I recently had the privilege of listening to a series of lessons on the Israelites: From the Exodus to the Promised Land. The teachings highlighted how God delivered his chosen people from slavery in Egypt, led them through the wilderness to the Promised Land, and then His dealings with them as they wandered in the wilderness another 40 years for their lack of faith. (I remember reading these stories when I was a kid and marveling that these Children of Israel never seemed to learn from their mistakes and how they kept repeating them; and how they complained!) The teacher of the series commented on their ingratitude and posed the thought, “I wonder how that made God feel?” Then he challenged us to consider how WE make God feel in our lives, and how we can be just as ungrateful as the Israelites were in the desert.
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In this letter originally written to the churches in southern Galatia, Paul proclaims the timeless reality of our freedom in Christ. That sounds great, but how do we get there and what do we do with our newfound freedom? Let’s talk about it!
As last year was ending and a new year approaching, I, like many, did my own little “year in review.” 2017 seemed to have its share of downers. Among them, my mother fell and broke her hip, and subsequently died. After finally persuading my husband to take a vacation (it had been several years since our last one), our trip south in September was cancelled by a hurricane (one of several that affected our country). There were earthquakes and wild fires in our country and terrorist attacks all over the world. I personally was sick with bronchitis for over six weeks. That was followed by a shingles outbreak that lasted 4 months. In December my husband spent 8 days in court being defended in a law suit. I could easily have felt sorry for us, and the world in general.
Having worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist in my past, I marveled at every birth. To think this new creature, so sophisticated and complex, could arise from two very simple cells that came together and started differentiating into a marvelous being just boggles my mind. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have enough faith in happenstance to believe this could occur purely by chance.
When I was a teen, my mother was my best friend. Mom was a stay-at-home mother, as were most mothers in those days. I would come home from school and she was always there to greet me. After working on my homework, I would sit by the stove while she prepared dinner (in those days, moms did that too). We would chat. I could tell her about almost anything and she usually had some wise advice. I clearly remember telling her about some boy I had a crush on, who didn’t know I existed. Her advice? “Marilyn, boys are like street cars. If you miss one, another one will come along.” I can’t remember who the boy was, but I do remember Mom’s wise counsel.
There is something very special about fellowship and the breaking of bread together. How personal and intimate an act it can be to sit with friends and/or family and enjoy the trust and joy of sharing. I find this especially so with my Christian family.