When you think of the Puritans, do you envision a group that had it together, faith-wise? Super pious and dialed-in to God in a way the rest of us could only imagine? Speaking in “thees” and “thous” like old English poets or certain translations of inspired scripture? I do. Or at least I did.
I have a book of Puritan prayers, a Christmas gift from a dear friend a few years back. I regularly pick it up to ponder the eloquent way they expressed their deep and authentic relationship with God back then. I want to be inspired in my own prayer life and this helps.
Interestingly, I’ve found from these prayers that the Puritan “saints” wrestled with doubts, temptations, and failures just like the rest of us. Fortunately, many of them journaled their meditations and contemplations, not for publication but for the exercise and deepening of their personal faith. Their writings provide the source material for the book . . . and some enduring lessons for me.
Recently I read a selection titled “Weaknesses” and learned a new word: carking. I can honestly say I had never heard this term before but in context it makes perfect sense. Continue reading I learned a new word
A friend of mine is fond of muttering, “Hell in a handbasket, my dear. Hell in a handbasket.” This is usually in response to:
- yet another crass reality TV show in the lineup,
- an encounter with a rude or texting driver,
- sloppy workmanship in an already overpriced product,
. . . or any of a number of other “proofs” that society is unraveling at a meteoric rate.
It’s become so common, we’ve adopted a kind of shorthand between us. My friend now just looks at me and says, “Handbasket!” Enough said.
It’s easy to default to negative thinking these days, though, isn’t it? You look around at the alarming lack of civility among so-called leaders; the deep divides along racial, religious, and socioeconomic lines; the creeping fear of violence and danger at every turn . . . and you can start to despair.
If you’re like me, sometimes you’re tempted to turn off the news, gather your loved ones, and just hide, if only that would help.
But this past Sunday, a single line in a song at church opened my eyes to a really important truth. We were singing “Strong God”* (listen to it here) and there’s a line that says, “This is God in His holy place.”
Just that one lyric was all it took to pierce my heart and change my perspective.
Continue reading The simple song lyric that undid me
Today is my Dad’s 91st birthday and there’s a Christian song so reflective of his life, it could have been written specifically about him. After I tell you a bit of his story, I think you’ll agree.
The fact that he’s lived 91 years is remarkable in and of itself. This is a guy whose fragile health as a child had doctors predicting he would never reach adulthood.
Eighty or so years and several health crises later, he still preaches at his church, shares his faith anytime there’s an “open door”, joins his friends for breakfast twice a week, and until recently was a chaplain on call at the local hospital.
And all that barely scratches the surface of the schedule he keeps. Continue reading A song that could have been written about my Dad
“Strays in a tray; some thrown away. Rounded down. Unheeded; unneeded.” *
If you knew that you were the inspiration for something I wrote, would you be flattered – or flustered? Would you be interested to know how I depicted you and why? Or would you want to get the heck out of here NOW? Continue reading Have I Written About You?
“You’ll lead a pretty great life and live to be old. Now go do the best you can.”
I know people who would be happy with that pronouncement. People who really don’t want too much interference from an all-knowing, all-powerful Deity who might have some different ideas about what constitutes a meaningful life.
With those marching orders, they could define “pretty great” for themselves, and the ambiguity of “old” would suit them just fine. Doing their best could mean pursuing happiness on their own terms, finding their own pleasure. That could work out really well.
Until it doesn’t. Continue reading If God said this to you, would it be enough?
I woke up with a headache this morning that caffeine wouldn’t touch (I’m blaming it on the red tide at the beach yesterday) and it started going downhill from there.
I was trying to complete an important project for my employer and I kept slamming up against computer problems that would have made a preacher cuss. Continue reading I Heard God’s Singing Voice
While our culture values flash and sizzle and the goal of many continues to be fame and fortune, one trait always equals success in God’s economy: faithfulness. I am privileged to have been raised by a father who modeled that trait every day of his life and continues to do so at almost 90 years old.
This remarkable man, Wallace Rivers, is featured today on Jeremy Statton’s blog: www.jeremystatton.com/wallace-rivers. Won’t you stop by and read about him? And while you’re there, enjoy all the other great content Jeremy has to offer to help you “live a better story”.
“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 17:6 (NIV)