Curtis Peter van Gorder is a writer and pantomime artist and facilitator, living in Germany. See Elixir Mime website.
While visiting my dad for his 85th birthday, we watched some of our old family movies. It was funny to see my brother as a one-year-old, crawling around, playing with the puppies, and eating from the dog’s food dish. To think that this cute little baby would grow up to be a distinguished college professor and international lecturer! It got me thinking about how God makes special people out of nobodies. We come into this world naked and helpless, and God transforms us into the unique people we each are through our experiences and choices.
When we put our faith into practice, we cross over from being nominal believers to being instruments of God’s love. A friend of mine, Jamal, who is a pharmacist, told me about one of his recent “crossing over” experiences. It went like this.
One day a young man handed Jamal his prescription to treat insomnia. Jamal looked over the list of medicines and was shocked. “Are you sure you want to take all of these medicines?” he asked.
As a young man, Francis of Assisi loved material things, especially beautiful clothes from the shop of his wealthy merchant father. One biographer describes the handsome, young, fun-loving Francis as “the very king of frolic.” That changed at the age of about 20, after he went to fight in a skirmish with a rival city. He was taken prisoner, held for over a year, and came home very weak from a serious illness.
Have you ever been to a party where everyone fished questions out of a hat? I have been to a few, and twice the question I drew was: “Tell about one of the most humbling experiences you’ve ever had”. The first time, I panicked and my mind went blank. The second time, I could think of quite a few but none that I dared tell.
Praise is when we tell God in thought or word or song how much we love and appreciate Him.We can also praise Him with motions, like lifting our hands heavenward.
But have you ever wondered what the purpose of praising God is? Why does the all-powerful God even want or need our praises? Does He even appreciate them? I’m convinced that He does, based on the simple truth that we are made in God’s own image (Genesis 1:27). We love to be appreciated, and since God patterned us after Himself, certainly He must enjoy our thanks and appreciation just as much, don’t you think?
Have you ever wondered why bad things happen to you and others for no apparent reason? In asking that question you are in good company. Many times King David of Bible fame asked God the same question, as recorded in the book of Psalms. “My God, why are You so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Psalm 22:1 NIV).
In this Psalm, David was so discouraged he said he was no better than a worm (verse 6). Maybe he even felt so low, as the saying goes, that he would have to reach up to scratch a worm’s ankle.
Mothers give so much. Their entire lives are a gift of love to their families. We journey far from our beginnings, and then something tugs at our heartstrings and draws us home to rediscover who we are and where we came from.
I sat down with my mother a few months before she passed away and asked her some questions about her life. If you haven’t ever done that, I suggest you do. It’s sure to help you appreciate your mother even more.
Colored eggs and rabbits are perhaps the most popular symbols of Easter, but we need look no further than the Easter story itself to find some more meaningful ones—and each has a story to tell.
It was only a couple of hours from Jerusalem, but with our late start Matthias and I would be pressed to make it home before dark. We were trying to put some distance between us and the terrible events of the last few days, but they were too much a part of us.
“I wonder if He really was the Messiah,” I said. “Surely the Messiah wouldn’t have been executed like a common criminal.”
“Cleopas, how could the Messiah have let Himself be killed at all?”