Broken Windows

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and  took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. Colossians 2:14 KJV

When I was about twelve, my mom separated from my stepdad and took my sister and I to move hundreds of miles away to live her parents. Leaving behind all that was familiar, I was eager to make new friends, so when I found three guys about my own age in our new neighborhood, I immediately joined their circle. Just down the street from my grandparent’s home was an elementary school with a playground where we liked to hang out. Right next to that playground was a house which the school had bought, with the plan of tearing it down to make room for an addition. Since the house was soon to be demolished one of the guys in our group wondered who would care if we broke a few windows. We were astonished at his brilliant and exciting plan! Wasting no time to think of things, such as the town hall and police station being only blocks away, we quickly filled our pockets with stones and began a contest to see who could break the most panes. Of course, it wasn’t long before someone called the police, and soon the sirens and flashing lights of two patrol cars came racing up and we all ran inside the house to hide. It didn’t take the officers long to round us up and trot us all into the elementary school. There they lined us up in the hallway just outside the principal’s office. By the time it was my turn to enter, my knees were shaking and though I forget what was said, I remember that the principal took out a black book where he had written our names. Then he showed me that he was marking a large black circle right next to mine. I had no idea what that meant, but it felt as if I was doomed for life!

Photo by Kevin Malik on

Looking back on how we were then simply released to slink quietly home, I am pretty sure that all of our parents were in on the elaborate ruse. It really was a great plan, because not one of us got into any trouble again that summer! In fact, we did not even have the courage to speak about our moment of infamy to each other! That time reminds me of today’s verse. Just as we each received a black mark next to our name, so everyone who has ever lived has been caught by the justice system of God. We have all sinned and the penalty for our sin is death. We have broken, not only the windows of heaven, but also the heart of God. He has sadly marched us in and one by one placed a black mark by our names. But unlike in my childhood experience, God’s plan did not end there. Instead, God sent His only son, to die in our place, so that He could erase the black mark. And the even better news of the Bible is that instead of simply releasing us to go to our own homes, God has invited us to come to live in His forever!

Clarinet Lessons

Clarinet: An instrument of discipline inflicted on children in order to instill a love for any other musical instrument except the one whose reed repeatedly cuts their lower lips!

Okay well my childhood clarinet lessons were not really torture but were generally awful experiences. Yet in spite of those sliced open lower lip memories, they did teach me one important thing: you must follow the sheet music if you want to please the teacher. Reading an Amish prayer this morning, brought me back to my lessons.

As you are my light
So shine in me
As you are my life
So live in me
As you are my faith
So adorn me
As you are my joy
So be pleased with me
As I am your dwelling
So live in me
As I am your instrument
So live in me.

From "Amish Prayers" 
Compiled by Beverly Lewis

Christ Himself is our sheet music and His every step was a note written by the hand of God. If we will lovingly yield our lives to Him, His Spirit will use us as instruments to play a part of Heaven’s symphony through our very ordinary everyday lives!

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV

Do You Wash My Feet?

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” John 13:6 ESV

Photo by Ron Lach on

When I was four years old, we lived in a tiny apartment over a store and my back yard was the flat roof of the building with a wall around its edge. One morning as I was out there playing with some pots and pans, I got the notion of flinging a frying pan over the wall, but my happy smile turned to terror as I heard loud yelling below and then the sound of footsteps coming up the fire escape. Soon the angry face of a delivery truck driver appeared at the top of the stairs holding the frying pan in his hand! My memory fails me as to what happened beyond the well-deserved spanking my mother dished out that day. As she finished, I shouted, “I don’t like you! I want to go live with Gammy and Cap-Cap!” (My grandparents) Mom quietly smiled as she dried my tears, then without argument, fetched my suitcase, put it up on the bed and started to help me pack. Soon I was down on the street, holding my luggage in one hand, staring determinedly ahead as mom pointed, “Okay you walk up this road about 500 miles and you’ll come to their house.” I made it about half a block when the sound of cars swooshing past and the long late afternoon shadows struck fear in my heart and in tears, I ran back to my mom and threw my arms around her. How hard it was to admit that she had been right all along and that I loved her! Just like me, Peter hated to admit how much he needed Jesus. He was ashamed how dirty his feet were, and shocked to see Jesus kneeling to wash them. But Jesus not only washed Peter’s feet, He wants to wash yours and mine as well. If we simply confess our need for Him, what a joy is ours when He washes us, then picks us up and carries us all the way home!