Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rejected by Men

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

                        Isaiah 53.3


My partner grew up in a religious tradition that demands total compliance with every rule to remain “in fellowship” with its community. Anyone not conforming to the letter of the law is called before a tribunal, confronted with his infractions, and given the chance to recant his misbehavior. If he resists, he’s officially “shunned,” making him persona non grata to the congregation. In Walt’s case, smoking did him in. (Though he knew he was gay, he hadn’t yet to come out to himself or anyone else.) After he refused to apologize to the local elders and toss out his Benson & Hedges, he ceased to exist to them. Occasions calling him home, like family deaths or illness, are compounded with suffering and sorrow, as once close relatives and friends pretend not to see or hear him. We know what’s coming before we get there, and we understand the narrow mindset that justifies their hostility. Yet neither expecting it nor explaining it exempts us from the pain of it—or, for that matter, excuses the warped behavior causing it.

While most cases are less extreme, we’re all familiar with suffering brought on by rejection. We all, at some point, face family members, authority figures, and/or peers who demand we compromise ourselves to remain in their company. We all enter situations where we distinctly aren’t welcome and, frankly, don’t want to be. Experiencing rejection of any kind—from a slight snub to a full-frontal shunning—is more than enough to leave us awestruck by what Jesus did. He voluntarily came all the way from heaven down, knowing He’d suffer spiteful exclusion, religious prejudice, and callous indifference. He realized unwillingness to conform to manmade standards would cost Him His life. He knew the same people thronging Him would despise Him to the point of pretending not to see Him. He was so sure of this He predicted it through the prophecies of Isaiah, 800 years before He came. Bottom line: He didn’t have to do it. But He did.

Without Honor

After witnessing Christ’s rejection first-hand, John wrote, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1.11) And let’s not think it affected Jesus any less than us. Matthew 13.53-58 paints a sad picture of how cruelly He was despised and rejected. Having established His ministry elsewhere, Jesus returns to Nazareth, where He amazes the crowd in the synagogue He grew up in. But their wonder quickly sours with resentment. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they ask. They can’t stomach His being so markedly different than they. He isn’t normal. He doesn’t think or talk or act like them and they find this extremely offensive. Instead of explaining Himself, Jesus makes a poignant comment: “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” Matthew ends the story on a sorrowful note: “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”

An Example to Live By

If Christ wouldn’t spare Himself the sorrows of rejection, it’s foolish to imagine we will. But before plunging into a deep funk, we should ask why He elected to suffer as He did. Certainly it was His to avoid humiliation and disrespect heaped on Him. Why didn’t He? He gave us an example to live by when we’re rejected. Our families, friends, and communities may resent us, taking offense at our not conforming to their beliefs, standards, and ways of life. They may turn on us because we’re not “normal” like them. They may pretend they don’t see us to escape recognizing who we are. They may stop hearing what we say because they can’t perceive where we acquired the wisdom and confidence in our words. This will hurt and frustrate us. In the final analysis, however, those who turn us away suffer greater losses. Lack of faith in us deprives them of many gifts we can offer—miracles of kindness, generosity, and understanding. They will never learn what we know. Our Creator accepts us as He made us to be. And we accept ourselves, knowing He created us as He did to fulfill His purpose.


In the final analysis, those who reject us suffer greater losses by depriving themselves of gifts we offer.

(Tomorrow: Joe the Carpenter)

Friday, December 5, 2008


We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.

                        Matthew 2.2

On the Lookout

My first professional aspiration was movie criticism. As a kid in the late 60’s, early 70’s, I grew up when—unlike today—lousy pictures were harder to find than great ones. During this time, I sent a gushing fan letter to the country’s finest film critic, who was legendarily gifted to peg fresh talent in its infancy. It started a 20-year correspondence and friendship, much of it spent in conversation about rising stars. “Stay on the lookout,” she told me. “The critic who sees possibilities is the one people read first.” I recently pulled out some of my letters to her with her handwritten responses crammed in their margins. One of them, from October 1991, mentioned I’d just seen Man in the Moon and was completely bowled over by its star, a 15-year-old actress named Reese Witherspoon. She circled the name and wrote, “She’s a keeper” beside it.

Reading Matthew’s account of the Magi always reminds me of my mentor. Like her, the Wise Men were uncannily observant and prescient about new signs on the horizon. They remained finely attuned to changes in their environment. Their combined knowledge and experience enabled them to recognize potential that others couldn’t see. If they saw something major occurring overhead, they didn’t look for confirmation from anyone else. They acted on their own intuitions with haste. A final comparison between my mentor and the Magi bears note. On detecting a significant star or development on the rise, her unbridled enthusiasm often shocked the critical establishment and film industry, both of which preferred to wait and see how the public would react first. The Wise Men were no different. When they identified the star announcing Christ’s birth, they hurried to find Him, and in the process, they rattled quite a few cages.

The Kindness of Strangers

Matthew gives us very little background about the Magi. Tradition assumes there were three of them based on their presenting the Christ Child with three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But the Gospel doesn’t specify a number—there might have been only two, or there could have been a dozen. Tradition also places them in the stable, alongside the shepherds. This directly contradicts Matthew, who tells us they arrived some time after Jesus was born and found Him in a house (Matthew 2.11), leading us to assume this was after Bethlehem’s overcrowding subsided to allow Joseph to find better lodgings for his wife and her Son. Lastly, we don’t know their professional disciplines. Some theorize they were astronomers or amateur stargazers. Others believe they were philosophers or mystics. Still others suspect they were royal officials, given their easy access to King Herod’s court, where they first inquired about Jesus.

In the end, these details come to little more than passing curiosities. What’s important to remember is they were strangers with presumably nothing to gain from the King of the Jews. Yet outsider status didn’t keep them from seeking Him and their determination to worship Christ stirred up controversy. Paranoid about being dethroned, Herod convened religious and legal leaders to find out if the foreigners’ interpretation of prophecy was accurate. Learning it was, he lamely tried to exploit their confidence to undermine God’s plan and retain power. He approached them on the sly, saying, “When you find the Child, tell me where He is so I can worship Him also.” Didn’t he realize they were Wise Men? They immediately saw his murderous intentions. Matthew says they went on their way, unfazed and undeterred by the king’s deceitfulness. When they found Jesus, they approached Him with kindness, offering Him their best and bowing before Him in humility. Then, before they left, Matthew reports, “Having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”

Signs of Changing Times

The Magi’s story holds notable meaning for all believers. But it’s particularly resonant for GLBT and other outcast believers, and it’s particularly relevant in an Advent season coming so soon after the campaign to deny same-sex marriages. The crafty schemes of political and religious leaders have tried to alienate us further from Christ and His church. They sincerely believe we have nothing to gain by seeking and worshiping the Savior. Their paranoia about losing their power has goaded them into deceitful activities. Yet, like the Magi, we must stay wise to their traps, considering them negative reactions to positive signs of changing times. A new star is on the rise. We’re not swayed by the machinations of kings or the opinions of priests and lawyers. We’re stargazers. We follow Christ’s light. It leads us directly to His house. We enter with kindness and humility, offering Him the best we have. And when we leave, we go by another route, avoiding controversy designed to undermine God’s plan. Christ is our Savior, our Lord, and our King. We’ve seen His star and come to worship Him.


Controversy follows those who follow the Star--but if we're wise, we'll remain unfazed and undeterred as we seek Christ and worship Him.

(Tomorrow: Rejected by Men)

Postscript: The Straight-Friendly Christmas Album

Straight-Friendly is handsomely blessed with a widely diverse, eclectic, and lively group of readers. I’m sure each of us has one or two favorite holiday recordings we’d like others to hear. Some may be standards—after all, you can’t beat the likes of Bing and Mahalia when it comes to Christmas singing. But I’m also guessing we’ve got a few favorites that aren’t likely to surface on a Starbucks CD or the Gap’s playlist—a baroque canticle, say, or a reggae cover of a familiar melody. So here’s the plan.

Between now and next Wednesday (12/10), leave a comment with a couple of your favorite holiday songs or recordings (song and artist). If we come up with 10 or more between us (and I truly hope we will), I’ll compile them into an “album” and post a link where it can be downloaded. What we’ll have is a marvelous holiday snapshot of all of us to enjoy during this most sacred, festive time of year! To start, I’ll toss out my two favorites: Whitney Houston’s “Joy to the World” and Holly Cole’s “Wildwood Carol.” Now it’s your turn.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Waiting for New Strength

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.

                        Isaiah 40.31 


“Anticipation is making me wait; it’s keeping me waiting,” Carly Simon sang so splendidly in her 70’s classic. And as the anonymous sage said, “Anything worth having is worth waiting for.” But it's easy to wait for something we desire. Waiting for what we need is another thing entirely—definitely not anything to sing about. When we anticipate needs, we provide for them in advance so we won’t have to wait. It’s only when unanticipated needs arise that we’re plunged into the waiting game. These are times when anticipation turns into its ugly alternative, anxiety. Once anxiety rears its head, fear and doubt soon follow.

After lavishing Israel with extraordinary promises of its coming Redeemer, Isaiah wisely intuits the big question on everyone’s mind: When will He get here? Given the perpetually repeated pattern of invasion, occupation, destruction, and rebuilding before the next enemy attack, Israel’s concept of a Messiah has long ago morphed from heartfelt desire into desperate need. Still, Isaiah doesn’t know exactly when the Savior will appear. So he changes the subject from a promise with an undetermined delivery date to a matter of urgent importance.

Immediate Needs

Like Israel, we frequently fix our sights so far into the future we overlook immediate needs that threaten our perseverance and patience as we wait for the big prize—finding a life partner, financial security, social and family acceptance, equal rights, etc. We grow weak and weary and disgruntled, focusing on signals that discourage us from holding fast to God’s promise He’ll come through in the end. Until then, we’re in dire need of new strength and tenacity. If we lose heart and let go, the “big things” God wants to do for us will never come about.

Isaiah preempts Israel’s question about how long it must wait on God by questioning how well it knows God. In verses 28-29, he asks, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Though our faith falters and our stamina fails, God continues to move, full speed ahead. His reasons and methods are beyond our comprehension. In the meantime, He meets our immediate needs for new strength and power.


Solomon observed, “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9.11) In other words, a lot of uncontrollable factors come into play as we wait for big things. The question isn’t when will they come to us. It’s when will we get to them. Endurance is what’s most crucial here. Jesus said, “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10.22) And, in verse 30, Isaiah points out not everyone who seems likely to go the distance makes it: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall.” But, he says, they that wait on God will receive new strength. They’ll soar like eagles. They’ll run without getting tired. They’ll walk without feeling faint. God’s great promises require great endurance. When our resolve starts to weaken, waiting for new strength becomes the short-term solution to guarantee long-term results.

It's not when great things will come to us--it's when will we get to them. To shore up our endurance, God meets our short-term needs for new strength.

(Tomorrow: Stargazers) 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rugged Places

Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.

                        Isaiah 40.4

Prepare the Way

This mighty promise comprises the first pivot in Isaiah 40, which has no challengers as the Bible’s most magnificent chapter of Messianic prophecies. It begins ever so softly, with God instructing Isaiah to “comfort my people” (v1) and “speak tenderly to Jerusalem” (v2) that her days of struggle are over and her sins are twice forgiven. In the next verse, it presages the message of John the Baptist, the desert evangelist who planted the early seeds of Jesus’s ministry by proclaiming, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” (Matthew 3.3) Then, once the path is cleared and Christ comes on the scene, the landscape of our lives radically shifts. Depressions lift. Obstacles crumble. Uneven turf smoothes out. Inaccessible areas open up. But all of this is predicated on one thing: how well we prepare the way.

David strikes a similar note of preparedness in Psalm 24.7: “Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” All these metaphors—straight paths, lifted gates and doors! But what are Isaiah and David actually telling us to do? Just above David’s exaltation, in verse 4, we find a succinct description of what a fully prepared believer looks like. “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear falsely.” If we earnestly desire Christ to alter the uncertain, unconquerable terrain in our lives, we place top priority on maintaining integrity of our actions, motives, desires, and words. When we straighten out our behavior to give Him easy access to our lives, He makes our lives easier to manage.

Ups and Downs

It’s not without reason that artists of every culture and age have portrayed life as a relentless trek over mountains and through valleys. Pragmatically and emotionally, human existence is marked by ups and downs. We’re repeatedly faced with new conquests, each more intimidating and demanding than those before. In some cases, scaling their unprecedented heights brings the rewards we seek. But just as often, these challenges are merely mountains that must be climbed to reach other, higher, and more rewarding pinnacles. And between these peaks lay deep, narrow, and equally treacherous valleys.

We have no control over the rise and fall of the ground we travel, which is why we’re constantly tempted to call off the climb when conditions grow too arduous. Or why we sink into depression and malaise when the valleys prove deeper and darker than they appeared from the mountaintop. If we’ve been vigilant about preparing the way for the Lord, however, we counter these natural responses to stress and fatigue with an unnatural, faith-based expectation that He will enter our situation. We believe insurmountable mountains will fall. We know that bottomless valleys will rise. We press forward in anticipation of the moment when He moves and shakes the landscape for our benefit. And when He does, we’re all the more ready to go on to greater things.

Step by Step

“If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm,” Psalm 37.23 says. This promise should remain top of mind in our day-to-day walk through life. Sometimes it’s easier to view and accept the epic aspects of our journey—the mountains and valleys—than it is to stay sure-footed when crossing uneven, momentarily unpredictable territory or negotiating tight crags that tear at our emotions and spiritual commitment. We stumble over temptations where what’s best for us or most pleasing to God isn’t so clearly defined. When ground beneath us shifts without warning, we slip into old, unprofitable attitudes and behaviors. We turn a corner, expecting a wide open plain only to find we’re in a confusing maze of unanticipated barriers, unmerited criticism, and unresolved feelings.

These are rugged places. Perhaps they’re not as deadly as plummeting from the steep side of a mountain or languishing interminably in deep valleys. Yet they can cause serious injury that may lead to our destruction. These are times when we remember—regardless how it feels—God makes our steps firm. We have prepared the way for Him. He’s delighted in the path we’ve chosen to take. We continue on, step by step, and as we go, uneven ground levels out and tight spaces become an open plain. “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them,” God promises us in Isaiah 42.16. “I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” He does this for us because we prepare the way for Him.

We have no control over the rugged terrain we cross through life. Yet when we prepare the way for Christ to enter our circumstances, He alters the landscape.

(Tomorrow: Waiting for New Strength)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Who's Zooming Who?

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord.”

Luke 1.46 (New King James)

Big Praise

When we speak of magnifying the Lord, we ordinarily mean praising Him. In fact, most contemporary renderings of Mary’s song substitute “magnifies” with a “praise” synonym. But something gets lost in translation by downgrading Mary’s adulation to common praise. Her song comes at the biggest moment of her life—indeed, the biggest moment in human history. It demands big praise.

Having just learned she will give birth to God’s Son, Mary visits her cousin, Elizabeth, who prophetically confirms the angel’s news. The Bible leaves Mary’s age unnoted, but let’s assume she was a teenager, given the customs of her day. The awesome responsibility she faced would cause anyone twice her years to faint with fear. Not Mary—she breaks into song! “God has never felt greater, His favor never more real, and His power never so evident in my life.” Her soul rises in faith and magnifies the Lord.


As we listen to Mary, we see God in His fullest glory as our Creator, Redeemer, and Champion. His work in her reveals His potential in us. Unique though Mary’s situation was, we are like her in this respect: our souls are God’s windows. It’s through them that others observe Who He is and what He does. How He’s seen, though, depends on us. Our ability—and willingness—to magnify Him directly affects His portrayal in our lives.

The soul is a mysterious thing. It exists without a trace of physical evidence. We know it’s there because Genesis says God breathed into us and we became “living souls.” They’re His expressive presence in us and to the world. Jesus told us to love God with all of our heart, mind, and soul. We might think of this as three rooms in one house. Motives reside in the heart. Thoughts occupy the mind. Emotions live in the soul. Motives and thoughts reveal us. But the faith revealed in our emotions decides the size and clarity of the God we display.

The Size Issue

Risking metaphorical overkill, emotions work like a zoom control. The happier we are to trust God, the bigger, clearer He looks. If despair and uncertainty color our feelings, we enlarge ourselves; He grows smaller, dimmer. The size issue comes down to who’s zooming who? “He must be greater; I must be less,” Jesus said, echoing Job: “Remember, you magnify His work for men to see.” Finally, David found that when emotional transparency enlarges God’s presence, the results are too wonderful not be shared. “Magnify the Lord with me!” he wrote. It’s an offer we can’t refuse.

Originally posted September 10, 2008.

My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord (Barbara L. Desrosiers: 2000)

(Tomorrow: Rugged Places)

Postscript: Delays

Flight delays and missed connections have Walt and me stuck overnight in Madrid--not a bad place to be by any stretch of the imagination, but not where I need to be to deliver tomorrow's post in a timely fashion. Barring any other unforeseen challenges, I hope to get things back on schedule no later than 8 PM CST tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's the Scripture the post will focus on. Isaiah 40.4: Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, and the rugged places a plain.

If it inspires any thoughts, by all means, share them here. (I've been praying to find a way to draw on the wisdom and inspiration of all of us in developing specific posts--what's been such a hassle today could very well be a veiled answer to that prayer!)

Monday, December 1, 2008


Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

                        Luke 1.45 (KJV)


Of all the coming-out scenarios I know—meaning any significant life turn based on self-disclosure—one has yet to rival Mary’s story. Here is a lovely, small-town girl engaged to a modest tradesman, probably expecting no more from her future than an ordinary life as a wife and mother. Then—WHAM!—an angel appears. In about 10 minutes’ time, Mary learns things about herself she never imagined. For starters, she’ll soon become pregnant. That knocks her into a tailspin and each new bombshell compounds her problems.

We think accepting our sexuality and asking family and friends to do likewise is scary? After thinking of Mary, let’s think again. At least we gradually discover over time who we are. Mary’s news hit her like a ton of bricks. It was her job to deal with it—its physical and emotional challenges, explaining it to Joseph and her family, inevitable shame in her neighborhood, and worst of all, comprehending the whole thing. If ever someone was entitled to ask, “What have I done to deserve this?” it was Mary. But listen to her response: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1.38)

Scene Changes

Each of us understandably likes to view his/her life as its own unique drama. We see ourselves in lead roles we were born to play. And this is so. But our story also intersects with the spectacle of creation, in which we’re one in a cast of billions. Now, we’re supporting characters created and called to avail our talent to ensure God’s glory is revealed through us. This is precisely how Mary saw it. With stunning perception, she saw the scene had changed. Although His story suddenly overshadowed hers, she recognized God chose her for a reason. She set aside her expectations in life to serve His purpose.

A God Who Performs

Any time God asks us to step into His sphere, we’re apt to have second doubts. It’s hard to envision the full scope of His plan and feel comfortable about what we’re supposed to do. This apparently happened to Mary. Luke says she hurried off to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who also was pregnant. Mary barely got through the door before God’s Spirit spoke through Elizabeth, saying because she believed there would be a performance of all she’d been told.

My former pastor repeatedly cited this passage, reminding us we serve a God Who performs. When He says it, He means it—whatever “it” is. Yes, it is so, we say, knowing our story nestles inside a far greater one. Each of us plays a part. We all serve a purpose. And God performs.

Originally posted August 22, 2008.

The Annunciation (Henry Ossawa Tanner: 1898)

(Tomorrow: Who’s Zooming Who?)

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.

                        Isaiah 60.1

Running on Promises

Advent is the season of expectation when Christians anticipate the Nativity celebration. Expectancy is exciting. When we focus on a set event—Christmas, birthdays, vacations, and so on—the build-up significantly contributes to its overall joy and pleasure. What if everything worked this way, if all of our progress and struggles started here and ended there, if all of life’s phases came with advent calendars drawing closer to the Big Day? Our most grueling stretches would gain hope and stamina; even the long, dry patches would spring to life. We’d certainly be spared the anxieties that brought David to his knees, praying, “How long, O LORD, how long?” (Psalm 6.3), or Job’s listlessness: “All the days of my hard service I will wait for my release to come.” (Job 14.14)

Alas, few of life’s stages are calendar driven. Uncertainty of when they’ll end keeps us on edge about how and where they’ll end and what comes next. The calendar holds none of these answers, either. Yet knowing we’re closer to finding them helps tremendously. Without time’s push and pull, we lean on God’s promises for motivation and confidence. Searches for promises we need, however, should start at 2 Corinthians 1.20: “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” Running on promises is a three-part endeavor. God says, “I promise;” Jesus tells us, “He will;” and we say, “He did!”

Glory’s Rising

Without question, Israel ran (and still runs) on promises more than any nation in history. One would think after calling it His chosen people, God could have been more forthcoming about His timetable for Israel. In some cases, He was. But just as often, He simply vowed to do something great so Israel could recognize it as His handiwork. This is especially true of Isaiah’s prophecies, which teem with undated spectacular Messianic promises. What’s so interesting about this is that Isaiah served Israel during a very shaky era, when definitive endpoints would have been greatly appreciated. Through crisis after crisis, God keeps promising to send a saviorand urges Israel to be ready when he appears. But He doesn’t say when. Often He underscores the urgency by shifting tenses from future to present: “Arise, shine,” He says in Isaiah 60.1, “for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” Although Israel sees nothing but endless dark days ahead, God says, “Get up! It’s happening. Glory’s rising all around you!” He asks Israel to apply advent mentality to an indefinite time frame. What God’s doing now will prove so extraordinary when He’s finished, the anticipation and excitement building up to it shouldn’t be missed.

Something’s Happening

It need not be said that running on promises involves faith. Active faith and passive faith, however, work differently and generate different benefits. It’s less about choice than it is about emphasis, because they operate best hand-in-hand. Active faith knows something’s happening, while passive faith trusts it will. As we move through open-ended periods, we need both. We toggle between them according to our immediate circumstances and capacity to believe. When we’re stronger, more assured, we activate faith. Paul describes Abraham’s faith as active, saying he believed in a God Who “calls things that are not as though they were.” (Romans 4.17) Knowing by faith God saw what was happening allowed Abraham to see it happening, too. But active faith takes a lot out of us and when we haven’t the clarity and stamina to know, we fall back on trust. We take a break, like David in Psalm 57.1: “I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” If active or passive, faith supports advent mentality. Something’s happening now and we build expectancy for the moment it comes. God is speaking to our situation as though it’s resolved. The disaster is passing.

Advent causes our hearts to glow with hope and belief. Yet beyond the warm-and-fuzzies we relish, it provides a unique chance to rehearse thoughts and impulses for use in unspecified periods. It teaches us to pull our mindset from the doldrums of waiting and reposition it in expectancy. After Paul writes of his sufferings to Timothy, he shifts into a triumphant advent declaration: “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” (2 Timothy 1.12) Journeys across badlands will go much smoother and quicker if we learn to say with assurance, “Arise, shine! God’s glory is rising on us. Something’s happening!”

Arise, shine--God's glory is rising on you. Something's happening!

(Tomorrow: Performance)

Personal Postscript: Re-Runs

I’m out of the country until midweek, and rather than fall behind due to time constraints, I’ll rerun previously published posts tomorrow and Tuesday. While some of you have read them, they’ll be new to others. I believe both bear revisiting during this time of year. I apologize for this—it’s a first for Straight-Friendly—but I trust you’ll understand. And I hope you’ll enjoy and profit from them, whether it’s the first you’ve seen of them or your second time around. 

When you pray, please remember to ask God’s protection for Walt and me as we travel. See you on Wednesday!