Monthly Archives: October 2021



We have been dealing with a lot of delays lately and shortages of things we never thought of before. It sure makes you realize how much we took for granted that there would be food available, cars to buy and appliances in stock whenever we wanted or needed them.

The reason often cited for these shortages and delays is a problem with the supply chain: not enough workers, not enough trucks, not enough equipment or parts. I have a friend who often includes the workers who supplied the food we are about to eat in his mealtime prayers. It’s good for us to remember that there are those who serve us whom we don’t even see and whose absence is felt when they are not around. And it’s good to remember that even the smallest things, like say, computer chips, can have a great impact on an entire industry or economy.

This is a very biblical situation, if you think about it. Christ realized that there was a lot of work to be done in the kingdom of God, but that it required people to serve to get the job accomplished. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few,” he said (Luke 10:2). There was no way for the Word of the Lord to reach the hungry souls who needed it the most without those who served in small ways traveling, teaching, talking, sharing the Good News and carrying it on to the next village, town or metropolis. If people stopped speaking the message of salvation in Jesus, the supply chain would derail and the Word would not get out or would be delayed.

Every part of the chain of the spreading of the Gospel matters. The Bible tells us, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15). We all build on one another to bring fruition to God’s mission to all the world. And each one of us needs to keep working for the Lord to bring the precious commodity of the story of Christ’s death and resurrection to as many as possible. Don’t delay or slow the flow of the love and care God has for every person.



Recently, I heard that the building where I went to high school has changed from a high school to a middle school. Awhile back, I learned that the grade school I attended closed several years ago, and the building is vacant. Not long after, I discovered that my college dorm room had been converted into a laundry room. It is no longer the space that it was. Then, while driving down a familiar road, I noticed a building where I once worked is now a storage facility.

Times change, places changes. I say these things, not to get everybody down, but simply to say that God truly does put us in very specific places at very certain times. I can’t go back to these places and relive those moments. The experiences I had in those places were not about the buildings, but about the people I met and the things I learned. I can only move forward now in the places that he puts me with that in mind. So I hold on to the experiences I am having in my office now. And I am growing in my relationships with the people I am sharing time with at this juncture.

Take time this day to look back to the past and give thanks to God for the people you encountered and the lessons that have stuck with you over the years. Then look around at your life in the present. What do you think is most meaningful to you about where you are right now? What do you think you will remember the most? What is special or significant about your surroundings in this phase of your life? Clasp these things close.

Always keep in mind that spaces may shift and the people around you may be different than before, but “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). Every momentary place and passing person in your life is a gift, no matter how long or short a time they are with you. Savor all that you receive in every stage of living from your never-changing God.



When I was growing up, my family and I often went camping. We kids did not have to do much, but I do remember my dad asking me to spread the tarp for the “add-a-room” that was attached to the canvas portion of the camper. The tarp would keep the attached “room” relatively dry if rains came. Then came the ropes and the stakes to keep the enclosure steady.

So I was surprised recently when another devotional writer quoted Isaiah 54:2:

Enlarge the place of your tent,
    and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
    and strengthen your stakes.

Sounds like God is a camper, too, and wants us to apply the principles of camping to the tent of our bodies here on this earth. He wants us to spread out where we dwell, not limiting ourselves to one small area. He wants us to add on to include more people in our lives with our belief in him. He wants us to reach out beyond ourselves to ground our faith in him by firmly putting down stakes in his salvation. That way, those around us might see that we are solidly established in the rich soil of his Word.

I find it interesting in this context that St. Paul was a tentmaker by trade (see Acts 18:3). So he was able to apply what he had learned as a tentmaker to his role as an apostle, helping people set up their spiritual tents. Paul was good at building a dwelling place for God in the hearts of people. He was good at laying down the groundwork of faith and hope in God in people’s lives that allowed them to weather any storms of life that came their way. He covered them with the Good News that Jesus suffered and died for their sake, which kept them safe.

In the end, we are more at home in our spiritual tents than any physical ones. Every house we have lived in on this earth will one day pass away, but our spiritual tents with God will last forever. Our souls and bodies will be housed with him eternally under the canopy of his love in heaven.

Perfectly Carved


This summer I visited Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota and was amazed by the work that went into perfectly carving the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln out of the blank rock face. One small slip of the carver’s hand and the monument would be ruined.

Pondering this exact work made me think of the words of the Psalmist who said,

For it was you who formed my inward parts;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
  My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
   intricately woven in the depths of the earth. (Psalm 139:13-15)

God formed us and shaped us, knit and wove us into just the people he wanted us to be. “We are God’s masterpiece,” St. Paul reveals in Ephesians 2:10. Each of us is beautifully designed by God in the way he desired. “God doesn’t make junk,” the old saying goes. But we have a hard time reminding ourselves of that fact sometimes, when sin plunges us into feelings of low self-esteem or perceived unworthiness.

The undeniable truth is that God takes great delight in what he has created in each one of us and he wants us to celebrate what he has brought to life in us. In his skilled hands, our bodies and souls, faces and features were fashioned in his image to reflect his great love and tender care to the world.

Third Things


Education philosopher Parker J. Palmer, in his book A Hidden Wholeness, presents what he calls “the third thing.” The third thing is something outside ourselves that allows us to deepen our connection with another. Third things can include a poem, a play, a movie, a TV show, a concert, a story, a piece of music or a work of art. They can also be shared experiences like doing the dishes or fishing together.

“Rightly used, a third thing functions a bit like the old Rorschach inkblot test, evoking from us whatever the soul wants us to attend to. Mediated by a good metaphor, the soul is more likely than usual to have something to say,” Palmer writes (A Hidden Wholeness, 2009). In other words, a third thing is something that can get people talking to one another in a way that might not happen otherwise.

Jesus often used the principle of the third thing with his use of a coin, a tree, a child, a trip to the well, a catch of fish and a mustard seed to make a point and elicit a response in others. Jesus’ use of third things drew people in to the meaning of the kingdom of God, his relationship with his followers and his approach to living the spiritual life.

Third things are so effective in teaching the Gospel that most children’s sermons utilize some sort of “prop” or “visual” as an object lesson. They are wonderful ways for children to respond to and engage in the message from Scripture more fully.

We can continue to practice the principle of third things in our daily lives as we seek to grow in our connections with our fellow Christians. Take the time to attend an event with someone or do a project side-by-side with a friend. Who knows what the Spirit may lead you to talk about as a result?

Time Reminders


Facebook does a good job of reminding us of the passage of time when they show us pictures that we posted 3, 7 or 11 years ago. Seeing my “past me” can be quite jarring at times. Sometimes I can remember exactly how I was feeling at the moment that picture was taken, and other times I have little or no memory at all of the entire event, though I obviously was there.

Viewing these pictures from the past provides me with a small time of introspection. Was I happy then? Am I different now? What have I learned? The Psalmist likes to look back and reflect too.

Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord! (Psalm 25:7).

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent (Psalm 71:9).

Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart (Psalm 90:12).

The Psalmist, like most of us, would rather God not remember our early years when we were perhaps wayward and reckless. Many a Facebook pic from the past we wish could be erased. Though Facebook may remember the errors of our ways, our God will not remember them. As the Psalmist says: “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered” (Psalm 130:3-4).

Looking at pictures from the past may make us feel old and may make us wonder about what the future holds in our advancing years. But we need to recall that just as God was with us in these snapshots of our lives gone by, he will be with us in the picture-worthy moments of our lives yet to be. As the writer to the Hebrews says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Our God-With-Us will never forsake us, no matter what year we are in.

The pictures from the past on Facebook instantly make us want to treasure the days God has given us on this earth. We shouldn’t take a second for granted. We are truly blessed by God with experiences and interactions with others that help us to grow as his children and cherish the gift of time. Days may seem to go by faster and faster, but that does not mean that we cannot use the time well to the glory of God, by serving and loving and living for him, as Christ did.

Watch for the next Facebook memory photo to pop up and let that time reminder renew your trust in the God of All Time.