John 14: Our Heavenly Home

SHARON ROCKWELL|GUEST A favorite in my book collection is one that has no words at all. Artist John S. Goodall’s Above and Below Stairs is a series of water-colored paintings portraying the lives of the privileged in England from the Middle Ages to the early 1900’s. The book must be held horizontally. Each picture covers two full pages, separated by a half page which meshes into the original painting, but when turned, changes the scene from what was happening to the elite to what was happening to the servants and working people in the same time period. The “upstairs” may show a lovely formal banquet, but when covered with the half page, the picture changes to depict the cooks and servants working “below the stairs.” Things have not changed much over the years. There are still some people who are born into luxury. They may live in massive houses with never a financial worry other than how to spend their money. Then there are those who live in modest homes and who sweat and toil to put food on the table and pay the mortgage. Finally, there are people who seem to encounter one significant set-back after another to the point where they wonder how much more they can take. These we may find in a homeless shelter, wondering where their next meal will come from.

John 14: Our Heavenly Home2022-05-04T00:37:49+00:00

Call Me Bitter: From Recovery to Restoration

Editor's Note: The following is adapted from Elizabeth’s devotional, From Recovery to Restoration: 60 Meditations for Finding Peace & Hope in Crisis: Crisis and Recovery Rain pounds the windows and roof as I type. Tropical Storm Marco is making its way through the Gulf coast, so far wreaking only a minimum of havoc. Tropical Storm Laura follows fast, also threatening to flood homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, in California, the Lightning Siege wildfire rages, having torched some 1.5 million acres already. So much destruction, even as hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost to the coronavirus pandemic. While these current crises rage, many of us are facing personal crises, radically life-altering events: a bad diagnosis, a daughter’s divorce, a lifetime of injustice, a major surgery. The crises and recoveries we face can plunge us into a state of chaos and confusion, disorder and depression. Shalom has been shattered, equilibrium lost. Despair threatens hope. Strife assaults peace. What we yearn for is a return to normal, a way to regain what was lost in the crisis. A recovery. From Recovery to Restoration Although we may find our way to a new normal after a crisis, we may never fully regain what we lost in the shattering. And yet, there may be hope. In literature, crisis refers to a turning point in the story. What if our crisis presents a turning point in our story? What if our season in recovery leads us to unearth treasure even richer than what we lost?  Scripture suggests that God has something more for us in crisis and recovery. What if we could discover the genuine hope of final restoration in our recovery? What if we could discover… Restored trust in the God who allowed this suffering? Recognition of our profound need for a Savior who has rescued us from sin? Renewal of our hearts, souls, bodies, and minds, so that we may live and love like Jesus?...

Call Me Bitter: From Recovery to Restoration2022-05-05T00:10:32+00:00

God’s Promises for the Fearful {and we are all fearful}

In Seminary, my professor opened one of our counseling courses with this bold generalization: Everyone struggles with anxiety. “Everyone is anxious,” he explained, “Some of us just haven’t admitted it to ourselves yet.” I sat there vigorously taking notes, but determined to prove to him that he was wrong. Not everyone is anxious, that is far too broad of a claim. I could prove it to him, too, because I am not an anxious person. Sure, I struggle with anger, my words, jealousy, but I’m definitely not anxious. I don’t second guess myself in social settings. I don’t get a pit in my stomach with the thought of a confrontation. I don’t stay up at night worrying. I am not anxious! He then prompted us to reflect on times of fear in our life. I was flooded with memories. My first day at a new school. Camping on a mountain in the midst of an epic thunderstorm, crouching outside the tent to avoid getting struck by lightning. College applications, the possibility of rejection. The professor made the connection I had missed. Fear is anxiety. We are all anxious...

God’s Promises for the Fearful {and we are all fearful}2022-05-07T23:03:27+00:00
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