Are you a Popcorn-Thinker?

I’ve coined—what I think—is a new term: popcorn thoughts. It refers to that chaotic frenzy of thoughts and worries darting around my mind a great deal of the time. Pop. There’s another one—worrying that I’m the only one whose mind is frenetic and unruly, and that right now you’re all staring blankly at the screen asking, ‘what is she on about?’ Continue reading

The Roof Wreckers

The sun is pounding down on my broken body. I close my eyes to keep away its sharp light, and fight down the nausea as my friends jostle my stretcher through the crowd.

“We’re almost there Eldad.” I hear the concern in Dan’s voice, and try to give a reassuring smile.

“Make way please,” he shouts. “Paralysed man coming through.”

“Hey,” a deep voice growls, “we’re all trying to see the Rabbi here. You can’t just push in like that.”

“Yes. Wait your turn,” other voices chorus, and I catch glimpses of scowling faces as I open my eyes again.

“This is hopeless,” Amos whispers. “We’ll never get into that house.” Continue reading

Beyond the Bars

I nervously pace around the court of the Priests, paying little attention to the discussion around me. Joseph, the Arimathean, glances up and pats the empty space next to him. As I slide in beside him, he whispers, “Do not concern yourself, Nicodemus. The guards were merely sent to question the Rabbi, nothing more.”

His words are kind, but untrue. The chief priests have been lying in wait for the one known as Jesus, hoping he would appear at the Feast of Tabernacles. They have had guards posted on the temple steps watching for him. Continue reading

The Kiss, the Strike and the Touch

The full moon casts pale shadows around us as we enter the olive grove. I stay close to the one leading the way, the one known as Judas. A strange trepidation steals over me, and I grip my club a little tighter. What kind of resistance will we meet? This troublemaker Rabbi has some loyal followers, no doubt about it. Yet, more than that—he has…well…power. Maybe not all the stories are true. Like the latest one about him raising a man from the dead. Ridiculous! Only God himself could do that. However, there is no doubt he has some unusual abilities. Continue reading

The Perfume of Death

This Easter, I am taking us ‘inside’ several encounters Jesus had near his death. This first one takes place just days before the Last Supper.

My fingers shake ever so slightly as I slip—unseen—into Simon’s house. I can hear the laughter coming from the back, and I grip the jar a little tighter. At home, the idea had seemed perfect. What better way to show my love and devotion than to pour out my most precious possession on him who has saved me…loved me…healed me? Yet in this unfamiliar house full of men, my resolve wavers. What will his disciples think? What will my brother Lazarus think? And Martha? Will she wear that disapproving pout for the next few days, the one that—without saying a word—shouts, ‘you are such a fool, Mary’? Continue reading

Simeon’s Awe & Anna’s Praise

Christmas Devotion 2

Our Christmases are busy, bustling times. It’s surprisingly easy to lose sight of the miracle we celebrate: God coming into our midst. Even two thousand years ago in Israel—where people debated and discussed the Promised Messiah—there were few who truly recognised him. But step back into time with me and take a look at two who did.

My fingers graze against the rough walls as I climb the temple steps. I pause at the top to catch my breath, and look back over the sprawl of Jerusalem. In my youth I would have bounded up those steps two at a time, so keen was I to enter Yahweh’s courts. I’m still keen, Lord, just a little slower. The gate ahead of me leads to the broad Court of the Gentiles. Continue reading

A Star, a Journey and a Heavenly King

Christmas Devotional (1)

“There,” Melchior pointed to a small cluster of mud-brick houses. “We have found him!”

Could it be? Was the greatest of all Kings to be found here, in this dusty, ramshackle village?

I thought back over the long journey that had brought us here. I remembered the first time I looked up at the night sky and saw the star, unlike any I had ever seen before. From that first moment, gazing on its brightness in the western sky, I knew that it was an omen of great significance. Our nights were spent studying the star; our days, discussing and debating its meaning. We poured over our own ancient writings, but all to no avail. Continue reading

Hurt? Grieving? Lost? So was This Man…

All around me there are hurting people. One of my friend’s is undergoing cancer treatment. Another lies seriously ill in ICU. Others are dealing with grief that wraps its icy fingers around their hearts long after those around them have forgotten and moved on. Some are facing the betrayal of a spouse; others are struggling to overcome childhood hurts and abuse.

My own struggles are not this big, but—even then—navigating everyday life leaves me feeling lost and depleted sometimes. Continue reading