Click for my Top ten things I (Jim) am giving up for Lent.
But wait. There’s more! Health benefits of dark chocolate
Many churches burn the branches from Palm Sunday the previous year to use for the current year’s Ash Wednesday. (Ash Wednesday initiates “Lent, which is a time of preparation for Easter.)
Do you ever feel your praises have turned to ashes? Once you were shouting “Hallelujah” for his blessings in your life and now you’re sifting through smoldering dreams, plans and relationships.
The liturgical calendar offers lows and highs: Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and then Easter. It’s all part of the cycle of nature and the supernatural, ups and downs, joys and sorrows.
The important thing is to keep moving through time with trust and confidence in the eternal Father, Son and Spirit. Whether it’s palm branches of praise or their ashes of loss, God is continuing to work out his “good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
To all who mourn . . . he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair (Isaiah 61:3).
Remember, Ash Wednesday leads to Palm Sunday; Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Ashes to praises!
Copyright © 2018 James N. Watkins
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Hi, I’m Jim and welcome to Hope&Humor! Lent is my favorite season because a) there’s not a lot of shopping to do, b) few decorations to put up, and c) no avalanche of programs and parties! So, take a look at my egg-citing Easter basket of Lent and Easter goodies. Plus . . .
• Articles on everything from sects to sex. (Scroll down for latest.)
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Banner photo: Hannah Tasker
If I hear another pastor, teacher or speaker proclaim, as if from Mount Sinai, “Put God first, your family second, your ministry third and your self last,” my “self” is going to put them very last on my priority list! Here’s why:
Let me be clear: putting God at the center of our lives is essential. But if I put time alone with God as first in the hierarchy mentioned, I’m never going to get to my family. I’m going to be a monk cloistered away reading my Bible, praying, journaling, worshiping, and if I’m really spiritual, fasting. If my choice is to read the Bible or read to my kids or grandkids, I’ve got to choose God’s Word if I’m locked into this rigid ranking of priorities.
If I put my family over my ministry, I will never get a word written or leave the house to speak at a conference. My wife has a “honey do list” that will keep me busy until Jesus comes. And pastors would never have time for sermon prep, board meetings, hospital calling, and the thousands of other tasks assigned to them by the congregation.
And if put my ministry over myself, there’s not going to be much of me left except a burnout shell of a person with high blood pressure and ulcers.
That’s why this ranking system is so unrealistic and unworkable. Those who attempt to implement it end up conflicted and stressed—and probably alienated from their family. So, here’s an alternative: [Continue reading].
Plus bonus post: Managing your time . . . and sanity
Thanks for nearly 500 birthday wishes. A great weekend with family, food, and fun! And, of course, not acting my age.
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One-third of all the psalms in the Bible are what commentators call “laments.” And the lament of all laments is found in Psalm 22:
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief (22:1-2).
Have you ever felt that way? I suspect we all have! St. John of the Cross calls it “The Dark Night of the Soul.”
But I love the way the psalms of lament always end with hope. [Continue reading]
Next week, the United Methodist denomination will tackle the issue of homosexual clergy and same-sex marriage. It’s one of the most polarizing subjects today in the culture, courts and the church. One extreme pole pickets with signs spewing “God Hates Fags.” On the opposite extreme are those proclaiming God blesses same-sex relationships.
I’ve been writing about the issues surrounding homosexuality for over 20 years, so here’s my latest. I trust this post is both compassionate and convicting, but most of all biblical. [Continue reading]
For more snarky cartoons from “Evil Jim,” visit the cartoon archives. But first, you must repost this!
I’ve discovered that even though males and females may speak the same language, they speak two totally different dialects: Androgen spoken by males and Estrogen spoken by females.
Here are some of the theories I’ve developed over forty years of attempting communication—often unsuccessfully—with my wife. [Continue reading]
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