Tag Archives: religion

It’s Time for Some Good News

18 May

There’s no shortage of bad news. The media thrives on our morbid curiosity, our tears, and our outrage. When an upbeat story finds its way to social media, people like it and share it multiple times. We long for good news.

I have good news that can bring smiles and change our outlook on life. For some, this is a reminder of what you already know. For others, the good news will be brand-new.

Here’s the Good News: You are loved.

This is not the “I love you for what I can get out of you” kind of love. That’s not love at all; that’s lust. You are loved affectionately, unselfishly, and wholeheartedly. You are valued just as you are. This isn’t a love you earn. It’s a gift. However, you do have to accept or receive the gift.

How do I know so much about love? If you read my post on April 13, you know I choose to believe the Bible. It’s a love story from beginning to end. It’s my joy to share a vital part of that love story.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that [God] loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10 NIV).

Sin means missing the mark as an archer might miss the bull’s-eye or straying from the path as in getting lost. God created us for perfect love and relationship with Himself and others. That’s the target, the ideal path in life. Admitting we miss the mark is the first step in recognizing our need of a Savior. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NASB95).

All—every one of us needs a Savior, My friend Mike says, “Some of us can jump further than others, but no one can jump the Grand Canyon.” That’s why Jesus came from heaven to earth.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16–17 NIV).

What should we believe about Jesus Christ? Paul tells us in his letter to the Corinthians.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to [more than 500 people]” (1 Corinthians 15:3–5 NASB95).

If Christ remained in the grave, the story would be over. However, because He lives, we live also. Jesus said to [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26 NASB95).

How will you answer that question? Will you believe and receive Christ and His affectionate, unselfish, and wholehearted love? “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 NASB95).

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. “ If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:9–11 NASB95).

Please share your response to this good news. I’d be honored to hear from you.

Our Hope and Helper

5 May

I’d never heard of dementia with Lewy bodies until my brother, Jim, received that diagnosis about 2006. Victims suffer hallucinations and symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Jim died 2010. Later we were saddened when our son-in-law’s mother received the same diagnosis; she already had many other health concerns. Almost two weeks ago, our extended family celebrated her life and grieved the loss of our beloved Linda. Our prayers and tears mingled with people in Boston; West, Texas; and around the world as explosions, disease, war, and famine claimed lives. Sometimes such sadness and discouragement can be overwhelming.

That’s the way Christ’s disciples felt when He spoke of going to the Father. Jesus offered them hope as He promised His Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, to help them (and us) live by faith.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also” (John 14:16–19 NASB).

The Greek word for Holy Spirit is parakletos, which may be translated Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, or Counselor. Parakletos literally means one called alongside to help. God’s love that sent Jesus to the cross and the power that raised Him from the dead is available to all believers. Christ’s death meant agonizing change, lost hope, and broken dreams—feelings most of us have experienced. Because Christ’s Spirit abides with us and in us, we don’t have to be discouraged. We can handle whatever life throws at us with strength, courage, and even joy.

We celebrated Linda’s life with laughter and song as well as tears. The pastor said, “She taught us how to live and how to die. Her husband, Lanny, taught us how to love.” The service was beautiful—bittersweet and sad, yet beautiful. What a legacy and example for their children and grandchildren.

The world also recognized multiple heroic examples that week as first responders’ courage and selflessness amazed us. Our country once again united in support of other suffering Americans. Perhaps you (like my husband and I) renewed your gratitude for life and love, conceding we’re not promised length of days. There is great good on earth, which we can appreciate and celebrate. We also need to do our part in alleviating pain and suffering through prayer, hard work, time, and money.

However, we are all just passing through this world. The Bible promises the best is yet to come. Jesus said, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1–3 NASB).

And from the Revelation of John we have this promise.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3–4 NASB).

One day we will join Linda, Jim, our parents, and thousands more—all healed, whole, and singing, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power.” What a glorious reunion that will be.

My Addiction

26 Apr

It begins with a single thought that flows into a recurring, rippling stream of desire. Finally, the current of my thinking forces me to the refrigerator. I’m not actually hungry; I’m bored, depressed, need a break, or maybe a nap. What I don’t need is food, but I tell myself it will give me the energy I need to finish my project. Exercise might do that, but food won’t. I know that, but then binging isn’t rational.

For two or three generations, my family’s addiction of choice has been alcohol. In some cases that meant devastation and even death. In other cases, it meant second chances, recovery, and new life. I’m very proud of family members who continually choose life over addiction. They credit Jesus Christ and the twelve-step program for their victory. Their accomplishment blesses family and friends who once dealt with broken relationships, stolen property, wrecked cars, jail visits, and lawyers—for most, a dim memory.

You may say my food addiction doesn’t have that kind of impact. You’re right—no theft, no wrecks, no jail time. Neither am I obese, “just” overweight. Then why be concerned? We could start with gluttony as one of the seven deadly sins, but it’s more than that.

Food can become an idol. I’m defining idol as anything in life that replaces God. It can be a job, possessions, sex, relationships, power, or control. What helps us forget our troubles, feel good about ourselves, or fill a void? Do we run to God or the refrigerator, the liquor cabinet, a soap opera, an affair, or the corporate ladder?

There’s another reason my addiction concerns me. First Corinthians 6:19-20 says this, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (ESV) Our body is the only vehicle by which we may worship God and share His love.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1–2 NIV).

If I want be a living sacrifice and help others recognize God’s will as good, pleasing, and perfect, then I need to think differently about food. God created a wonderful variety of food that delights our senses. I’m free to enjoy food without thinking about it all day or making it my escape. I want to say with Job, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12b NKJV).

I suppose this is a confession and a willingness to be held accountable. It’s bit frightening and perhaps irrational to make such a public commitment to healthy eating and exercise—especially since it’s not my first effort. I’ve found freedom in so many areas of my life, but this seems to be one of my most formidable strongholds. I’m ready to break free.

Perhaps some of you feel the same way and may choose to join me. Do you need words of encouragement or have success stories? Your words can make a difference. I’d love to hear from you.