Of Pharisees and Pointing Fingers

A Pharisee and a tax collector walk into the temple…

It feels like the beginning of a groan-worthy joke, but it’s not! It’s a scathing parable Jesus shared with His followers.

Jesus told about forty parables. Some are vague or cryptic. Some are difficult to sort out, while some are easily understood by what was around his listeners. And then some parables are so straightforward, so pointed, that I almost laugh. This one—about the Pharisee and tax collector—falls into that last category. Continue reading

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A Time to Be Silent, Maybe

I’m still ruminating on this verse from last week’s post: The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still (Exodus 14:14). And then there’s this: There is a time for everything…a time to be silent and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:1a, 7b).

Consider this situation…

Luke 22:47-23:12.

The temple guards seized Jesus on the Mount of Olives and took him to the high priest’s house. After the guards mocked and beat him through the night, the religious leadership in Jerusalem interrogated Him briefly then took Him to stand before Pilate, the Roman governor of the region. Continue reading

Moses Didn’t Part the Red Sea

Moses stood on an outcropping of rock beside the Red Sea.* Below him, the Israelites paced, wrung their hands, and threw glances up at him. Pharaoh’s army was closing in behind them, and there were no boats to ferry more than a million people (Exodus 12:37-38) plus all their animals across this deep body of water. As evening approached, Moses lifted his hand out toward the sea and a strong east wind blew across the waters. Within a few hours, the water was gone, and the Israelites walked across the sea bed like it was an empty Wal-mart parking lot.

All the pictures, all the movies, and all the Bible storybooks—even the way we tell the story—would have us think Moses parted the Red Sea, but it wasn’t him. Continue reading

The Season of Our Discontent

This month on PastorsWives.com, I talk about a challenging time in our ministry lives when God was preparing something new but we had to wait on it. There were some restless nights.

It starts like this…

Sometimes an indefinable restlessness comes upon a Christ-follower…a dissatisfaction with life even though nothing has changed. We’ve learned to call it holy discontent.

When God called us to move to a difficult, distant location, we hung contentment on the wall like a plaque. We memorized Philippians 4:11, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances,” and we determined to choose contentment regardless of what happened. Because really, contentment (the flipside of gratefulness) is a choice. Will I focus on the difficulties, troubles, and inconveniences in my life, or will I focus on God’s blessings?

Continue reading

Stay in Your Lane!

Shortly after I turned fifteen, my Dad sat me behind the wheel of his big Ford truck, with its manual transmission and this lowest gear he called “bulldog gear.” It was almost impossible to kill the engine on that thing. Even though I’d driven a go-cart for years and the riding lawnmower for even longer (that’s another story altogether), nothing had prepared me for the frightening power of this truck. It took me a long time to learn how to control the truck rather than the truck controlling me.

One problem in driving plagued me for months, a problem unique to drivers of manual transmissions. Continue reading

Hope Let Me Down

The nurse met us in the sterile, grey hall again. “We weren’t able to do the procedure, but there’s one more thing we can try.” At least three times, one nurse or another met us in the hall with essentially the same statement. At least three times, my heart grabbed onto that slim chance and held on…hoped on.

I left the second, bigger hospital, sure that this new facility with different doctors and fresher equipment would make a difference. But when the phone rang the next morning, I had to face the facts: even our last option hadn’t worked. Continue reading