his summer we went to Israel. During one of the days in Jerusalem, our guide took our group to some steps that were walled up at the top. He asked us to sit down and rest a minute, and since it was hot and we’d been walking a while, there were no objections.
He began explaining that we were sitting on steps built by Solomon, from the Old Testament, that led up to the outer wall of the original temple. Some of the steps had been replaced over time, but the original steps were easy to identify because the stone was smooth hewn.
We looked where we sat and it was on an original step built by Solomon! OK, it doesn’t matter who you are, that’s just cool! Really cool! Continue reading Live Long, and Prosper
At the Rec Center of the local university, a guy wearing sun glasses was making odd, random movements while music played over the loud speakers. He was near the swimming area and sand volleyball pits, and the closer I got, the more I wondered if he was drunk. At best, I figured he had some sort of muscle coordination problem, plus he had what looked like a goofy grin on his face.
Every step closer though it became clear I was wrong, way wrong. He was blind. Continue reading Dancing in the Dark
The green grass fades while the blue sky darkens to shades of gray. A magnificent array of red, orange and yellow spatter the clouds with peace, contentment, hope. A single bird flies across the sky, as if it were homeless this evening, searching, seeking, wanting a place to safely land and call its own. Yet the bird flies on with something, something unknown to man, on its mind.
The wind turns to a soft breeze as the cool, gentle breath of nature begins to blow through heaven’s air conditioner vents.
The front porch rockers face the west and glide back and forth as the sun shoots off its version of fireworks in the clouds, as if to say goodbye, and goodnight, until tomorrow’s morning light. Continue reading The Sun’s Hope
My hands trembled, sweaty palms, dry mouth. I had been to church and was convicted in my heart of a wrong I had committed. It was my own stupid mistake, my own sin.
I stole. Continue reading I Am A Forgiven Thief
He said it was the longest night of his life…
When he went at 9:00 AM for an angioplasty to clear a partially blocked artery, the doctor assured him it would all be routine, easy peasy. It wasn’t.
He was under a local anesthesia that kept him calm and relaxed, but quite aware. His give a hoot factor though was low, really low. When he heard the doctor say, “Oh no!”, Continue reading Longest Night of His Life
He had a headache, not bad, just one Tylenol bad. It didn’t stop, so he took two and went to bed. He felt funny the next morning, but did his regular thing. That afternoon he had another headache and grabbed a bottle of Ibuprofen and took 4. He still didn’t feel very well and thought he was coming down with something.
The next morning, he still felt strange, but went to work anyway. About 2:00 PM he had Continue reading That’s His Story, This Is His Hope
We were in the Garden of Gethsemane in Israel. It’s at the bottom of the Mt. of Olives where Jesus went to pray with three of His disciples, and in a way, where His death really began. The stress was so overwhelming that Jesus experienced Hematidrosis, a medical condition where tremendous stress bursts tiny capillaries in the face and mixes with sweat, and thus, He sweat as it were great drops of blood.
Jesus already knew what was about to happen. After all, He was God, yet a man in flesh. He knew what He was about to do….and how it would feel. He knew the physical, emotional and spiritual battles He was about to face. Most of us can’t even look at our arm when we get a shot, but Jesus knew exactly how intense His pain would be down to the last beat of his heart. Continue reading Don’t Fall Asleep
It came alive! Seeing the Valley of Elah in Israel a couple of weeks ago, the place where David slew Goliath, it made sense! The valley was big, but not huge. Much of the rich, fertile soil had just been tilled. On one side is a long hill with a continuous ridge, and on the other side, the same.
Continue reading Let That Stone Fly!
A couple of weeks ago I set the alarm for 5:00 AM to see a 5:30 AM sunrise over the Sea of Galilee in Israel. It was late and dark when we checked in the night before, but the back of the hotel was right on the water. You just can’t miss a sunrise like that!
The first step out of the lobby was facing west and I was about to make a U-turn east. The very first thing, on the very first day, in my very first time in Israel hit me squarely in the chin with surprising force. It wasn’t the sunrise, or a holy site, seeing the people or experiencing something brand new. It was something simple. Something ordinary. Something remarkably familiar. Continue reading A Sparrow’s Song
Two thousand years ago leprosy was the MOST dreaded of all diseases. The skin often lost feeling, but other times, it could be extremely painful. Rashes and sores, particularly around the face, nose, hands, elbows, knees, buttocks and feet were common. The disease often attacked the sinuses causing difficulty breathing, and as it advanced, could collapse sinus cavities, and even the nose itself. Continue reading Unclean, Unclean!