Have You Learned?

Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” album was one of my favorites years ago. And my favorite song on that album was “You Learn.” The chorus is going through my mind today: “You live you learn, you love you learn. You cry you learn, you lose you learn. You bleed you learn, you scream you learn.” Another quote going through my mind is “I’ve succeeded and I’ve learned. I’ve never failed.” Think about…

Forgetting AND Straining

“You simply HAVE to get active! I mean it, father. If you value your health AND your ministry. You HAVE to start moving more!” How I HATE these annual physicals! But seriously, the older I get the more my metabolism slows down and the more I have to work hard to stay active. The truth is I’ve never been the athlete in the family. I was always the bookworm, the “good student”…

I Need a Guide!

OK, so I have a hard time asking for directions. But, hey, since the invention of the GPS, I don’t have to! My man’s ego is protected by technology once again! Seriously, I do admit to not being crazy about asking for help. It feels like weakness to me and that plugs into my own weakness and pride. I guess that’s why I keep getting into situations where I have no choice…

God Had Mercy!

“The best-laid plans of mice and men…” Most of us at least try to achieve a “planned life.” We plan for college. We plan our careers. We plan our relationships. We are forever warned against haphazard living, and rightly so because a haphazard life tends toward chaos and misery. Even our faith has all the earmarks of a clear path; a way of life, filled with clear instructions and a narrow plan for…

Countless Guides But Not Many Fathers

So, why is it so easy to take advice from a stranger, but not your own family? Alright, I’ll confess to being a bit frustrated. Here’s the story: I had a dear family member bend my ear for several hours about a problem. At the end of this marathon, I gave what I thought was some wise counsel. This precious one listened and thanked me and then promptly ignored my advice for…

Work-out Your Own Salvation

My little brother and I were typical brothers growing up. We would engage in “sibling rivalry” now and again! But we were being raised by a single mother who worked fulltime and cared for us full time as well. One such event when we were a bit older elicited a phrase from my mom to us both that really stuck with me. I don’t even remember what we were fighting about but…

Wisdom is Justified By All Her Children

My very best friend in all the world died of a brain tumor several years ago. I know, a weird way to begin a devotional, but I wanted you to know the end of the story so you will value it as much as I do. You see, Rod was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war, but he went and served anyway as a medical corpsman. He rarely spoke about his experiences there…

To Live IS Christ!

St. Paul tells us today that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I confess, every time I read this passage and contemplate this phrase, it always drives me to reconsider my own life. Can I really say this along with Paul? Of course, the answer is “no,” but before I let myself off the hook here, I want to confront the all too easy cop-out I sometimes allow in…

Provoked!

What provokes you? Politics? Religion? Race? Inequity? Violence? Chaos (OK, this one is a personal provocation!)? No matter what might provoke you to action, if you allow the provocation to be your primary motivation, you are sure to always be provoked. You see, provocation is a “result”, not a motive. And learning what is behind the reaction is key to being able to discern if the reaction is appropriate or not, healthy…

I Am the Chiefest of Sinners

He was actually bragging about being the best at being the worst! I’m not kidding! I sat in front of him staring in absolute disbelief at what I was hearing. I was lamenting the shallow commitment of my own heart to the rigorous practice of the Faith when he chimed in that “his people” were even more shallow in the practice of the Faith. I would bring up examples of my own…