Posted in Devotions

Three Thoughts from the Lazarus Story

Recently I have been meditating very slowly on the story of Jesus and Lazarus in John 11. Numerous thoughts and insights come to mind, but I want to highlight three for now. First, Jesus isn’t concerned about a day.  After Lazarus died, Martha and Jesus engage in a conversation. Martha gives Jesus right theology. She trusts that Lazarus will rise again at the resurrection. She even demonstrates her belief that he will rise on the last day (v. 24). Great. Wonderful. Love it. Let’s write a song about it. But Jesus isn’t satisfied with this. He responds by saying, “I...

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Mom, Dad . . . Relax

Just over nine years ago, at an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I saw a look on a four year old’s face I don’t think I will ever forget. Our daughter’s biological (birth) mom came for a visit so Katie and I could meet her and so she could see her baby before leaving the country. I didn’t know what to expect. Would Birti be excited? Would Birti recognize her (her birth mom had to give her up for adoption two years prior)? Would she want to stay with her birth mom? Would she feel torn? Does Birti have any...

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Preachin’ on Secular Radio

I had just dropped off my oldest at high school. I was telling myself not to get in a bad mood so early in the day due to traffic that was beyond my control. It wasn’t working. Because I drink so much water and coffee every morning I was also internally debating whether to run into Target to use their facilities or try to make it the church office. I decided to try and make it. To get my mind off the traffic, my very full bladder, and my mood – I flipped through radio stations. I landed on a...

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Jesus, the “Real” Foodie

“For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” John 6:55   Though I would not consider myself a “foodie,” I do love me some food. I am not an expert of food nor drink by any stretch of the imagination, but I know good barbecue when I smell it. I know the difference between Folgers and Starbucks. I know when a hamburger is made of cow or mushrooms. And I know the difference between spicy and “sho’ nuff” hot. In fact, if every day were Taco Tuesday, I would be okay with that. Heck, the reason...

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Rejoice in the Wife of Your Youth

“Rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Proverbs 5:18 Recently I had the privilege of listening to this podcast. An interview between Carey Nieuwhof and Gordon MacDonald. I am only about a fifth of the way through and am compelled to write this thought down. Gordon MacDonald is 80 years old and reflected on his life and ministry leadership by offering 15 Life Lessons. The podcast is Nieuwhof’s attempt to draw out as much as he can from MacDonald on the lessons. A statement he made while unpacking his very first point struck me.   Here’s MacDonald’s first lesson: “Put...

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Jesus Went To Them

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into...

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Amazed

“My Father is always at work to this very day, and I too am working. . . and He will show Him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.” (John 5:17, 20)   Jesus makes two very clear and important declarations here.  One He and the Father are always working.  Two, they work so we would be amazed. Go back and read the verses and the two declarations again. Seriously. Go ahead. Now think about it. God and Jesus are always working. And they are working for our amazement. They do what they are doing –...

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A Saying We Can Accept

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 1 Timothy 1:15 I don’t have to tell you this. You see it. You hear it. You read it. Opinions about rioting, Trump, and COVID-19 are everywhere. If you say something, you mess up. If you keep quiet, you mess up. If you protest violently, you are wrong. If you protest silently, you are “saying” something offensive. If you wear a mask, you love your neighbor or you don’t have enough faith. If you don’t wear a...

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Greener Grass?

“Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.” (Proverbs 12:11) I’ve always assumed this Proverb was about hard work. A quick flyover takeaway is simple: Work hard. Stop fantasizing. Do the work. Don’t daydream. True, the inspired author of Proverbs did mean hard work is essential and wise. But that’s not all this word of wisdom is teaching us. In fact, it may not even be the main point of the Proverb. Look a little closer with me. . . Notice carefully what he says: “Those who work their land. ....

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The Nostalgic God

“To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.” (Isaiah 54:9) When God brings up the past, it is always to reveal His gracious character. When God gets nostalgic, it is to show what He intended. When God reminisces, He tells us how it benefits us. God is. So when He reflects on the past, it is history to us . . . not Him. When God speaks of something...

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