Mind the Gap

The gap between my two sons is a pretty big one. They are almost exactly 3 feet and 10 years apart.  Observing them in the park the other day on our daily walk, I noticed the youngest doesn’t actually walk with us, he runs. Some of this is because he loves to get ahead of us and lead the way but mostly it is simply because he is running to just keep up. So of course it isn’t long before he is dragging behind, exhausted.  He doesn’t want to give up. The mere suggestion makes him angry. But he simply isn’t yet capable of keeping our pace. So we slow our stride. We encourage him.  We wait for…

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Fear Factor

 13 If you are trying hard to do good, no one can really hurt you. 14 But even if you suffer for doing right, you are blessed. “Don’t be afraid of what they fear; do not dread those things.”( Isaiah 8:12–13)15 But respect Christ as the holy Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have, 16 but answer in a gentle way and with respect. Keep a clear conscience so that those who speak evil of your good life in Christ will be made ashamed. 17 It is better to suffer for doing good than for doing…

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Greater Than

A beautiful word out of Duke Divinity School from the Dean, L. Gregory Jones, to begin our Holy Week together.  May it bless your spirit as it blessed mine.   “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”John 1:5   In times of crisis like our current pandemic of COVID-19, it can feel like the darkness is overwhelming. Fears and anxieties rise, and inclinations toward compassion diminish. History teaches us that pandemics often lead to a preoccupation with survival that can cause us to shrink into ourselves rather than expand outward. Loneliness becomes more pervasive, and isolation from the world closes in on us. Despair…

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Finding Calmness in the Storm

                                                                  35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” 39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Peace! Be still!”…

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Good Grief

In this season we are being called to do just this, to lay down life as we know it so that others might live. Maybe it is hard for you to see your part in that. Maybe what you have given up feels small compared to what others around you are doing. But remember death by a thousand paper cuts is still painful. Each small thing we lay down is an act of love and it matters.

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The Sword of the Spirit

“…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  -Ephesians 6:17b We come across the final piece of the armor of God that Paul says the Christian must be equipped with for spiritual warfare, the sword of the Spirit.  Unlike the other pieces of armor Paul mentions which are defensive in nature such as the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of preparation of the gospel of peace and the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit is offensive in nature.  It is not just armor.  It is a weapon with which to attack the enemy.  You might recall when Jesus was tempted by the devil…

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The Helmet of Salvation

“Take the helmet of salvation…”  -Ephesians 6:17 Helmets are vital in protecting the head from serious injuries.  I am a bike rider and never ride my bike without a helmet. I never snow ski without a helmet.  Many people have been killed with head trauma when they accidentally skied into a tree like famous singer Sono Bono a few years ago. And I would never drive a motorcycle without a helmet.  Years ago, I saw a man die just after I helped place him into an ambulance late one night after he had a motorcycle wreck near my house.  He was not wearing a helmet and his motorcycle had flipped end over…

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The Shield of Faith

“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” – Ephesians 6:16 So far, we have looked at three pieces of the armor of God.  We looked at the belt of truth which is the teaching of Scripture which helps hold the rest of the soldier’s armor in place.  We looked at the breastplate of righteousness held secure by the belt of truth and learned that the breastplate of righteousness is the righteousness of Christ which protects us from the temptations of the enemy which often come in the form of pride, self-righteousness and legalism.  It reminds…

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The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

“…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” -Ephesians 6:15 The third piece Paul mentions that composes the armor of God is what he calls the [shoes] of the “readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”  We generally don’t consider shoes as being a part of a soldier’s armor.  But think about it.  If soldiers don’t have solid, comfortable shoes that will hold up on the field of battle, they will not be able to prevail.  Romans soldiers’ sandals were often fitted with nails or spikes to anchor securely to the ground.  Similarly to share the good news anchors us to the marching orders of our…

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The Breastplate of Righteousness

We are currently fighting a health battle against an unseen enemy called Covid-19. While this enemy may be invisible to our eyes it is nonetheless real and is inflicting deadly damage to our economy, our society and most significantly to real people. As Christians, we are also fighting an unseen enemy, the Tempter who Jesus confronted during his temptation. We too must confront this same enemy but we must be spiritually equipped with what Paul calls “the armor of God” to be able to withstand his attacks. Each piece of this armor represents a part of God’s strength that God extends to us when we become God’s children.

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