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.

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Fill-Up – Good News for May 10

10 05 2010

John 15:26 – 16:4

Jesus said to his disciples, “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.”

“I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me. I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.”

The Daily Path: Each of us face challenges on a daily basis. We are well equipped to deal with many. Others prove far more daunting, beyond what our original equipment is designed to handle. So where do we find the extra horsepower required to address the need?

The Spirit!

Just as God provided the Apostles what was needed for them to go out into the world and deliver the Good News – in the face of peril and death from among their own – so too, the Holy Spirit is sent to each of us who are with Jesus. I haven’t heard a mighty wind rattling my doors, nor have I spoken in tongues with a flame above my head – but I know the Spirit is often with me as I look for the courage to do what God is asking of me.

If you’re looking for something a little extra to put in your gas tank today, maybe you should pull into the filling station and ask God for a gallon of Spirit. A little seems to go a long way!





8 05 2010

John 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.

Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”

The Daily Path: There is so much anger and hurt in this world. Even when the Son of Man walked among us – to spread the message of God’s love for the benefit of all – he  was attacked and killed. How do we move beyond the hurt that fosters such anger? What do we do to extinguish the fires of blind hate?

This isn’t a “you” issue in the sense of “You’re mad. You’re acting act. You’re hurt, it’s not my problem. You deal with it.” It can’t be about “you”. It has to be about “me”.

What can I do, today, to help heal a hurt? If I reach out with one small, seemingly insignificant act of love, can it make a difference in “your” life?

Let’s watch for our chance. It doesn’t hurt to look.





Worldly Priority – Good News for May 16

16 05 2009

John 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.

Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”

The Daily Path: If the world constantly lets us down why do we continue to place greater emphasis on living a worldly life rather than a spiritual life?

Room to Chat: A mother I know is terribly worried about the poor health of her son. She is not alone. This weekend millions of other mothers around the globe will feel the same anxiety she does. Let’s ask God to hold these babies close,  regardless of their age, and their mothers, too. Place trust in Him.





Who Are You, Sir? – Good News for May 1

1 05 2009

Acts 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. 

On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” 

The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 

The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight.”

But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.” 

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.” 

So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

The Daily Path: I love this amazing story of redemption, never tiring of its ending.

“Saul” remains all around us to this day. He goes by many names, has many faces and persecutes in many ways. We all travel the Road to Damascus. Seems that some of us get more of a jolt than others while traveling along. I’m grateful that the Lord found a moment to zap me into an awakening.

How’s your trip going? Perhaps you’ve had a small wake-up call already. Did you to think to ask: “Who are you, sir?” Maybe it’s time to join the Way.

Room to Chat: Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.





My Enemy Within – Good News for March 7

7 03 2009

Am I my own worst enemy?

Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Daily Path: Yesterday, I reflected on forgiveness and letting go of the garbage in life that holds me back. There is another reminder in today’s  gospel about loving my enemies. As I sat with Jesus teaching for a moment I felt inspired to visit my old friend Mr. Dictionary. (I don’t visit with him often enough!)

Mr. Dictionary advised that an enemy in this case is a plural noun. Hmm. I don’t harbor any hatred towards nouns and can’t recall the last time a noun ever hurt me. There was that time in 3rd grade… sorry, I digress. Mr. D went on to further explain the definition of enemy is: a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.

As I thought about the definition it occurred to me that much of my own recent experience with “the enemy” could be the result of my own inability to assume innocence in the action of another. The antagonistic activity that drove me to the trenches in defense or led to a vigorous counterattack may have been nothing more than someone’s desire to help. Or it could have been well intentioned deployment of a limited skill in some area of engagement.

How can I find fault in someone who is trying their best but falling short of my expectation. Is adjusting my expectations one way I can demonstrate the love that Jesus speaks of? Will assuming innocence keep the list of enemies short, while growing the roll of friends? Am I my own worst enemy?

I wonder if Jesus and Mr. Dictionary are collaborating on my salvation? Hmm.

Room to Chat: Speaking of collaboration, have you ever considered working with others toward a common good to be a form of prayer?