Tag Archives: New

Deeper Issue


There are parts of learning that I really like. Sometimes the process of learning is very difficult, but for the most part, I enjoy it. I enjoy knowing intricacies and details. I think part of why is because learning more helps me feel better prepared to make decisions.  I also just really enjoy making a new discovery. This is one of the things I really appreciate about scripture. No matter how often I have read a passage, God will almost always teach me something new or show me a new detail.

Today I was reading in John 5 and part of the story recorded in this chapter stood out to me in a new way. The main story in the chapter is about Jesus healing a man who is described as an invalid for 38 years. Jesus heals him and then disappears in the crowd. Later, Jesus finds him in the temple and makes a very powerful statement. This is what stood out to me today. Jesus says, “Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”

What struck me about this statement was the truth of how powerful the effects sin are. It is nothing really new to me- it did not take me very long in life to realize the damage that sin causes- but there was a new comparison for me in this story that made the truth come alive. The impression left on me is that Jesus was saying to the man, “You thought being a lame, invalid for 38 years was bad… Sin is much more devastating.”

I know that “the wages of sin is death.” I know it destroys relationships and causes pain. But something about comparing the outcomes of sin to being worse than living an invalid… that connected to me. It would be really bad to be in that guy’s situation- an invalid with no help, no hope, continually being overlooked, and no one who cares. It’s a bad place to live. But Jesus says living in sin is worse…. There is a deeper issue than just being sick and invalid.

This has caused me to stop and think. During this season of Lent, part of the focus is to realize the gravity of our sin and what it cost Jesus to overcome it. This passage, in a new and fresh way, is helping me focus. I hope it maybe stands out to you as well.


Familiar Stories


One of the challenges I have is to keep the stories of scripture fresh and exciting in my life. It is an interesting challenge. I’m glad I know them, but I don’t want to be so familiar that I am no longer in awe of the truth they convey.

I started thinking about this a couple of weeks ago while teaching Sunday School. Even some of the kids in the little class I have are pretty familiar with some of the stories. But we have a new girl in our class who has never hear the majority of these stories.

We’ve been reading stories from the book of Acts in the last month or so. Well, in Acts 8 we are introduced to one of the main characters in the book, Saul. Then in chapter 9, we learn a lot more about the guy. When we first meet Saul, he is in full support of doing whatever it takes to stop believers in Jesus from talking about Jesus.

So we get to chapter 9 in Sunday School and I’m explaining this to the kids as we start to read the chapter, and this girl just cannot believe it! Why would this guy be so mean??! All the other kids are getting into it- describing how mean and nasty Saul must have been, and what God must have felt when God looked at his life.

Then we keep reading and get to the part where Jesus actually comes to Saul and talks to him. At that point, I’m loving watching this girl’s face as she reacts to the story. Why would Jesus talk to him? He’s too mean! But where it becomes amazing to watch and listen to her reaction is when we read that Saul really does change his mind about Jesus. She could hardly believe it!

Why would this man change so much? Why would Jesus care about changing him? Why not just throw him in jail??

But that is not how the story goes. The story is that Saul does change… that Jesus is really still interested in him… the story is that Jesus radically changes this guys life.

It was amazing to watch as this girl experienced the story for the first time, and how that experience shaped part of her understanding of who Jesus is.

Jesus is not just interested in “right and wrong,” but Jesus is actually interested in changing lives. Jesus still loved Saul. Jesus still wanted Saul to be part of His family. Saul’s life really did radically change after meeting Jesus.

You know something… I kind of knew all of that, but I had forgotten it in the familiarity of the story. I am glad someone helped bring it back to life for me…. and I can hardly wait for our next Sunday School lesson!


Jesus


The passage for today is one that I memorized a while back. It was actually part of the requirements for one of the first mission trips I took. It’s an amazing passage. And, like the rest of scripture, it is a passage that I tend to see something new every time I look at it. So today, as you read it, I hope you discover something new. I hope that God challenges you to see and think about Jesus in a new or fresh way.

Philippians 2:5-11
English Standard Version (ESV)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Let the School Year Begin!


I am not starting school this year and yet my life is still shaped by the fact that it is the first week of school in this  area of the world. It’s amazing. But it got me thinking. Life really does move in seasons.

Every time I gear up towards a new season, I think of that song by The Byrds, Turn! Turn! Turn! Admittedly, it’s about the only song I can identify as The Byrds and it wasn’t really even their song… But I still think of it at the beginning of a new season and it always makes me open back up to Ecclesiastes 3.

For everything there is a season,

and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace. 

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

In the busyness of this new season, I hope you will remember this with me: God knows all that is happening, none of it surprises God. So the best thing we can do is enjoy the season and trust the details to God!