Not a Moment too Soon

“Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented Himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put His love on the line for us by offering His Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him.” (Romans 5:6-8, The Message) I didn't think twice about Lent until we moved to rural Catholic Ireland in 2008, when it s

Lent: First Listen to God

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (John 7:18, NAS95) I find Jesus fascinating. He lived as the ideal man: God’s intention for each of us. The context shows Jesus teaching in the temple and people struggling with accounting for the wisdom, or maybe atmosphere, flowing from His words. The conversation indicates an amazement that seems to belittle His message: “How could these things be coming from such an untaught person?” God’s word to me as I read this passage stung my soul in the most non-threatening and profound way. At first, I asked myself, “Who do I want to glorif

Return to the Lord

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him…?” (Joel 2:12–14a, NASB) On a sunny February morning last year, during a spiritual retreat, I climbed up to the basilica that overlooks Marseille’s Old Port. My intent was to enjoy the view and find a quiet sunny place to read. After a while, the chilly Mistral won out over the winter sun, so I decided to go inside the basilica.

Food—the yeast of our worries

When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."(Matthew 16:5–6, NIV) Lent is a season of fasting in preparation for Holy Week, the time when we remember Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. And, fasting is a good time to recognize how much I think about food, how I view eating and how much more I need the word of God than even my daily bread. Fasting helps me to focus without distraction on what the Lord may want to say to me. As they were growing up, our kids often helped me see how distracted I was. They would talk at me and I’d nod with an “uh huh” every once in

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