Each year we honor the courageous souls who sacrificed everything while serving in our nation’s armed forces. Until 1967 it was known as Decoration Day, originated to salute the 600,000 troops who died in the Civil War.
Although Memorial Day is not a religious event, it conjoins the grand themes of death, sacrifice and rebirth. We do well to set aside this hallowed time when human blood was shed to purchase our freedom.
Oh that our land would pause to recognize the death and sacrifice of our God’s only Son, making it possible for your spiritual rebirth and mine.
“America, America, God shed His grace on thee.” The day you accept the free gift of His grace will be one worth remembering until the end of time and beyond.
“May” is one of those versatile words that can be molded into several meanings.
(1) “Mother, may I?” is asking for permission.
(2) “I may if it rains” denotes possibility.
(3) “May it be so” indicates desire.
(4) “May" is a girl’s name.
(5) And there’s “the merry, merry month of May.
May I suggest that the following use of our spotlighted word is the one with which each of us will ultimately be held accountable?
(6) “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” This may asserts certainty.
This is 1 John 5:13 … in the event that you may want to see it in its natural setting.
It’s not true that here in the Pacific Northwest we know it’s spring because the rain is warmer. Against our year-‘round curtains of elegant evergreens, late March delights us with an explosion of colors. Japanese cherry trees arrive in fresh whites, pinks and blues. Daffodils yawn and push skyward, hoisting their golden crowns. Luscious, lavender lilacs chime in. And acres of multi-hued tulips blossom in such abundance that their bulbs are sold to Holland!
It’s as though our Creator has entered our darkened bedroom, rouses us and throws back the curtains to reveal a sun-spangled, new day, teeming with wide-eyed possibilities.
How can there not be a divine Designer behind the seamlessly choreographed change of seasons! When faced with the futility of taming the chaos in your life, relive Solomon’s reminder: “Everything that happens in this world happens when God chooses.”
If we can trust Him to keep the entire universe on schedule, which elements of your world would you consider leaving in His care?
When you and I were just rugrats, little did we know that one of our childhood games would be a harbinger of our time on earth. Remember burying your head in the living room couch pillows, counting to a hundred while your playmates scampered to find their own obscurity? As you reached “…90, 91, 92…’ you amped up and sprinted to “…99, 100!” so you could shout, “Ready or not, here I come!”
1965 gave us “People, Get Ready,” recorded by some of music’s top soul singers. What are you getting ready for? What are you hiding from? What are you seeking? What will prepare you for what’s coming?
The One who loves you most, and proved it by laying down His life for you, said, “Behold, I come quickly.”
We thrive on the born part and deny the die as long as possible. When it’s a new life, a new relationship, even a new dream, we pin our hopes on all the promising possibilities. “Ahhh, life is good. Everything’s comin’ up roses!”
But when the “time to die” looms, we recoil from reality. Yet, as demonstrated daily across the landscape of God’s magnificent Creation, something often must end before something new can begin.
Whether it’s a job or a Super Bowl ring that suddenly vaporizes, is this really the end of the world? Or can something wonderful replace such agonizing disappointment?
A wooden cross on a Judean hillside proved that it can. And did. And does.
What are your expectations for 2015? Does your cranial “mindsweeper” immediately lock in on your stock portfolio, the pounds you hope to lose, or the tattered relationship you hope to mend?
Like old family photos, good intentions seem to pile up and never get processed.
The real question for 2015 is “What will pop up unexpectedly?”
Speaking through Isaiah, God told the folks, “There is no other God – there never has been, and there never will be. I, yes, I am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. … I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
In other words, “Baby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
What are you hoping – and praying – that God will do in, for, through and as you in 2015?
Ominous, low-lying clouds sprint up Puget Sound toward our Canadian border. Late in the year this is frequently an omen of downpours to come. Mercifully, these aerial assaults are interrupted by brilliant, sunny days when fresh, overnight snow crowns the gnarly Olympic Mountains to the west.
Our Creator whips up various cloud recipes, some to seek cover from, others to wrap wondrous surprises in. The prophet writes, “See, the Lord rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.”
Our Lord pictured the end of this age, saying, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man (Jesus) coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near.”
If the meaning of this leaves you feeling partly cloudy, may I introduce you to the One who is “the Light of the World?”
“Words have meaning.” So said the late Julian Jaynes, an American psychologist.
Take the root word, thanks. To express appreciation for a gift, favor, compliment or act of service, just saying “Thanks” may seem to be a bit flippant and disingenuous.
“Thankful” is a state of mind, an internal feeling, an inert and unarticulated thought. “Thanksgiving” is an intentional, overt communication of one’s gratitude.
Years ago a women’s Bible class at a Memphis church mailed a check each month to my single-parent, working Mom to help put me through a Christian high school and college. Much to my shame, I didn’t think to thank those ladies until many years into my adulthood. By that time most of them had probably already moved into their celestial condos.
At this Thanks-giving season I’m reminded to be alert to seizing the opportunity to GIVE thanks rather than to simply be thankful.
There’s plenty to go around these days. You can contract it by watching CSI, Stalker or the closing Dow. Scare tactics ring the cash register in October for the candy ‘n’ costume makers.
A genuine chill races down your spine with every sickening amber alert. What can you do to walk on the other side of the street when fear comes to call? Who is the author of fear?
Our friend Paul, God’s truth-teller, writes, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” One of the most oft-used admonitions throughout the Bible is simply “Fear not!”
Whether it’s Isis, Ebola or Wall Street, here’s another timely tip from Paul:
“Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.”
Is this merely a Pauline pipedream or a possibility?