God is motivated by compassion

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Proper 11 Jeremiah 23:1-6; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 It may feel like we're up against a lot, and, if fact, we are. One word I often hear people use to describe the past 15 months is "biblical." The world is changing fast. We are asked to change with it, but seldom are we asked...

Truth is its own reward

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Christians are called to live by "every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). Too often, however, we are afraid of the consequences. Faithfulness to God can cost us much that we value, including our lives. It cost John the Baptist his life, as we read in this Sunday's gory...

Author of Liberty

Posted by Jacob Dell on

What makes us free? 245 years ago citizens of the 13 colonies asked this same question. They had to fight Great Britain and debate each other to find out. They replaced one principle of unity (the Crown) with another (the Union). They reserved rights for themselves, their associations, and...

Affliction gives way to restoration

Posted by Jacob Dell on

What does God have to do with afflictions like chronic illnesses and premature death? We find out in this Sunday's readings from Lamentations and Mark. In Lamentations, Jeremiah finds hope in Israel's sufferings. If Israel can still suffer, it means Israel has not been entirely destroyed...

Creation's storms

Posted by Jacob Dell on

We face many storms in life, not just physical, but emotional ones too. We've just lived through a storm unlike any in living memory. As we saw during the past 15 months, the Christian gets no special pass. We have to face things, just like everyone else. The difference is that Christians...

Are you an insider or an outsider?

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Are you an insider or an outsider? Jesus did not always make Himself clear. In fact, He purposely obscured His message to outsiders while explaining His message to a select few. With so many people plotting against Him, that made good sense. Instead of speaking directly, He spoke to the...

Our troubles make us saints

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Where does evil come from and, moreover, what purpose does it serve? If we say evil comes from God, that makes Him a monster, but if we say it comes from some other unstoppable source (like the Devil) that makes God a weakling. A monster or weakling is not a god worth believing in. God is...

Anger Has Limits

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Proper 20 Jonah 3:10-4:11; Philippians 1:21-30; Matthew 20:1-16 Salvation seems unfair. Jonah knew Nineveh was a wicked city that ought to be destroyed and he also knew that God wouldn't destroy it. The laborers who worked twelve hours complained they were paid the same as those who worked...

Forgiveness has no boundary

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Proper 19 Genesis 50:15-21; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35 Is it true we have to forgive people no matter what they do or how often they do it? That's what Peter wants to know in Sunday's gospel. The answer is only one God could give, and it's basically yes. "Not seven times, but, I tell...