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Showing posts from March, 2013

Easter Sunday - 3/31/13

The words of Charles Wesley ring still ring true today!!Christ the Lord is ris'n today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heav'ns, and earth reply, Alleluia! Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia! Christ has opened Paradise, Alleluia! Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Dying once He all doth save, Alleluia! Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia! Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! Foll'wing our exalted Head, Alleluia! Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia! Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia! Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia! Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!
King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia! Everlasing life is this, Alleluia! Thee to know, Th…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 40 - Saturday, 3/30/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 21:25

Devotional Thought:

"Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." - John 21:25

Today is Black Saturday.

For some, it is a day of heaviness . . . sadness . . . a dreary kind of day.

But that will all change . . . because we already know the end-of-the-story.  Tomorrow is Easter and it's going to come shining into our lives.

Nothing can stop it.

Why not consider taking a notepad and pen . . . and write down some of the things you have learned from Jesus during this season of Lent, which will end this late evening at the stroke of midnight.

I bet Jesus has done a lot for all of us. 

Put down what Jesus has done with words on a notepad, or on a computer . . . you will be blessed doing so.  And I bet you will give thanks as well. 

We travel the road of Lent each year for a reason. 

For individual reasons.

What down t…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 39 - Good Friday, 3/29/30

Devotional Scripture:  John 21:20-24

Devotional Thought:

" . . . what is that to you?  You must follow me."  - John 21:22

We are all called to love and care for our neighbors.

However, our first responsibility is the condition of our own hearts . . . our own lives . . . and our own souls.

Jesus reminds Peter of this . . . when Peter askes Jesus about the future of the other disciples.

"You must follow me!  No more distractions!  I believe in you!  I have things for you to accomplish in my name!"

In other words . . . "Peter, get to the work I have for you to do!"

Friends . . . today is the day we as Christians acknowledge privately or in worship services that Jesus died for us.  Today we acknowledge that he died a physical death. 

He died.

For you.

For me.

Friends . . . let's get to work . . . our first responsibility again is to the condition of our own hearts, our own souls and our own lives.

Let's get to work.  Easter is within reach! 

God's…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 38 - Maundy Thursday, 3/28/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 21:15-19

Devotional Thought:

"Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" - John 21:15

All I have to offer today is one single, simple thought.

God is the God of a 2nd chance.

And a 3rd chance.

And a 4th chance . . . .

Peter gets a lot of blame for denying Christ.  Actually, all the disciples were guilty of the same charge.  Peter wasn't the only one to run away.  They all ran away and hid from those who came to arrest Jesus.

They fled the scene . . .

Peter's denial of Christ outside the home of the High Priest is an additional denial, and it seems to receive extra focus from the writers of the Gospels.  

In today's scripture . . . it is Peter to whom Jesus directs his questions after the disciples come ashore for breakfast.

3 times the scriptures record that Peter had additionally denied Jesus.

3 times Jesus asks him . . . "Do you love me?"

3 times Peter replies . . . "Yes."

3 times Jesus responds with…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 37 - Wednesday, 3/27/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 21:1-14

Devotional Thought:

"Come and have breakfast." - John 21:12

Have you ever woke from a good night's sleep and smelled coffee brewing, bacon fying, or bread baking?

Rats, now I'm hungry!

I make breakfast for my wife and I about 4 mornings a week.  I usually make what I call "Apple Pie Oatmeal."

Yes, seriously . . . and it tastes better than apple pie. 

While cooking the oatmeal . . . I add Splenda and cinnamon, and a shot of sugar-free maple syrup.

Then, once the oatmeal is removed from the heat of the stove top, I add an entire chopped apple that I heated in the microwave.  Needless to say, I buy a lot of apples.

Then . . . I add chopped walnuts and dried cranberries. (I get mine from the bulk bins at Sprout's in Lewisville.)

I can get anybody to like oatmeal . . . trust me.  If you don't think so, you need to come over one day and try my "Chocolate Cherry Coconut" oatmeal.  I usally save it for the holid…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 36 - Tuesday - 3/26/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 20:24-30

Devotional Thought:

"Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." - John 20:25

Sometimes we read these words, and get a little high and pious about Thomas and his doubt.  Thomas can be a scapegoat here if we are not careful.

Some people aren't careful . . . some people look for scapegoats.

"I sure wouldn't have doubted!  I would have been a faithful disciple!"

Really?

"Doubt is a sin . . . Thomas wasn't fit to be Jesus' disciple."

Are you sure?

"In all the days of my life, I have lived every single day never doubting God."

Careful now . . .

"I always believe in Jesus 100% of the time!"

People who say this are liars.

I will go out on a limb here . . . every single person in the world . . . including people-of-faith and non-believers . . . all have had doubts at one time or another.  We've all have…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 35 - Monday, 3/25/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 20:11-23

Devotional Thought:

"Jesus said to her, 'Mary!" - John 20:16

"Jesus came among them and said, 'Peace be with you!" - John 20:19

There is an old saying many of us "over 50 types" learned a long time ago.  It is said in many ways, but goes something like "waiting a while for something is almost always worth the effort."

In today's jargon, I believe the saying is . . . "Wait for it!  Waaaaaiiiittttttt for it!"

Mary didn't go home like the Peter and John did.  She stayed.

As a result . . . she is confronted by 2 angels who ask here why she is crying.

Nice to know that angels care, isn't it?

Then she turns and gets to see Jesus! 

But something is wrong . . . something has changed . . . she doesn't recognize him until she hears his voice.

"Mary."

Because she waited . . . she saw the resurrected Jesus with her own eyes . . . and she believed.  This was no rescusitation . . . …

Palm Sunday - 3/24/13

Today is Palm Sunday, the 6th Sunday of Lent . . . which is the 40 day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter . . . but we don't count the Sundays.

Why?

Sunday is our day set aside for the task of worship!

Worship God today in spirit and in truth.  Palm Sunday is usally a very special day in the life of all Catholic and Protestant churches.

As you celebrate the arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem . . . or prepare yourself for His passion during Holy Week . . . Let God know in prayer that you are still working hard to clear your path, to make your road straight so that Easter may arrive unobstructed into your life next Sunday (3/31/13).





Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 34 - Saturday, 3/23/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 20:1-10

Devotional Thought:

"Then the disciples went back to their homes." - John 20:10

What?

Wait just a minute!

Are you kidding me?  Are you KIDDING me?

Is this the sort of thing that happened all the time in that part of 1st Century Israel?

Why this "matter-of-fact" response to the resurrection of Jesus?

They went back to their homes?  They went back home???

To better understand . . . we have to carefully re-read verse 9, which in some Bible texts appears in parentheses, what we call a "parenthetical insertion" by some editor who knows we might need some help as we read this . . .

"(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)"

Ohhhhhhhhhh . . . OK.

I guess.

I think I do come away understanding one thing from all this . . . the disciples never expected the resurrection of Jesus.

Re-read the verses

They went into the tomb . . . they saw the linen clothes that had wrapped his body…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 33 - Friday, 3/22/13

Devotional Scripture: John 19:17-27

Devotional Reading:

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.'  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." - John 19:30

Sometimes life really hurts bad.

The words we read in today's scripture are not easy words to read.  In fact, they hurt. 

They are to vivid, to graphic, to painful . . . and much to real.

They are frightening words . . . we read them and shudder.  The darkness of the words chills us.

Jesus knows that his death will follow his next few breaths.  His response is a human one.

"I am thirsty."

Have you ever taken a drink from a glass expecting water . . . but instead it was vinegar?

Yuck!

Now with a lingering sour taste in his mouth (the proverbial last slap in the face), he says, "It is finished."

His death apparantly goes unnoticed by the crucifixion detail . . . they don't know he is dead until they come to break his legs to assure he dies before the Sabbath begins.…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 32 - Thursday, 3/21/13

Devotional Scripture:   John 19:17-27

Devotional Thought:

"Dear woman, here is your son."  - John 19:26

Amazing!  Seriously . . . this just blows my mind in so many ways!

Here is the story of the crucifixion . . . we hear the cries from those whose hands and ankles were nailed through with spikes into the wood of their crosses.

We can only sense their agony as their crosses are lifted up onto the rack that held them, or dropped into a hole in the ground that served as the base used to keep them upright.

We can just imagine the quick military efficiency of the crucifixion "detail."  They've no doubt had to do this before.  It took only a few minutes. 

Better to be quick about it.

We can imagine the shock and alarm of those who were there as witnesses.  Crucifixion was meant as a way to keep people in line. 

It worked.

We can imagine Jesus being consumed in excruciating pain . . .

And yet . . . in the middle of the crucifixion story with all it's gory horrib…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 31 - Wednesday, 3/20/13

Devotional Scripture:   John 19:1-16

Devotional Thought:

"From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free . . ." - John 19:12

John paints a very sympathethic picture of Pilate.

As I mentioned in yesterday's devotional thought, Pilate is in a "no-win" situation.

He knows it.  It's as clear as the nose on his own face.

Yet . . . he now tries even harder to find every way he can to set Jesus free.

Verse 8 is telling  . . . "When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back insdie the palace.

What was it that made him afraid?  

Easy enough to figure out . . . the Jews wanted him to give permission to crucify the "Son of God."

Honestly, and in all seriousness . . . who would want such a decision on their hands.  How do you think it would feel to have someone check your employment history, and discover that you sentenced the "Son of God" to death?

Such is much more common than you think.

During all the clearing away and makin…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 30 - Tuesday - 3/19/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 18:28-40

Devotional Thought:

"I find no basis for a charge against him." - John 18: 38

I once wrote a paper about Pontius Pilate back in my college days at Texas Wesleyan University (a very long time ago).

I wrote that I felt sorry for him.  I still do.

Here was a man who was smart enough . . . and powerful enough . . . who had all the right connections and influence . . .  and was politically adept enough to be the governor of a particular region of the mighty Roman Empire.

When this man said "JUMP!" . . . you were already in the air asking, "is this high enough?"

Actually, it would have been . . . "is this high enough, sir?"

Pilate asks Jesus the question, "Do you think that I am a Jew?"   

This is indeed a very interesting question from the man who had the type of job that required the "boss" to be an expert on the customs, politics and religion of the people he was governing. 

I believe that Pil…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 29 - Monday - 3/18/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 18:12-27

Devotional Thought:

"Again Peter denied it, and at that moment, a rooster began to crow." - John 18:27

Have you ever intentionally betrayed someone?

I have.  I'm not a saint.  In my younger years, I betrayed someone I shouldn't have.  The memory of it is still painful almost 40 years later.

Have you ever unintentionally betrayed someone?

Well, looking back on my life . . . the answer to that question is "yes" as well.   Such is human nature.  Such is our daily battle between choosing to react out of emotion or to respond out of careful and reasoned thought.

As I read todays's scripture, I cannot help but believe that Peter never intended to betray Jesus.

I have carefully read the Gospels many times, and as a result, I know and believe that Peter loved Jesus very much.  Jesus was his friend.  Peter was one of Jesus' inner circle of buddies.

Then . . . (there is always a "then" . . . or a "but" . .…

5th Sunday in Lent - Sunday - 3/17/13

Today is the 5th Sunday of Lent . . . the 40 day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter . . . but we don't count the Sundays.

Why?

Sunday is our day set aside for the task of worship!

Worship God today in spirit and in truth. Let Him know in prayer that you are still working hard to clear the path, to make the road straight so that Easter may arrive unobstructed in your life.

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 28 - Saturday - 3/16/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 18:1-11

Devotional Thought:

"Jesus, knowing what all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, 'Who is it you want?" - John 18:4

Have you ever chosen a "road" (a choice in life) even though you knew exactly where it would take you?

Have you ever avoided such a choice because you knew where it would lead you?

Tough questions . . . the answers to either could bring back painful memories of past decisions. 

Doing what's right in life is sometimes painful.  Very painful.

In our scripture lesson today . . . we see that the time of prayer is over.

Jesus walked forward to face his arrest.

He could have hidden.  He could have run away. He could have allowed Peter and others to defend him with swords.

As I think about it now . . . there are many things Jesus could have done other than walking forward.

But he did none of them.

He walked forward to face arrest . . . and as a result, he walked toward the cross.

Despite his kn…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 27 - Friday - 3/15/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 17:20-26

Devotional Thought:

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message." - John 17:20

Another prayer from the Rabbi/teacher/mentor. 

In yesterday's lesson, we read how Jesus prayed for his disciples in the work they would carry on in His name.

Today we read that Jesus offered a prayer for those who would come to believe through the teaching, preaching and ministry of his disciple's.

I don't know about you . . . but the prayer in today's scripture lesson strikes me as coming from someone who had no doubt what-so-ever that his disciples would have a positive influence on others.

Jesus believed they would have a great impact! 

He believed in the message he taught them!

Jesus taught the message to them well because he himself was absolutely clear and confident about who he had received his "curriculum" from.

Faith can be a difficult thing.  It takes time to work thro…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 26 - Thursday - 3/14/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 17:1-19

Devotional Thought:

"For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.  They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me." - John 17:8

One thing we often forget about the disciples . . . Jesus chose every one of them.

In each and every one of them . . . he saw something that caught his eye.  He sensed something about them.

Was it potential?

Was it their IQ?

Was it their character, or the condition of their hearts?

Each of these disciples had probably been exited out of synagogue school between the age of 12-15 years of age so that the teaching Rabbi's could focus on the more gifted students.  As a result of being told, "you can go home now," they would have been apprenticed to their fathers, or to another male relative, in order to learn the "family" business, which they would have been expected to help with.

This little band of disciples were individual characters in their…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 25 - Wednesday - 3/13/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 16:17-33

Devotional Thought:

"What does he mean by 'a little while'? We don understand what he is saying." - John 16:18

This is one of several scripture verses found in the Gospels that convinces me that a majority of Jesus' disciples were probably 15-18 years old. 

My wife and I raised two daughters.  There were times, when they were teens, when my wife and I would offer advice concerning a situation they were about to experience.  If you are/have been a parent of teens, you remember those times when your intuition kicked in that your child was leaning toward a decision or response that would lead them to dissappointment.  In others words, they were close to doing something they would remember with regret.

In the process of our "discussion" with them, my girls would get stuck on what they thought concluded was the main point my wife and I were trying to make.

I believe the same thing happened to the disciples in today's …

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 24 - Tuesday - 3/12/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 16:1-16

Devotional Thought:

" . . . he will guide you into all truth." - John 16:1-16

Ever been suddenly left alone?   I mean the type "alone" that suddenly swallows you up in it's own strange sort of way?

Ever had a time in your life when you actually said out loud, "is anybody there?"  Maybe in that situation you were hoping to hear a friendly voice . . . any voice. 

Sometimes being alone is actually what we need.  For some, being alone can be frightening . . . especially in a world that seems to be changing around you a lot faster than you seem able to keep up.

One thing for certain from today's scripture lesson . . . the disciple's world is getting ready to change.

Jesus is telling his disciples that he will be leaving them soon.  The thought I get out of today's scripture is that the news of Jesus leaving is almost too much for his disciples to bear. 

Yet . . . Jesus wants his disciples to know that even th…

Daily Lenten Devotional - Day 23 - Monday - 3/11/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 16

Devotional Thought:

"I am the vine; you are the branches." - John 16:5

Antoher great chapter in the New Testament Gospel of John.

The first 8 verses got my attention.  

Most of the people who know me very well know that I have spent time, off-and-on the past 10 or 15 years, learning about the Texas Wine industry, especially the vineyards around the Fredericksburg, Texas area.  In our travels, Liz and I have gotten to know some of the people at the Sister Creek Winery in Sisterdale (a bit down the road from Luckenbach), and at Santa Maria Cellars located between Frederickburg and Kerrville.  All are fine folks with a passion to make and education others about wine.

Some of the wineries in the Hill Country area do have their own vineyards . . . and the owners rely on a lot of help each year from volunteers to harvest the grapes. 

However . . . that is usually not the case when it comes time to prune back the vines after the harvest.  This is us…

4th Sunday in Lent - 3/10/13 / Monday Bible Study - 3/11/13

Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent . . . the 40 day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter . . . but we don't count the Sundays.

Why?

Sunday is our day set aside for the task of worship!

Worship God today in spirit and in truth. Let Him know in prayer that you are working hard to clear the path, to make the road straight so that Easter may arrive unobstructed in your life.

Note: I'm preaching at the downtown services at FUMC-Grapevine this morning, as we continue our Lenter sermon series on "Practice."   I will be speaking about "Study and Guidance."   On Monday evening, 3/11/13, I will be leading a special Bible Study in Leach Hall at 6:30 PM on the same Sunday, but more in depth than allowed for in a sermon.

Hope to see you there. 

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 22 - 3/9/13

Devotional Scripture:   John 14

Devotional Thought:

"I am the way and the truth and the life." - John 14:6

When I travel to someone's home or go on a trip . . . I usually print out a map from my computer, or have the location "pinned" on the Maps app on my smart phone.

Why?  Well, I don't want to be late, and I don't want to get lost.  Simple enough.

Actually, it's more than that. 

I don't like to ask for directions. 

It's not what you think.  This isn't about "men never want to ask for directions."

Well . . . maybe it is.

Here's what usually happens when I ask someone for directions.  

"Well, let me think a minute . . . I think you take this road here, and go down across the next two intersections . . . and then around the first part of the S-Curve past the 2nd light . . . or maybe it's the 3rd light . . . and as you just start to come around the first corner you take the 2nd right . . . or is it the 1st left? And …

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 21 - 3/8/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 13

Devotional Thought:

"Do you understand what I have done for you?" - John 13:12

Another powerful chapter of scripture.  John 13 is worth your reading several times today.

My reading seemed to be drawn to the first 17 verses.

It was customary in the Holy Land in the 1st century for water and towels to be available to all guests entering a home, especially on such a solemn and holy occassion as the Passover Meal.  Some roads of the day were made of gravel, but primarily they were mostly just dirt paths with inches of dust when the weather was dry, and liguid mud when the weather was damp.  Most people wore very basic sandals made of a piece of leather with leather laces to hold them onto one's feet.  As a result, one's feet could get pretty darn dirty by the end of the day.

For some reason, the disciples in charge of preparing for the meal in the Upper Room failed to prepare the water bowl and towels.  Perhaps a miscommunication between them…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 20 - 3/7/13

Devotional Scripture: John 12

Devotional Thought:

"For they loved praise from men more than praise from God." - John 12: 43

Here we are . . . half way through the 40 days of Lent. I'm sure looking back on how much work you have undertaken to clear and make straight the path leading to Easter provides a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Until . . . you look at what lies ahead . . . 20 more days . . . and I promise, the road will look for cluttered and curvy along the way.

So . . . let's continue our walk toward Easter.

John 12 is so rich with so many great stories . . . but a couple of verses from John 12 always catch my eye as well as my thoughts . . .

"Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees, they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God." - John 12:42-43

Jesus' message was not falling on deaf ears. T…

Back from a gig in Mansfield . . .

I had a great time singing at the Primrose School at Walnut Creek in Mansfield, Texas this morning.  My youngest daughter is the kindergarten teacher there (and a most very excellent teacher I say so myself!!)

The children helped me sing a bunch of children's favorites, and I taught them several of the songs from our Hugworks theraputic music entertainement catalog.  Then I tried something new, and played a game using my Native American flutes ("Can you guess what kind of sound this flute makes?")  I ended with a couple of songs using my baritone ukulele, including a rousing rendition of the "Dead Armadillo Song" that my family sang a lot when my girls were little. 

I cannot recall ever seeing 12 kindergarteners suddenly lying on their backs with their hand and feet up in the air, pretending to be dead armadillos. 

I guess I should be ashamed . . . but actually I laughed about it all the way home until my sides ached.

You have to actually hear / know the song…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 19 - 3/6/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 11:45-57

Devotional Thought:

"What do you think?" - John 11:56

What a wonderful question we find in verse 56, after we have read about how the religious leaders argued about how to get rid of Jesus.  Funny, the difference between what the general public thinks about things going on around them, and what leaders in private plan to do about what's going on, planning how to spin it to their advantage . . .

Oh . . . the intrigue of it all . . .

"What do you think?"

As you read today's scripture passage, could you say that you would have come . . . or would you have stayed in hiding for a while and then arrived at a later time, when things had cooled down some?

"What do you think?"

Is a follower/disciple of Christ to ever fear the consequences of doing the right thing?  Or are we to fear the consequences of not doing the right thing?  Is it always right to do what's right?  As I read the scriptures, I believe it is always ri…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 18 - 3/5/13

Devotional Scripture: John 11:1-44

Devotional Thought:

"Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha." - John 11:1.

The following is a rewrite of a devotional I wrote on the same text back in 2007.  It begins with . . .

Why did Jesus go back tot he home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, albeit two days after he first heard of Lazarus' illness?   Stories in the Gospels shed light that the home of these three special friends was perhaps a place of refuge for Jesus, where he went during his itinerant ministryfor rest, peace, love, understanding and friendship.

Sometimes it's just nice to be welcomed somewhere where you can just be yourself among friends.

Jesus used this visit to bring Lazarus back to life from the tomb.  It is a compelling story of faith and the power of love, the power of God.

However, I want to focus on a related question for our consideration today.  Of all the people you know, whose home are you always we…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 17 - 3/4/13

Devotional Scripture: John 10

Devotional Thought:

"Therefore Jesus said again, 'I tell you truth, I am the gate for the sheep." - vs. 7

Can there be a grander chapter of New Testament scripture than found in John 10? So much to cover.

For today, I want to offer a "re-write" of a devotional I wrote back in 2007 on this same scripture. This rewrite begins now with the introduction that . . .

The name of paternal grandfather was Hugo Adam Mang.

No, his friends did not call him HAM for short. He was simply "Hugo."

He grew up on a farm and was raised to be a farmer, but during the depression of the 1930's was able to find a job with the railroad - a job he was glad to get. He kept that job out of appreciation until the day he retired. It was a job on the midnight shift, and he never changed from midnights in all the years he worked on the railroad. Such was the level of his appreciation and thankfulness for getting a job when many others were …

3rd Sunday in Lent - 3/3/13

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent . . . the 40 day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter . . . but we don't count Sundays.

Why?

Sunday is our day set aside for the task of worship!

Worship God today in spirit and in truth. Let Him know in prayer that you are working hard to clear the path, to make the road straight so that Easter may arrive unobstructed in your life.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 16 - 3/2/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 9:13-41

Devotional Thought:

"He answered, I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again?  do you want to become his disciples, too?" - John 9:27

"The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.  We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." - John 9:30-34

At different times in my life, both my mom and my wife have sometimes looked at me and said something like this . . .

"You have a ton of book sense, but not much common sense." (a loose translation . . . FYI).

I think we see something similar happening in this story.

The religious leaders see something that is beyond their "book sense" understanding.  What they "know" and "understand" as trut…

Lenten Daily Devotional - Day 15 - 3/1/13

Devotional Scripture:  John 9:1-12

Devotional Thought:

"While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." - John 9:5

After my cancer diagnosis this past fall, I took the time to visit with Trudy Hughes, who herself is a cancer survivor.

I shared with her that I had asked my doctor if there was anything I had done that caused my cancer to form.  My doctor said "No."  As he put it . . . my family history was OK, and there were no real risk factors for thyroid cancer.  In other words, people get thyroid cancer and we can't explain why.

Trudy shared that she had, several years earlier, asked her doctor the same question, and got the same answer.  What Trudy next shared with me gave me some needed hope.  She shared how she began to see God working through her situation, especially in all her friends who came to offer help and encouragement in so many wonderful ways. 

Trudy then looked me in the eye, and told me, "For the first time in my life, I could feel …