Month: February 2019

Great News!

The article in the local newspaper was short but heartwarming. After attending a faith-based program on building stronger family ties, a group of prison inmates were given a rare treat of an open visit with their families. Some hadn’t seen their children in years. Instead of talking through a glass panel, they could touch and hold their loved ones. The tears flowed freely as families grew closer and wounds began to heal.

 

For most readers, it was just a story. But for these families, holding one another was a life-changing event—and for some, the process of forgiveness and reconciliation was begun.

God’s forgiveness of our sin and offer of reconciliation, made possible through His Son, is more than a mere fact of the Christian faith. The article’s news of reconciliation reminds us that Jesus’s sacrifice is great news not just for the world, but for me and you.

In times when we’re overwhelmed by guilt for something we’ve done, however, it’s news we can cling to desperately. That’s when the fact of God’s unending mercy becomes personal news: because of Jesus’s dying on our behalf, we can come to the Father washed clean, “whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). In such times, when we know we don’t deserve His mercy, we can hold on to the only thing we can depend on: God’s unfailing love and compassion (v. 1).

Out of the Mouths of Babes

After watching ten-year-old Viola using a tree branch as a microphone to mimic a preacher, Michele decided to give Viola the opportunity to “preach” during a village outreach. Viola accepted. Michele, a missionary in South Sudan, wrote, “The crowd was enraptured. . . . A little girl who had been abandoned stood in authority before them as a daughter of the King of kings, powerfully sharing the reality of God’s Kingdom. Half the crowd came forward to receive Jesus” (Michele Perry, Love Has a Face).

The crowd that day hadn’t expected to hear a child preach. This incident brings to mind the phrase “out of the mouths of babes,” which comes from Psalm 8. David wrote, “Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes” (v. 2 esv). Jesus later quoted this verse in Matthew 21:16, after the chief priests and scribes criticized the children calling out praise to Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem. The children were a nuisance to these leaders. By quoting this Scripture, Jesus showed that God took seriously the praise of these children. They did what the leaders were unwilling to do: give glory to the longed-for Messiah.

As Viola and the children in the temple showed, God can use even a child to bring Him glory. Out of their willing hearts came a fountain of praise.

At Home with Jesus

I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me. John 14:3

“There’s no place like home.” The phrase reflects a deeply rooted yearning within us to have a place to rest, be, and belong. Jesus addressed this desire for rootedness when, after He and His friends had their last supper together, He spoke about His…

Our Living Hope

It is by [God’s] great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

The morning after my mother died, I was reading John 6 and talking to God about my sadness. When I came to verse 39, the Lord whispered comfort to my sad heart: “This is the will of…

Much More!

As people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. Romans 5:20

A statement I heard at an Easter service stays with me: “More has been gained in the resurrection of Jesus than was lost in the fall.” More gained than lost? Can it be true?

Each day we experience the damage caused by sin entering our world.…

Goodbye for Now

We want you . . . [not] to grieve like people who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13

My granddaughter Allyssa and I have a regular routine we go through when we say goodbye. We wrap our arms around each other and begin to loudly wail with dramatic sobs for about twenty seconds. Then we step back and casually say,…

Happy Christmas!

I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. John 11:25

On Easter morning when I walked into church I saw my friend and greeted her, “Happy Christmas!” I quickly corrected myself. “I mean, Happy Easter!”

“Can’t have one without the other,” she smiled. How true! Without Christmas, there wouldn’t be an…

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