Walking with God in the Valley of Shadows

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

The Surprising Truth About Hospitality

The surprising truth about hospitality

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As I ran through my list of excuses, I realized how much I had withdrawn from social view.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

Trusting God Through Life’s Detours

small village on a lake in Scotland

As I wrapped my fingers around the warm morning mug, the wind froze my face, but I didn’t even care. It was the most breathtaking view I had ever seen.

Our balcony sported 180 degrees of majestic mountains and deeply trenched lochs. Dark indigos and violets cascaded across the sky, casting a display of shadows and lights on the little white village nearby. Wild and rugged, the Scottish Highlands literally took my breath away.

And we were never even supposed to have been there. Continue reading

23 Mind-Blowing Facts about Jesus’ Death and Resurrection You Might Not Know

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

A Living Hope: I am fearless

My hope and strength for this life are rooted in the next. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, I can be fearless in both life and death.

The resurrection is our foundation for life and death.

The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation and pinnacle of the Christian faith. Remove it, and our entire faith collapses like a house of cards, for “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor 15:14).

There are many theories that try to debunk the truth of the resurrection but none of them are sufficient given the entirety of historical evidence (you can read more about those here). Even Lee Strobel, an atheist, skeptic and seasoned journalist for the Chicago Tribune, set out to disprove the resurrection only to discover an overwhelming amount of historical evidence that confirmed it as fact, not fiction (you can read his book, the Case for Christ or watch the movie on Netflix).

Continue reading

A Living Hope: I am alive

Contrary to popular belief, we are not just pining away on earth until we finally get to heaven. We can experience the abundant life Jesus promised here, now, in this present life.

Because of the resurrection, eternal life starts now.

The fact that Jesus is alive is what makes the Good News so great. This means we can have fellowship with him today and experience the abundant life he promises for those who believe.

Continue reading