Monthly Archives: May 2023

School’s Out

school's out

Do you remember the feeling you had on the last day of school? You could sense the excitement in the air. I have seen that thrill pictured in posts of people’s children leaving for the last day of high school or grade school recently. Why is there so much energy attached to that day? My guess is that it has to do with a sense of accomplishment as well as a sense of anticipation of fun and relaxing times the summer may hold when not tied down by class schedules and homework. You‘ve reached your goal and now you’re free!

Which brings me to Revelation 7:13-17:

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

For this reason they are before the throne of God
    and worship him day and night within his temple,
    and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will hunger no more and thirst no more;
    the sun will not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat,
for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Can you feel the excitement? Can you sense the relief? The time of hardship is over, the time of freedom in Christ has begun. What a day that will be when we join with all the saints in light in celebrating the reaching of the goal of heaven through the blood of Christ and the wonder at the joy that is yet to unfold for us in paradise with God. At the risk of sounding a tad too flippant about the end times, perhaps the Last Day on earth will be like the last day of school, only a thousand times better.


singing pair

Two songs sung one after the other or even interwoven with each other are called mashups. The singers on the television show Glee were masters at them. Usually songs within mashups have at least one thing in common with each other. They might have similar themes or related phrases or melody lines that echo one another. I like mashups because they usually give both songs a new energy, a certain liveliness or a meaning that I may not have noticed before.

God is good at mashups, too, when it comes to putting people together. Best friends that finish each others sentences, spouses that complement the abilities of one another and siblings that have almost a secret language with one another. These are all bonds that God has ordained and orchestrated in a way to bring out the best in each person in a pair. I think of brothers Moses and Aaron who worked together in leading the Israelites out of Egypt (see Exodus 6:13). I am reminded of best friends David and Jonathan who were “one in spirit” with each other and loved the other “as he loved himself” (I Samuel 18:1). I consider Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi, who accompanied each other to Bethlehem after the deaths of their husbands, and supported each other (see Ruth 3:1).

What person has God paired you up with, maybe at different stages in your life or maybe all of your life, and how has that connection developed you as a person? Think of these “mashups” of human relationships as ways of making music to the Lord in new and different and inspiring ways.

Mowing the Lawn


When I moved into my home 13 years ago, my neighbor would kindly mow my front lawn whenever he mowed his (they are small yards). I was always grateful to him and whenever I thanked him, he would say, “That’s what neighbors do.”

This year my neighbor said he could no longer mow his (or my) lawn for health reasons. So I was quick to say I would do it. It only makes sense for me to return the favor, I told him. So now every two weeks I mow his yard and mine, and I can hear the words of Jesus ringing in my ears: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31). It‘s called the Golden Rule, and it is a tenet we as Christians are commissioned to live by.

Sometimes it is easy (like with my lawn mowing), but sometimes it comes hard for us. We are not always happy to be kind to those who have not treated us well or not done what we would like them to do for us. Notice that the Golden Rule does not say, “Do unto others as they have done to you.” It says to do unto others as you would like them to do to you. It is not necessarily reciprocal. “Do unto others as you know to be good and kind and loving, even if they have not been those things to you” is another way to put it.

I like how Jesus helps us think to ourselves, “How would I like to be treated? What would I want to have happen in any given situation?” If our thoughts are in line with showing love as Christ did, then that is what we should do for our neighbors. Look around for an opportunity to faithfully follow the Golden Rule today.

Bins of Things


I recently visited the central location of the Goodwill Store near downtown St. Louis. I was shocked by the rows and rows of tables with bins of various things. I witnessed many people elbow-deep in products of many kinds all mixed together. Everyone was in search of the elusive “find”—the discovery of that special something that was worth a lot monetarily or sentimentally.

Isn’t life in one way or another a constant search for something special or meaningful to us? We look for that special someone to have a relationship with. We seek out the perfect job to give us satisfaction. We canvas our locale for just the right dwelling place. In the end, all our earthly searching can never fulfill our spiritual longing for eternal forgiveness. Only when we find Jesus do we find release and relief from every sin that clutters our existence and only in Jesus is there complete peace on earth, goodwill to all.

Silver Linings


A few weeks ago the SpaceX rocket exploded in the air shortly after takeoff. Pretty shocking. But the scientists did not seem all that distraught about it and some even cheered. Why? They still could learn vital information from the event. “With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary,“ SpaceX later tweeted. The event was even called by the scientists an RUD, rapid unscheduled disassembly. Sounds a little less daunting that way, doesn’t it?

This event and the reaction to it reminds me in a sense of the Bible’s description and approach to suffering. Consider this verse:

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. 2 Corinthians 4:17

The light momentary affliction in our lives, our LMA, if you will, has a silver lining: It gets us ready for enjoying the power of the glory yet to come in heaven. It helps us to remember that there are greater things out there than our struggles, no matter how explosive they may be right now. Our God has a future life planned out for us that simply can‘t be compared to anything else we can even imagine or experience in this earthly life. That is what propels us forward and makes any suffering we have a teachable moment about the greatness of our God.

Pray Today


Today, May 4, is the National Day of Prayer this year in the United States. How did this observance come about? On April 17, 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill into law proclaiming a National Day of Prayer must be declared by each subsequent president at an appropriate date of his or her choice. In 1988, the law was amended so that the National Day of Prayer would be held on the first Thursday of May every year. 

While it is wonderful that we have such a day formally set aside for prayer in this country, it is also good for us as Christians and citizens of the kingdom of God to remember that we do not need a law to pray, and we do not need a special day to do it. We can pray any day in any way we want. What a joy and blessing that is. Prayer is something we sometimes take for granted or forget doing. One my pastors once said that when we get to heaven, he thinks we are going to say, “I should have prayed more.”

Well, there is no time like the present to make prayer an integral and regular part of your day, like brushing your teeth or getting dressed. Pray in the morning; pray at night; pray at mealtimes. Those are good routines to have. But let prayer be always on your lips when you think of someone in need, when you are heading into a difficult meeting, when you are grateful for a positive outcome. This is what Paul meant when he said, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). There is no day or time when prayer should not be on our internal agenda. So pray today as a signal to yourself to pray every day. Amen.