When Sharks Won’t Bite

By |2019-06-24T12:16:42-04:00June 29th, 2019|

My children were thrilled, but I felt uneasy. During a vacation, we visited an aquarium where people could pet small sharks kept in a special tank. When I asked the attendant if the creatures ever snapped at fingers, she explained that the sharks had recently been fed and then given extra food. They wouldn’t bite because they weren’t hungry...

Divine Diversions

By |2019-06-24T12:08:35-04:00June 28th, 2019|

It can be difficult when we’re told “no” or “not now,” especially when we sense God has opened a door for us to serve others. Early in my ministry, two opportunities came my way where I thought my gifts and skills matched the churches’ needs, but both doors eventually closed. After these two disappointments, another position came along, and I was selected...

Untying the Rope

By |2019-06-21T12:16:09-04:00June 27th, 2019|

One Christian organization’s mission is to promote the healing nature of forgiveness. One of their activities involves a skit in which a person who has been wronged is strapped back to back with a rope to the wrongdoer. Only the one sinned against can untie the rope. No matter what she does, she’s got someone on her back. Without forgiveness—without untying the rope—she cannot escape...

Your Eulogy

By |2019-06-21T12:08:09-04:00June 26th, 2019|

My heart is full from attending the funeral of a faithful woman. Her life wasn’t spectacular. She wasn’t known widely outside her church, neighbors, and friends. But she loved Jesus, her seven children, and her twenty-five grandchildren. She laughed easily, served generously, and could hit a softball a long way. Ecclesiastes says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting” (7:2)...

Vanity on Fire

By |2019-06-20T12:15:04-04:00June 25th, 2019|

In February 1497, a Monk named Girolamo Savonarola started a fire. Leading up to this, he and his followers spent several months collecting items that they thought might entice people to sin or neglect their religious duties—including artwork, cosmetics, instruments, and dresses. On the appointed day, thousands of vanity items were gathered at a public square in Florence, Italy, and set on fire...

Playing with Joy

By |2019-06-20T12:08:17-04:00June 24th, 2019|

One of our sons, Brian, is a high school basketball coach. One year, as his team was dribbling its way through the Washington State Basketball Tournament, well-meaning folks around town asked, “Are you going to win it all this year?” Both players and coaches felt the pressure, so Brian adopted a motto: “Play with joy!” I thought of the apostle Paul’s last words to the elders of Ephesus: “That I may finish my race with joy” (Acts 20:24 NKJV)...

The Lord Rejoices

By |2019-06-19T16:18:47-04:00June 23rd, 2019|

My grandmother recently sent me a folder full of old photographs, and as I thumbed through them, one caught my eye. In it, I’m two years old, and I’m sitting on one end of a hearth in front of a fireplace. On the other end, my dad has his arm around my mom’s shoulders. Both are gazing at me with expressions of love and delight...

Hide-and-Seek

By |2019-06-19T16:10:12-04:00June 22nd, 2019|

“He’s going to find me,” I thought. I felt my little heart pound faster as I heard my five-year-old cousin’s footsteps around the corner. He was coming closer. Five steps away. Three. Two. “Found you!” Hide-and-seek. Most have fond memories of playing the game as children. Yet sometimes in life the fear of being found isn’t fun but is rooted in a deep instinct to flee. People may dislike what they see...

Ending Envy

By |2019-06-18T12:19:33-04:00June 21st, 2019|

The famous French artist Edgar Degas is remembered worldwide for his paintings of ballerinas. Less known is the envy he expressed of his friend and artistic rival Édouard Manet, another master painter. Said Degas of Manet, “Everything he does he always hits off straightaway, while I take endless pains and never get it right...”