Knit Together

flower close up yellow and purple“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV).

I can’t say that I’ve ever knit anything, but I can appreciate the artistry and handiwork of the person who has. Knitting requires a great deal of physical dexterity and the use of fine motor skills. It is an intentional act, one that involves persistence and care. Knitting is intimate in nature. It takes time, creativity, and unparalleled patience. This is how King David chose to describe the work of God in creating every human being.

Think about it for a moment. The God who speckled the nighttime sky with shining stars and spinning planets, created the dimpled cheeks and freckled faces of human beings. The same God who painted rainbows and sunsets, who colored the wings of butterflies, chose the pigmentation of our skin. The very God who spoke and creation was complete is the God who breathed life into our still bodies.

So, what if we really believed these words of Scripture? Would we call people ugly if we knew that they were created in God’s very image? If we truly understood that God created each person’s inner being, would we look there first to see what really matters? Would we see the value of all life if we really accepted the notion that God knit each of us together in our mother’s womb? Would there be such devaluing of human life, such hate and disdain of entire races of people, such pettiness on the part of humans? What if we truly believed that each person is fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves them?

We may never perfectly grasp God’s intimate work in the creation of mankind. Maybe we’ll continue to hate and dismiss, belittle and hurt one another. Still the very hands that held each of us as they formed and molded and knit us together are the same hands that stretched out on a cross to redeem us from our sin and from ourselves. We are fearfully and wonderfully made and so are all the people on Earth. Let’s live it out.


forest, leaves, sun

“I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:10-11, NIV).

As I think about this Psalm, I can’t help but recall my past. There was a time in my life when the commands of God terrified me. I viewed God’s law as a complicated list of dos and don’ts, should haves and could haves. I overlooked the spirit of God’s law (its actual purpose) while binding myself to the letter of the law, of which I attempted to dot every “i” and cross every “t”. I was like the Pharisees of the Bible, adhering to every detailed point. And while I’d like to say that I succeeded at my strict obedience and piety, mostly I just felt more and more lost, an enemy of a God who demanded a perfection of which I was simply incapable of attaining.

Things change with age, with perspective, and with God’s grace. Today, I see the wisdom in God’s commands. They give me direction in a world where it is so easy to become lost. God’s laws are an anchor that holds me steady as the winds and waves of life try to throw me around. They give me a glimpse of what I could become if I strived for God’s ultimate design and desire for my life.

Still, while I seek to live by God’s commands, I appreciate and rely on God’s grace even more. I understand that I could never earn God’s love or favor, and that Heaven isn’t a place for those of us who are good enough. I thank God every day for his mercy and kindness, Jesus’ cross and the empty tomb. Through them I am forgiven and free.

The Psalmist says, “I have hidden your word in my heart…” (Psalm 119:11, NIV), not because we shouldn’t share it, but because it is that special and central to who we are.


flowers yellow

“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3, NIV).

This passage of Scripture tells me so much about God.

The simple fact that God “…hears my voice…” (Psalm 5:3, NIV) astonishes me. There are so many things for God to give his attention to: the sounds of his creation, the rushing waters, the cries of a newborn baby, the thunder on a stormy spring day. Each of these demands that God listens to them. And God does hear each of these. But he also hears me.

God allows me to “…lay my requests before him…” (Psalm 5:3, NIV). I consider all the things God must manage. Still, he is interested in what I have to say, my concerns, my joys, and my desires. Nothing I bring is too insignificant, too trivial for him to hear. This is because he loves me passionately. He is the one who “…knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13, NIV). He is my Creator. He is my Father.

And so, with the Psalmist, I “…wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3, NIV). This is my worship, that I begin and end each day with a sense of expectancy. I know that God is with me, and that God is in favor of me, and that God is undoubtedly going to do amazing things for me and through me. Expectancy, quite honestly, is what gets me through the day.

He hears you as well. So, bring all that you are to him, simply wait, and expect.

Christ Crucified

crucifix and bible

“…I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2, NIV).

The foundational doctrine espoused by the Apostle Paul is “Christ crucified”. This is simply the idea that the most impactful moment in Jesus’ life occurred as he breathed his final breaths hanging from a Roman cross, where he secured our forgiveness of sins and freedom from their eternal consequences. Now, one might argue that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead served as Jesus’ crowning achievement, and certainly, the resurrection assures us that Jesus’ sacrifice was complete. But remember. The glory of Easter doesn’t occur without the gory scene of the cross.

Calvary is the scene of the most pivotal point in human history. God’s heart, while broken at the cross, was most clearly reflected there. We learn that Jesus “…was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities…”, that “…the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NIV). This all occurred, not because God loved Jesus any less, but because God loved us so much that he was willing to allow a part of himself to die, rather than to go on living without us. God understood that the only way to restore the sin-broken relationship separating us from him was through the agony of the cross.

Sometimes, we, as followers of Jesus, get hung up on doctrinal differences and divisions. We proudly sport our denominational labels and cloister ourselves from those whose beliefs are contrary to our own. We love our theologies more than our fellow brothers and sisters.

What if we, who call ourselves Christians, spent less time focusing on the ministry minutia of things that divide us and gave ever increasing attention to that which unites us? What if we focused less on debate with one another and more on reaching the lost and the lonely? What if we simply loved one another and served together? Could it be that there really is common ground among us? I think the answer to that is found in the message and mission of Christ crucified.

Into Your Hands

cross forsaken

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46, NIV).

It was Friday and Jesus was dead. Some who knew him best were witnesses to the final faint breaths of their friend. They were heartbroken and confused and left to ask, “What would happen now that Jesus was gone?”

Mary Magdalene was there. Jesus had saved her from a spiritual bout with seven demons, dark forces that tormented her mind, body, and soul. She had had other “demons” as well, many of them of her own making. But Jesus had rescued her. He had befriended her. And she had followed Jesus all the way to the cross. But now it was over. Jesus’ body hang motionless just feet from where she stood. Her tears mixed with the rain that had begun to fall. With this brutal crucifixion, hope for her was gone. Her future, once so bright, was now darkened, just like the skies above. Now, if her “demons” returned, there would be no rescue.

Mary, Jesus’ mother, was also there. Even the torturous device of the cross could not break the bond of mother and child. Jesus, his body bloodied and bruised, beaten and broken, was barely recognizable, even to her. With such cruel irony, an aging mother would have to bury her own son and live out her days in loneliness. Jesus’ friend, John would now take care of Mary, but life wouldn’t be the same without Jesus.

There were others who stood bewildered and afraid in the shadows of Jesus’ cross. Most of his friends, however, hid elsewhere in the shadows of the day. Peter, who had denied knowing Jesus, may have witnessed the crucifixion in private, but would not dare be recognized publicly. The other disciples were nowhere to be seen, fearing that they might be the next to be tortured and killed. Then there was Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus. His body hang from another tree. Sadly, he had taken his own life, unable to forgive himself for what he had done.

With Jesus’ death, all was lost. The disciples, in a best-case scenario, would live the remainder of their lives in relative obscurity. In the worst case, they would live their lives in hiding, never knowing when they might be the next to be captured and killed. Not that it mattered, for there was nothing worth living for. Hope had died along with Jesus.

But then…

Then came Sunday…


cross at cemetery“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30, NIV).

Have you ever noticed the difficulty in finishing something… anything? Personally I can be a bit of a perfectionist, which means that if I can’t do something right, I’d rather not do it at all. This way of thinking often derails my best intentions to finish what I begin.

My issues with perfectionism first became evident during my childhood. I vividly remember working in my coloring book, stressing over my inability to stay within the lines of the figures on the page. Even as an adult, I tend to “color within the lines” of life. It’s unnatural for me to press against the boundaries, to ignore the clearly defined borders. And scribbling is most definitely out of the question!

Still, it’s important to remember that Jesus was not a perfectionist. He was, however, perfection. Jesus lived a life that knew no sin. And, although he rebelled against the laws of men, he never fell short in keeping God’s righteous commands. Jesus was perfection. And, at the same time, he was transgression. Clinging to a cross, he became “…sin for us…” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV) in order to take all sin to the grave. Jesus’ life and death freed us to live lives that are un-bordered by legality and the rigid constraints of the Law. And, while this is not an anything-goes type of freedom, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross did assure us that our sin is covered by his grace.

I used to think that Jesus’ words from the cross “…‘It is finished’… ” (John 19:30, NIV) referred to Jesus’ dying body, an admission of defeat. Now, however, I understand that “…‘It is finished’… ” (John 19:30, NIV) means that everything that needed to be accomplished for our forgiveness was taken care of at the cross, and that these words are a declaration of victory on the part of Jesus.

…‘It is finished’… ” (John 19:30, NIV). The work of Jesus is done. But our work is not. What better time to share this gospel (“good news”) message with others.

Finished – A Children’s Story

nails and hammerThis is a children’s story, but it has no pictures, so most kids probably wouldn’t give it much attention.

This story is totally fictional, although it could have happened. It is not necessarily true, but it contains great truth.

Here’s the story…

There once was a man named Joseph who lived many years ago.

Joseph was a good man, a humble man. He loved God, and he loved his family. He did what he could to take care of them.

Joseph was a carpenter. He was very good at his craft. Joseph made tables and chairs and benches and desks.

Joseph was paid for his work. Mostly he was paid with money. One time, however, he was paid with a goat and two chickens. How do you think Joseph’s wife, Mary felt having a goat and two chickens in her house?

Joseph had a son named Jesus. Jesus loved God. Jesus also loved his family.

Even though Jesus was very young, he liked to help Joseph with his many projects. One day while Joseph was constructing a table, he observed Jesus a few feet away building something also.

In the dust were two boards that Jesus had crossed over one another. In his hands Jesus held a few small nails. Jesus was too little to lift the hammer, so Joseph drove the nails for him. When the nails were all in place, Joseph asked Jesus, “Now, what do you have to say for yourself?”

Jesus smiled proudly and confidently stated, “It is finished.”

“Let’s go home then,” Joseph replied. “Our work here is done.”

Later that night, Joseph thought about Jesus’ words from earlier in the day. “It is finished,” he said to himself. I wonder what Jesus meant by that? But it was late, and Jesus was already asleep.