“If you died tonight, what would you say to God to get Him to let you into His heaven?”

I had opened the front door to find two women standing there. I think they may have introduced themselves, and possibly told what church they represented. But then one of them said this line. This memorized line.

My first thought? What a confrontational thing to say!

My second thought? This is what it feels like to be on the other side of the door. Continue reading ““If you died tonight, what would you say to God to get Him to let you into His heaven?””

On holiness and human waste

Do you think your verbal expressions are justified? You rather enjoy the inadvertent blush of some less-trendy peers or the blanch of the older generation? And of course you have strong feelings, so you need strong expressions to express them.

And this is part of our freedom in Christ, isn’t it? And after all, these are only words.

They’re only words. That’s what I was told by my eighth-grade teacher when I spoke to her about the profanities being uttered all around me. Only words. Continue reading “On holiness and human waste”

The trump card of Romans 7

It happens all the time. It happened to my daughter not long ago. She was in a group of young people having a devotional Bible study, she mentioned a Scripture about how Christians can live in victory, probably referencing something along the lines of Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”), and the response she received came back as “Well, yes, BUT . . .”

Romans 7. Continue reading “The trump card of Romans 7”

Expecting the joy when you can’t feel it (joy part 4)

A friend listened to the song “If You Want Me To” by the blind songwriter Ginny Owens. She said, “I can’t say this is where I am all the time, but it’s where I want to be. I know it’s all true.”

That’s it. That’s it. “It may not be where I am all the time, but it’s where I want to be. I know it’s all true.”

This friend was about to have surgery and didn’t know if she might come out a paraplegic. Continue reading “Expecting the joy when you can’t feel it (joy part 4)”

Joy comes as a response in the realm of the spirit (joy part 3)

Have you ever noticed those verses in the Bible that talk about God’s judgment on the wicked coming in the form of birds picking out their eyes? (One of them is in Proverbs 30.) I know that’s really a disgusting image, but it’s describing something completely realistic: when the ravening birds would start to eat a dead body, the first place they would go was the eye. If the eye didn’t respond at all, they knew that creature was completely dead.

Not a very likely opening to a post about joy, I know.

But the point I’m making is about response. The Bible links life to responsiveness and death to unresponsiveness.  There are many, many places where this understanding of death and life bring into full focus what God is saying. Continue reading “Joy comes as a response in the realm of the spirit (joy part 3)”

Joy is a response (joy part 2)

Last week I gave the first part of a definition of joy, asserting the controversial opinion that we have to admit that it’s a feeling, an emotion.

This week I want to say something that might also be considered controversial: Joy arises as a response to something outside of us. A sensory response. I’m talking about the five senses here: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell. As in . . . Continue reading “Joy is a response (joy part 2)”