpful (as i have) in the thoughtful ways you’ve […]

Persecution Complex

In general usage the idea of a persecution complex refers to an unhealthy state of mind that causes persons or groups to assume that they are the victims of an evil conspiracy that has singled them out because they are different than the mainstream. The term therefore is apt to cause many of us to […]

The Threat of Terrorism

An 8/5/2013 alert on a Homeland Security website says, “There are growing concerns that an al Qaeda affiliate could use a new generation of liquid explosive, currently undetectable, in a potential attack, according to two senior U.S. government officials briefed on the terror threat that has prompted the closing of nearly two dozen U.S. embassies. […]

How we Read the Story

In considering the idea of bargaining with God, we referred to a moment in Jacob’s life that can be read either as a condition of negotiation, or as a vow of faith. (Gen 28:20-22) Jacob was either at a point of grateful resolve where he was saying, in response to the vision (Gen 28:10-17),  “If […]

An Unrealized Dream

Over the years, I’ve dreamed of being part of a “safe place” where hurting people could feel welcome and feel free to be themselves while trying to make sense out of their lives. In the process I’ve imagined finding a group of like-minded people who could hang out a shingle and an honest invitation that […]

A Personal Word

When I began the last post saying, “Some of us have been around long enough to see that the Bible we treasure has been used to multiply the pain of racial minorities, women, the poor, the mentally ill, the divorced, abused, addicted, unemployed, and prisoners” I was writing from my heart, and from personal experience. I […]

Honor to Whom Honor is Due

Today in the United States we do what people of every nation do. We honor those who have given their lives for our own. As we do, we answer one of the most important questions ever asked: What do we owe those who paid the ultimate price for their own land and people? In the […]

Thunder

Woke up in the middle of the night to the  sound of an unseasonal thunderstorm.  It’s unusual but not unheard of to have lightning and thunder with snow on the ground, in the middle of a Midwest winter. The rumbling skies reminded me of how an unseasonal storm was once used as a wake-up call […]

Seeds of Hope

When a troubled Solomon tried to make sense of the times and seasons of life, he observed that “there’s a time to plant, and a time to harvest (Ecc 3:2). Got to thinking about how much of following Christ involves personally planting seeds of faith, hope, and love in the God whose story includes large […]

Newtown

The Newtown, Connecticut, killing of 20 children and 6 adults once again raises mind-numbing questions. As is the case of any premature death, or tragic loss, there are no adequate  answers for the grief and anger that follow. No attribution of mental illness, social pathology, cultural storming, demonizing, or finger-pointing can begin to fill the […]

Yom Kippur 2012

Today is Yom Kippur. An article in the Washing Post describes what it means this year as a nation recognizes its sins, in the presence of its enemies. Also known as The Day of Atonement, this is a day of national repentance with a view toward national forgiveness and deliverance. I’ve often been moved by […]

The Gambler

How much of the world beyond has echoes, or reflections, in the world we know? While thinking about the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, I’ve been thinking again about The Gambler, the Don Schlitz song that Kenny Rogers made famous in 1978. While The Gambler isn’t Bible, the perspective it offers from the mouth […]

What’s (not) a Real Problem?

Among the news stories today of Egypt’s post-election crisis, Syria’s civil war, and the G20’s alarm over the Eurozone’s fiscal challenges, is Prince William’s advocacy for the endangered Rhino. Poachers reportedly can get 60,000 black market dollars per kilo (2.2 pounds) for a tusk that is believed by some to have powerful medicinal value. That […]

Wonderful Misused Words

The 91st Psalm is one of the most quoted, claimed, wonderful, mysterious, and misused portions of the Bible.  “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I […]

What If We Collapse?

The apostle Paul writes that God will not give us more than we can bear (1 Cor. 10:13). Many caregivers have used those words in days of overload to avoid the breaking point of their own health, sanity, and spiritual despair. But why then did the same author admit in another letter that, while caring […]

Business as Usual

Do you ever wonder how things got “back to normal” in the minds of a generation that had heard the news of a miraculous star, the vision of the shepherds, the mysterious magi from the east, and rumors of a birth that resulted in Herod’s eventual murderous actions in Bethlehem? (Matt 2:16-18) Did anyone wonder […]

Stress Test

Yesterday, I was staring out the 7th floor window of our  Singapore office, watching a tropical rainstorm move in, and thinking about the snow that is beginning to fall back home. At some point I noticed the garden or plant nursery on the roof of a building below and wondered whether it was someone’s hobby […]

Two Sides of Giving Thanks

Today is a national American holiday that reminds us to give thanks to the God of the harvest. Yet the season of Thanksgiving often turns into an occasion to express personal gratefulness at the expense of someone else. What I’m wondering is whether it is possible to publicly give thanks to God in a way […]

Cardinal Under Pressure

I didn’t stay up last night to see David Freese’s 11th inning game winning home run get the St Louis Cardinals into the 7th game of the World Series. But I read the news this morning of what must have been baseball at its best. Was also interested in after the game comments by Cardinal […]

Hearing the Roar

By now many of us have heard the tragic outcome of the 56 wild animals let loose from an exotic animal park by a Zanesville, Ohio man– before killing himself. According to news reports, 49 of the animals, including a wolf, two grizzly bears, nine male lions, and 18 Bengal tigers, have died. One grizzly […]

Ed’s Story

Our family’s former pastor, Ed Dobson, was recently interviewed on the Today Show and I thought you might find the conversation interesting. I’d especially like you to see the first short video that this interview is about. Ed on Today Show Along the way Ed and his family have discovered not only the reality of […]

Would This Make us Happy?

When are we really happy? What do we thoroughly enjoy doing? Under what conditions are we tempted  to say, “this is heaven”. I ask because I’ve been thinking about what David said about “Delighting in the LORD.” In the 37th Psalm he said, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires […]

Our Song?

Saul was a big man, good looking, and remembered for a consuming anger that was fed by his fears. David, Saul’s successor, could also be noted for his appearance–as for his adultery, many wives, messed up family, abuse of power, and conspiracy to commit murder. Instead, however, we remember David primarily for his music,  a […]

The Story Behind Perfectionism

Perfectionism can be a wonderful gift, a guiding star, a brutal club, or self-absorbed agony. The option we  identify with may depend on how we are reading the Bible. For example, some of the language of the book of Revelation can be disturbingly confusing, because it seems to require “perfectionistic” faithfulness.  As indicated in our […]

A Warm Cold Time of Year

Yesterday, Steve, of WVa reminded us of an any-time-of-year musical Christmas card that we passed around a couple of years ago. Thanks, Steve. I’m going to post it again here in a link to another YouTube version of “Mary Did You Know” by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd. It remains something I can listen to […]

False Intimacy

Over the past year, we have been working with some courageous men who have been willing to talk about their escape from pornography. In a compelling video presentation of broken and restored lives, several men told their stories in an empty warehouse that provides a visual backdrop for the lonely, secret obsession that had been […]

Feeling Down

What can we do when we’re out of sorts, not ourselves, and lost in emotions of inexpressible heaviness? What if, on top of it all, we’re feeling guilty for not being able to think or pray ourselves out of whatever is consuming our focus and energy? Spiritual talk that is supposed to help leaves us cold. Imagine meeting […]

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