Saturday, March 26, 2011

God and Vending Machines

Reading the devotions in Augsburg Press' The Word in Season booklet (the January, February, March
in Glasgow 
2011 issue), I enjoyed the March 7 devotion by Katherine Olson, reflecting upon Psalm 78:18. She writes, "Imagine that you put correct change into a vending machine, pressed the button for the soda you wanted, and ended up getting another kind instead. 'Lousy machine!' you'd grumble."

She continues: "Do we have a temptation to treat our gracious Lord like a faulty vending machine when our prayers are not answered exactly the way we imagined? We might think that by praying a certain way, we are putting in correct change and pressing the right button. When we don't get what we are looking for, we assume the fault lies with God." Olson concludes that we can seek daily to trust God to know what we what we need.

I enjoyed this devotion partly because of a personal experience. During a weekend trip, I tried to get a diet cola from a motel vending machine. Watching calories, and mildly allergic to corn (and thus the corn syrup used in soft drinks), I stick with diet varieties. But on two attempts, mindful that I pushed the correct vending machine button, I got regular rather than diet colas. Three's a charm, I thought.... but I got a regular lemon-lime drink! "Damn machine," I shamefully grumbled. Giving up, I took the sodas home in case my daughter wanted them when she returned home from college.

I hesitate to use myself as a devotional example for anything, but when I read Olson's piece, I thought that my experience might be a good way to think about unanswered prayer. If we don't feel like God is answering our prayers quickly enough, if at all, we might ask: what positive thing can I do with this disappointment? Could someone else be helped by this experience? What positive things can I be doing with my life (including helping other people) amid this situation of unanswered or not-yet-answered prayer?

The answer to your prayer might be found in the things you do while waiting! This may not always be the case, but it's worth being open, flexible, and watchful. God answered some of my prayers in amazing serendipitous events that happened while I was waiting to see why God was taking so long to help me!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hurt Feelings and Lent

Lent is an introspective time aimed at repentance (turning ourselves around) and growing in closeness to God. Lent is thus a good time (among other times) to think about hurts and sadness that can arise whenever we are part of a congregation. Congregations can be easy places to get our feelings hurt. I'd guess this happens in congregations of different religions, but I know for sure it happens in churches. The following thoughts address comparatively small problems that can seem big, do not reflect any particular church or situation, and are not meant to be comprehensive.

It's easy to understand why we'd get our feelings hurt in church. We come there not only to worship but also to find support, friendship, and guidance. We also come to church to find opportunities to serve. But there is an emotional vulnerability to these things. If we need support (for instance, someone to call on us when we're sick or bereaved), we can feel disappointed, even betrayed if the support isn't forthcoming. People have stopped attending church when they didn't feel "missed" after a period of time.

In the case of service: we look forward to offering our talents to God through service. But if we're criticized, or if our talents are spurned in some way (or not needed), we potentially feel disappointed and unvalued. Again, we feel emotionally vulnerable because we stepped out--sometimes out of our comfort zones--in order to grow in our relationship with God, and thus we're prone to hurt feelings.

You may simply feel that a church was rude to you, the way a store or restaurant offers indifferent or peremptory service. Sometimes, you might just get a church staff person or a volunteer who is disorganized, has imperfect "people skills," is neglectful about returning phone calls, and so on. Churches are places of worship but they're still very human organizations that are welcoming and attentive, or have room to grow.

Congregations experience change and have "seasons." People we care about move away, and then the congregation seems lonely rather than fulfilling. Sometimes we feel sad in church because people we loved (including pastors and other staff) moved away, and we realize that, in certain respects, our spiritual well-being depended upon a certain pastor's preaching emphases, a musician's tastes in music, a youth leader's charisma, or just the special caring that you received from that previous person who has now moved on.

As a Facebook friend commented after I first posted this essay, one thing we can do is to focus on worship, to ways God may be speaking through the service, and generally to have the person and work of Christ at the forefront of our hearts and minds. Hurt feelings can be a way we focus on ourselves, however, valid though our feelings may be. So, as we refocus our hearts and minds concerning worship, we may start to see other aspects of congregational life with a different perspective.

I found a few internet sites that addresses the problem of hurt feelings: for instance,, which helpfully points out that "The pain caused by a church is a 'silent killer'", in the sense that these hurts dig deeply into one's soul and poison a person's heart. The author urges us to examine ourselves to see what really is causing the hurt: the behavior or incident on which we're focusing, or some other, earlier pain that is the true source of the hurt. The author notes suggests that we guard our hearts and attitudes (citing Proverbs 4:23), focus upon being humble and never vengeful (Prov. 3:34, James 4:6), and also focus upon being forgiving (Matt. 18:22, Mark 11:27, Rom. 12:19, Eph. 4:32, Col. 3:1: all these are the author's citations). Certainly we should rely upon God's love and power (Matt. 28:20, Eph. 3:16), as noted there.

Another site--which I read a while ago and, when I find it again, I'll post it here---quoted that remarkable story in John 5, where Jesus healed the paralyzed man. The story is remarkable in part because of Jesus' question, "Do you want to be made well?" (vs. 6), and his command, "Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you" (vs. 14). In the first case, the man's 38-year infirmity makes the question seem absurd, while the command of vs. 14 seems to minimize the man's decades-long suffering. But the point is: we can become so used to hurts--both psychological and physical--that we stop knowing how to function without them! We begin to surround our personal identity around that pain. If your pain has resulted from a hurt at church, it can keep you bitter, unforgiving, and separated from church fellowship for many years.

Still another site, (content by Dale A. Robbins) also has several ideas if you're unhappy at a certain congregation. One caveat I have with this author's list is the contention that worship and preaching styles are always "shallow, external things." After reading Corinne Ware's Discover Your Spiritual Type (Alban Institute, 1995), I think that a person can feel sad and disconnected at a church because of issues of style, not because they're shallow issues but because we all have different "learning styles" in our spirituality. Ware points out that people can feel unhappy for years in a congregation because they are "mismatched" spiritually. But understanding one's "spiritual type" does require self-honesty and self-examination, and those things are important for Robbins, too, in this article.

Hurt feelings aren't just a matter of one's personal introspection and Spirit-led growth, although those things go a very long way. I think our congregations have a responsibility to become places that respond compassionately to hurting people. For instance, church folk may scoff a bit at people's need for affirmation. We say, "He was too sensitive," or "She just needs to grow up!" or "He wants to serve because of his emotional needs rather than self-giving motives." But when we talk like that, we betray how much our congregations have accommodated themselves to cultural rather than biblical values. Instead, the Bible call us to accept one another and to build one another up (Eph. 4:11-16).

The apostle Paul actually takes the side of people whose faith are struggling with things we might consider irrelevant! 1 Corinthians 8 deals with the issue of eating food that had previously been offered to idols. Some Corinthians ate this food, available after the religious ceremonies; these Corinthians rightly argued that since the gods represented by idols don't exist, then there is no reason not to eat the food. But others had scruples about such things and were hurt in their faith when their friends ate this food. Paul comes down on the side of the hurt people! "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up," he writes there, "take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling-block to the weak... when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall."

Romans 14:1-4 is a good, related passage: "Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand."

Paul wants us to care for one another, no matter where we are in terms of emotional maturity, spiritual development, or whatever. Paul urges the Galatians to "Bear one another's burdens" (Gal. 6:2), even though we all must also "carry [our] own loads" (6:5). He writes earlier, "For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ If however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another" (Gal. 5:14-15).

I admit that Paul's vision can be very difficult to implement in a congregation: it takes a lot of love, transformation, patience, and leadership committed not just to specific ministries but also to growing the sense of love and mutuality in that congregation. Paul's vision in 1 Corinthians 8, in fact, makes me uncomfortable, because you can see how a person who is weak in faith could force people to accommodate his or her needs and thus never grow or confront his/her own faith-weaknesses. Paul does, however, call us not only to uphold those of us who are weak (or hurt because of some comparatively minor situation) but also to avoid quarreling and situations that would upset church fellowship.

We need to always remember that church people are human and imperfect. It's not just that "the church is full of hypocrites," as the saying goes. The church is full of people at different stages of spiritual and emotional maturity, and that will always be the case---and you're one of those people! Pastors and other staff members may be your leaders in a congregation, but they're flawed, have annoying habits, have areas of immaturity, misunderstand things, and fail---just like you. Also: if your feelings were hurt, remember that all church people are not only human, but they can't just "know" that you're upset. If someone has hurt your feelings try to address the situation constructively if you can, as the articles I mentioned earlier advise. If you think you must "church shop," do so prayerfully and without rancor. (Again, in all these non-comprehensive reflections, I'm talking about those conflicts and misunderstandings in churches that are more comparatively minor "in the big scheme of things"---e.g., people forgot to check on you when you were sick, or someone was cross with you, or you prefer communion in cups but the church switched to intinction, etc.---or that have to do with your pace of spiritual growth and your compatibility with a particular congregation. But "the little things" do become big problems, in our hearts or in churches or both.)

I think the cultivation of a sense of humor should be a requirement in discipleship programs and new member classes! There will always be shortsighted thinking, differences of opinion and practice, frustrations, and human foibles in congregations. You might as well accept that fact up front, with a smile,and above all remember that you and the rest of the "gang" are people whom God loves! But God wants our joy to be full (John 15:11).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lent as a Place

A few years ago I wrote a book, You Gave Me a Wide Place: Holy Places of Our Lives, published by Upper Room Books (2006). The following isn’t a plug for the book--maybe a little one--but a paraphrase of some material in chapters 1 and 4 and also new thoughts that have to do with Lent. I was thinking about Lent, and also the theme of “place,“ which is one of my favorite subjects. I wondered: Lent is a period of time, but can you think of Lent as a place?

We can connect the temporal season of Lent to particular places in our lives, and also we can think metaphorically about the place of Lent.

One place is the wilderness. As I wrote in my little book, we tend to have a positive feeling about natural wilderness in our own time, more so than the Bible in which wilderness is either neutral or threatening: for instance, the different kinds of geographical regions, or specially the area of the Dead Sea, or the Sinai region that was the scene of the Israelite wondering.

“Wilderness” is an apt spiritual metaphor. In Exodus 15-17, for instance, the Israelites moved among dry places where no drinkable water was available, and they grumbled with sufficient seriousness that Moses sought God’s help. Many of us can think of times when we felt discouraged and tested; we couldn’t see the nature of God’s provision and wondered what was going on. Perhaps other people had let us down; perhaps we messed up our own lives; perhaps life was filled with stress through no one’s particular fault. Anxiety, distress, “what if” thoughts, difficult periods of waiting, and other things fill wilderness times. In turn, we associate particular places in our lives with feeling lost and discouraged. What are the places of your own life that you connect with "wilderness" and an apparent lack of fulfillment of God’s promises?

Waiting on God is actually a positive thing, though it may not feel very positive! Read scriptures like Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 25:5, and Psalm 33:20-21. But even Bible people struggle with a sense of God’s absence, for instance, the author of Psalm 42 and 43 which expresses emptiness and disappointment. The psalmist wants God, wants to be with God, and knows that he will eventually praise God again, but for now, God seems missing. I love this psalm because here, in God’s Word, are words about a person who is having a faith crisis! The psalm’s sick bed is, because of its immobility, also a place of “wandering” amid a feeling of God’s absence. What are some of your places of waiting on God?

Along those same lines, another place of Lent is the familiar place that has been changed in such a way that our comfort is disrupted. As I wrote in my little book, the telephone or the mailbox are innocuous places--until we are waiting on news of, for instance, medical results, or the safety of a loved one. In those times, everyday places can become foci of fervent prayer, waiting, and dependence upon God.

I'm also thinking about how our worship experiences can become focused during the Lenten season. For instance, a pastor might change the nature of the congregation’s worship space in order to help people understand God and faith in different ways. I found a blog,, that described ways this congregation has experimenting with worship space and styles.

How wonderful! I pray for any pastor who tries to find helpful ways to challenge people that does not elicit so much frustration from the congregation that the purpose is defeated. I remember visiting a church years ago; suddenly the older lady to our right reached over and snatched the hymnal from the pew rack in front of us. We’d taken her pew spot--we literally had taken away her "worship place"---and she got back at us by claiming “her” hymnal, so my wife and I had nothing to use for singing! With some church folk so stuck in their ways--and punitive if you upset them--the pastor has to use patience, discernment, and prayer in order to challenge folk in their worship. A pastor can make Lent-oriented worship changes that are both interesting and spiritually helpful so that people can experience God in fresh ways that, in turn, can build upon their previous experiences of God.

The main “place” of Lent is God! You can think of God as a place! It’s a venerable tradition. I noted in my book that the Bible sometimes “localizes” God’s presence, as on the mountains of Exodus 19 and 1 Kings 19, and verses like Deut. 16:16 and Isaiah 8:18. But these have to do with God’s desire to be present in certain places rather than a limitation to which God is obliged. Even the holy Temple is not the special place of God apart from his will (e.g., Jer. 7:1-7; 22:16, Isaiah 66:1-2, Acts 7:48-50).

The Bible refers metaphorically to God in place-terms. God is our machseh, that is, “dwelling place” (Deut. 33:27, RSV), or “refuge” (KJV and NIV). Psalm 46:1 calls God “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” In Genesis 28:17, God is maqom, or "place": “How awesome is this place!” During the rabbinical period the word maqom became a metaphorical name for God, as in Philo writes, “God … is called place, for He encompasses all things, but is not encompassed by anything.” Also, a midrash refers to God as "place" because God is “the place of the world.”A scripture like Psalm 139:7-10 shows how God comes to every place where we are and is not limited to our circumstances.

As I write in my book (p. 26): “Christians, like Jews, honored God who is unbounded by time and space, the God who is a dwelling and refuge for all who call upon him. Jesus becomes the “place to go” to know God in spirit and truth (Matt. 7:25, John 4:21-24), the “new thing” that God has done by which we might know God (Isa. 43:19, Heb. 1:1-2). Jesus is the place that encompasses all places, because in and through him all things came to be (Col 1:15-20). Not only that, but through Jesus Christ God has broken down all barriers and has accomplished all that is necessary for peace, reconciliation, and salvation (Eph. 1:5-14, 3:8-14). He is present for us in whatever place we are, until the close of time (Matt. 28:20, Rev. 22:13).”

Sometimes Lenten practices stray from the main point: to center us upon God and to larify God's providence and will. If we think of God our maqom and machseh, our Lenten observance is focused upon our true place and true home.

(A repost from March 2010)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday services include the words, "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return." You'd think that we wouldn't have to be reminded to remember death; we're already reminded daily of death's inevitability and unpredictability. For instance, our evening news almost always has at least one story of a shooting or a fatal automobile accident. Also, we all have lost loved ones whose absence is difficult.

But we never get "used" to death the way we get used to other things. I suppose we only get used to death as we see it certain kinds of movies and shows. Any horror or action movie contain “death tropes.” For instance, the first death will likely be a character with whom you’ve built no special sympathy. The dead person is the murder victim at the beginning of the mystery, or someone foolish enough to walk into that forbidden door, or the secondary character who is in the wrong place at the wrong time. When stories include a sympathetic character who dies early (Janet Leigh in Psycho) or when a sympathetic character dies at all (Cordelia in King Lear), the effect is jarring.

We also introduce “tropes” in our interpretation of news stories. Who died in shootings today? No one with whom I’ve even a casual relationship. Where did the shooting happen? Not in my neighborhood. A hurricane strikes, a plane crashes: but where did it happen? Many times we'll worry about a disaster that involves people in our own country; some overseas crises become major news, but not always.

Though we never get "used" to death and its universality, sometimes the disaster is such that it awakens us to a kind of common expression of concern and humanity. One thinks of the Fort Hood shootings last year, and also the recent shootings in Tucson which temporarily inspired national soul-searching about ugly political rhetoric. Obviously 9/11 was a tremendous example of solidarity amid tragedy and shock.

It occurs to me that Ash Wednesday---when we ponder death's inevitability through liturgy, prayers, devotional readings, or the use of ashes---can be a time of common humanity and concern for one another. We're not just asked to "remember death" privately, but to remember it among other people who are also seeking God who is alive, greater than life and death, and the source of our hope.

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being (Job. 12:10).

If he should take back his spirit to himself, and gather to himself his breath, all flesh would perish together, and all mortals return to dust (Job 34:14-15).

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light (Ps. 36:9).

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lent and Depression

Lent is an excellent period in which to renew one’s relationship with God...but if you're prone to depression (as I've been off and on all my life) the penitential aspects of the season could possibly make a person sadder than before.

This occurred to me as I was reading a book about God's nature. The book---somewhat stern and conservative in its reminder of God's majesty and authority---called attention to the vastness of God's mercy compared to the underlying selfishness of many of our prayers. So many of our prayers are, after all, "quid pro quo" prayers: God, if I do X, please do Y for me. God "sees through" our motives, however, and loves us anyway.

I actually got a little blue reading this chapter of the book, even though the main point was the mercy of God! That's because I felt compassion for people who are blue: when we're in the depths of sadness, our prayers can't help but have that "quid pro quo" quality--God, please help me to be happier, please show me ways to take away this sadness. We also beat up on ourselves even more than usual when we're depressed, and our prayers can feel self-focused because of our pain.

But a time of temporary or chronic sadness might be a powerful time to be reminded of God's vast love, including Lenten times. The psalms, of course, are wonderful prayers because many of them are quite forthright about the psalmists' distress! Psalms 42 and its companion 43 are examples. "For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you cast me off?" (Ps. 42:2). What a terrible concern, that God is not only silent but has rejected the psalmist! Fortunately that isn't the last word, for the psalmist knows to "hang on": "Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God" (vs. 5). The psalmist isn't feeling praiseful now, but will eventually. During Lent, a depressed person might include psalms among devotional reading.

Lent might be a good time to prayerfully focus upon scriptures that depict God as a "place" of help. God is our machseh, which means "refuge" (Deut. 33:27, KJV and NIV) or “dwelling place” (RSV). Psalm 46:1 affirms that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Imagine God as a welcoming "place" to go when you're downhearted.

A wonderful thing, which we don't always think about, is that because of the Holy Spirit, we're even closer to God than the psalmists! Jesus opened up for us the Spirit (John 7:39), and now the Spirit functions as a guarantee of God's eternal love (2 Corinthians 5:5). By all means, don't think that your sadness is a sign that God has withdrawn the Spirit. God hears our voices where we are now (Gen. 21:17), and God is greater than our hearts (1 John 3:19-20). Paul assures us that the Spirit intercedes for us when our prayers are inadequate or difficult to verbally express; the Spirit certainly isn't "put off" when we're weak, for those are the times when the Spirit steps in and takes our side (Rom. 8:26).

The church might (or might not) be a place where we can "come as we are," including times when we're tremendously sad. It depends upon the congregation: church folks might simplistically urge us to cheer up, to have more faith, to pray more, and other things that don't help at all when we're depressed, while other congregations might be places where folks uphold us amid our strong, sad emotions.

Lent can also be a time of getting things back into balance and in perspective. Speaking only for myself, my own blues are often attributable to something out of balance: I've been too busy and haven't taken time for exercise, for instance, or I've fallen into the trap of "what if" thinking, or whatever.

If you feel depressed during Lent (or any time), figure out things within your own circumstance and talk to people you know about your feelings; my thoughts here are simply to provide encouragement. Even in the best situations, we don't always give God "credit" for being as unfailingly, tenaciously loving as God is. In the midst of our difficult feelings, we perceive God as that uncomplimentary parent, that childhood bully, that difficult significant other, that fussy boss, or whoever created those "tapes" that we play over and over in our minds. But God is SO MUCH greater and better than that! I've drawn strength from this quote by Desmond Tutu: “There is nothing you can do that will make God love you less. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. God’s love for you is infinite, perfect, and eternal.”(1)


1. Lorraine Kisly (ed.), Ordinary Graces: Christian Teachings on the Interior Life (New York: Bell Tower, 2000), p. 192.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Praying in Lent

Lent is an excellent period in which to renew one’s prayer life... but so are other times of the year.

The epistle says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) but of course that cannot be taken literally if it refers to an individual Christian’s prayer. I like this short page ( that explains “without ceasing” as an attitude and an openness. One of the first Hebrew words I learned was hinneni, “Here am I!” the response that people like Abraham made when God called to him. Our professor, Bonnie Kittel of blessed memory, noted that the response implied a openness and readiness to hear God. That’s one good way to think about prayer: a communicative attitude toward God that in turn makes us open to God’s leading and guidance.

I’ve several prayer books but usually read from the “Shorter Morning and Evening Prayer” based on the Liturgy of the Hours, and I’ve four devotional quarterlies that I like to use. Recently I got out other resources that I like but haven’t used for a while. My wife’s deceased first husband received a little prayer book ("My Prayer Book") when he was confirmed, and it contains wonderful intercessory prayers. I’ve other books that I use less often, but I found a nice “Minister’s Prayer Book” published by Muhlenberg Press in the 1950s.

I wish I was more consistent day to day to use these resources. I do pretty well, but since my days are filled with teaching and writing on religious subjects, I’m often thinking about God and mentally praying to God but my “organized” religious devotion falls by the wayside unless I make an effort to keep that part of my life on track.

On the other hand … Years ago (1980s?) I read an article in Christian Century that made the point that Jesus seemed not to have a structured way of praying. He prayed a lot and sought time and places for solitary prayer, but the texts say nothing about specified times that he prayed, nor did he make people wait for him to conclude his prayer time. The article noted that being organized in our prayer lives could just mean that we’re … well organized!

We grow in quality and quantity of prayer among our daily comings and goings (Ps. 121:8). When I was in seminary, my prayers were self-doubtful, anxious, and uncertain about the future---not untypical of a “dark night” situation. Seminary is a time for many of us when God tests our calling and vocation. Now … I’m nearly thirty years out of seminary, happy with and amazed at the ways God has led me over the years. So my prayers aren’t self-doubtful in the manner of a young person, but my prayers are offered with a heightened, respectful sense of mortality and the unpredictability of life. During the last ten years my amazing daughter has grown from middle school- to college-age, and I’ve handled my widowed mother’s affairs in addition to all my other responsibilities. Circumstances like these (and others) can help a person turn more of “life” over to God’s care. You really do understand, psychologically, that surrendering to God's care is a happier way to live than clinging to the idea that you have a lot of control over your life.

But mental prayer can carry the risk of self-involvement and self-satisfaction. That’s why I have my little battery of prayer helps that I use to direct my prayers during those secret times of Matt. 6:6. Prayer resources are wonderful: among other things, they explain prayer, they provide accompanying scriptures, they contain great prayers with which we can read along and make our own, and they remind us what to pray for. Prayer resources can also stop us cold when we encounter prayer-words that we really don’t want to pray at that moment! Thus we can think about the present situation of our feelings toward God.

I’m a member of two prayer chains. The requests come by email so I print these out. Much of my daily attitude in prayer is intercessory, but I’m liable to forget to pray for folks whom I don’t know unless I have the prayer requests at hand. I have these words of Oswald Chambers almost memorized: "The real business of your life as a saved soul is intercessory prayer. Wherever God puts you in circumstances, pray immediately, pray that His Atonement may be realized in other lives as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends NOW; pray for those with who you come in contact NOW."

As I wrote this little piece, I grew very insecure. Specifically, I worried that I don’t do enough for God, both in my prayer life or generally. This is a good example of the importance of fortifying our mental prayers with scripture study and resources. We’re saved by Christ’s redeeming work, not anything we do. Although there are numerous ways to pray (some better than others), our prayers are never ways to earn God's favor or to "leverage" God. Prayer is a wonderful way to learn more about the God who has done more for us than we can imagine (Eph. 3:20-21).

* On a related note, a friend tweeted this Christianity Today article, an excellent reminder of God's love!

(Reposted from 3/9/10)