Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Way We Were

Back when Lis and I were first married, we used to spend time together doing this:

Click to Mix and Solve
[click on the picture to work the puzzle yourself. Go ahead take a trip down Memory Lane.]

Broke and in love, enjoying life's simpler pleasures -- that's the way we were.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Parting Thoughts

Last week I officiated at two funeral/memorial services for the same family. The first was for a ninety-year-old man and the second for a twenty-eight-year-old woman. Here are some words of comfort from those gatherings.

Gathering One:

The family requested Psalm 121 be read. This makes preaching simpler for me. I have always believed the text will tell you what to say. The greatest challenge is picking the text. Especially in this very emotional time. The initial question and central concern of Psalm 121 is "Where does my help come from?"

My Help Comes from the LORD...
Even when he is not found in the usual places.
Psalm 121 is among the Songs of Ascents. These were sung by pilgrims on their way to worship at the Temple. The Temple sat upon the top of Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. This traveling hymn must have been inspired by the view from the bottom of the Temple Mount. There are times when God might not be found in the usual "old, familiar" places. But He will still come to your aid. Sometimes we need His help just to make it to the place of aide.

My Help Comes from the LORD...
He is bigger than the hill.
The LORD is the Maker of heaven and earth. There is nothing in the created order that can overpower or stymie God. We may be overwhelmed by life and its challenges, but God is more than enough for the challenge. He is the source of our help -- in everything.

My Help Comes from the LORD...
He is committed to His people.
The name for God in these verse is LORD.This is His personal, covenant-name. This is the name He employes when He obligates Himself to someone in promised, personal relationships. God is more than an idea, He is a person who has committed Himself to you and invites you to know Him personally.

My Help Comes from the LORD...
He allows hurts but prevents harm.
Multiple times Psalm 121 promises that God will "keep you from harm." Life is full of hurts, sadness and disappointments. But the LORD shields His people from the full effect of these so that no lasting harm comes. Moments like these need not set a course for self-destruction. God will bind up the broken-hearted and heal the hurts so that life might go on.

My Help Comes from the LORD...
He watches over your coming and going.
The LORD is the Lord of Life. He is at the beginning, loving forming the new life. He is at the end, gently receiving the spirit which He gave. We can find God's help because even here, in the hour and article of death, He is Lord. And he has conquered Death, Hades and the Grave to bring us full and final victory.