Psalm 85:15--But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth
Teta peered at us from behind the counter of the small store nested next to the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Softly, we asked her if she had experienced the awful slaughtering that began on April 6, 1994 in Rwanda and she nodded her head yes. At the age of six her entire family was massacred. Crazed Hutus began ridding the earth of their Tutsi countrymen. Pastor David asked her if she was able to forgive the perpetrators who made her an orphan. She somberly replied, “Forgiveness is a big word.” Then she explained that 24 years later, she could not forget what was done to her family and to herself and, in that remembering, there was an unwillingness to forgive.
Jesus in the final hours before getting arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane asked eight of the disciples to sit while he prayed. Then He took Peter, James and John with him further into the garden. Disclosing His anguish to His three closest friends, He asked them to stay awake with Him. Then He went a little further and fell face down on the ground to pray. When He returned to the three he found them sleeping. He confronted Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour?” (vs. 37)
John 5:15—The man went and reported to the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Never underestimate the need for approval. A man is sick for 38 years. Jesus sees him and knows his situation. He asks him if he would like to get well. Instead of answering “Yes!,” the man shares a pool of woes. You can read about it in John 5:1-7.
I received an email that tore my gut in two. A friend from seminary wrote to those on his mailing list. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He was back in his home city with his children, no longer in the Asian country where God led him and his wife to minister. Their work was vital in a place restricted and fraught with danger. He knew what it meant to serve God through opposition. But he never expected his wife to fall in love with someone she met on the internet. She left her family—devastated. As if confused and heartbroken was not bad enough, his mission organization requested his resignation. Now what does he do? Who can he trust? His children struggle mightily to adjust to a new culture. They wrestle with the reality their mother is living in immorality. He wonders what more could go wrong.
He walked into work and people were crying—not a good sign. The warehouse manger, not his boss, called him into his office and read him a form letter announcing that he would be let go. “Dan, your job has been eliminated.” Dan put his hand on the manager’s hand and said, “Dave, don’t make this any harder on yourself than you need to. You’re my friend.” Dave started crying. “Somebody’s going to have to escort you out of the building.”
James 4:4--Adulteresses! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy.
2 Chronicles 24:2—Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest. (NLT)
Aber and I sat at the table and dipped the addicting chips in delicious hot sauce. Aber asked if we could meet. He was spiritually hungry, eager to learn more about God. After our usual chitchat he shared about a vivacious gal at work on his team. She had recently moved to Oregon from Massachusetts. He noted her athleticism and that the two of them were working out three times a week during lunch. He was losing weight and felt great. Not surprisingly, the chips I’d been munching lost their flavor.
The trail to heaven is littered with casualties—victims of misguided priorities or the worship of need-driven agendas. These wounded souls once burned bright in their zeal to serve God. They played clarion songs for the poor and engaged in rescuing the oppressed with fervor capable of melting granite skeptics into milky wax. They gave sacrificially with glad hearts. So what happened that they should be reduced to bitter herbs and poured out ashes?
Luke 23:44-46--It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three, because the sun’s light failed. The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle. And Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit.” Saying this, He breathed His last.