Curtis Peter van Gorder is a writer and pantomime artist and facilitator, living in Germany. See Elixir Mime website.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?”