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Reasons to Rejoice

By |2022-10-19T02:33:12-04:00October 19th, 2022|

When Ms. Glenda walked into the church commons area, her infectious joy filled the room. She had just recovered from a difficult medical procedure. As she approached me for our usual after-church greeting, I thanked God for all the times over the years that she had wept with me, gently corrected me, and offered encouragement. She’d even asked for forgiveness when she thought she’d hurt my feelings. Whatever the situation, we always ended up praising the Lord.
Mama Glenda, as she lets me call her, wrapped me in a gentle hug. “Hi, Baby,” she said. We enjoyed a short conversation and prayed together before she left—humming and singing as always, looking for someone else to bless.

Mama Glenda always invites me to share my struggles honestly and reminds me that we have many reasons to praise God.

In Psalm 64, David boldly approaches God with his complaints and concerns (v. 1). He voices his frustrations about the wickedness he sees around him (vv. 2–6). He doesn’t lose confidence in God’s power or the reliability of His promises (vv. 7–8). He knows that one day, “The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him, all the upright in heart will glory in him!” (v. 10).

As we wait for Jesus’ return, we’ll face tough times. But we’ll always have reasons to rejoice in every day God has made.

Remember and Celebrate

By |2021-08-19T09:06:04-04:00August 19th, 2021|

On December 6, 1907, explosions rocked a small community in the US state of West Virginia, producing one of the worst disasters in the history of the coal mining industry. Some 360 miners were killed, and it’s been estimated that this horrific tragedy left behind about 250 widows and one thousand children without fathers. Historians maintain that the memorial service became the seedbed from which the celebration of Father’s Day in the US would eventually grow. Out of great loss came remembrance and—eventually—celebration.

The greatest tragedy in human history occurred when human beings crucified their Creator. Yet, that dark moment also produced both remembrance and celebration. The night before He would go to the cross, Jesus took the elements of Israel’s Passover and created His own memorial celebration. Luke’s record describes the scene this way, “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’” (Luke 22:19).

Still today, whenever we approach the Lord’s Table, we honor His great, unflinching love for us—remembering the cost of our rescue and celebrating the gift of life His sacrifice produced. As Charles Wesley said in his great hymn, “Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”

Just Another Day?

By |2018-12-19T15:33:00-05:00December 26th, 2018|

In Christmas Every Day, William Dean Howells tells of a little girl who gets her wish. For one long, horrible year it is indeed Christmas every day. By day three, the yuletide joy has already begun to wear thin. Before long everyone hates candy. Turkeys become scarce and sell for outrageous prices. Presents are no longer received with gratitude as they pile up everywhere. People angrily snap at each other...

Lonely Christmas

By |2018-11-26T14:13:30-05:00December 6th, 2018|

The loneliest Christmas I ever spent was in my grandfather’s cottage near Sakogu, northern Ghana. I was just fifteen, and my parents and siblings were a thousand kilometers away. In previous years, when I’d been with them and my village friends, Christmas was always big and memorable. But this Christmas was quiet and lonely. As I lay on my floor mat early Christmas morning...

Questions at Christmas

By |2018-11-26T14:07:03-05:00December 4th, 2018|

Well before the calendar flips to December, Christmas cheer begins to bubble up in our northern town. A medical office drapes its trees and shrubs in close-fitting strings of lights, each a different color, illuminating a breathtaking nighttime landscape. Another business decorates its building to look like an enormous, extravagantly wrapped Christmas present. It’s difficult to turn anywhere without seeing evidence of Christmas spirit—or at least seasonal marketing...

Silent Night of the Soul

By |2017-12-08T11:59:24-05:00December 22nd, 2017|

Long before Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber created the familiar carol “Silent Night,” Angelus Silesius had written: Lo! in the silent night a child to God is born, And all is brought again that ere was lost or lorn. Could but thy soul, O man, become a silent night God would be born in thee and set all things aright

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