Devotions for Thinking Christians
celebration outside of White House on news of bin Laden's death

In case you hadn't heard, Osama bin Laden is, like Old Marley, dead as a doornail.  Probably Donald Trump wants to see his long-form death certificate to believe it, but it's true.  The world's most-wanted terrorist is no more, and the airwaves have been filled with responses.

Dia, me, and my mother

Scripture Reference:  Luke 15:11-32

It's Monday of Holy Week, and over this past weekend I packed up myself and the dog and headed the three hours north to see my mother.  As you can see from the picture, we were not frolicking in the great outdoors or remembering the days of our youth over a cup of coffee.  She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at age 70 and has been in a home with some level of clinical care since 2004.  She will be 79 next month.

Grim Reaper

Milo was a boy of about 11 years old, who lived in a small village by the edge of the sea with his mother.  Milo was a big help to his mother.  Every morning he would take some money and two sacks to go and buy the groceries.  First he went to the butcher and bought some bacon and salted pork.  Then he went to the farmer on the hill who sold him lettuce, beans, and sometimes corn.  Lastly he went to see Miss Gretchen, who sold him the eggs that Milo and his mother would have for breakfast as they listened to the sounds of the sea. 

But one day there was no money on the table and Milo found that his Mother was still in bed.  He went on tiptoe into her room, but saw that she was not sleeping. There were moans coming from her bed, she was shivering under the covers, and her face looked very red and tired. 

 “Mother!” cried Milo.  “What’s wrong?  Are you sick?”

She could barely speak.  “Yes, Milo,” she answered.  “I am very sick.  I don’t think I can even stand up. You must go and bring the doctor from the other side of the farmer’s hill.”

Nametag saying, "Hello!  My name is Irrelevant"

"And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  Micah 6:8

Lately I have become more addicted to my Twitter feed (@revanner) as I have found it to be the most immediate and reliable source of news on the various struggles for freedom in the Middle East (and increasingly here at home as well).


Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.  He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’  Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again.’ 

Worn Bible

Go ahead.  Make a lunch date with a good friend and for half an hour speak only what you literally mean to say.  You can't say you have a million things to do unless you can actually tally that many.  You may not refer to a suit costing and arm and a leg unless there is a surgeon at the checkout.  You can't order "the usual," unless that's the name of a sandwich on the menu.  You get the idea.

Gun crosshairs

Matt. 5:21-22  "You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder'; and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire."

Those who did not see something like the violent events of yesterday coming need to step out of their bubbles and look around. 

Golden Retriever sitting in lawn nativity scene
My brother's dog, Red Dog, getting in the Christmas spirit

I just got back in from walking Dia, who is now six months old and who manages to stir up every dog in the neighborhood when we walk by.  A little way down the street, a little terrier discovered us from his perch in the picture window of his home.  I'm sure his owners were delighted as he barked and clawed at the window, trying to get to us.

woman with an open wallet giving money

Matthew 25 is comprised of three judgment scenes, all of which deal with the proper use of resources.  The first (the parable of the wise and foolish virgins) instructs us to anticipate the resources we will need, the second (the parable of the talents) tempers the first by reminding us that being prepared doesn't mean hoarding, and the third (the sheep and the goats), reminds us that God's ultimate goal for our resource-gathering is to be sure that even "the least of these" have what they need in both provision and compassion.

woman looking through dirty glass
Through a glass, darkly

Romans 14:13 "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."

Here's my soap box message of the day:  Quit getting in the way of people's faith.