Monthly Archives: February 2024



I have been in the process of compiling the history of the church I attend, and one of the interesting facts I found was that in the 1940s, the church’s men’s club was called the Jonathans. I have a brother named Jonathan, so I have a special place in my heart for that name, but I assume that the men’s club chose that name because of the depiction of Jonathan, the son of Saul, as the epitome of a good friend to David.

The soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18:1

Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing and gave it to David and his armor and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 1 Samuel 18:4

Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him, “The king should not sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you and because his deeds have been of good service to you.” 1 Samuel 19:4

Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 1 Samuel 20:4

Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own life. 1 Samuel 20:17

At their last meeting Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’ ” 1 Samuel 20:42 (Jonathan would later die on the battlefield.)

These verses about Jonathan describe for us all what a good friend is: a good friend loves his friends like he loves himself. A good friend will literally give you the shirt off his back to help you. A good friend will stand up for you. A good friend will follow your lead, and a good friend will recognize that the Lord is a part of your relationship. My hope and prayer is that you have many “Jonathans” in your life.

Bueller, Bueller…


I know I am dating myself by referencing this, but do you remember in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when a teacher is taking attendance in class and calling out, “Bueller, Bueller” with no answer until someone says, “Um, he’s sick”?

I bring that iconic scene to mind as I think of the call of Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1-10). God called to Samuel three times: “Samuel, Samuel…” But Samuel did not answer God. He was off seeing if it was the priest Eli calling him. Finally, Eli realized it was God calling Samuel. So when God called Samuel a fourth time, “Samuel, Samuel…” Samuel responded to him, “Speak, for your servant hears” as Eli had told him to.

Are we listening when God calls us? Are we going to others instead? Are we ready when we do hear him and he has a task in mind for us? These are all questions we need to ask ourselves on a daily basis and then do what we can to be better listeners and followers of God.

One blessing that I hear in this story of Samuel is that God knew Samuel by name and was not just randomly calling people. He was calling Samuel personally. And he is calling you by name to follow his will in a very specific-to-you way. Be the best “you” you can be for God.

Turn to Him

turn to God

For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live. Ezekiel 18:32

The word repent means “to turn.” On this Ash Wednesday, we turn to God in repentance for our sins as we begin the 40-day season of Lent leading to Good Friday and Easter. As we read in this verse from Ezekiel, when we turn to God, we live. Compare Ezekiel’s words to those of St. Paul: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). Sin means death, but Jesus means life. Turn your head, turn your heart, turn your life to Christ this day and live through him.

Wind Chill

wind chill

Most of the country went through a deep freeze recently with temperatures in the single digits and wind chills well below zero. Meteorologists like to say that wind chills are the “feels like” temperatures. The thermometer may say one thing, but our body feels another when we are out in the elements.

The concept of wind chill can apply to other parts of our lives as well. By all outward measures, things may seem fine in our lives, but the “feels like” reality may be something far less than fine. Some people call it the winter blues or blahs. Others may point to the fewer activities or holidays after the new year. But many just may be feeling down for whatever reason.

It is good for us as Christians to read the temperature in the room, so to speak, when we visit someone we know who we think might be lonely or depressed. Jesus was often quick to sense what was going on in a particular situation on a deeper level. I think about the woman at the well who had many issues going on in her personal life which led her to being at the well all alone. Jesus was able to bring those difficulties out and supply her with the living water of himself, which gave her comfort and even joy as she excitedly shared her story with others. (See John 4:7-30.)

We may not be as adept as Jesus, but we can be a voice of support to someone, a listening ear if they want to talk or just a friendly face to bring cheer. Sometimes the simplest things can melt the sadness and warm the heart. Of course, professional counselors might be the best option. But you can be the first to take the chill out of an existence that is below normal. Let Jesus be your guide.

One of Many

one of many

A friend on Facebook posted a picture he took of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris. Nice, simple, close-up snapshot. Then he turned his camera around and took a picture of the masses of people waiting behind him to get that same snapshot.

Kind of puts things in perspective, huh? We are not alone on this journey through life … and on our journey through faith. The Bible mentions that masses of people would often follow Jesus wherever he went, seeking just to see him or touch his robe (see Matthew 4:25; Matthew 8:1; Matthew 14:35-36). Jesus could not have a close-up talk with every single person on earth in his lifetime. But that still does not change the fact that he loves each one of us dearly and died and rose for each one of us that we might be with him forever.

The thought of masses of people streaming toward Jesus reminds me too of favorite lines in the song “Alleluia to Jesus,” by Carl Schalk, which was sung at my father’s funeral. The lyrics envision all those who have passed away climbing Jacob’s ladder to heaven: “Many millions have climbed it, have reached Zion’s hill, and thousands by faith are climbing it still.” The most memorable line for me comes toward the end: “And remember each step, that by faith we pass o’er, some prophet or martyr hath trodden before.” We are in good and faithful company, blessed by God to reach the goal of heaven through the path Christ opened for us and for all. There is joy in being one of many. God’s love graciously goes far beyond ourselves, but is far more personal than looking face-to-face at the Mona Lisa.