Courage in the Face of… Friends? – Good News for November 24

24 11 2010

Luke 21:12-19

Jesus said to the crowd, “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.

Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

The Daily Path: I’m reminded of something that I have touched on here in GNTG and among the fellowship of my men’s spirituality group. How often are we afraid to bring up our faith in the midst of those we consider to be “friends”, let alone people we interact with to a lesser degree?

Even some of my best friends would give me the eye roll and move quickly to a conversation transition. I accept this and would never hammer them with the evangelical thunder of a tent revivalist. (Actually, now that I think of it, that would kind of funny to see the look on their faces as I chase them around the room, out the door, and down the street, bellowing, “Hallelujah, brother! Don’t run from the LORD! Come back!” LOL)

My point here is that while we may never have to face physical pain or death for upholding our faith, perseverance is needed through other more common trials. Perhaps more painful than imprisonment is the isolation that might be caused for our willingness to openly give testimony to our faith and spiritual journey. This is where another of Christ’s promises comes into play: I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.

Fellowship – Good News for October 28

28 10 2009

Luke 6:12-16

Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

The Daily Path: On Sunday, I will join a group of old friends for a few days of golf on the Monterey (CA) Peninsula. We all used to work together on the corporate treadmill and had the chance to play a fair amount of golf with each other while entertaining our customer base. About ten years ago we decided to start a fall tradition of blending a few days of bad golf with exceptional fellowship. Last year I wasn’t able to attend. The guys all knew about my business and financial struggles and didn’t want to embarrass me by making a big deal over my absence. For this I was grateful.

Not much had changed for me when the 2009 event planning began this past spring. Recognizing my situation, some of the guys got together and discussed the likelihood that once again I wouldn’t be able to attend. Apparently that option was not acceptable to them. Over the summer they reached out periodically with a barter approach, quietly ensuring I’d be able to make all the deposits and payments for the trip. They even found ways to get me out on the golf course to play a bit… without any cost to me.

I can’t comment on all the reasons that Jesus brought his fellowship of men together. I can offer that He knew dark hours lay ahead when the company of trusted friends would be of great comfort. And I’m sure that the Apostles did bring a smile to His face, thus helping Him along the way. The Apostles couldn’t possibly comprehend Jesus’ trials, just as no one can completely walk in our own shoes. But having friends who look beyond their own steps to make another’s journey a little bit easier must be another one of the lessons to be learned from Christ’s example of fellowship.

Room to Chat: Lord, thank you for the comfort and grace of fellowships in my life.


Breathe Through The Contractions – Good News for May 23

23 05 2009

John 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.

So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

The Daily Path: Recently a very good friend of mine apologized because he believed he was the cause of some anxiety in my life. What I found so surprising is that my friend, who by the way qualifies as a genius and remarkable visionary, couldn’t uncover the real story. For all of his smarts and vision, he couldn’t see his role in God’s plan to get to me.

Were it not for a series of events in which he did play a supporting role, I would not be writing this blog today or savoring the greatest source of joy in my life… God. If anything, I should be apologizing to him for not adequately acknowledging his critical role in this miracle. He was part of what the Father provided to me. He’s part of the joy.

Apology accepted. None needed.

Life will bring years of anguish and mountains of grief. No doubt about that. The question to consider is how these challenges fit into God’s plan for us. Is it only empty pain? Or will the pain pass, opening the door to great gifts and unimaginable joy?  

Step back and consider what is happening in your life. Look at the events. Watch for the signs. Put the pieces together. God IS active in your life.

Like a woman in labor, when life gives you contractions… KEEP BREATHING! Get through the pain by looking forward to the rejoicing.

Room to Chat: Many visitors to my Good New To-Go! blog click on the “Connect” link at the top of the page. Unfortunately, no one ever sends me a note. I wish they would. There are about 6 billion people who I would like to meet before I meet my maker. And I’m running out of time!

Please send me an e-mail and introduce yourself. Share your sorrow or send your joy.

A Voice Once Again – Good News for December 23

23 12 2008

Luke 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. 

When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” 

But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.

Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.” 

The Daily Path: I can imagine the surprise felt by his neighbors when Zechariah was suddenly able to speak again. How would your neighbors act if you suddenly proclaimed your faith in ways unexpected? I’m no Zechariah, but I think some of my friends and neighbors are still a little stunned over my return to my Catholic roots. That’s okay because I hope many of them will be blessed by God’s touch in the days ahead. If they could come to know the same joy I’ve experienced with God in my life, I’m certain they’d all rush to begin their own spiritual journey. 

In these last two days before Christmas, I want to express my thanks to everyone who has brought Good News To-Go! into their life. No matter how many times you’ve visited, I hope reading the Good News of Our Lord has brought some measure of peace into what can often be a storm. Your many comments have inspired me to continue. It’s my Christmas prayer that more peace will be present in your lives as you find ways to incorporate more of God and His love and mercy into each day. Look for Him in your life and listen…

Lift up your heads and see, your redemption is near at hand. (Luke 21:28)