Friday, March 27, 2015


"Jesus asks the disciples, 'Who do you say I am?'" (Matthew 16:15)

We observe that the teaching of our Lord Himself, in which there is no imperfection, is not given in that cut-and-dried, fool-proof, systematic fashion we might have expected or desired.  He wrote no book.  We have only reported sayings, most of them uttered in answer to questions, shaped in some degree by their context.  And when we have collected them all, we cannot reduce them to a system.  He preaches but He does not lecture.  He uses paradox, proverb, exaggeration, parable, irony, even (I mean no irreverence) the 'wisecrack.'  He utters maxims, which, like popular proverbs, if rigorously taken, may seem to contradict one another.  His teaching therefore, cannot be grasped by the intellect alone, cannot be 'got up' as if it were a 'subject'.  If we try to do that with it, we shall find Him the most elusive of teachers.  He will not be, in the way we want, 'pinned down.'  The attempt is (again I mean no irreverence) like trying to bottle a sunbeam."

-- C. S. Lewis


Thursday, March 26, 2015


In Romans 7, St. Paul says, "The law is spiritual." What does that mean?  If the law were physical, then it could be satisfied by works, but since it is spiritual, no one can satisfy it unless everything he does springs from the depths of the heart.  But no one can give such a heart except the Spirit of God, who makes the person be like the law, so that he actually conceives a heartfelt longing for the law and henceforward does everything, not through fear or coercion, but from a free heart.

-- Martin Luther (1483-1546) in Preface to the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans


Wednesday, March 25, 2015


If you have a Sunday school image of Jesus as mousy and passive, [the Book of] Revelation will help you forget it.  The risen Christ appears to John in chapter 1, and John faints.  Jesus declares, "Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One, I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and Hades.  Write, therefore, what you have seen." (Revelation 1:17-19)

Jesus proceeds to give instructions for all the churches John is overseeing.  He then reveals the throne room of heaven, a place of awe-inspiring worship. If you allow yourself to picture these scenes, your private world will shrink and you'll see why this is a King worth following, even into the mouth of hell.

Revelation is not primarily about Satan or the Antichrist.  It's about Jesus Christ, King of a glorious kingdom in which you are invited, even now, to participate.

-- Karen Lee-Thorp in A Compact Guide to the Bible


Tuesday, March 24, 2015


"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going." (John 14:2-4)

It was a warm Saturday afternoon.  A Carolina breeze was steadily moving through the long grass and the proud, full branches.  I was driving home, back to the little corner of the world where I grew up.  I was en route to a modest house on a corner lot bordered by pine trees, vegetable gardens, and neighbors who still bake casseroles for each other.

I was thinking that when I arrive, my dad (most likely atop his newly painted tractor) will head across the freshly mowed lawn.  He'll hug me long and hard until the back door slams.  My mom will reach for me, smiling, and announce, "I've a fresh pitcher of iced tea.  Who's ready for a glass?"…

What really matters is home.  This is the stuff I am made of. This is what is important to me.

We are all on a homeward journey.  God patiently plans our routes and polices our perils.  He watches us maneuver through detours and treacherous places.  He even sees us make an occasional wrong turn then keep going anyway.

But always He waits.  Long ago He paved the way and marked the direction for us to come to Him.  He prepared a place of rest that is beyond the reaches of our imaginations - a welcome center built by His own hand.

-- Janet Pachal in The Good Road


Monday, March 23, 2015


"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life.'" (John 14:6a NIV)

In the two thousand years since the birth of Christ, men and women in all parts of the world have found that the key to the present and to the future has been centering their lives in Christ. They have sought to understand His unique life and death and discover what it means to follow Him in the circumstances of their lives.

In each of the twenty centuries since Christ's birth, people of faith have recorded rich and colorful images of Christ and His impact on their lives. Consider that the Epistle of Barnabus in the second century described Christ as the true and eternal milk and honey by which we will be fed and given understanding. John Climacus in the seventh century called Christ the Sun whose light we can see as we become accustomed to the light through meekness and humility... Catherine of Siena envisions Christ as the true bridge between humanity and God so that we might pass over the bitterness of the world and reach life. Each of these persons was seeking to express in simple, understandable language how his or her life had been reshaped and given new meaning through the presence of the living Christ. The language and the images are strikingly different, but each adds nuances of lived meaning as these persons try to capture the difference that Christ has made for them.

-- Janice T. Grana, adapted from 2000 Years Since Bethlehem