I can’t picture the Holy Spirit. I want to, but I just can’t. Now Jesus is different — I can see Him in my imagination: a Middle Eastern man with black hair, a beard, and smile wrinkles on His face (there are probably scars on His face too).
I have this one childhood memory that used to haunt me. When I was in first grade, a careless adult did a great deal of damage with very little effort and it seemed like the hurt from that incident couldn’t be undone.
One day last year, I was in a little convenience store in downtown D.C., where I quickly grabbed a drink and headed to the cash register. Three ladies were working, and when I looked at the youngest of the three (in the center of the photo) a simple phrase came into my head and seemed like it was just for her: Don’t settle for less.
A massive evangelistic event was afoot in Washington, D.C. There was all-day activity, preaching, and Christian contemporary music. And there were Christians, lots of Christians. I stepped onto the Metro one night after work, and I soon realized some of the attendees of the event were on the train. In addition to looking like fanny-pack tourists, they were wearing Christian-themed t-shirts. Two middle-aged women in the group were quietly talking about their strategy for sharing their faith with strangers on the train….
My wife is seven months pregnant, and we’re getting into that phase of pregnancy where something as simple as moving around can be challenging for her. I have no idea what she’s going through, and this pregnancy is showing me that I’m similarly incapable of understanding God’s work in saving us.
Here’s a tough memory verse for all of us social media users: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26). “Worthless.” Whoa.
Whenever I’m anxious, I often feel paralyzed and unable to pray. In those moments, I remember two elderly women who taught me a simple way to connect with God.
I used to work in an office that had layers upon layers of dysfunctional relationships, and the only effective way to avoid the drama was to go work somewhere else. Almost everyone eventually did leave; but while they were there, they had to put up with being in a place where once-reasonable adults openly hurled insults, undermined each others work, and maliciously spread gossip. It was traumatizing for a lot of the folks who survived it.
When I was in my 20s, I intensely struggled with a sense of unworthiness before God; yet at the same time, I felt like I was just good enough to deserve His love because I was so well-behaved. It was a stressful way to live, and eventually, it took its toll.
The other day, my three-year-old daughter was holding her baby doll and shushing it, using the same little rhythm over and over again. I didn’t notice it at first, but then it hit me – it was the tune of “Jingle Bells.” No way, I thought.
The other day, I was swimming with my daughters at the indoor community pool when a woman with a little baby swam closeby. My daughter Renee said hello to the baby, so I asked, “How old is he?” “It’s actually a girl,” said the woman, “and she’s seven months.”
I’ve spent three years of my legal career as a criminal prosecutor, a job that usually has one goal when it comes to wrongdoers: conviction. Once the defendant has pleaded guilty or has been found guilty by a jury, it’s all over. He has been convicted, and the only thing left to do is sentence him.
Although my three-year-old daughter, Renee, is improving, for the better part of her life, she has antagonized her four-year-old sister, Daniela, quite a lot. She will do things like walk up to her sister and gratuitously punch her or sneak up and pull a pillow out from under her sister’s head just for fun.
This past weekend, my wife had to be away for two days, which meant I was in charge of managing Daddy Daycare for a three and four-year-old. I figured that two days might be a challenge, but I was up for it. I was not.
The other night, I was on my way out the door to go to a church men’s group, and I told my wife I didn’t know how to get there. She gave me directions to the house, which was located in another part of D.C. I repeated the directions back to her, and then I got in the car and drove away. But then one block later, I realized I didn’t have my cell phone with me.