The new normal

John 20:30-31 “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”


I am amazed at the wonder of possibilities.  As I read of the miracles of Jesus, each were dutifully written down and stored for all eternity, they exceeded all the miracles of Elijah and Elisha in the Old Covenant.  Time after time Jesus revealed himself to the world as a miracle worker.  He was a man that cared, cried, healed, created, guided, taught, revealed, prayed, loved, challenged, sent, moved, witnessed, and comforted in the Gospels.  Yet there were thousands of other miracles, acts of mercy, not included in the accounts.  John did not include them, but they happened.  They were daily occurrences that became the norm.

We seem to classify any happenstance that is out of the ordinary as miraculous and amazing. Yet, where Jesus is concerned, they are expected and normal. Today I will look for miracles in the normal. I will look for the simple kindnesses shown when they were not expected. I will look for a smile in the pain.  I will look for a sense of purpose in turmoil.  I will look for joy when things get rough.  I will look for steadfastness in a world out of control.  Small miracles will be the new norm.

Squirrel joy

John 8:31 “Jesus, therefore, was saying to these Jews who believed in Him, ‘If you abide in my word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you know the truth, and the truth, shall make you free.’”

I have squirrels in my backyard. In the spring they chase each other around and around the yard, each trying their best to catch the other and all the while making squirrel sounds of seeming joy. I have a few friends like these squirrels. In a long and ongoing discussion between my Christian buddies, we often talk about truth. Truth should be a constant. Truth should be the final decision point in an argument. Nevertheless, as I make my point in the discussion at hand, I am often accused of bending the truth for the sake of argument. If I want to win an argument it is simply easier to talk about the perception of truth instead of the truth itself. It has been said, “truth is the truth until it is shared with someone.” My perception of the truth can, and often is, different than my friends.
We go around and around, like squirrels in the spring. The result of chasing each other around the tree is a joy. It is joy without judgment. It is a joy of being accepted. The truth has set me free. Weighty and thought-provoking friends make my life better.

Good for God and Good for me

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”


Paul, writing to the Romans disturbs me. How do I know that God is causing the infinite and the totality of things to become good?  War, pain, pandemic, unrest, in the large, and the weakness of my life, the small, become good? I live a life of gradual delegation to inactivity and frailty, how can these things become good?  Ministry seems so far off.  I struggle to be all that God wants of me.  I must take the voice of Paul who faced terribleness and trust God to be in my imperfect world. I must love God and acknowledge his purpose. I must keep making one step at a time. I well understand the happenings of my life are to make me different. To make me better.  I already have received the greatest miracle of all, which is eternal life. I will continually keep crying out to God knowing His Word is true. All things transformed into good.  It is a miracle.


Miracles will continue until morale improves.

March 5, 2023

Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for me?”


There are three stages of the work of God: the impossible, the difficult, and the done. Miracles still happen. Just because we do not see people raised from the dead regularly does not mean God is not in the miracle business. The Lord receives glory from the miracles He does every day in our lives. We must continue to press Him in prayer for the miraculous and not settle so quickly into doubt, anxiety, or fear. Miracles will continue until morale improves.


Prayer in thanksgiving for miracles

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.


This prayer of Paul reminds me of the feeding of the 5,000 by Jesus. The people had listened intently to Jesus’ teaching. But the mind can comprehend only as long as the body can endure. The dinner stomach rumble had begun. The faithful leadership wanted to send them away. However, Jesus had something else in mind and He did it with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Many times, we look around at our meager resources and wonder how we are going to make it. Yet our Lord will meet every one of our needs according to His miraculous abilities even using our puny provisions.  Look into your cupboards they are full.  Full of miracles waiting to happen.

Undeserved blessedness

Micah 7:18-19 “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”


The Bible of the Old Testament refers to people most of the time as transgressors or sinners. Sinners condemned. Sinners in need of pardon. Sinners estranged. Sinners in need of acceptance and love. Sinners in deficit. Sinners falling short. Sinners who were deserving of a penalty. Sinners afar off. Sinners separated from God. A people who are deeply troubled, without hope, without expectations, and without vibrancy. The perfect image of God’s most treasured creation was seen as adulterated, corrupted, and broken. Conversely, we hear God responding as one who would bring pardon. Pardon at the expense of Himself. Pardon exercised in love. Forgiveness is offered, no matter how terrible my attempts at life have been. And that special pardon includes the purposeful forgetfulness of our past. Undeserved blessedness.


Forgive and forget

Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”


The electricity was out for a while this early morning.  No coffee, no heat, no internet, and no TV. When it came back on I heard the wistful and melodious words of my wife, “Thank God.” Emotions pointed at the supplier of our power were not that good when all went black.  But the moment it returned, attitudes changed. All was forgiven.

Why does God care so much as to forgive me for all the dumb decisions, willful acts, nurtured bad habits, and purposeful neglect? Why would the personified perfection of God desire to have such a flawed, imperfect person like me be a part of His family? Why would God want to call me “beloved”, “child”, or even “heir”? We are saved to save. WE ARE FORGIVEN TO FORGIVE. It is the greatest Godly act we can do. Forgiveness is love acting out. It is not keeping records of wrongs. Forgiveness is being kind when wronged. Forgiveness does not dishonor. Forgiveness is not self-seeking. It is love.



Acts 7:59-60 “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”


As the stones of unrighteous indignation were being thrown, Stephen knew that Christ was the Judge and not the crowd of hurlers. He knew that in just moments he would be standing in Christ’s presence. His prayer was not, “forgive me for the life I have lived” but “Forgive those who sin against me.” Stephen did not ask for forgiveness for himself. He was not thinking about the judgment that he was going to meet so soon. Stephen was forgiven before the first stone hit his brow. He had no fear about judgment for himself, and so when the last stone struck, the desire of his heart and mind was for those who were hurtling stones and breaking his body. Without hesitancy, Steven’s focus was not on the stones and pain, but on his persecutors. I am closer than most to my earthly end, but I do not fret about it. Like Steven, I am now more concerned about you.

All I needed was already there!

February 17: Psalm 51:1 “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.”


It was a family decision to take the old 4WD International Scout up the mountain to cut a fresh Christmas tree. Up with seemingly hundreds of others, we pushed through the snow-covered roads to the designated place. We cut the tree and tied it to the roof and set off home. Then the right front wheel fell off! It seems all the nuts holding it on had become loose and finally, the last one gave up and we came to an abrupt stop. I needed help, I needed abundant mercy, and I needed at least four undamaged lug nuts. I tried to solicit other travelers on that road to give up one of these valuable restraining nuts. Finally, a mechanic stopped and simply encouraged me to take one nut off each of my other tires. What a concept!

In the early church, the saved encouraged others to show compassion, to daily inspire others to love one another and to forgive one another. By the way, if you have a spare lug nut, share it with one who needs it.

Who will remember in ten years?

2 Corinthians 2:5-8 “If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.”


There must be some point in a broken relationship where it is enough. A place and a time where healing is more important than grief. A place and time to make amends, a place where we can be set free from the tyranny of past mistakes. To perceive a time as an opportunity to learn. No one is immune to hurts inflicted. They are a part of you, but not meant to torment you. If I have hurt you, I need your forgiveness. You may judge and pass on continual condemnation and that is your problem. I will grow from my mistakes. Those bound by the lack of forgiveness for others are not healed but are eaten by their own attitudes. I will keep on keeping on. I will take the lessons of forgiveness to heart, not the hurt. Ten years from now it will hardly matter, and few will remember it anyway.

The Study of God and Life