Solomon’s Encounter

12th Sun after Pentecost: 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14

King Solomon was rich, wise, and he had many wives (in that era this was another form of riches). His reign was successful and Solomon’s Temple is the temple that future generations aspired to re-create. So it would be natural to skim past these verses as the point when all of this greatness began. It could be easy to miss the way in which Solomon struggled to “find himself” like we all do.

Up until this point his father, David, was the second king Israel had and David was the greatest. He was victorious in war, the people loved him, and he rose to greatness from humble beginnings. It was a rags to riches story and here that story ends. Solomon was chosen to be the next king. He probably felt like he was living under a very large, successful shadow. David was “a man after God’s own heart”—those are big shoes to fill. Continue reading

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#notallpharisees

Standing with the oppressed

Do you ever wonder if there were scribes and Pharisees hanging around at the fringes who weren’t abusing their power? I wonder how they felt when Jesus said things like,

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.” (Matthew 23:2-4)

Why is Jesus speaking so categorically? Why is he lumping in the hard-working, caring-for-people Pharisees with those that are abusive and out of control? Continue reading

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Weep With Those Who Weep

grief

Why is it easier to weep along with a television show than it is to weep with a friend? Is it just me? Maybe it’s because show writers know how to draw out our emotions unexpectedly. Do we listen better when we’re watching a show than when a friend is grieving? Maybe we would listen better if everyone knew how to put their grief into poignant soliloquies. Continue reading

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Draw Near

approach

with confidence

toward the throne of grace

receive mercy and grace to help

our need

Hebrews 4:16 Cinquain

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God With Us

Worship

There is something exciting about traveling to significant places.  When I saw the Statue of Liberty in person I was amazed at how huge it was. (I wasn’t thrilled with climbing the narrow staircase inside, but everything can’t be impressive, right?)  Someday I would like to visit the town that one of my ancestors founded.  He was a pioneer for the US government and settled in Texas.  I don’t know why exactly, but it feels like I would be connecting with something bigger, a meaningful part of my history.  This seems like a common desire—traveling to see historical locations, visiting wonders of the world, or even places that just mean a lot to us personally.   Continue reading

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Work and Worth

When work and worth are confused, as they are in an achievement-oriented society, achievement becomes addictive because it is trying to solve a problem it was not originally designed to solve.

–James Loder
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