Mold, crown rot, and tangles of Bermuda grass was the unwelcome sight I beheld as I got back from a long trip and opened the eight bags of irises dug by a friend’s neighbor. She didn’t want them anymore, but neither did my friend.
It was not the best timing. We were leaving town within hours, but of course I couldn’t bear to let them go in the trash. I suspected that the lack of proper preparation and handling would doom many of the roots to that fate, anyway. My fears were confirmed upon our return. It was a mess! Continue reading “Cleaning up our acts”
What is it about gardening that causes the fun to often descend into a guilt trip? The dreams that seemed so tangible in February and March taunt us as unfinished projects in June and July.
Maybe the same is true with any other activity, but dust bunnies don’t grow and multiply as readily as ragweeds do in the garden. Nor, for that matter, like the real bunnies that nibble the blueberries and tomatoes. Continue reading “She has done what she could”
“Man, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20).
Most of us can identify with Charlie Brown. We set some goal: “This time, I’m going to kick that football!” then somebody pulls the ball away at the last second, and we fall flat on our back. But there was one man in the Bible who set his sights high, and got even more than he asked for. That was because his goal was to encounter Jesus. Continue reading “Does sin really exist?”
In the fleshly realm, forgiveness represents everything humanity hates.
In a song about forgiving a cheating, lying wife, Lyle Lovett sings, “God does. But I don’t. God will, but I won’t. And that’s the difference between God and me.”
Forgiveness to some means surrender and endorsement. We won’t forgive until they’ve suffered sufficiently to appease our anger. But emotions are the cruelest creatures on earth and they can’t be trusted. Continue reading “Thoughts and questions about forgiveness”
Here it is, the middle of April, and my poor little tomato is at risk again. I’m not a gambler by nature, really. I like to play it safe. But the stakes are high when we are talking beefsteaks. Well, beefsteak tomatoes, that is.
A month ago in mid-March it was so mild that my mind went back to the year we had a tomato ripen in April. It would have tasted better the first or second day of May, but we couldn’t resist the feeling of being able to say, “We ate our first tomato in April.”
Do you see what I did there? Maybe another column will deal with boasting, but for today it will be ignored. Continue reading “He’s got you covered!”
How will God handle it if I come back?
I suspect that many people never come back to the Lord and the church because they imagine they will receive a hostile reception. Sadly, in many cases they are right. Brethren (and sisters) can be hard on each other. Even well meaning brethren can be awkward and ungracious when it comes to accepting the returning wrong doer. And we tend to be hard on ourselves. We know we have sinned, and we sense our unworthiness.
Note, however, the reception promised by the prophet Joel: “Yet even now,” he cries, “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping, and with mourning” (Joel 2:12). Continue reading “Rend your hearts and not your garments”
Can you imagine what it would have been like to be Job?
One minute he had been one of the wealthiest men of his area and the next he had lost everything. Then his friends showed up (at least they were friends enough to show up) to try to offer some comfort. Initially it seems they did not know what to say – after all, what do you say to someone who has lost everything he owned, his family and even his health. They sat with him for a week without saying anything (Job 2:13). Continue reading “Someone who will take our side”
Oct 21 2015. Back to the Future day. For those who are not aware, this was the day that Doc Brown took Marty McFly into the future to deal with the problems his children were having.
As we look back on the predictions the film made as to what life thirty years into the future would bring, we see that largely the predictions were missed: our cars do not fly, rain can’t be turned off and on, and we don’t rehydrate our pizzas.
A few predictions were correct: 3D films are back, film sequels are commonplace, and many of us use a Skype-type phone system. Continue reading “Back to the Future”
In their recent book, Down to the River to Pray: Revisioning Baptism as God’s Transforming Work, John Mark Hicks and Greg Taylor observe that in baptism it is God who transforms us, not we ourselves. However, they also claim that God has many ways to express his gift of grace, and we ought not to “limit” (in their words) the ways God offers it. Thus their ultimate conclusion is that baptism is not necessary for salvation. Continue reading “Baptism: only the beginning”
Forgiveness, a powerful force for restoring relationships, can be strangled into impotency. How we go about releasing others from the hurt they have caused us can be as important as our willingness to forgive.
Continue reading “A better way to forgive”