Marie Alvero is a former missionary to Africa and Mexico. She currently lives a happy, busy life with her husband and children in Central Texas, USA.
I was standing in the checkout line at one of our local stores and noticed the lady ahead of me was wearing a brightly colored T-shirt with a Bible verse on it. Then when she thanked the cashier, she said, “Dear, I hope you know Jesus loves you!”
Every year, at Christmastime, my husband has to endure my private tradition of watching Love, Actually.1 The movie weaves together several stories in an entirely predictable, mushy way. But each time I watch it I am touched by a different part of the story. I try to get my husband excited about this, but he is not having it! I know this makes me a bit sappy, but I just don’t get how someone can’t be drawn in by this display of love, tenderness and warmth.
Today I get the privilege of hosting five families for dinner. We’ve known each other for the better part of our lives, and tonight we’ll all come together in joyful community. I look forward to these kinds of evenings relaxing with friends and family. This is where my true wealth lies!
Maybe Peter thought he was going to stump Jesus when he asked the question “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?” He wanted a number, some quantification of when enough was enough and forgiveness was spent. Peter throws out a number, “Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus responds, “but seventy times seven!”1
When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount,1 one of the most quoted orations of all time, He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
So what is a peacemaker? A peacemaker is someone who comes into a situation that is stressful, angry, or disturbed and creates peace. This is hard and requires courage.
For most of my life I’ve described my faith as a “Jesus-loves-me-this-I-know” type of faith. Jesus said He loved me. The Bible tells me so. I didn’t have a lot of questions. And when I did I was usually satisfied with answers like “only God knows” or “you just have to take this one by faith.” In other words, logic may not apply here, but believe anyway. I was surprisingly okay with this.
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?”1
I love this prayer because it expresses a need for God on a primal level, like a deer searching for water. Thirst is an involuntary reaction, and a need that requires fulfillment.
A few months ago, on a muggy Saturday, our family made the much-anticipated trip to a big theme park. Our teenagers, undaunted by hot sun and crowds, were looking forward to a day adventuring on roller coasters and other adrenaline-surging rides, so as soon as we entered the park, we headed straight for the biggest, loopiest roller coaster of all.
Here’s a great verse: “The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy.”1
I have years of Bible study and learning under my belt, but I’m not sure I’ve heard this verse before. At least, its meaning has always slipped past me.
As the Hallmark movie channel announced 40 new Christmas movies for their 2019 schedule, it occurred to me that few events get the expectation and hype that Christmas does. Christmas has come to represent the culmination of the year in an extended season of beauty, feasting, generosity, friendship, and joy. We plan for traditions to be repeated, bringing all the perfection of Christmases past into today’s edition.