While navigating the winding Irish countryside, I marveled at the view. Countless sheep roamed freely as they grazed in pastures near the road. Every few miles, my husband and I would pull over to photograph the scene.
As I watched the wooly bunch meander over mountainous terrain, I knew their shepherd was nearby. There was no doubt in my mind that he was keeping a watchful eye lest one of them wander astray.
In both the Old and New Testament, God is characterized as a good shepherd (John 10:11-18). The Bible often describes God in word-pictures so that we can understand Him and how He relates to us in a tangible way.
King David understood this imagery well when he penned these famous words: Continue reading
When my husband mentioned he was inviting someone over for a last-minute hangout, I may have panicked a little.
Okay, a lot.
I was unprepared with no treats in hand. My house was still decorated for spring. Dishes cluttered the counter like the anxiety in my heart. What if our company didn’t have a good time? What if conversation stalled?
As I ran through my list of excuses, I realized how much I had withdrawn from social view. Over the years, I stopped opening my home because I felt like my efforts failed in comparison to friends. I chalked it up to being introverted. It’s the pandemic’s fault, I mused, while mentally rehearsing all the legitimate reasons for keeping my distance.
In hindsight, my reaction overreaction to my husband’s desire exposed my inner-soul hang ups with hospitality.
Which begs the question – what is hospitality, anyway?
- Is it well decorated and planned parties?
- Does it center around food?
- Is it an open-door policy where anyone can stop over at any time?
- Does it mean opening my home to strangers?
- Does it depend on whether people have a good time?
To answer these questions, I went directly to the source and was surprised to find that I’d mistakenly confused hospitality with entertaining, poor boundaries, and the way to soothe loneliness.
But the mind-blowing truth is that biblical hospitality is none of these. Continue reading
Some seasons in life are so crushing that there simply are no words. Language fails to express the depth of your anguish. In those seasons, it can be difficult to pray.
Sometimes all I can do in those moments is weep; and in between my tears cry, “Lord, see”.
And that is enough. Continue reading
He peered over the rim at the churning waves below. Gripping the side of the boat, Peter steadied himself as it fiercely rocked to and fro.
Violent winds had stirred the waters into a foaming frenzy. Despite their rowing efforts, the disciples had made little headway. Six hours of unrelenting stress, exhaustion and willpower had produced only a few miles at best. Their finite strength had paled in comparison to the unpredictable power of nature.
Thunder rippled across the sea and echoed off the mountains in the distance. Peter wiped the salty water from his eyes as he squinted to see the man on the waves. Exhaustion and excitement quickened his heart as he mulled over what he had just heard above the raging wind.
“Come.” Continue reading
From the very beginning, things did not go as planned. What had started out as a normal day quickly spiraled into a nightmare. Cloaked in darkness and gripped by fear, the promise of death seemed imminent.
The disciples were seamen. This was their lake. As professionals, they were used to navigating the changing waters and unforeseen circumstances.
But this storm was different.
Violent winds had stirred the waves into a foaming frenzy. Despite their best rowing efforts, they had made little headway. Six hours of unrelenting stress, exhaustion and willpower had produced only a few miles at best. Continue reading
When you think about the future, what emotions bubble to the surface?
I’m pretty sure all my thoughts about the future have resulted in permanent worry lines etched across my forehead. On most occasions the unknown creates anxiety, concern, stress and a host of pleading prayers. Flashes of what could happen combined with a gazillion what if questions flood my mind and threaten to sweep my emotions away with them.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future…Proverbs 31:25
Enter, Proverbs 31 woman. She fascinates me, mostly because of this verse. You can bet this woman has seen her fair share of hardship, disease, war and death. But when it comes to the future and her unknowns, she smiles. She can laugh, untroubled. Her brow does not stay furrowed over what may or may not come.
How is she able to do this? We get a sneak peek at the answer only a few verses later: Continue reading
Every year we celebrate Easter with symbols of spring while modern reenactments of holy week portray the proverbial characters.
But if you think you know the Easter story, you may want to think again.
The last week of Jesus’ life was filled with conspiracy, corruption, power-plays and a host of Jewish symbolism. We can easily miss the rich cultural details surrounding his death and resurrection.
If you want a deeper understanding of the Bible this Easter, check out these profound yet often missed details. Continue reading
The holiday season has a way of exposing what we worry about the most. In preparation for the Christmas season, I decided to read through the Gospel of Luke. Recently I came across this all-familiar passage that struck me differently than before.
“Do not worry about everyday life…these things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs…wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:22, 30, 34