Sunday, March 29, 2015


On the tenth of the month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves… a lamb for each household. Exodus 12:3 NIV
Palm Sunday.
On the day the Passover lambs were set aside in anticipation of their sacrifice, our Passover Lamb mounted a donkey and rode into Jerusalem. Crowds lined the road and, with shouts of praise and supplication, laid cloaks and palm branches on the road to welcome their King.
Less than a week later the “worshipers” had become a mob, and the joyful shouts of welcome had turned to angry demands, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
And so it was done.
One lamb sacrificed for each household in Israel. One Lamb sacrificed for all God’s household.
One Lamb, sacrificed for me.  
Avi, my Shepherd. You became a Lamb and took my death—and gave me life everlasting. You are welcome in my heart. Help me to live for You. In Your holy name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."         Luke 23:34 NIV

“I’m never going back to that church,” she said through bitter tears. “Never! I mean it. I’m not going back.”

Jesus prayed for our unity, died for our unity—but someone I love deeply was wounded. Many someones, many wounds. I don’t always know the details, but I have no trouble reading their pain and anger.

It hurts—and it hurts even more if it’s a friend who fired that shot at you, or even one you only thought was a friend.

Betrayal—planned and intentional, or innocent and unaware—will make us bitter, or make us better. It’s our choice. Will we fire back? Or, will we put an end to the infighting?

Motives of the heart matter to God, who knows the heart of every man. But should motives matter to we who are caught in that crossfire? There’s only one Judge, and it ain’t us. We do not have that authority, and we don’t know their hearts. We don’t even know our own. Even the most mature among us are too self-centered to step back far enough to see the whole picture.

Jesus forgave His enemies. Even on the cross, in the middle of it all, He prayed for their forgiveness, and He forgave—but He’s God. Lots of stuff is easy for Him. It isn’t easy for us.

But you know what? They weren’t His enemies. They were POW’s in the spiritual war that rages unseen around us.

And neither are our brothers and sisters in Christ our enemies.

Jesus said we’re to follow His example and pray for those who falsely accuse and persecute us. Easy? No. But He’ll help us.

And who knows? When others see the peace that forgiving brings to you, perhaps it will help them to forgive, too. Maybe the shooting will stop. Maybe there’ll be no more wounded folks taking potshots at other wounded folks.

Bottom line: pray for them sincerely, and you'll start to love them sincerely. Then real forgiveness will follow.

Feel free to take my advice or just kick me off my soapbox. No hard feelings. I’ve got a pile of cushions right there, just about where I’ll fall.

Avi, where do I start? With me. Help me to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. Help me to forgive those who have hurt me. Help me to love them like You love them. In Your holy name, Amen.




Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little. Luke 7:47

Why John 12:3ff did Mary pour her jar of perfume on Jesus’ feet? Why did she ‘waste’ her wealth? Why did she risk her reputation by letting down her hair before men not her husband, the act of a prostitute? Why did she love Him so much?  

Mary was a sinner, just like us. Were her sins great or small in the eyes of men? In her own eyes? I don’t know. (These two scriptures seem to record two different incidents, two different women.) Men grade sins—I only took a fountain pen at work; you embezzled thousands of dollars—but in God’s sight, sin is sin. He is the Judge; to His holy eyes, any spot of black, any shade of grey, against the white of perfection spoils the whole garment.

Who among us has not been forgiven much?

Just so, he who is given much—and realizes it—loves more.

Jesus had given her much—her brother back from death, forgiveness for her own sins. But who among us has been given less? Who among us—I’m speaking to believers here—has not been forgiven, raised from the grave, given abundant life?

Avi, thank You for the priceless treasure You’ve poured out on me. Help me to love You more. In Your holy name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?                                                            I Corinthians 3:16

Jewish men in the age of Law were required to go to the Temple three times a year on the highest holy days. Those who lived too far away to bring what they would sacrifice were allowed to buy animals and grains on site.

But first they had to exchange their common coins, which bore the images of pagan rulers, for the untainted sanctuary shekel. For this reason, a market and “bank” grew up in the outer court of the Temple.

An acceptable purpose—but the priests couldn’t miss this amazing business opportunity. Coins were exchanged—for a fee, of course. Lambs brought from home were judged unacceptable. “Better” ones were sold to their owners, then those “unacceptable” lambs were put in with the temple flock and sold to the next sucker.

God’s house of prayer for all nations—the Court of the Gentiles—had become a den of robbers, and the whole Temple was defiled. No wonder Jesus was angry enough to blow up at them.

Today, in the age of grace, God’s Spirit lives not in a Temple of stone, but in His children. We are His Temple, corporately and individually. We are holy ground, set apart for His exclusive use.

How do we treat His home? Have we made it a den of thieves?

“Be holy, for I am holy,” He said. “Be in the world, but not of it.”

But we cannot—unless He does it through us.

That Monday morning was the second recorded time He cleansed the Temple. Men of flesh, living here in a broken world, will fall, again and again. And He will cleanse us, again and again. He’s the God of second chances, and third, and fourth, and… 

All we have to do is tell Him we messed up, ask for His forgiveness, and mean it.

Avi, so many things in this attractive world compete for Your place in my heart. Live in me, and help me to remember who You are and what You are to me: my Father, my Redeemer, my Lord and my God. Clean me up again as many times as it takes—and don’t forget the front porch rocking chairs and the welcome mat. In Your holy name, Amen.   

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


… Jesus … suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:9 NIV

Another gem from Kyle Idleman’s “The Easter Experience”* video series: Rembrandt painted the crucifixion. Below the cross, in a crowd of people dressed as those who lived when Jesus walked in Israel, one man stood out: Rembrandt himself, dressed in clothing from his own time period.

“If you were to paint yourself into the crucifixion story,” Kyle then asked, “who would you be?”

There’s no need for imagination. I was there, in the guise of all my failures, all my sin. I was the owner of the third cross. The mockery, the scorn, the curses should have fallen on me. I was the one who should have stumbled alone through the streets of shame under that cross, blood running down my back and pooling under my feet.

But He took my burden from me. He fell beneath the weight of my cross. He was crushed by the weight of my sin.

Then, when we had climbed Golgotha’s hill and I was flung down upon the cross, He held out a hand. 


As the hammer held to its place in midair, He nudged me gently aside and lay down to receive my nails, my death, in the very hands that had given me life.

The hands that now have given me new life abundant.

Come and see. Come and see what God has done.

Avi, thank You for loving us enough to give us the freedom to choose, and for letting us make enough bad choices to see how much we need You. Thank You for making all things work together for good for those who love You, despite the choices we make. Thank You for making a way back home, and paying the price to save us from our choices. In Your holy name, Amen.

*”The Easter Experience” video series can be accessed at