Showing posts from February, 2010

Devotional Thoughts: Some Ideas for Lent and Beyond

Prof. John Goldengay shared some thoughts last Sunday at the church I participate in.

He asked us to consider doing at least one if not more of the following during Lent and beyond:
1. Praise God at dusk and at dawn
2. Relax and sleep for the time in between
3. Grow things to eat
4. Tithe what you grow
5. Keep out of department stores and shopping malls (beware the internet, too)
6. On Thursdays, pray laments for people who are suffering
7. On Fridays, think about the fact that you are going to die
8. On Saturdays, have a day's rest (you can tend your garden if it's not your regular work)
9. On Sundays, talk with your friends or family about Scripture
10. Three times a year, hold a week-long holiday with your friends or family and celebrate what God has done for us in nature and in delivering us

Lord, help me to stop now and then and take some of these ideas to help me get in tune with what is really important in life. Amen.

Devotional Thoughts: To whom shall we go

Bible passages that blow my mind ...

Genesis 1:1,
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Psalm 8:3-4,
"When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?"

John 1:14,
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Romans 5:8,
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

As I contemplate these truths this Sunday morning, I can understand why St. Peter would say things like this:

Luke 5:8,
"Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"

John 6:68,
"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

God, your love reached me in the little corner of the world I inhabit. Your grace is greater than all my s…

Devotional Thoughts: He himself bore our sins

I Peter 2:18-25 ...

Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

This is hard to take. Unjust suffering is one of the things we all instinctively recoil from. And so it sounds hard for my ears to hear in this teaching from Peter to bear up under slavery.

Some have criticized Christianity for slavery. Yet, of course, it was William Wilberforce's Christian convictions that compelled him to oppose slavery.

So what gives?

We do have to remember, in one sense, when we read Scriptures, we are stepping into a time machine. When the Apostle Peter wrote this, Christianity was a still an obscure though growing community.…

Devotional Thoughts: Show proper respect

Next up in 1 Peter ...

Is "submit" a bad word?

I suppose people think of someone with a rod beating an innocent person into submission. That's bad! As a side note, if a police officer beat somebody with her stick who was about to commit a murder or some other crime would be justified.

But of course, the idea of submit could be a child taking the parent's word that touching the hot stove is a bad idea. That's good for a child to submit.

image source:

The idea of submission comes up in this part of 1 Peter 2 and in the beginning part of 1 Peter 3.

Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use…

Culture: My two favorite ads from the 2010 Super Bowl

Kia Joy Ride

Google Parisian Love

Politics: In a nutshell ...

"The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen." -- Dennis Prager

Fore more, see this where Prager expands on this idea.

Devotional Thoughts: Once you were not a people

Continuing in 1 Peter ...

There is often a pattern to the writings of the Christian Scripture: a statement or series of statements that get at some big picture truth which is then followed by an exhortation of how to live life. This is the idea of ethical monotheism, a phrase I first heard on the radio from Dennis Prager.

Briefly put, ethical monotheism says, if we believe there is a God then we have moral obligations to live accordingly.

And so, Peter, follows this pattern in 1 Peter chapter one and now again in chapter two.

We have the big story of the Living Stone and us as living stones which illustrates what Jesus the Christ has done for us. And now we have the big picture put this way ...

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now y…