The little one struggled to form the name of his diagnosis. He watched his mama say them one more time, those two immensely difficult words for a four-year-old mouth to wrap itself around: cystic fibrosis. Suddenly, his eyes lit up with dawning recognition. “Oh! Sixty-five roses!” As pride swelled in his tiny chest for conquering yet another obstacle in his daily adventure, he couldn’t have known he’d just coined a phrase.
Half a century later, you can still find #65roses accompanying posts about this life-altering disease.
The day of giving an account to our Maker is coming.
This fact used to terrify me, paralyzing any movement for fear of getting it wrong. Standing firm in the gospel, though, that same fact can spark the most joyful, free, effective, wholehearted living available, and yield an incredible harvest. Don’t believe me? Just review the parable of the talents in Matthew 25.
Few stories in Scripture can affect the heart as profoundly as that of the prodigal from Luke 15:11-32. Despite the parable’s fame, I find it sad that we so often limit the cast of characters to two rather than three. (I tend to identify more with the guy usually left in the shadows—the older brother.) Ready to immerse your senses in this gospel-shaped tale? Gather around the feet of Jesus. Instead of, “Once upon a time,” He opens with, “There was a man who had two sons.”
Fun: (n) Enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure. Antonyms: boredom, misery.*
Do me a favor—flip through your catalog of memories to the one saturated with the most fun. Was it a childhood birthday party? Christmas morning? An amazing family vacation? Just sit there and bask in the happiness for a minute.
Time for a personal confession: fun is a struggle for me.
Remember Baloo’s counsel to young Mowgli in the middle of ‘The Bare Necessities’?
“So just try and relax. Fall apart in my backyard. Cool it. Let me tell you something, little britches, if you act like that bee acts, uh-uh—you’re working too hard. And don’t spend your time looking around for something you want that can’t be found.”
(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on April 3, 2020. You can find it here.)
“To every person there comes in their lifetime that special moment when you are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to you and your talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds you unprepared or unqualified for work which could have been your finest hour.”
What a weird time to be alive! While blooms unfurl in the gardens outside, headlines pollinate our hearts with anxiety. COVID-19 has masked more than faces in the last few weeks—it’s clouded our entire outlook. I’ve noticed the resurrection of my own tendency toward orphan thinking, and it’s not pretty. Why do I assume shadows must yield despair? Especially when my Rescuer burst forth out of them with victory in His freshly scarred fists? As we turn our gazes to the cross this month, let’s encourage one another to hold firmly to the hope that won’t let us go.
Discipline and diligence will always be prerequisites if we expect to experience the freedom and rest that God intends for us … But as a girl who’s watching this Sabbath principle unshackle the chains from my life more and more every day, I can tell you it’s worth all the effort we expend.
(Priscilla Shirer, Breathe)
Knowing the why of a thing is very different from knowing the how. Great ideas die all the time due to lack of strategy.
On Monday, we laid a groundwork for why sabbath matters. Now I’d like to take a practical turn and look at some ideas on how to begin making this rhythm a regular and vital part of life.