Jesus gave poor people special attention in His ministry. It was a common practice for Him to give money to the poor.
As we continue to live our lives and adjust to this new normal, I sense a feeling of fatigue in so many: there is the COVID-19 fatigue; injustice fatigue; a fatigue of crying and mourning – mourning the loss of loved ones, the loss of homes, jobs, or the loss of what was once called normalcy.
Recently my wife and I were able to enjoy a getaway at a beach for a few days. One morning as I was sitting on our small balcony taking in the ocean view, a rainbow suddenly appeared over the water.
We are in the middle of a serious health pandemic. The deaths by COVID-19 have exceeded 125,000 in our nation. When compared to the number of deaths by our military personnel in the Korean War plus the Vietnam War (33,686 + 58,220) we have already lost 30,000 or more to COVID-19 than in those wars combined.
Many of us have witnessed this scenario with our own children or grandchildren, or else we’ve seen it play out on video with someone else’s kids. A child got into something he wasn’t supposed to – the cookie jar, a candy dish, a cake, or pie. When he’s confronted about it, he flatly denies having been disobedient. However, the whole time he’s steadfastly proclaiming his innocence, the evidence in the form of chocolate, icing, or pie-filling is smeared all over his face.
This weekend we celebrate again the birth of our country. We will fly our flags. We will watch and set off fireworks. We will remind one another of the great gift of freedom we have in living in these United States of America
Sometimes we may get tired of constantly having to deal with some of the debris which we encounter as we make our way along our journey in life with Christ.
I know that this may sound like an obvious question, but have you ever asked, "What does the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus mean?" We proclaim and believe that we find forgiveness of our sin in this death and life of Jesus. But how does that death forgive our sin? Why was it necessary?
Amaud Abrey, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, protests, riots, looting, numerous police offers killed in the last few weeks, black lives matter, blue lives matter, all lives matter, none of it matters. Please don’t take that wrong. I am not saying that none of this is important or tragic or meaningless.
In the classic movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Jimmy Stewart’s character was giving an impassioned speech before Congress. He was exposing corruption and calling for a return to better values. While advocating for the ideals communicated in the Declaration of Independence, he warned that they won’t work if people won’t treat each other right.
While visiting with my daughter and her family, we made our way out into their backyard to check on the progress of the most recent additions to their clan - a litter of kittens.
During the Spring Quarter (March, April and May), I had the opportunity of writing 14 Sunday School lessons for the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church on the subject of “Justice and The Prophets.” It was an enlightening though intense study of God’s intention to bring about justice in the world, humankind’s failure to heed the message and refusal to repent, and God’s judgmental fulfillment of his promise to set things right.
This past Sunday those of us in liturgical churches celebrated Trinity Sunday, the mystery of God who is revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Covid-19 plague that surrounds us is teaching us that our relationships extend beyond our families to include our neighbors, state, nation, and the nations of the world. From this pandemic are many tragic deaths, sacrifices and especially on those in poverty.
Recently we’ve witnessed people using the destructive nature of fire to transform peaceful protests into riots by igniting police cars and burning businesses.
I had planned to end my series on the difficult subject of death last week; however, after that article came out two people contacted me and mentioned how helpful this series had been. one person even ask me if I could put it in booklet form so it could be used to help people going through this difficult time. With that in mind, let me give you a parting thought on the subject.
Last weekend we gave one of our grandsons a Lego set for his birthday. It wasn’t an unusual present for our grandchildren who thoroughly enjoy putting together those building-block creations. However, this particular version was a little different. After constructing the object, you can download an app on your phone or tablet that enables you to scan the Lego creation to find hidden figures such as ghosts. I certainly don’t understand the technology behind it, but searching for those otherwise invisible entities adds another dimension to the whole Lego phenomenon, which some kids might find entertaining.
I have been writing on the difficult subject of death. Last week I pointed out that heaven isn’t populated by good people or deserving people but by forgiven people.
When God pronounced the penalty for Adam’s sin, He said Adam was to till the ground, and that "both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you”(Gen. 3:18).
Recently I used an electric trimmer to cut back some hedges around our church building. Afterwards as I was rolling up the extension cord I discovered it had a couple of deep gashes exposing bare wire.
A UPS driver arrived with a package at my daughter’s house recently. As he rang the doorbell to announce he was leaving the box on their porch, my 2-year-old grandson ran excitedly toward the door shouting, “People! People! People!”
Last week I wrote on the subject of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. For the record I stated that the Bible did not create the resurrection; it was the resurrection that led to the book we now call the Bible.
Maybe like me you recently read the opinion of someone who suggested that a God of love does not bring judgment on sin. While such thinking may not be uncommon, I hope most people recognize that in order to adhere to that viewpoint a person must ignore or explain away a large portion of Holy Scripture.
King David knew the Creator well when he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.”(Ps. 19:1-2 KJV).
Dark days. Disappointment over changed plans. Uncertain futures. Isolation. Fear. Grieving over loss and death. No, I’m not just describing our current times, but the situation the disciples faced immediately following Jesus’ crucifixion. His death changed everything in the world of His disciples.
The book of Habakkuk is one of the shorter books in the Old Testament, having only three chapters. In the middle of the book is a promise many of us memorized in VBS years ago. It reads, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).
For the last few weeks we have been discussing the Bible. There was a time when the Bible was considered by the majority of people to be an authoritative work.
Last week we began to look at the objection that the Bible is untrustworthy because the Bible was written by men. In that article I challenged you to consider the fact that if you dismiss the Bible because “it was written by men,” in reality you have to dismiss every piece of literature because it is all written by men.