Do you ever stumble across an odd statement while reading your Bible and think, Are you kidding me?
This happened to me this morning. I was reading the account in Numbers where Moses struck the rock and water came out. This account is actually the second time in Israelite history this event has occurred—and check this out—it happened at the exact same place as before: Meribah, which means “quarreling.”
The first account of getting water from the rock was shortly after the Israelites were delivered from Egypt. But the second account that gave me pause happened a generation later. Same place, same situation, but this time this generation had grown up in the desert and grumbled and complained to Moses about not having water.
This is what they said:
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
1 Peter 2:24
Seven years ago, I was in a terrible bicycle accident that left my face ruined by road rash. My chin was split open, I had a black eye, and the skin on my shoulder was shaved off. I was black and blue from head to toe but fortunate in that I had not broken any bones in my face.
I was laid up that following week and couldn’t work. I remember each time I looked in the mirror, I would thank God for healing my face even though at the time it was still in bad shape. I was trusting God to heal me because there was nothing anyone could do for the damaged skin.
This took a lot of faith to trust and speak those words over to myself in the midst of the situation because I looked the opposite of what I was thanking God for.
What happens when you are faced with the reality of your faith?
You have a choice. To walk it out, scary as it may seem, or to turn a deaf ear to the prompting in your heart.
Today, I’m facing such a dilemma…and yet what will I choose?
I’ve been in Chicago for a few days. I love this city, as it is like a second home to me. Even on a work trip, I find the time to do the things I enjoy. I frequent my favorite restaurants, and I run the lakeshore trails while breathing in the beautiful skyline. I do touristy stuff like visit the Art Museum or Shedd’s Aquarium. And I’ve even taken a selfie under the Bean in Millennium Park. For me, it is a fun escape…even in the cold windy month of March.
Yet this time, I am faced with the issue of homelessness. I’ve seen it before—it’s part of big city life—but this time it is like a vice gripping and squeezing my heart. A man stopped me the other day and asked me to buy him a sandwich. I refused because I was scared to interact with him as he was clearly intoxicated and I was alone.
But what bothers me is that I spent $40 on my own dinner that night and didn’t think twice.
It’s early, it’s dark, coffee’s on…I love early mornings, it’s my favorite part of the day—before the world is awake.
However, today is different, today is special—today is Christmas.
I hope that the world pauses for a moment at some interval to reflect on the reason why we’ve set aside this day. Today is the day to celebrate Jesus and His dramatic and miraculous entrance into the world.
If you’re like me, then you’ve heard, studied, taught and wrote about the incarnation from just about every angle. And yet, this year a friend showed me a new element about Jesus’ birth that I had NEVER heard before. So I spent a few days looking into it and what I found was overwhelming in that it takes my breath away and brings me into a place where worship comes easily.
About a year ago, I took my first ever spiritual gifts assessment. Has anyone ever taken one? It is kind of fun—The particular one I filled out consisted of around 100 questions and in return you get back a list of your spiritual gifts (Download Assessment to find out your spiritual gifts). Like I said, I had never taken one before—the top two things on the list were not surprising, but the third one completely took me by surprise. It was the spiritual gift of evangelism. It floored me that this was a spiritual gift of mine—I had no idea!
Now, when I say evangelism, what image come to mind?
Let me tell you what images come to my mind…