Sunday, 30 October 2016

Remembering a Friend ...

A close friend died suddenly yesterday.

What do you do with that?  Just three short days earlier my wife and I were enjoying fellowship and a dinner out with her and her husband.

What do you do with that? Cry? Lord knows that I’ve shed my share of tears since hearing the news, as has my wife. Oh God, why?

What do you do with that? We knew she was sick; still it all came as a shock! We prayed and cried out to God on her behalf; still, God sovereignly chose to say, “No,” to our pleas for her healing.

What do you do with that? As the “Name it and Claim it” guru’s teach, blame yourself for not having enough faith to believe in a healing? Can’t go there; sorry. Even Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” that he repeatedly prayed about, and God said, “No, my grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

What do you do with that? Blame God? No, that would be foolish. Blame self? No, that would be equally foolish.

What do you do with that? Know that, despite our pain at her loss, God really does know best? Yes, He does know best. There was no mistake; His timing is always perfect, despite our wishes that it could have been otherwise.

What do you do with that? In this case, praise Him that it happened quickly, and that she essentially simply went to sleep in her husband’s arms as he rushed her to the hospital. Minutes later she was declared dead by ER staff.

What do you do with that? Based upon her strong faith, believe that she woke up in the arms of Jesus, alive, pain-free, with no more tears of sorrow, and basking in the presence of God, to glorify and sing His praises … forever.

Yes, thank you Jesus, for the hope that we have in you. Amen.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Me as an Amanuensis: Morning Devotional's Next Level?

Looking for something a little different for your early morning devotions? I may have an idea for you.

Years ago I remember working with a guy who had an interesting hobby, if I can call it that, of creating a handwritten copy of the entire New Testament. “Hobby” is maybe the wrong word. Regardless, his intent was to make a present of his personally handwritten New Testament to his child at his upcoming high school graduation.

Apparently this wasn’t the first time he did something like this; he had already done the same thing for another of his children and he planned on doing so for them all. If memory serves me correctly, he said he had four kids. Assuming he stuck with the task, that means four handwritten copies of the entire New Testament. I remember thinking, “How cool is that; not your typical grad present from Dad!”

I had forgotten about that until this past Thanksgiving when my son shared that he had undertaken a similar venture as a part of his early morning devotions. With a copy of his Greek Interlinear KJV/NIV Parallel New Testament (Yes, I can proudly say that my son is also a New Testament Greek scholar), he was handwriting the New Testament for himself. At the time he shared this with me, he was nearing the end of the Synoptic Gospels. Wow!

All of this got me thinking of how easy it is to get into a devotional rut (Lord knows, I’m there too) and that maybe I should consider doing likewise. So, after purchasing a nice faux-leather journal from Chapters, I dusted off my own Greek Interlinear KJV/NIV Parallel New Testament off the shelf, and got to work. At the time of this writing, I’ve only just completed the second chapter of Matthew, but I’m in no hurry. Conspicuously absent from my version is the lack of chapter and verse. I am, however, including the sectional headings as supplied by the translation I am copying. As an aside, perhaps this will help polish my own rusty Greek. Hmm.

The thing I noticed right off the bat was how this exercise was almost like reading the Scriptures again for the very first time. How so, you might ask? Well, unlike simply reading the Bible, reading it with the intent of copying it word for word requires a more careful and slower reading. This in turn has the added benefit of producing a deeper thought, and by default, study.

So, like the amanuensis of old who was employed to copy a manuscript by hand, and usually by dictation, welcome to my new (hopefully) daily 5:00am devotional routine. I’m looking forward to the exercise and to hearing what God may say through it along the way.

So here’s to trying something new. Who knows, it may be just the ticket to also kick-starting my blogging in a whole new direction. Peace and Blessings to you and yours, from a fellow sojourner in Christ.