Tags: grace

Torah

The New Testament offers us citizenship in a monarchy where the King serves— and calls his servants friends. The idea isn’t completely  new. It’s a story that begins to unfold in the drama of Eden— but is soon lost in the confusion of a world where muscular strength and social authority are used to build kingdoms of self-serving […]

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 […]

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 […]

Jacob’s Legacy

In All’s Well That Ends Well, William Shakespeare gives us the thought that “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” Two centuries later, a French author by the name of Victor Hugo showed his readers that a legacy of honesty—without grace—can turn us into devils. In his 19th-century novel Les Misérables (i.e., The Miserable), Hugo […]

Jacob’s Ladder

In 19th-century America, a generation of oppressed slaves sang a spiritual about “Jacob’s Ladder.” The repetitive, rhythmic lyrics about climbing higher and higher helped them envision themselves on a hard journey to a better place. The original story is about a great ladder reaching up to heaven, and it’s as down-to-earth as the man who […]

The Heel Snatcher

In Greek mythology, Achilles is a great warrior who dies from a poisonous arrow that lodges in his heel. Prior to his birth, a prophecy had foreseen his untimely and early death. So when he was born, his mother dipped him in the River Styx that was thought to give magical protection. Holding him by […]

2 Ways to Read the Bible

A friend and co-worker recently passed along some thoughts that he’s had about our natural inclination to miss the big story of the Bible. Jeff, is a licensed counselor who has a deep concern about how our hearts interact with the heart of God.  While reflecting on Revelation 3:14-20, he  suggests, “There are two ways […]

Degrees of Sin

Is all sin alike in God’s eyes? Our last conversation about God’s words to Moses—that, to our ear, can sound so self-contradictory (Exodus 34:5-7)— have raised a question about degrees of sin. Seems to me that this lingering thought might help us  reflect on the second half of an ancient quote that seems so unfair […]

A Time to Speak

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. This past week I attended an event that showcased the stories of people who have repeatedly heard the […]

The Bible and Cut Flowers

The words of the Bible can be like cut flowers. The words of Jesus, like the laws of Moses, can be selectively chosen and arranged for anyone’s temporary purposes and enjoyment. But once the words are sheared from the stem and root of the story they are telling, they begin to fade in significance like […]

Who or What Has Changed?

Malachi, the last prophet of the Hebrew Scriptures, quoted God as saying, “I am the LORD, I do not change” (3:6 NKJV). Down through the centuries, however, many have noticed that, somewhere between the Old and New Testaments, the God of the Bible does seem to change. Instead of sending down war, floods, fire, and […]

A Faith That Works

Can faith and works exist apart from one another? The authors of the New Testament seem to be so concerned about answering this question that they sometimes sound as if they are contradicting themselves. In some texts, for instance, the apostle Paul takes pains to emphasize that salvation is by faith alone without any hint […]

God of the Burning Bush

As a fugitive from the Egyptian Pharaoh who had raised him, Moses’ life slowed to a crawl. Once he had been an adopted member of the Egyptian royal family. Now, on the back side of the desert, at the foot of Mount Sinai, he was watching over his father-in-law’s sheep. His life as a shepherd […]

The Tree of Life

It begins with Hubble pictures of the cosmos and the whispered question, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4,7) As a film, The Tree of Life, written and directed by Terrence Malick, and starring […]

What Was I Thinking?

Conventional wisdom reminds us that there is often more than one way to do something. The point is that it doesn’t make much sense to get stuck on our own way of how we want to do it if we agree on what it is that needs to get done. Yet to make the point, […]

What Makes Jesus Good for Us?

Who can measure the importance of the statement: “The Word became flesh, and lived among us full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)? Think about the implications of a statement that does not simply say that “The Word was full of truth”, or that “The Word was full of grace.” Imagine what Jesus might have […]

Famous Pairs

Am guessing that when you see the following short list of famous pairs, you will think of other duos that have a way of doing together what neither could do on their own. In addition to bacon and eggs, there are, Sherlock and Watson Tom and Huck Abbot and Costello Batman and Robin Lewis and […]

Whether “Love Wins”… or not

After reading Rob Bell’s latest book, “Love Wins”… I remain convinced that God will make heaven as good as it can be… and hell as bad as it needs to be. We have every reason to trust whatever Jesus said and meant about the real danger of hellish loss in this life, and the judgment […]

As is…Just as I am…

In a recent conversation one of our friends made a comment that I haven’t been able to forget. It was something to the effect that “You probably would all think I’m a creep. Have been married several times…” My guess is that along the way others have also made self-disclosing comments that have gotten lost […]

Ruth and the Economy

Economic crisis is the setting of the story of Ruth in the Old Testament.  A famine in Israel, during the difficult, dark days of the Judges, prompted a Jewish family to leave their home in Bethlehem and move to the land of Moab. Ironically, Bethlehem means “house of bread”. These were  extreme times. To make […]

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