Dozens of portraits depict Jesus with a crown of thorns crucified on a cross. In all of them, there is the look of pain and sorrow accompanied by such a long and painful death.
What we don’t see in any of these portraits is Jesus’ joy.
Yes, that’s right. Joy.
Humans always equate sorrow with pain and death. Have you ever thought death could bring joy? Continue reading “Joy at the cross”
It is time to admit that some plants are just too aggressive and invasive to be planted with the rest of the better-behaved beauties in the garden.
Take mint, for instance. Really, take it! I have a ton! I have much less now than when I naively planted it in the nicest bed in the front of the house. It quickly overtook the whole bed, and it took years to fully remove it. It now lives in a pot. Or take showy primrose, or violets, or erigeron, or verbena rigida.
The worst offender is the bane of my existence as a gardener — the dreaded Bermuda grass. Continue reading “Compartmentalizing”
As we approach the beginning of another new year, thoughts often go to how we can improve our lives. What changes do we need to make in our life? How can we grow to be more like Jesus?
At the beginning of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Colossae, he was thinking about how they needed to grow. They were a people of faith, love and hope – and these were evident in their lives. But they still needed to grow. Notice his prayer for them. Continue reading “Becoming fully pleasing to God”
One of the words we often hear as Christmas approaches is “joy.” We sing “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!” We wish each other “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” when we greet them – even people we don’t know. Yet many people aren’t living lives of merriment, happiness, and joy.
What exactly is “joy”? The dictionary defines it as: “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness” (Oxford Dictionary of English). The Greek word we find used in the writings of the apostles is “charas” and refers to gladness and often the people that are the cause of one being glad. Continue reading “A life of joy”
When the beloved James told happy saints to sing, James 5.13, perhaps he instructed them to do this because that is what God does. Continue reading “When God sings”
People seem to love to complain. Nothing is ever good enough (or so it seems). Nothing ever goes right. Nobody likes things the way they are. Somehow it seems that if everything was perfect that people would complain about that, too!
Notice what James said about those things we normally complain about: “My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials…” (James 1:2 NET). Joy when we fall into trials? Joy? What planet was he living on?! Continue reading “Consider it all joy”
A constantly complaining person is like a car with four flat tires. They’re stuck in misery while the rest of the world moves on with their lives.
Negativity shapes our worldview so we see the worst in everything and that takes us to the next step of permanent victimhood. Continue reading “Lessons from a recovering complainer”
“…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
I met a man a few years ago who said of the Declaration of Independence phrase, “…the pursuit of happiness,” that he didn’t really believe in that. He did believe, however, in the pursuit of “satisfaction.” Notwithstanding, the “happiness” phrase that made it to the final draft actually replaced a line about the right to own property, which is an interesting alternative.
Be that as it may, it seems that most people do want to find happiness, or peace, or satisfaction – whatever you want to call it – in life. It seems to be a primary motive for much of what people do. Even evil deeds are often done under the motive of personal peace or satisfaction. People generally do what they think will bring them the most happiness in life. Continue reading “No happiness down the rabbit hole”
Christians spend more time complaining about the Lord’s Church than they do examining the blessings within their grasp. We’re like the person who visits a world champion rose garden and only sees the thorns.
Continue reading “Is the Church a blessing or a curse?”
A life of value will have roses and thorns… Continue reading Life and roses