Showing posts from 2023

Be Still | Exodus 14

Welcome to Real Life . What enemy are you facing? Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. –Rev. John Watson There is a time to be still—to stop trying, striving, doing, working, fighting—and just be still before God. There is a time to rest in him, knowing the battle we face is beyond us. We are not big enough, strong enough, smart enough, or holy enough to win the victory. But we know the One who is enough. For four hundred years, the nation of Israel suffered as slaves in Egypt. They cried out to God. He heard. He answered. He sent Moses to deliver them. Ten plagues later, Pharaoh finally relented and set God’s people free. But the Israelites had barely begun their journey home when Pharaoh and his officials reneged. What have we done? We lost our labor force! Pharaoh set out with his entire army—chariots, horses, and troops—to hunt down the Israelites and force them back into slavery. Meanwhile, camped on the seashore, the Israelites felt a rumbling. They looked up to

Keep Watch with Me | Matthew 26

Welcome to Real Life . The night before his crucifixion, a spiritual battle is raging. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me ." [1] Earlier that evening, Jesus shared a Passover meal with his twelve apostles. As they ate and drank, he tried to prepare them for what was coming. This bread is my body broken for you. This wine is my blood poured out for the sins of many. The disciples heard Jesus’ words. But in their wildest dreams, could they have imagined their fulfillment would come in the form of a cruel crucifixion? After dinner, they arrive in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus walks a little further for privacy. He asks his three closest friends—Peter, James, and John—to accompany him. “Watch and pray,” he pleads. But the hour is late. Sleep comes unbidden. It makes me wonder. Were these three oblivious to the distress in Jesus’ eyes? Or perhaps it caught them off guard. After all, they were the needy ones. Jesus was the

The God Who Sees Me | Genesis 16

Welcome to Real Life . When we run and hide, there is someone who cares enough to come looking for us. My keyboard must be broken. I keep hitting the escape key—but I’m still here. –Anonymous When life overwhelms us—when we’re hurt, confused, and troubled—we often run. We try to escape. We stop answering the phone. We binge Netflix. We open the fridge. We uncork the bottle. No matter where we hide, someone sees us. No matter where we run, someone comes looking for us. He is the Good Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to find one lost sheep. Throughout the Holy Script, God reveals this aspect of his character. In Genesis, before the law and the prophets, he seeks a young runaway. Her story begins with a promise God made to Abram (before renaming him Abraham). “Look at the stars. Can you count them? So shall your offspring be.” [1] One issue mocks the fulfillment of this promise. Abram’s wife Sarai [2] is barren. The pain of infertility cuts deep. She offers Abram Plan B: bear childre

Deep Work | Matthew 14

Welcome to Real Life . What has your attention? If I had a dollar for every time I got distracted. I wish I had some ice cream. –Anonymous “ Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task,” says Cal Newport in his book by that title. In our ultra-connected, media-saturated culture, distraction-free can be hard to come by. Newport believes it’s worth the effort. Learning to focus deeply improves our concentration which enables us to master new skills. This results in a greater sense of gratification, meaning, and purpose. Deep work enriches our lives. Prayer is a work that requires deep focus. It’s not always easy to achieve. My phone dings. My husband has a question. My mind wanders to the next item on my to-do list. It takes determination to carve out distraction-free time with God. Although Jesus Christ did not carry a smartphone, his days were full of distractions. He lived, ate, and ministered with his disciples. Jesus had no office door to c