On Borrowed Faith

What do you do when you are a believer who is struggling to believe?

I have people I love very dearly right now that are going through things that would cause most any of us to at least question things that we know are true.

And this morning, in the beautiful, sunny stillness of my perch on the porch, I find myself called upon to believe on their behalf.

I know they have moments, even in the midst of the turmoil they’re experiencing, when they are confident in the powerful hand of the great God they serve to uphold them and carry them through the storm—whether a storm like the sudden, intense, terrible fury of an Oklahoma F-5 tornado or the hours-long surge of an enormous hurricane like the one bearing down on the east coast even now. I know there are moments that they, in pain and heartache, know God is hearing their cries. Continue reading On Borrowed Faith

My Blooming Friends

My quiet time out on the porch this morning was extra sweet. There was a slow, gentle rain falling. I found myself distracted by the daisies that are in full bloom. I planted those daisies a few years ago. Every year they come back a little stronger with a few more blooms.

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As I was reflecting on the beauty of these simple flowers, my phone was buzzing every couple of minutes. The string of birthday greetings by Facebook and text message had cranked up and old friends, many I haven’t seen in some time as well as some that are everyday fixtures of my life right now, began to scroll before my mind in a cascade of blessing.

In the stillness of the morning it dawned on me that many of the relationships from the past, though not as close perhaps as once before, are much like those hearty little daisies that keep blooming year after year. They show up and brighten my day, even when I walk from the car to the front door with my head hanging under the weight of so many cares for so many loved ones. They remind me that moments invested in the lives of others are never wasted.

You see, when we walk through life and allow God’s grace to flow through our obvious brokenness, that grace drips like water on the relationships we make and that watering so often shows itself in moments here and there – moments of encouragement, of comfort, of celebration and sympathy, of joys multiplied and heartaches divided.

I have more than a reasonable share of friendships that, though perhaps not cultivated and even lying dormant for years, pop up with blooms of joy from time to time. I don’t have a great deal of material wealth in this world, but I count myself the very richest of men. For in whatever circumstance that may come about in my life, I shall never face a day without a friend.

As Paul said to his dear friends in his letter to the church at Philippi, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”

Thank you for enriching my life.

My Advocate Had None

Walking through the path of Jesus toward his crucifixion, I’ve been reflecting upon the outrageous trial he endured before the Jewish court. He stood there as they looked for a fraudulent accusation that was sufficient for them to justify sentencing him to die.

As I have read through the accounts of this occurrence, it strikes me that Jesus was, in a very real sense, alone. He had no one to speak on his behalf or to represent his interests. There was no one there to argue his innocence. He answered only when asked a direct question and then he spoke the truth that gave the leaders all of the justification they needed.

Blasphemy. They accused Jesus of blasphemy because he affirmed that he was the Son of God. Indeed, it was blasphemy…unless he really was God.

Jesus spoke only a couple of sentences in an entire night of prodding, chiding, and accusation. He had no one to speak for him. He had no advocate.

An advocate is simply one whose role is to speak up for someone else. In 1 John 2.1 we see these powerful words, “…we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

As I think about the hatred and vitriol spewed continually upon Jesus that night, it rocks my soul to realize that Jesus, my advocate, had none.

When we have failed and our accuser rails to the righteous Judge regarding our guilt, there is no answer that we can make. But Jesus, our Advocate, answers for us. He speaks up when we have no words. Yet, when he stood facing his accusers, he had no advocate.

As the blessed old hymn so sweetly asks, what wondrous love is this, O my soul?